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Why You Should Move Out During a Remodel

So you’re ready to embark on a kitchen remodel, but you made one very big assumption: you’ll live in your house during the remodel. It can’t be that difficult to live without a kitchen for a few months, can it? You tell yourself “I won’t get in the way” and “I can eat out every day for three months,” but the reality of living in a home during a remodel is likely harder than you think. It’s not impossible, but we rarely advise it. So, if you’re asking yourself: should I move out during a remodel? This article is for you.

As expert Seattle contractors, we’ve worked on hundreds of home projects with families of all shapes and sizes. We’ve learned from experience that moving out is almost always the best option. Relocating during a remodel leads to greater homeowner satisfaction, while giving your contractor the room they need to complete your project efficiently and safely.

Do you need to move out for every type of project? Absolutely not. An entryway or basement remodel can certainly be completed without impacting your daily life very much. For larger projects though, there’s no better investment than your own peace of mind. Large projects include: kitchens, bathrooms, additions, master suites, and whole house remodels. Trust us, the money you’ll spend on temporary lodging will be well worth it for the reasons we list below. Moving out during a remodel can actually save you time, money and your sanity.


Living Through a Renovation Can Be Stressful

Renovations are complex, noisy and can feel chaotic to someone who hasn’t spent much time around a home-in-progress. Much of the stress of remodeling comes from trying to adjust to a disrupted home. Cleaning dishes in the bathroom sink, showering at the gym daily, being confined to a few rooms, forgetting where you put something in storage, having the water or electricity turned off, etc… the list of disruptions can be long when you’re remodeling one of the main spaces of your home. The stress can extend to your children and pets too, impacting sleep schedules and breaking routines.

On top of the disruption in your day-to-day life, seeing your home down to the studs can be alarming. There’s no turning back and it can easily feel like a tremendous undertaking, even when your contractor has done a good job of preparing you for what’s to come. At the top of your mind is a concern that your investment pays off, so intuitively you want to see the progress with your own eyes. Yet, seeing progress and living in a work-in-progress are two very different things. Instead of living in your home, we suggest weekly meetings at your home. You still get your eyes on the progress, without the overwhelming feeling that you still have to live in it.

All of this can be avoided by moving into temporary housing. You’ll be able to find accommodations that best fit your family’s needs and routines, so that the remodel impacts your life as little as possible.


It’s Actually the Cheaper Option

Staying in place during a remodel requires your contractor to compensate in ways that can impact the project’s budget. It comes as a surprise to many, but moving into temporary housing can actually save you money in the long run.

Most notably, the project’s timeline will be extended since your contractor won’t be able to work efficient hours. When they need to be in after you leave for work and out before dinner, there’s not a lot of wiggle room. Projects they would have otherwise stayed a little later to finish will be left unfinished, and will take additional time to start back up the next day. Instead of working around your family’s physical presence and schedule, moving out gives your project team the liberty to use as much space and time as they need.

In addition to timing, it will also increase the amount of money your contractor needs to spend on site protection. This includes everything from controlling the interior air quality (aka dust), to making sure pets and children can’t access construction areas, to cleaning up at the end of the day. Typically, construction sites are swept up and tools are stacked neatly in the corner, which doesn’t take very long, but preparing for a homeowner each evening means more time away from the actual renovation just for clean-up. That is time you are paying for!


Moving is Safer for Everyone

Construction site protection with plastic doorway and caution tape

Even with the best precautions in place, a home in renovation is a risky environment. There are building materials, tools, and ladders throughout the work zones. For children and/or pets, it isn’t the safest place to be. While we do everything we can to prevent accidents from happening, living in a home under construction increases the odds of a mishap. All it takes is a brief moment without supervision.

It’s also better for your health. While most contractors—including Model Remodel—use filters to remove dust and tiny particulates from the air, construction crews often wear personal masks for a reason. Even though you may not see dust, it’s probably still there. The odds of breathing in dust during a remodel are especially heightened, and it’s not possible to prevent 100% of the dust. If there are particularly sensitive people in your home—pregnant women, elderly, children—they may be susceptible to contaminated air. On the other hand, moving out allows time for the dust to quite literally settle and be cleaned up thoroughly before you move back in.

