As an experienced building site resident, I feel qualified to offer up a few nuggets of wisdom for any fool stupid enough to embark on a DIY project and attempt to live in it for at least a year…
1. A kitchen is the least of your worries. Set up a table with a hot plate, a kettle, toaster and coffee maker. Buy a mini fridge and install under table. When things get really bad, admit defeat and buy paper plates and a microwave. We have just bought a microwave.
2. Running water is a precious commodity. Keeping clean is very hard when you don’t have a bathroom. It’s amazing how clean you can feel if you can brush your teeth and wash your hands. Wet wipes are useful but not as good as running water. Anything is better than nothing.
3. Do try and keep a toilet working for as long as possible. If you get to the bucket stage you’re in trouble. We are not at the bucket stage but we have been there before. It’s not fun.
4. Love your launderette. Try to change your sheets every week as the dust and filth as well as lack of a shower isn’t doing you or your linen any favours. Unfortunately the sheets you’re using will never be clean again so dream of the day when you can buy new sheets to go in your brand new washing machine. We’re at the dreaming stage.
5. If your head itches, you need a shower.
6. Cleaning seems futile but keep fighting the resistance. If you give up, the filth will win. Dusting is essential and is an exercise in either sanity or madness depending on your state of mind. I’m clinging to the yellow duster of sanity.
7. If you can smell something, it’s probably you.
8. Always have a Plan B, exit plan, backup plan. Hmm, we seem to have forgotten that.
9. Do not buy a property which needs a simple renovation, you know, like just knocking a wall down to make a bigger kitchen.
10. Remember to have enough money to finish your project otherwise it will take years. Oops.
And with my top ten tips of coping I would just say the smartest thing is simply…do not live in a building site. Just don’t do it!