Living on a building site - top tips to make the process less stressful please.

(23 Posts)
Wheretoeast Fri 24-Mar-17 15:08:49

We live in a standard 3 bed Victorian house in London and are remodelling/refurbishing the ground floor and extending out into the side return and into the garden for a bigger kitchen/living space. We also plan to make a downstairs loo and small utility area.

The project is expected to take 3 months. We can't afford to move during the process, so DH, DD(3ys) cat and I are living on site and week 2 into the build I'm already finding it stressful!

Shout out to anyone who has done this - what made your life easier and how did you cope with all the dust? Any practical tips highly appreciated as I'm not the most organised of people and feel like organisation is key to staying sane. Not having a washing machine and living out of (and amongst!) boxes has proven to be my tipping point lol!

Thanks in advance

OP’s posts: |
OnePlanOnHouzz Fri 24-Mar-17 22:26:05

There's a company who supply temporary kitchens I have read about on Houzz threads ... here's a link
https://www.kitchenpod.co.uk/
Might be worth it as three months is a long time !
Good luck with it all !

ShouldHaveListenedInBiology Fri 24-Mar-17 22:32:55

I feel your pain. We are nearing the end of ours (thankfully as I am 33 weeks pregnant with a 4 year old) but it's been pretty tough, I can't lie. My top tip is lower your standards, resign yourself to eating a lot of ready meals and takeaways, and dusting a LOT. Have you got a laundrette nearby?

On the upside, DS has loved being in the midst of it all and watching the builders work, he's not been bothered by the disruption at all

ShouldHaveListenedInBiology Fri 24-Mar-17 22:34:22

Oh and leave dust covers on everything way longer than you think you need, the dust takes ages to settle and we took ours off too early so now have to clean it all sad

BellaGoth Fri 24-Mar-17 22:35:58

Watching this with interest as we're starting extensive building work in July. We have 4YO DS and 7MO DD, plus 2 dogs...

reynoldsnumber Fri 24-Mar-17 22:56:50

If you find it stressful now it will only get worse. The dust gets much, much worse towards the end. I would have a temporary kitchen put in downstairs so you have at least some conveniences. Hob, washer, sink, microwave. That's what we did to make it bearable.

But I honestly wish we'd moved out whilst they did it. The builders would have been faster and I would have been less stressed.

reynoldsnumber Fri 24-Mar-17 22:57:29

And I like mess, in general.

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GrannyRoberts Fri 24-Mar-17 23:36:36

No advice really but just wanted to let you know you're not alone. We're into the last few weeks of ours now and I've got to say it's been worse than I expected. The lack of cooking facilities, washing up in the bath, stuff just piled up everywhere, everyone and everything constantly covered in dust. I'm with you. It's incredibly stressful. I now have a kitchen of sorts and that had made the biggest difference. If you can get something temporary set up I'd definitely do that, it might just keep you sane. Oh and as pp said, you really have to lower your standards, a level of acceptance really does help with making peace with the situation! Good luck.

wowfudge Sat 25-Mar-17 00:09:26

We are coming to the end of our kitchen and dining room project. We've had a wall removed, a ceiling vaulted, walls taken back to brick, etc. First fix of electrics and a load of redundant pipes removed. Channel in the floor dug out for new pipework. Mess from the boarding and plastering has been the worst bit.

I bought some fancy multi surface spray after work tonight and damp dusted as much of the rest of the house as I could, chucked the really manky dustsheets people had been trekking over in the wash and hoovered as much as I could. Also managed to get three loads of washing done.

I am also getting some satisfaction from flogging things we've taken out on eBay. Especially if they were in the house when we bought it.

It'll get messed up again but at least there isn't muck everywhere for a short time. I feel much calmer about things.

Coughingchildren5 Sat 25-Mar-17 07:35:01

We are in the middle of this. My tip for survival is to invest in a heavy duty vacuum cleaner and rubble sacks. Appoint yourself industrial hooverer and wage war on the dust. So long as you can keep that dust down, you will survive. The first stage is the hardest.

Crumbelina Sat 25-Mar-17 09:42:12

We're currently going through this too, although it's been 2.5 YEARS and we have a 16 month old and DC2 on the way. We're renovating the property ourselves but we're soon to demolish half of it and will be using trades to build a double storey extension and then a loft conversion. We would have loved to have moved out but our mortgage is £££.

Lots of great ideas above. The dust is the real killer​. My number one tip is plastic storage boxes from Wilko. They're usually in the sale, come in all shapes and sizes, easy to wipe down and protect everything from dust.

namechangedtoday15 Sat 25-Mar-17 09:58:52

Had 6+ months of this last year. First tip - just keep telling yourself it will all be worth it.

My other tip if you can't move out is to hire a self storage unit for a few months - think we paid about £80 a month but it was well worth it. Meant that (a) our nice bits of furniture didn't get covered in dust and (b) we had at least some space to live (we lost the whole back of the house so had 4 of us in 1 bedroom etc).

Lower your standards, pull in favours to eat at other people's houses, go away for weekends / longer when they actually knock through. Your builders should be able to set you up with a temporary kitchen - although it was moved around 3 or 4 times, we only had about 3 weeks in 6+ months that we didn't have sink / some means if cooking. And my non-negotiable was that I had to have a washing machine throughout & builders sorted that out for me.

Good luck!

