Preparing and organizing your home for a renovation project is crucial to ensure the process goes smoothly and minimizes disruptions to your daily life. It also vastly improves the end result and your quality of life in your newly renovated home.
It’s not uncommon for this task to feel overwhelming, as it involves a significant amount of planning, decluttering, and decision-making. For valuable insight on the topic NOVERO Homes & Renovations spoke with professional home organizer and owner of Crescent Living Co, Jaime Bergman, on planning for a home renovation or new build. We asked her some of the most frequently-asked questions that we receive from our clients.
“When it comes to renovating your home, there are SO many details that have to fall into place to make it all come together, and it can be mega-stressful for homeowners, regardless of your timeline, budget and living circumstances,” says Jaime. “After you commit to the project, that task list can be daunting.”
Below, Jaime sheds some light on the planning and prep process to help make the concept of organizing your home for a renovation a little less stressful!
What are the main considerations when preparing a home for a renovation?
Be honest with yourself about how to plan to use the space differently than you currently do. For example, if you are renovating your kitchen space does this mean that you will be keen to host or entertain more often for friends and family? If so, you might want to consider adding in additional deep or large cabinet spaces to accommodate items such as serving platters and trays or extra dishware.
On the flip side, if you personally don’t have a lot of ‘stuff’ but are also considering moving house in the next few years, please I beg you please, don’t just renovate with your own stuff in mind! For example, having long-hang spaces in your primary bedroom closet is never a bad thing, even if you personally don’t own many dresses or suits—the next occupants might really appreciate this!
How do you suggest homeowners start their preparations?
Start by editing your possessions and honestly answer these three questions: Does it serve a purpose in my life today? Does it have a place to ‘live’ in my newly re-designed space? Does it fit aesthetically with the new design concept? And from there, move on to donate or give away the items that don’t meet these requirements.
What areas and rooms should be packed first, and which ones last?
For a full home renovation I suggest packing up décor first and foremost because you do not require it to function or live in your space. Be ruthless with editing the pieces that will not be displayed in your home post-renovation and be okay with letting them go. This is such a difficult part in the process but it is the most important.
The very last room to pack up should always be your kitchen as it’s the room we use the most in our home. And if you are moving out during the renovation process, be sure to build yourself an Essentials Box full of all the last-minute kitchen items you will need as you unpack in your temporary space. Think coffee machine, cups, paper towels and a wine opener if that’s your thing!
Do you recommend editing belongings before packing, or after unpacking?
BEFORE!!! I cannot stress this enough. There is no sense wasting your time packing up the items that are not going to serve you in your new space. Plus, you will save money by not having to buy extra moving boxes and packing paper to store them in!
What is the most common mistake that owners make when preparing for a renovation?
Going back to the first question, I think the biggest mistake we see when unpacking clients into their newly renovated space is that they didn’t build in enough storage space. Even though editing is a huge part of this process, try to plan for more storage space than you think you’ll actually need and you’ll never be disappointed with this choice.
Also, don’t be afraid to ask for help! This is a daunting task for anyone to do, let alone someone who is likely already working themselves or chasing kids around – it’s a lot!
Other than the kitchen, what rooms or areas should homeowners pay more attention to – in order of priority – in planning organizational elements?
Closets and storage spaces. Often neglected areas of the home are our garage and closet spaces. They seem to be areas that people often put off for a later day when in reality they are so important to have dialed in as they reduce clutter and the need to have all-the-things out in the open.
Secondly. . .your bathroom. Building in even a touch of storage space into your bathroom can save you from a headache later on. I love the look of a pedestal sink with a mirror hung on the wall behind it, but where do your essential items go? What if a guest is staying with you and they need some sort of counter or cupboard space to stash their toothbrush and makeup? My suggestion is to have some type of storage, even if it is an open shelf that can accommodate a basket (or two!).
When thinking about your kitchen space, my goal is always to have as minimal items on the countertops as possible, and sometimes that means storing larger, less frequently used items in a basement storage area – think the turkey roasting pan and the large coffee thermos for parties.
What are your top five built-in organizing features for the kitchen?
My husband jokes that we bought our current home because it had a pull out spice rack right beside our oven—he isn’t wrong. A designated space to store all of your spices and oils and vinegars so they are at arms reach when cooking is fantastic. Second to that, when planning out where your appliances will live, factor in the dishwasher in relation to where your dishes, glassware and cutlery will be stored in your kitchen. There is nothing more annoying than having to walk across your kitchen just to put away cups – it takes so much longer to accomplish the mundane task of unloading the dishwasher.
Garbage and recycling pull-outs are a great feature as well so that recycling doesn’t build up on your countertops . . .and as an avid coffee lover having a coffee or morning routine station is always a great bonus. Imagine having a designated area that housed your coffee maker, mugs, your toaster, a few small plates and all your breakfast items like bread or fruit? This is a total game-changer when little ones start making their own breakfasts too!
When renovating a mudroom, what features do you recommend including?
I’m actually going to answer this one in reverse: how much storage space do you plan to have or create in your primary bedroom closets, and will you also have a front entryway closet? Coats are bulky and we live in a climate where rain boots are a necessity so ensuring you have ample storage for these essentials is key.
For kids, having a cubby-style mudroom is great to store their backpacks and even activity specific clothes such as soccer uniforms or dance attire. This way it’s ready to go as you are leaving the house, no fuss no muss.
When renovating a laundry room, what features do you recommend including?
Is it just me, or am I the only one who doesn’t mind a stacking washer/dryer? I love that it can maximize the storage space in this area of your home. However, if you have the space to do so, having shelving above your side-by-side washer dryer set is crucial. Then everything doesn’t have to live on top of your appliances and can be stored in an aesthetically pleasing and tidy way in the shelving above.
And because lots of families like to shop at Costco, having a space to store your backstock items like toilet paper, paper towels and tissue boxes is great and the laundry room is the perfect spot for these bulky items.
Jaime adds, “My favourite type of project to work on has to be when a homeowner is moving into a new space, whether it’s a new home or a renovated property they have been waiting to get into – the result of hiring a Professional Organizer to help with the unpacking process can save you so much time and stress and allow you to get back to your day to day life and get settled into your new space much more efficiently.”