Home Improvement…With Kids

home improvement

Each and every single time I start a home improvement project in my house, I swear it’s my last one. EVERY. TIME. Then a week or two later, Jake is back at the hardware store and the entire event happens again. We moved into our house at the beginning of this year. I loved our old house so much. We had it exactly how we wanted it, and Jake and I worked hard to get it there. Moving into a new house, there is always something to do. Every home is personal, every home resembles the homeowner in some way. From pictures on the walls, to the colors throughout the home, the chairs you sit on, and even the book shelf in the kids room — it’s all in the personal details.

I need to start by letting you know, I hate painting. I mean, I really do not enjoy it one bit. But I would say I’m pretty good at it. I am detail oriented and also very particular with how I like things done. I wouldn’t go as far to say perfectionist, but I would say I like things a certain way. Unless you’re in my head, you wouldn’t know what way that is. Just ask my husband! While I was painting our kitchen, I realized, it is a real show. You won’t see this on housewives, they don’t DIY (do they?). Here are a few ways I get house work done while attending to the kid work too!

How to Tackle Home Improvement Projects with Kids

1. After hours. I get my best, most efficient work done once the kids are in bed. This is obvious, but true. I recently painted three connected rooms while the house slept. Turned on some music and made it happen!

2. Get help with the prep work. I find including the kids in the prep work is a win for everyone. My son loves helping around the house; it makes him feel useful and needed. It also teaches him responsibility. Evan is a very curious (almost) 4-year-old. He asks the right questions and tries things on his own without direction from us. Preparing to paint, one must get out the supplies, right? Enter child. I made a list (I do not typically do this, but Evan enjoys writing things down). I called off what we needed, and we went together to bring it in. He walked them into the house and put them in their allocated pile while I pulled them out. Each time he brought something in, he scribbled out what was next on the list. As smart as my son is, no, he cannot read yet, so I went in order just for this extra step. It may have taken longer, but it cuts my time down when the kids are asleep and I’m getting things started.

3. Only do what’s necessary. The biggest and most time-consuming part of painting is taping and edging, and one of these things is not necessary. You can easily cut an hour (or two!) out of the job by skipping the taping and being more meticulous with your edging. No matter what the project is, determine what steps really need to be taken. Save time where you can, as long as it doesn’t affect the project’s outcome. Believe it or not, edging without tape is not as scary as it sounds!

4. Ask for help. My husband and I play specific roles in our home improvement projects. For the painting and small DIY things, I handle myself. However, Jake plays a huge role, too. I send him a shopping list of what we need, including detailed paint color, and he picks it up on his way home from work. Shopping is a big deal as a lot of time is spent in the store. No one wants to take a 4- and 1-year-old to the hardware store. I mean, do you? We’ve done this so many times that Jake knows exactly which products I like, what I need, and will oftentimes pick up something extra for me too. Like a Diet Coke, because I love a good fountain Diet Coke from time to time as a treat!

5. Plan your projects. My husband has a schedule such that I know exactly when he will have a flexible week. I try to plan my projects around this, so that he is home a little earlier and I can start before the kids go to sleep. The benefit to this is pretty obvious, less time at night means you won’t wear down the clock into the early hours! It also makes the project feel less stressful because you’re under less pressure.

6. EAT BEFORE YOU START! Do not run on fumes. It is still important to take care of yourself and don’t rush to get your project done. Relax. I’m not going to say enjoy it, because I certainly do not enjoy painting. However, be sure to take care of you. Always!

I’m curious to see what you’re working on! Post your photos below of your latest DIY project! Did the kids get in the way? How did you handle that? —Jennifer

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