We’ve got big news – we’re planning some renovations here at the Clean My Space HQ and we are inviting all of you to come along for the ride! We’re taking on 3 areas in our home – our backyard, our basement, and our living room – and we are going to remake, remodel and re-invigorate each space to breathe some new life into our home!

These jobs are bigger than anything I can handle alone – so, I’ve recruited Chad for these videos; he’ll be overseeing each project and helping us document the journey in upcoming videos.

Because preparation is so important, in this article, we decided we would go through some tips and best practices that we will be following, and that might help you, with any upcoming home improvement projects that you might be undertaking.

Mental Preparation

We all need to mentally get ready to have the house be turned upside down for awhile – when we reno’ed our kitchen, we underestimated the time by about 3 weeks, and not having access to the kitchen for that time was a real – unplanned -inconvenience for us.

So the takeaway here is to be prepared for things to go wrong, for a project to take longer than expected, and for unforeseen issues to pop up along the way. So clarify your motivations before you start, focus on the end goal and don’t let the chaos consume you. It’s easy to get overwhelmed when things inevitably go off track.

Budget, Budget, Budget!

It sounds pretty basic, but this might be the most important part of the planning process. Make sure your goals are realistic, and you are as specific as possible during the planning process. You don’t want your money to run out in the middle of a project.

In addition to your base costs, it’s a best practice to factor in a small percentage of the total budget for overruns and unforeseen expenses.

Also, I know it’s tempting, but be sure to stick to your budget while you’re strolling the halls of the hardware store and come across that fancy faucet you really want, but… do you really need it… it’s only an extra $40… This is need vs want, and that’s why we have a budget – to keep you on track.

Creative Inspiration & Collaboration

The last time we did an overhaul project, specifically the garden, we just went to the local garden center, bought a bunch of stuff and tried to plug it into our backyard wherever it would fit, it was a bit of a disaster.

This time we want to be a little more strategic and really plan out each space before we get started and decide what we want to replace, and exactly what we want to replace it with. We want to share all the different inspirations we have and make time for the creative process to flow – this should be one of the most enjoyable parts of the makeover – so we’re going to take our time and enjoy it!

We’re both quite visual people and take inspiration from anywhere, from magazine snippets, to when we’re wandering around a store and see something we like, to when we’re online surfing and find that perfect piece of furniture in some random picture.

In the past, I would end up with all these magazine cutouts, pictures on my phone, Chad ends up with a bunch of handwritten notes and stuff saved on his computer… so this time to be more efficient we’re using this free app from Adobe, called Adobe Scan which really lets us bring all of our ideas together and organize them so we end up with a final design document that we can agree on, and stick to, while budgeting.

Schedule It In

Ok, we have a budget, we know what we want to do, now we need to schedule this project in so it actually gets done. Keep in mind that your time is not unlimited – be realistic about the time you actually have, don’t overburden yourself, and be sure to account for times where other family or work obligations will interfere or may be impacted by this project.

Now, you want to literally pull out that calendar and start blocking off time and working through conflicts. And remember – just as you did for your budget, remember to think about time over-runs and how that may impact you and your family.

Consider a Professional

As much as we want to be able to do every part of our makeover ourselves, the truth is we know that it sometimes makes more sense budget wise, as well as time wise to bring in a professional to get things done. And let’s be honest, Chad does not have the skills to lay an entire hallway with hardwood floor. That’s why this time we’re bringing in a professional to do our floors, and you may want to do the same thing if you run into a job that just isn’t in your skillset.

I had a plumber come in a few months back and he made a great point: If you need your taxes done, call an accountant, if you need your sink fixed, call a plumber! In other words, sometimes a professional is the best way to get a job done right.

We’re super excited about our upcoming makeover, we’re going to be documenting and sharing as much as we can, so I hope you stick with us through this exciting home makeover journey!

A special thanks to Adobe Document Cloud for sponsoring this article. #sponsored

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Melissa Maker is an entrepreneur, cleaning expert, founder of Toronto’s most popular boutique cleaning service, and star of the Clean My Space channel on YouTube (but she still hates to clean!). Every week, Melissa delivers new videos dishing expert advice on cleaning products, tools, DIY substitutes, and practical, timesaving solutions to everyday problems. Melissa has appeared on the Today Show, and has been featured in InStyle, Real Simple, and Better Homes and Gardens.


  1. Thanks for this post.

    We’re about to reno our bathroom and would love your thoughts on choosing surfaces, fixtures, etc, from the perspective of a professional cleaner. What decisions can I make that will make it easier for me to keep the space clean? I am not talking about things that “hide” the dirt (eg, surfaces that make dirt harder to see) but big ticket choices that will look good but–more importantly–be very easy for me to keep looking good.

    (Case in point: Right now we have a bathroom vanity that “looks like furniture”–meaning there are legs and a narrow space beneath it where dust bunnies gather and that’s impossible to get really clean. That nightmare is definitely being replaced with a built-in!!

    Would love your thoughts on cabinet doors (stain vs. paint? carved moldings v. shaker?), tile vs. stone, grout color and style, and faucets/fixtures, acrylic tub vs. enamel. As a professional cleaner, what kinds of fixtures/styles/colors/styles were a pleasure to clean? What things made you just dread the job?

  2. I find it cool when you suggested that hiring a professional to help with a home renovation can help homeowners get it done while avoiding the event of running out of money in the middle of it. My personal tip when improving a home is to hire a local painting service to apply a fresh coat of paint on steel items, such as fences and gates. Doing this will help improve one’s curb value while making the property feel safer as well.

  3. Some great tips mate, a professional must be hired to get the job done perfectly, some people think of doing it by themselves but they probably get bad results. I prefer to pay some extra bucks to make the look even more furnished.


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