8 Tips For Maintaining Your Sanity During A Home Renovation

04/20/2015 11:40 am ET | Updated Jun 15, 2015

When you're in the midst of a home renovation, or even a simple makeover or project, it can sometimes feel like life or death. Lesli Devito knows. She gave us the scoop on keeping your cool -- here's what we learned!

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photography by LESLI DEVITO

Dealing with contractors is an art form in itself.
Communication is key. I have come up with 8 tips to deal with the powers that be: contractors, electricians, plumbers, and any other people working in your home.

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photography by LESLI DEVITO

1. Be nice.
Rarely, if ever, do difficult situations ever get better as a result of you getting angry or mean. In fact, I would venture to say that quite the opposite happens: things just go from bad to worse. Being nice is free.

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photography by LESLI DEVITO

2. Get everything in writing.
Getting the plan, price, timeline, shopping list, or your expectations in writing will eliminate many misunderstandings and the He said, She said.

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photography by LESLI DEVITO
3. double the timeframe they give you
Even if you calculate it, you are not the one doing the work. Look, if the job comes in early, you will be so very happily surprised, but save yourself the frustration and disappointment.

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photography by LESLI DEVITO

4. Insist that things are kept clean.
I was grateful to have workers that took pride in their workspace. It was still too dusty for me and too messy for me. During our upstairs renovation, I covered the entire upstairs hall with recycled cardboard because I was realistic. There was no way that they would be able to keep that floor free from damage over two months time. And honestly by 4 o'clock in the afternoon I just wanted my house back and was happy to sweep up in my house alone and not to have them cleaning and taking smoke breaks while my kids did their homework.

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photography by LESLI DEVITO

5. Clean up after yourselves.
As in the cigarette butts. My driveway looked like the back alley of a bar, and I wish I had the sense to leave a tin can out there for them. I really don't care what they do, if they smoke that is their business, but clean up.

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photography by LESLI DEVITO

6. Be a tattle tale when you need to be.
Save it for the important things. The last thing I wanted to be known as was the woman who complains about everything. I let a few things slide. Speak to the contractor when you need to.

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photography by LESLI DEVITO
7. Stay calm.
I dealt with most of the day-to-day communication. I let my husband do the speaking. Not because he is a man and better at this than me, but because when you want to keep a working relationship productive and intact: communication is key. My husband has a way of staying calm in tough situations (I can get a tad emotional) and still getting his point across.
And isn't that what I want?

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photography by LESLI DEVITO
8. Don't allow the work at home hurt your relationships at home.
This is a tough one. Frustrations run high. People react differently. Or don't react at all! Keep a running dialogue, try to keep your sense of humor, focus on the big picture, and remember why you are doing all of this...

photography by LESLI DEVITO

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