Within our renovation blogs we hope to provide others with advice, information and inspiration that they can apply to their own homes. And while we normally focus on a project, there seems to be a question that often pops up “How do you manage to have fun renovating?”. I do understand why we get asked that – and to be honest sometimes I have wondered if we are completely sane!
Take this clip from The Block NZ for example, I say “40 hours no sleep” (as in we worked all day, all through the night while everyone else was asleep, worked another full day and then most of the night before finally finishing painting at 4am). A normal response would be “I am so tired, let’s sleep” instead we dance, and not just dance, we have fun while dancing.
So this blog is my answer to that frequently asked question; how we go about intentionally making renovating fun? I don’t think it will be anything you don’t know already – but I have found, knowing what to do and actually doing it are too completely different things. I would advise having fun as you renovate, because if you are not having fun, you are going to get overwhelmed, frustrated or even just throw in the towel.
Be Grateful. There is always a reason to be grateful, and the more grateful we are, the more full of joy our lives are. Having fun is a by-product of joy, and I have found joy happens when we have gratitude. I struggle with people who constantly complain, they are often insensitive of others and dominate conversations with negativity. I understand they have a reason to complain, but at the same time I am sure they could think of just as many things to be thankful for too. People who seek out problems will always have something to complain about, people who see what they can be grateful for, will always have something to celebrate. Given the choice - I would rather spend my life celebrating than complaining.
When Caleb goes to renovate after a long day at work managing residential developments or me, juggling loving my kids and being a part-time girl-boss, it would be really easy to reluctantly work on our project grumbling about how tired we are or how much we just want to watch TV! And I’m not saying we don’t have our moments – but for the most part, we are simply grateful to be in a position where we can do what we love, and also do it together. I am grateful for the way our families support us so we are able to pursue projects, I am grateful for the opportunities we have had to help others through property and I am so grateful for good health that enables us to work hard and see transformations take place.
When you are knee deep in paint, wondering if you will ever get a free weekend again or if the to do list will ever end, don’t consider “why am I doing this” but instead focus on “why you are thankful for what you are doing”.
Look after yourself. When people express that they are tired or drained, I am very quick to tell them to rest and look after themselves – but when I am tired or drained, I tell myself to push through and just get on with it!
Fun doesn’t happen when you are tired or feeling low. So if you are planning on renovating and having some fun while you do it, you need to know your limits and make sure you take time out. Renovating is physically and mentally demanding – ignore that fact and you will turn an exciting project into menial tasks that feel endless. There have been plenty of times when we have ignored our To Do lists and just taken a day off for our personal well-being. It’s a simple way to check if you are coping, “are we still having fun?” – if the answer is no, take a break.
Celebrate Progress. It seems to be the tagline of renovating, it should really be the brand promise: “It takes longer than you think”. Everything will take longer than you expect, regardless of how planned and prepared you are. Caleb and I keep renovating fun by celebrating every element of progress. Celebration should not just be dependent on getting to the end result but reflecting on how much is achieved each step of the way.
As you renovate, take lots of photos – it is a great reminder of how much progress you have made and is great to show friends and family so they can join in on your property story. You will find once the renovation is finished, you will often say to people “you should have seen it before”. All the frustrating tasks you are doing now, will actually be the things that make your renovation all that more special once it is done. Trust me - you will look at the wooden windows you spent hours sanding back, covered from head to toe in dust and swearing that you will never renovate again - and you smile to yourself and think “it was well worth it”.
I wouldn’t say renovating is fun – but you can have fun renovating. Enjoy the ride, be grateful for it, take care of yourself and celebrate every bit of progress – it is one step closer to the end!