How to Renovate Without Moving Out

I have to laugh when writing this article because, at this very moment, I am living through a complete home renovation. Stripped back to the frames, no ceiling, no walls, at times, no water, and let me tell you, it’s been an experience.

Thankfully, I am single. So, it has been much easier than it would have been for a family or even a couple. It’s been just my dogs and me; thus, I have survived – no divorce, fights, or screaming matches. But I can quickly see how many renovations can lead to such outcomes.

The point is, you can do it. I’m DOING it, and it will save you thousands in accommodation. However, there are sacrifices you have to make. Want to know how I have survived? How to renovate without moving out? Continue reading as I share my story with you.

Set a renovation schedule and work in stages

The first step of ‘how to renovate without moving out’ is to make a renovation plan. Obviously, you cannot live in a home gutted head to toe all at once. You need to work in stages, so you have at least space to lay a mattress and set up a camp kitchen. This may be your garage or the last room in your home that you renovate.

The key here is to plan the renovation so you work with it and that your presence doesn’t delay the renovation or cost you extra.

For example, you don’t want to completely close off one bedroom, renovate the remainder of your home and then come back to the bedroom. You will have to pay more in additional delivery fees and have tradies come back after the rest of the work is completed, which will cost you more and extend the completion date. Continue reading ‘Be prepared to move camp at the drop of a hat’ to find out how to deal with such a situation.

Pack everything as though you’re moving out

packing for renovation

To renovate without moving out, you have to pack as though you ARE moving out. Pack absolutely everything; I mean everything! I literally have one plate, one knife, one fork, no bowls and four coffee mugs: one for me and three for tradies. I have no chairs, no tables, just a mattress on the floor (not even a bed), two sets of sheets, a TV, and a handful of clothes.

You quickly learn to live with very little. It’s quite liberating.

The one thing I will say is to be prepared for seasonal changes. I wasn’t so smart in this respect. I started my renovation in March, when the weather was warm and sunny, forgetting I had autumn and winter to get through… I did say I had no walls or ceilings, right? There were some freezing nights. Renovations don’t happen overnight. It’s now September, and I’m still sleeping on the floor on a mattress!

Think ahead and prepare yourself – be sure to have blankets and winter clothes at hand for winter, shorts and singles for summer etc.

Pretend that you’re going on an extended camping trip

To succeed in renovating without moving, tell yourself you’re going camping – even if you’ve never camped before in your life, as was my case.  You will be void of all standard comforts and will have only essential items at hand; essentially, you should only have the equipment you would have if you were going camping.

Your kitchen becomes a camp kitchen, mine even more basic. I have a bar fridge, bar freezer, microwave, air fryer, rice cooker, toaster, and kettle… and I’ve blown more than a couple of power points! (another thing to be mindful of!!)

You quickly learn to adapt to your new kitchen and your new microwave diet, which for me, involves a ton of frozen vegetables, salad, and tofu. Being Vegan actually plays in my favour!

Be prepared to move camp at the drop of a hat

Living in a renovation is one big game of musical chairs. You can’t expect to stay set up in one area for too long. As soon as one area has been stipped, move into it so the room you were in can then be stripped. As soon as one area has been sheeted, move into this area so your previous area can be sheeted. The same applies to every stage of the renovation: tiling, painting, cabinetry, etc.

You can never get too comfortable in one spot because you’re constantly moving. And renovations don’t always go to schedule. You may find that the roof needs extra structural support, and your mattress is where the builder needs to put his ladder. This is why you need to pack light to ensure you can move in a matter of minutes – remember, time is money with a renovation.

Forget about privacy, that no longer exists

To renovate without moving out, you have to accept that you will have zero privacy for the duration of the renovation. As soon as it’s 7 a.m., you have builders and tradies on-site ready to work. They will be in your home, your campsite; they will see your bed and your possessions and be in and out all day. You have essentially handed your house over to them. You are just a participant in the event.

The key here is to take a deep breath and go with the flow. The more relaxed you are, the easier the entire process will be.

Expect dust, a lot of dust, and forget about cleaning

Lastly, to renovate without moving out, you have to learn to live with dust, a lot of dust! I cannot start to explain how much dust accumulates. You will be living in filth, and you just have to get used to it. After a while, you give up even trying to clean because five minutes later, the dust settles, and you’re back to square one.

The floor is dusty, your bed is dusty, and you can smell the dust. I did mention I left out two sets of sheets, right? This is because you will be washing your bedding like never before!

Of course, you will have no washing machine, so you will need to have a laundromat or family member close by to assist with washing duties. You will go through clothes like never before too, especially if you are on the tools, doing some of the reno work yourself.


If you want to save money on your renovation, you can opt to live in your home during the renovation. But don’t take this decision lightly. Take it from me; it takes a certain person to be able to handle it.

If you’re willing to give it a go, renovate without moving out. And not go crazy in the process; you need to plan and renovate in stages, pack everything except the essentials, think of it as a camping trip, be prepared to move without notice, forgo any sense of privacy, and finally, get used to dust because there will be a LOT of it!

While we can’t help you live through your renovation, we can help you save more money with our great value renovation products. Shop with Ross’s Discount Home Centre; where every day’s a discount Day! Shop online or come in and visit us at our Guildford store.

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