Despite sore muscles, cuts and bruises, exhausting work, renovating a house is teaching me more than just how to handle tools, measure things, and make decisions with resources, it's teaching me to be actively involved in all aspects of my life.
I'm gonig to share the surprising gifts it brings.
I started out with an opportunity to renovate the house I'm living in as the owner plans to sell. Having gotten bilateral Bell's palsy, hypertension, and diabetes diagnoses, I stopped everything to try and concentrate on my stress levels and my health. This chance to do physical work each day sounded like a good and therapeutic way to both get my health back in line and feel like I'm contributing, learning new skills, and doing something to help me get in better shape.
Things you don't realize are side benefits of renovating -
1. You get physical activity using a wide variety of muscles, balance, strength, and stamina.
2. You let out anxiety and aggression.
3. You work your mind in ways you never imagined. How am I going to hang this floating shelf? How do I measure for it? Is it level? Are there studs in the wall there? Should it be centered for the wall or for the furniture?
4. You sleep well at night. It freaking exhausts you.
5. You find you're very thrifty. Everything is a resource. You find yourself setting aside a location for scraps of wood and trim, saving screws, opting to paint hinges rather than buy shiny new ones....
6. You become a strategist. The implications of a major demo makes you compare cost to benefit, complications, and whether it really makes sense.
7. You learn patience. When you are living in dust and debris, filth and odors, you learn to work around it and adapt. You use the microwave. You eat outside. You sleep in another room. Whatever it takes, you remind yourself, "this is temporary and for a great outcome."
8. You lose fear of certain noisy or dangerous tools. I grew up in a family and era where my father and brother would work with tools in the basement shop and if I came down to gather some canned goods from the larder, they would stop and stare at me as if I was sneaking into a scientist's lab. My ex did not want me anywhere near tools. It seemed like a secret world that taunted me. As a prior tomboy who beat out the boys in sports, I tended to take it as a challenge. The first time I built Ikea furniture I was hooked. Soon, I was assembling an entire Bowflex (the biggest model).
9. You learn to research, as nearly everything you're doing you can find videos for on YouTube. I watch my very favorite renovator channel, Living to DIY with Rachel Metz, to see what she's doing. She gives me inspiration and confidence to take on things I thought were impossible. Another great channel is Modern Builds.
10. You feel very relevant. What built America was hammer and nails. I find that as I work with improving my home, I am part of an ethic that build this country. It means scrapping around for parts, taking on projects, using lots of skills, and in the end having a real result to show for it.
11. You develop a satisfying pride. At night, I go into the kitchen for some water, and I look around me, realizing I did this! Bit by bit, I reclaimed an untouched 1979 kitchen and brought it into its potential.
12. You access your creative potential. Decisions on design, painting, tile work, and more means your creative mind is going full speed ahead. You think you, you do it. You may never have known you were an artist until you begin to create a home.
It goes without saying financially you can benefit from renovation, whether you're selling or flipping, or simply sitting on the property as it gains value.
But, that's not what you recall when you're done with renovation.
You walk away with an attitude and strength that makes you take on other things in your life that you thought were out of your skill set.
This is not just a therapeutic process for me and a sense of accomplishment, but has allowed me to let out my stress, use my creative hunger, lose 40 pounds, reduce my blood pressure to normal, and my blood sugar, while healing my Bell's palsy.
You go into renovation with one goal, but you come out of it with a ton of rewards.