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Surviving Stressful Home Renovations

Chapter 5: Living without Utilities

Going without while you are renovating.

No kitchen? No bathroom? No problem.

If you think about it, we take a lot for granted.

Electricity. Running water. Refrigeration. But what if those things were suddenly taken away? Nothing is more inconvenient than having to do without a few modern conveniences for a day, a week or a month.

But there are strategies for living through it all.

Preparing for the event

Preparing for the event. First, don't panic. There's a solution to every problem.

One great solution is to go to your local rental center. There, you may be able to rent a portable toilet (best rented when it's not too cold to go outside to use the facilities). You might also rent a portable generator to keep ice cubes from melting and re-runs of Survivor on the tube.

Third, think about renting a water cooler to dispense bottled water for cooking and drinking while your water is off. Finally, make sure you have plenty of pre-packaged, just-add-water foods, a hot plate, an electric kettle, a mini dorm fridge, and a designated area in your dining room or living room to use as your makeshift kitchen while you're waiting for the real one to be finished.

Plan ahead and you'll barely notice the inconvenience.

Go outside

Go outside. You might want to consider enlisting friends and neighbors to provide bathroom and kitchen privileges for the short period yours will be inoperative.

Bribe them with offers of dinner or baby-sitting. Note: this only works for very short periods of time. Don't overstay your welcome - showing up at 6 am at someone's back door wearing a kimono and a shower cap is a good way to find out just who your true friends are. Another idea: change your routines for a short period.

For example, try working out in the morning so you can shower and shave at work or at the "Y."

Minimizing downtime

Minimizing downtime. Here's where understanding what your subs are doing and when they are doing it will really pay off.

Communicate to your subs the need to minimize the disruption, and ask them if there's anything you can do to make sure the power, water or heat is not off for an extended and highly inconvenient length of time. Make sure they've gone through a checklist of everything they need to do the job before they remove a forty-foot section of your sewer pipe, because few people on earth can go without a toilet while a special mixer valve is being ordered from the distributor in Sweden.

But remember to do it in a nice way. They are, after all, in control, so to speak.

Go On Vacation

Go on vacation. Visit your brother-in-law. Go camping. Take that fishing trip you've been meaning to go on.

It might sound frivolous to spend money on a vacation while you're also spending thousands on a renovation, but sometimes just getting away is the best solution. Especially in massive, complex renovation projects where your being there would, in effect, slow down the operation.

Clearing out and giving your contractors room to work can mean a shorter construction schedule. Just make sure they know how and where to get in touch with you in case they need a question answered, or a problem pops up.

Mmm, Chinese Food

Mmmm, Chinese food. Kitchen remodels are often the most difficult on a family because during that time, you not only lose your ability to cook and refrigerate your food, you give up the place where you and your family often spend your only time together during the day. Turn this problem into an opportunity - to try every take-out food option in your town, or to go out and eat together at a sit-down place. It might just bring you closer together as a family. Or, at least it will bring your expanding waistlines closer together.

Next: Chapter 6: Deliberate Decisions/Painless Changes.

Surviving The Stress of Home Renovations.

Chapter 1 : Keeping The Peace

Chapter 2 : Contract Basics

Chapter 3 : Surviving the Noise.

Chapter 4: The Right Stuff, Not the least expensive

Chapter 5: Living without Utilities

Chapter 6: Deliberate Decisions/Painless Changes.

Chapter 7: Dealing with Dust

Chapter 8: Keeping Track of Money.