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How to Start Home Improvement Answered

Long time reader, first time poster!

We bought a 1979 twinhome last summer. Since then, we haven't made many improvements or personal touches to it. Before this, I've always lived in a 1BR apartment or in simply in a bedroom. It's been easy to handle organization, styling, and feeling happy in my space.

But now I've got an old-ish home with 3 bedrooms (plus all the junk that my husband brought once we married). I feel overwhelmed. I tend to be OCD about my space but I've been paralyzed for the last 1.5 years because I don't even know where to start. Another hindrance is no knowledge regarding most home-related things. I'm only just learning about certain tools and how to use them.

I have many ideas for how I want certain rooms to look, but they're not complete. I don't know how to put together a room. Right now, our bedroom is the gross brown color the realtor painted it and the crappy brown carpet that came with it. We threw in our bed and some filing cabinets as night stands. I would like to add something for more storage space, personality, color, style. Maybe make a headboard. Maybe add a rug under the bed to make the room pop.

Anyone have suggestions on how to tackle such a huge project (the makeover of my entire house) without becoming overwhelmed and paralyzed? My current thoughts are to create a strategic plan wherein I tackle one room (and only one room) at a time, making steps of the things I'd like to do (small and achievable).



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In your last paragraph you just stated the best strategy to handle your problem. One room at a time. It is up to you which room you want to tackle first. You can start with the kitchen, replacing any damaged cabinets, new appliances if necessary,painting,electrical or plumbing jobs and floors should be the last thing to do. Then you can work in the bathrooms,dining room, living room, your own bedroom and leave the last two vacant rooms for the end. Do not plan to entertain any guests for some time and get rid of anything that you haven't use in a year. Think yard or garage sales, ebay, freecycle, donations,you name it. Your house will be a lot easier to maintain the less items you have. Do you have a garage or a basement? Maybe you can store some unused things there for a while. If you and your husband are handy, build a shed and keep every garden tools in there. You could also buy pre-made sheds. Depending on the size of your garden, invest in the largest shed you can afford. 
And my last advice for you is to open a credit account at your local home improvement store. I find myself going to the stores a few times a month.

+1 on freecycle, I've had great luck but the key is to stay on it and act fast. Also Habitat For Humanity has great stores for used household EVERYTHING!
Good luck, relax, and if you think its bad, watch The Money Pit.

Here are some tips for your home improvement

Add your splash color
Place pictures of your family
Make an accent wall
Light up your rooms

I generally use tissue paper flowers, paper lanterns, art dolls, ribbons for decorating my homes. I am attaching the pics so plz have a look at them.

Paper Lanterns - Just Artifacts (8).jpgPaper Lanterns - Just Artifacts (16).jpgJust Artifacts Tissue Paper Flowers Pom Poms (2).jpg

Room by room's not a bad plan, however if you're needing to do specific kinds of work in various rooms I've found it much quicker to do them in one shot (think assembly lines). Skip the painting to do room by room, emptying a room to paint is always worth the time.

If you've got a chimney breast in any rooms you can create pretty storage/seating to match the room with MDF boxes, hinged tops backed with foam and covered with nice fabric, lift the seat for storage... Same for any awkward alcoves.

Draw plans of your room and furniture (they don't need to be perfect but should be roughly to scale) and try out various ideas, it can be difficult to see where furniture should go in your head and harder to visualize and empty room with your furniture in it.

Start by moving into one of the other bedrooms and empty the master bedroom.
You can’t see what needs to be fixed if it is hidden.
Start at the celling, if you have a celling light take it down, clean, repair, or replace, do not put it back up yet.
Repair all blemishes in celling and paint.
When the paint is dry put celling light back up.
Fix window if needed.
Fix doors if needed.
Remove light switch cover.
Remove receptacle covers.
Replace out of date or damaged receptacles and switches with up to date new ones. Most of the time that means all of them.
Do not put covers on yet.
With walls start at one corner and work your way around until you come back to the corner you started.
Repair all blemishes in walls and paint.
When the paint is dry put receptacle covers and switch covers back up.
Then do floor new carpet or hard wood.
Move back into the master bedroom and do the same for the room you just evacuated.
Start at top and work your way to the bottom.
If the outside of the house needs work use the same system, start at top and work your way down.

I am new here but not new to home remodeling. It is basically my life, after my wife and daughter of course. We embarked on an impossible dream three years ago; transforming a 1957 rambler into something we could live in forever. The advice below is great advice. I can add some myself: invest in a great shop vac. Also get a cheap box fan and use it as a dust catcher (with a throw away furnace filter) or as a dust exhauster (pulling dust out a window of the house, when applicable). Dust/mess control is king when working in one room or area at a time.

And lastly, always triple the time you think it will take and triple the amount of money you "think" it will cost. Those last two pointers have almost been my undoing. Good luck!

Use tarps or plastic sheet for curtains to keep dust from spreading from the "project room" put down canvas or old carpet strips to keep from tracking paint around on your shoes.