Home Renovation: Organizing a Plan of Action


In my previous blog post, I explained that your first step in a home renovation project is finding your service professionals. Even if you discovered that you wanted to complete the job yourself, you still need to complete this next step: creating a home renovation organizing plan.

Any home renovation organizing plan is going to include a time line that contains when your service professional (or you) will begin the project, an estimate for how long the project will take, and a list of preparations that need to get done before any work begins.  

One thing you should look into early on (if your contractor is not taking care of it) is whether or not you will need building permits. My town’s Inspection Services Department warns that it can take up to 4 weeks for approval during the busy season so it would behoove you to get this done first. 

The next thing you may want to think about is how are you going to move furniture or items out of the future work area.


  • Will you recruit help or hire movers?
  • If you are moving appliances, will you need to hire a plumber or electrician to assist with unhooking the unit (think gas stoves, water heaters, refrigerators that have water/ice dispensers, etc.)?
  • Do you want to store items in another room, onsite in a storage pod, or offsite at a storage facility?
  • If you decide to rent a storage pod or a unit offsite, rent the space for a month longer than you think you will need it. I quickly learned that contractors do not always show up on the exact dates they originally provide you with due to unforeseen issues on other projects they are working on. Expect some delays to occur and work that into your plan so that you are not caught by surprise. 
  • Plan to have everything moved out of the space several days before work begins; this provides you with some leeway if it takes longer than you estimated to move all the stuff.
  • Use this time as an opportunity to purge any items that are unused or unwanted. Donate or sell what is in good condition and throw out the broken stuff. We used our basement renovation to get rid of quite a few things and it was wonderful to take advantage of the dumpster we needed to have onsite for our project.
Brainstorm what everyday tasks will be affected when you shut down a part of the house for renovation. For example, my family had no access to laundry during the basement renovation so we had to scope out the nearest laundry mat. For people looking to renovate a kitchen, you have to figure out where to store your perishibles, how to cook without a stove, and where you are going to wash your dishes during the renovation. 
Remember to think about family members (including pets) and how they will be affected by the work. Will your family need to find alternate living space while the work is happening due to allergies, reactions to fumes, or noise levels? If you have pets, do you have places you can take them to keep them out of harms way (and out from under the feet of workers)?
All of the decisions you make need to be recorded on the home renovation organizing plan (along with contact names and numbers) so that everyone in your family is on the same page regarding what needs to be done before the contractor arrives to begin work. It will also give you peace of mind to visually see when multiple tasks need to begin and end. 



About Gabriela Burgman

Gabriela's mission is to empower her clients with the tools and motivation they need to get and stay organized. Prior to becoming a Professional Organizer, Gabriela worked in a photograph archive as well as several university archives, assisting offices, administrators, and retiring academics to sort through their files for preservation or disposal. She became a professional organizer in 2007 working as an independent consultant before joining Living Peace. When Gabriela is not learning new ways to organize photos or paper both physically and electronically, she is spending time on what matters most to her: visiting with family and friends, reading a good mystery book, or cooking a tasty meal.

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