For the past year and a half, it seems everyone is upgrading or making repairs to their homes. At first, I wondered why this was happening at this particular time considering the price of lumber has gone through the roof, a shortage of building supplies exists and the wait lists for contractors to do your job is longer than the list for the elderly to get into a “home.” (I think my kids are always checking on the status of this latter list). It then dawned on me that in the past, before COVID, everyone was too busy, always on the go, to see the flaws and home repairs that were screaming at them for some attention. Now cooped up in the house on weekends with nowhere to go, people started to notice the deficiencies staring at them and finally realized that some jobs had long passed their expiry date for getting done. With ideas in their heads and time on their hands, they moved into action. COVID had brought about the year of “The Reno.”
I feel very fortunate that my renovating days are over because I am just too darn tired and don’t have the patience for all the mess and inconvenience that goes along with such an undertaking. Leave that experience to the young people, those under the age of 70. Over the years I have learned a lot in this field, mostly what not to do but regardless I would like to share some of my “wisdom” with you. On that note, please use your discretion when I say, “Take my advice, I’m not using it.”
Most importantly and at the top of your list is to get a quote for the cost and a time schedule for when the work will be started and completed. Once you have received this information in written form, shred it or destroy it in another manner as in no way does that info pertain to your job.  A more accurate description of the undertaking would be “Double the price and triple the time.” The following pretty much sums up my experiences with renovating. 

“Renos can be interesting

And some even great

But they are costly as hell

With no ending date.”

So now that you realize you do not have complete control over expenses and absolutely no management over the completion date, let’s look at the next items on my list. 
Secondly: Decide ahead of time the exact room or spot where you expect the upgrading to end. Can this be accomplished? A renovation can be like watching a river. It just keeps on flowing and going so know where to dam up the waters.
Thirdly: Where are you going to store the furniture etc. while work is in progress?
Fourthly: Are you able to cook and sleep in your home while the work is being done?

Where will your pets go during this time?
I became painfully aware of the importance of points 2, 3 and 4 when we decided to sand and refinish the hardwood floors (you did that back 25 years ago) in four rooms.  Furniture was moved to the basement, stored in the garage rafter high and in our neighbours’ garage. (People thought we were either moving or were hiding our stuff from the Repo man) Because the floors required 3 coats of varathane and a day or two was needed between each coat to dry, this meant we had to stay elsewhere for at least a week before floors could be walked on. Pets had to be boarded out for this duration, an unexpected expense. Now the finished floors looked lovely. So nice in fact that the two bedrooms I hadn’t done looked quite shabby in comparison. With the firm conviction it was now or never, and much to Chuck’s dismay and objections, I decided to let the river flow into these last two rooms. Now you see how I arrived at items 2,3, and 4.
And finally, be available to answer questions your contractor has because he can’t read your mind. I did not screw up on this point! There were times when I thought it would be nice to go on holidays, away from the mess while the work was being done but wisely, I always made myself available for our contractor’s questions. It could be as simple as where do you want this plug installed but if it is put in the wrong spot, it will always bother you.
Over the years I have participated in many renos with the last one being a major kitchen makeover just five years ago. I have learned a lot but at this stage in my life I have put away my hard hat. Are renovations worth the mess, the aggravation, the expense, etc.?  They certainly are. The pleasures of a new look in an old space, the excitement of making your home fit your personality and life style give you a great sense of pride and satisfaction. So go for it. Embrace the mess and the stress. You will be happy that you did.