GrannyRoberts Sat 25-Mar-17 11:40:51

Coughing you've inspired me. The builders left their industrial Karcher vacuum behind this weekend. I've been over the whole house with it and feel much better!😊

NotYoda Sat 25-Mar-17 17:30:38

6 months+ here too. Good tips here already.

Accept that you will not be able to completely control the dust and that you may well have to redecorate/replace some carpet. Store as much as you can. 3 months sounds ambitious, to me, so maybe hope for the best but expect the worst? (sorry)

Our builders were really good and mopped the floor coverings they'd laid every evening. Get them to cover the hall and floors going to the bathroom. Get that taken up and replaced at some point if you can
Set up a temporary kitchen somewhere - our builders plumbed in our old sink, and we borrowed a mini oven

Keep your cat happy by getting some Feliway plugins and providing a space for her away from the builders.

NotYoda Sat 25-Mar-17 17:31:41

Buy a TV for upstairs if you don't have one and retreat there

NotYoda Sat 25-Mar-17 17:39:02

I would also throw money at the washing machine problem and try and get hold of something temporary there too - I am thinking there are simple top-loaders that just fill from a hose attached to a tap (will google)

NotYoda Sat 25-Mar-17 17:43:42

PORTABLE WASHING MACHINE

Doublechocolatetiffin Sat 25-Mar-17 21:29:23

It's been 14 months and we've still not finished our (3 month) building project, but thankfully most of the mess is out of the way. Firstly my sympathies, it's awful!! Secondly, do try and get the basics set up if you can - can you temporarily plumb in a washing machine?

The only way I coped was to massively lower my expectations of clean living standards and give up completely on finding anything! I got so stressed and fed up at points, but eventually I became a lot more chilled out about it all, I sort of went beyond my limits of stress and went out the other side to zen!

With the dust I just sort of accepted it would be there and gave it a clean every couple of days, it seemed pointless doing it more regularly because it was usually coated within minutes of finishing. Cover as much as you can and box up or even better vaccuum seal anything you don't need. That way once the project is over the dust won't have seeped in to everything.

Wheretoeast Sun 26-Mar-17 15:34:06

Thanks everyone for your feedback - some really good tips. I had no idea that you could even buy a portable washing machine.

The builders have set up a temp kitchen, but have yet to plumb in the washing machine. We also have side access and a partition wall has been set up, so at least we don't have the builders coming in and out of the house constantly. But the dust is insane - I'm amazed at its ability to get everywhere! I also think the lack of space and living literally amongst all of stuff piled high just adds to the feeling of disorganisation and chaos, so I guess we ought to pay for some temp storage. The clear boxes in Wilko sound perfect - thanks will pop in to buy some.

Just have to remind myself that it'll be worth it in the end!

OP’s posts: |
SL3456 Wed 24-Nov-21 16:05:25

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SollaSollew Wed 24-Nov-21 17:22:59

Sympathy from me @Wheretoeast I had 4 months of living in our living room while our kitchen/dining and family room were knocked into an open plan space. I was feeding 5 and a dog from a microwave and a slow cooker. Both dh and I were working from home full time and I was involved in a massive global launch of a new product at work and had calls from 7am most days including weekends for a month and a half of that time.

Top tips...

Food wise: Charlie Bingham meals can be microwaved even though they say you can't, I got sooooo bored of the rest. Freezer bags of veg mean you can actually get some nutrients into everyone though they aren't brilliant. Slow cooking a casserole with microwave mash and a veg bag will pass as a special gourmet dinner in month 2.

We increased our cleaner's hours and she was happy to do our washing and ironing for extra money, though it felt at times like throwing good money after bad. We have a Henry Hoover that is suitable for rubble which dealt well with the dust. On top of the cleaner I used to hoover down every evening once the builders had gone just to keep a bit on top of it. I also have a Bissel furniture cleaner that I did the upholstery with very month or so just to keep on top of it as it smelt dusty and I felt like it was getting up my nose all the time. Also our builders sealed all internal doors up with plastic sheeting and didn't use them when doing the build, this did help a bit with the dust.

With all that said mostly I just had to keep holding on to the fact that it wouldn't be forever and it would be worth it (it is).

Annexlife Wed 24-Nov-21 21:30:37

We have done several renovations now and lived in the property each time. It is awful but my top tips would be.
1) see if you can keep your washing machine plumbed in. Our builders managed to work with this each time and makes a huge difference.
2) the microwave is your friend. There is a huge choice out there and some quite nice. We actually lost weight as it was great portion control! Though I did worry our 2 year old thought dinner always "pinged"
3) invest in a plug in heater as, in our experience, at some point the boiler will breakdown and it will always happen after the builders leave for the weekend.
4) think bigger picture, at the end you will have everything the way you want it, this is what makes it worthwhile.
It's a bit like childbirth...give it a year or so and you forget how horrendous it was!

TobyHouseMan Thu 25-Nov-21 16:04:24

Dust gets everywhere. We went to bed and had grit in the bed sometimes. There is very little you can do about it apart from trying to keep doors shut and hoovering all the time.

You just have to remember what you're doing it all for. Not moving out is saving you a TON of money and in the end you'll have a lovely place to call home. There is always light at the end of the tunnel.

One thing we did do was rent a holiday cottage for a couple of weeks and took a holiday. Bliss! and allowed the builders to really go for it.

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