For these reasons, it’s best to put safety first and move your family to a place that doesn’t harbor these risks at all.


Your Project can Wrap-Up More Efficiently

Given that your home is going through such a dramatic transformation, it’s understandable why you’d want to stick around and make sure everything goes perfectly. Unfortunately, this impulse to oversee the work can inadvertently lead to problems.

Every home project follows the remodeling emotional rollercoaster; there are ups and downs. Your home will go through an “ugly” stage, usually when drywall is going up, when you’ll feel the most remodeling fatigue. The full design hasn’t come together yet, and you’ll be tired of seeing bare walls. You may be tempted to make a last-minute change, or go with the quicker (but not necessarily better) option, just to wrap up the project faster. This doesn’t always lead to the most satisfying outcome.

The Remodeling Emotional Roller Coaster: graphic showing the emotional ups and downs of a homeowner during a remodeling project

By moving out of your house during the renovation process, you’re giving the professionals space to do their job—figuratively and literally. You can put fresh eyes on the project each week and approach it more objectively. Trust that you’ve committed to a stunning design and made good choices with your team’s direction. Let the contractor worry about getting your project to the finish line, while you get excited to move back in!


Alternative Living Arrangement Options

If you’ve established that moving out is the best way to go, you’ve got options for temporary housing.

  • Paid Accommodations: Rental options include: hotels, Airbnbs, VRBOs and other short-term listings. While these come at a cost, they do allow for you to pick the most suitable place for your family’s needs. The good news is that these lodgings often offer discounted rates for extended stays, and vacation rentals tend to be especially well-priced. If the rental is in your neighborhood, it never hurts to strike up a conversation with the owner. Often, neighbors are likely to give you a better deal.
  • Stay with Loved Ones: Whether it’s family or friends in the neighborhood, temporarily moving in with people you’re close to can be an economical and convenient way to keep a roof above your head during a renovation.
  • Take a Vacation: If you ever needed an excuse to take a vacation, this is it! While we don’t recommend being away throughout the whole remodel, doing some travelling can feel especially rewarding if you have the means and time. Should the renovation still be underway by the time you’re back, you can combine this option with one of the two above.


Storing Your Belongings

Self storage for belongings Regardless of where you live during a remodel, you’ll need to store your things. It’s important to give your contractor a clean space, and that means emptying out the project areas before work can begin. You have options when it comes to storage too!

  • Storage Room: If you’re staying in your home, you’ll need to create a designated storage area or room in your home that won’t interfere with the work. Often, this is the garage, a spare bedroom or the basement—depending on which areas of the home need to be accessed during construction.
  • PODS & U-Box Containers: Sometimes it isn’t feasible to stow your things away in another area of the home, but getting a storage unit feels excessive. In recent years, PODS and U-Haul U-Box containers have become an excellent option for storage. Delivered right to your home, you simply load it up, they store in away, and you schedule your belongings to return after the remodel is complete.
  • Self Storage Facilities: The most traditional storage option is packing up your belongings and taking them to a storage facility. You can rent a moving truck, load up your own car, or hire movers. With this option you can access your things whenever you need to. You also have additional security measures and the choice of heated storage.

Packing up is also the perfect time to declutter. A decluttered home will not only look better when you move things back in, but it can reduce your stress too. Consider donating things you don’t want or need to local resale or non-profit shops such as: Second Use, Ballard Reuse, Seattle Goodwill, Ballard Consignment and others. Facebook Marketplace is another great resource for selling or giving away items to people in your neighborhood.


Guiding You Through Your Home Renovation

Temporarily moving out of your home equates to better working and living conditions all-around. We’ve helped hundreds of Seattle homeowners navigate remodeling questions just like this one. Our goal with MRM Design-Build is for you to enjoy the process and move back in to a truly beautiful space crafted with care. If you’re looking for advice on your upcoming renovation, check out a few more of our blog posts. If you’re ready to start the conversation, get in touch with our team.

Written by Model Remodel

Model Remodel is a design-build, remodeling contractor located in Seattle, WA. For over 20 years we’ve been building with purpose, craftsmanship and sustainability in mind. We are proud to continually make the list of top Seattle contractors for our beautiful interior designs and homeowner-focused remodeling process.

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