Giving your NYC apartment a little nip and tuck is a great way to revitalize your home and provide some major upgrades. However, it’s also expensive, time-consuming and frustrating. Many people are shocked at the high prices a renovation can cost in New York. If you were hoping to stay on budget, think again, it rarely ever happens. One way you can reduce costs is by electing to stay in your apartment through the remodel. But be warned that this can present a lot of difficulties. If you don’t know what to expect you could quickly find yourself in a tight spot, both literally and figuratively. Here’s what you can do to survive to live through a remodel.

Create a living zone

For this to be practical, you’ll need at least one room that is not part of the renovation. Whether it’s a bedroom, study or living room, it has to be sectioned off. Very soon the inevitable dust and debris will start to accumulate. If this isn’t possible, then you may want to reconsider moving out. Trying to live in the same space as a renovation is only a recipe for accidents, delays and spousal troubles.

Organize and plan accordingly

If you’re to avoid losing your sanity during the coming weeks you have to stay organized. Nerves tend to be on edge when living through a renovation and it’s not unknown for couples to need marriage counseling by the end. Remove any belongings you don’t need and pack up everything as though you were removing. Dust will get everywhere, you’ll knock into things and you and your spouse may at times fight like cats and dogs. So pre-plan to the best of your ability.

Make a plan for meals

If your kitchen is part of the renovation, then understand that you’ll be without it for weeks or even months. The only options for dealing with this is eating out, with all the expenses that will entail, or creating a temporary kitchen. If you go with the latter option, you could start by purchasing an inexpensive hotplate and microwave. If you are going at times without running water or access to a sink, some paper plates and plastic utensils can fix that.

Plan for delays

There will almost certainly be delays. Unexpected problems arise, extra materials need to be ordered, and communication sometimes breaks down. Be realistic and have extra plans in store for meeting delays. Most delays occur because of poor planning and organization. Discuss things with your contractor on a regular basis so you can both stay informed of developments and keep pushing for the finish line. If you have any events coming up such as Thanksgiving, Christmas, or July 4th, accept that you might have to cancel them or have a second location lined up.

Anticipate short term accommodation

As alluded to above, there will be unexpected problems. You may have to move out for a short time so have a few places that you can turn to. Waterlines get turned off; electricity goes out, bathtubs and toilets are removed so plan accordingly. Going a few hours without running water or power might be manageable but if it’s several days then waiting things out just isn’t practical. Good communication and regular updates from your contractor will keep you alert to when you must find a hotel or suffer through cold dinners.


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