How to stay organized in a contstruction zone

blue_velvet_elvisOctober 15, 2007

DH and I have lived in this home for the past four years. There isn't a surface (almost) that hasn't been replaced or improved upon inside or out. Last year we added a basement with a master bedroom and bath, guest room, media room, laundry room and powder room. Well since DH is doing all the work himself it's not completely done yet. Also redoing the upstairs in new spots again as well. The upstairs guest/teen bath is in a mess at the moment and the old master bedroom now dining room is a staging area for every tool known to man.

It's driving me CRAZY. I don't feel organized. I don't feel like I can clean or straighten. I can't move the tools because I get lectured on how he can't find them again. Though, he can't find them when I don't touch them either.

How do you manage organization in chaos?

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I only have limited insight into this issue.

(who am I kidding? I only have limited insight into ANYTHING, and some insights are much more limited than others)

When we redid our kitchen, I thought I was going to go out of my skin. DH *did* crawl right out of his.

I think the only way to have any semblance of order is to compartmentalize.

All tools & supplies stay in the construction zone. If you can put them in a big box, out of sight, all the better.

You even have to compartmentalize the projects, I think. I don't ever rip up the whole house, but I do sometimes have more than one project going on at once--like now, w/ two Halloween costumes underway, one in cloth and the other in craft foam. I can't just say "only work on one at a time," bcs sometimes I can't work on one at all (stuff is drying) but I can sew. Or vice versa (no sewing, kids are in bed, which is right next to the sewing machine; time to glue and paint)

And of course, they have the same deadline.

But I find that I'm saner if I keep all the supplies & stuff together. And if I clear up one project before I get the other out.

As for the impact on the SURROUNDING things (like the stuff you ordinarily use, and displaced stuff that takes up room in the LR while work is being done, stuff like that), again I think I'd learn on compartmentalization.

Some displaced stuff can be buried deep; some needs to be near the surface. Position them accordingly.

I know I was not so good at carving out time to organize the "bury-able" stuff, but I should have, bcs time eventually invested there made a difference in being able to function in the other places.

And some of it, you just have to forgive yourself.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2007 at 9:13AM
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When we bought our hgouse 26 years ago, we had to redo evey single room. It was a DIY work-in-progress for years. We finally finished. The last project was a bathroom remodel done by a contractor and finished in January 2006. Do I have any suggestions? Well, not really. Just keep your eye on the prize. One day it will get better. My heart goes out to you. Try to keep as organized as possible. Stay on top of the vacuuming, dusting, and garbage removal.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2007 at 10:59AM
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We've been working on our house for 11 years, so I can relate to the disruption and chaos that renovation brings. Not sure what's making you feel crazy, but some questions popped into my head. Maybe they'll help you determine what's bothering you the most.

Are you feeling overwhelmed because there is no "safe space"? I always need to have a room to retreat to from all the dust, hammers, and joint compound.

Timeframe -- Has your husband determined the order of the project(s) and when each will be done (approximately)? Disruption is more tolerable when you have an idea of when the project will be over.

Scope of project -- What areas or rooms are being worked on? It's easy to get caught up in the thrill of demolition and tasks that don't require as much detail work or finesse. It can be hard to switch gears. This has the potential to disrupt larger and larger portions of the house. (ask me how I know!!) Everything doesn't need to be torn apart all at once unless there's a dumpster outside and you need to get your money's worth.

Safety and tidiness -- Straigthening up at the end of a work session helps keep areas clear and minimize the look of disruption. Tossing scraps and packing materials and returning tools consistently to one place makes the place feel more orderly. Okay, this wasn't a question, but a suggestion.

These are all the things we've learned the hard way. Dealing with these issues helps us feel more sane during renovation projects.

Good luck, you will make it!!


    Bookmark   October 15, 2007 at 6:30PM
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Thank you for your responses. Tina, that very well could be it. I have had the upstairs demolition and mostly tool free and now everything is everywhere. DH has taken on several projects simultaneously. The upstairs bathrooms, one was almost gutted and started over and the other just a new toilet for now. The kitchen has a new fridge, not especially a problem except for in this small kitchen the best place for the fridge happened to be in a wall that goes into an old bedroom closet. New fridge is much bigger than the old one and it looks a little raggedy in my kitchen nows.
DH is a packrat supreme. He has a room upstairs where I try to contain his clutter, he also is trying to organize that at the same time. There are DH items everywhere not including the tools everywhere.
Downstairs he grew weary of working on drywall and stopped for the moment working on the guest room. Problem is, all the guest room stuff, pillows, blankets, lamps, pictures, some furniture is in my master bedroom closet. Good thing it's a large, large closet!
I try to never nag at him. My first DH kept a toilet in the box for 10 years and never installed it. I will never discourage a man doing projects or impeded him in any way. I try to be supportive and help where I can. Mostly, I just point to what needs done, watch, and tell him how good everything looks.
I was diagnosed with visual ground discrimination disorder many years ago which means if there are a lot of things laying around together I can't find what I'm looking for, my senses become overloaded. I'm sure this is why I always pack drawers tight and don't have that many things out. DH though, likes everything out where he can see it and easily get it.
And no, DH has no master plan on what to do when. He tires of one project and stops and goes to something different and tires of that and goes to a different one and then perhaps comes back to the first or perhaps the fourth one he wants to do. Eventually everything does get done though.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2007 at 6:14AM
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Blue Velvet, I feel your pain. Hubby and I and ONE friend built the house we had 20 years ago. I still remember. We moved in three months from having nothing but the well pipe sticking out of the ground. THEN we had to finish the inside.Took hubby and I a little over a year to do that. We barely had walls when we moved in. Framed in and closed off with sheets or nothing. Would have been better to not have lived there but it was all we had like you and it was winter and 17 degrees the morning we moved into the house from our camper we lived in while building.

I made one little sane place for us to go to which was in what was to be our guest room. I kept it pretty and comfortable and when the construction got to be too much for me I would go in there. We had no kitchen other than the base cabinet with no shelves or doors or drawers. We did have the bathroom vanity cabinet and sink shower toilet washer and dryer all working but no cupboards.. Everything we had was stored in part of the garage since working around all of the stuff would have been too hard.

I did hang sheets up around the areas we were working when possible to control some of the dust. Log house I had to sand the inside edges of the logs. SO MESSY!!!

All I can say is we did finally get done and it was so worth it. Hang in there. I hate to admit it but will tell you the first thing I thought when I saw the title to your post was" Go to a Motel!!!" Of course I know better. That does not work.


    Bookmark   October 16, 2007 at 10:47PM
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Blue Velvet - were you really serious when you said you were diagnosed with "visual ground discrimination disorder"? Is that real? If so, my husband has it, I'm sure!
He can never find what he's directly looking at.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2007 at 6:49PM
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He can never find what he's directly looking at.

I just thought that was 'cause they're guys. "Honey, where's the ketchup?" as they stand w/ the fridge door open.

I am the only person in my entire family who can find something in our home.

Here is a link that might be useful: is this it?

    Bookmark   October 19, 2007 at 7:23PM
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Plow, yeah, it's real. I have a few LD's, none of which normally impede me in any way.

My DH is the same way as yours Tally. He will go hungry because there is "nothing" to eat when there is a plate of food in the middle of an almost empty shelf in the fridge. Can't get dressed because he can't find his clothes, etc. I wonder how he did it before we were married? lol

    Bookmark   October 21, 2007 at 7:56AM
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