Regular maintenance and renovation not only improves your quality of life, it protects the value of your home. Yes, having work done can interrupt your life, but the inconvenience and intrusion is always worth it in the end.
But whether you’re getting a new bathroom or having an extension built, there’s going to be a lot of mess and dirt around. After all, you can’t make an omelette without breaking a few eggs.
But you don’t need to live in a dusty construction site. And you don’t need to give yourself too much extra cleaning to do. If you’re organised and prepared for the disruption, you can keep your home relatively clean and tidy.
We’ve put together a few quick tips that should allow you to keep your home clean during renovations and repairs.
Prepare your home
It’s always best to adapt your home to the work being done. This should involve stripping your home down to the essentials. If it’s not absolutely necessary, remove it and place it in storage until the work is done.
The less you have in your home during the renovations, the easier cleaning will be. If you can, put items of furniture into storage, move them to a room that won’t be affected by dust and dirt. Or ask a friend to take them for you.
What’s left should be covered before the work commences. Use old sheets to cover any carpets and upholstery that might be affected. Yes, you might have to uncover these items and areas at the end of each day. But this is a small price to pay for their protection.
And think about nooks and crannies in which dust and dirt might accumulate. These areas are usually very difficult to access with a vacuum cleaner or a cloth. Prevention, in this respect, is always the best cure.
Isolate the area
Large renovation projects tend to generate a lot of dust and dirt. Small particles get sent flying into the air — and they can land anywhere. If at all possible, try to limit the dirt to the area being worked on. The easiest way to do this is to keep all internal doors shut.
Another way to isolate mess is to hang sheets from the ceiling. Place them across doorways and walkways to provide an immovable barrier to airborne particles. Ask the people renovating your home if they have any thick plastic tarps — they always provide a solid barrier.
Ask contractors to work outside
There might be days when the weather stops contractors from working outside. But when the weather plays ball, there’s nothing stopping workers from cutting and finishing materials outside. The more they do this, the less mess you’ll have to deal with.
Create a small work area in your garden or yard, and ask your contractors to use it as much as possible.
Walking around your home in socks may not be the best idea when major works are underway. Dust, dirt and debris gets caught in the fibres. And as you walk around your home, you leave a trail of mess in your wake. Wearing a clean pair of shoes is always a better option — particularly if your home has a lot of carpeting. Investing in a few pairs of cheap slippers is also a good idea.
A degree of mess on floors in your home is inevitable during renovation projects. You can minimise the issue by creating pathways through your home — with mats, rugs, runners and sheets.
Whether you have carpets or wood on your floors, dust and debris can cause untold damage when they’re trampled underfoot. Create a network of pathways with protective coverings to ensure your flooring never comes into direct contact with dirty feet.
Clean little and often
The worst thing you can do during renovation works is to leave all the cleaning until the end of the project. You’ll need to live with a lot of mess in the meantime, and the cleanup job at the end will be huge.
Ask your contractor to perform a quick cleanup after each job or session is complete. Similarly, make sure you wipe down surfaces and vacuum floors as often as you can. At the end of each day, a bigger cleanup operation should happen. This should be the last thing your contractors do each day.
When you’re performing your daily cleans, don’t limit your efforts to just the area that’s being renovated. Dust and dirt has a habit of getting everywhere, so hunt it down and remove it at every opportunity.
You might be reluctant to open windows during renovation works for fear of dust and dirt being blown about. But if you’re constantly cleaning and vacuuming, this shouldn’t be a major issue.
Keeping your home ventilated is very important. It keeps the air fresh and clean — which is essential for the health of everyone in your home. A steady supply of fresh air also helps to prevent accumulations of mould and dirt.
Keeping a home clean during major renovations requires communication and cooperation — from everyone involved.
Before the work begins, call a house meeting. Assign individual cleaning duties, managed through a cleaning rota. It’s important that cleaning in ALL areas of your home continues as normal. Remember: dust and dirt during household renovations travels everywhere!
It’s also important to get your contractors on board. They have a responsibility to be as clean and tidy as possible as they work. After all, this is your home. Ask the contractors to clean as they go. And provide a full range of cleaning products at the start of the project. If you have any house rules (such as no shoes on carpet), tell them.
Making home improvements is a messy business. But if you have a plan of action and a commitment to regular cleaning, the impact on your home life shouldn’t be dramatic.