By Jiji Lee

4 Steps for Managing Your DIY House Projects


Stay on time, on budget, and happy with your home.

Whether you’re decluttering your space or renovating your home or expanding a backyard garden, a DIY house project can be a rewarding experience. 

A house project can also take on a life of its own if it’s not well-organized.

One moment you’re decluttering and sorting out your closet, and then before you know it, your entire living room has been turned upside down, with household items and boxes scattered everywhere. 

House projects can seem particularly stressful because it means introducing change and upheaval into an environment that was once considered a sanctuary. Your home is meant to be a space of comfort and safety, but it can be hard to feel that way in the middle of a big move or gut renovation. 

While a DIY house project can offer you more flexibility, you’ll want to avoid flying by the seat of your pants--which can often lead to stress and feeling overwhelmed, not to mention blowing your budget. 

You can minimize the challenges of a house project by approaching it the same way you would tackle a big goal or project. That means starting with a clear plan and breaking down your project into simple, practical steps. 

Here are 5 tips for managing your house project with our new Ink+Volt House Project Pad. You can use our pad to help you manage your budget, keep track of all the details, maintain your schedule, and stay organized (and sane!) during the course of your home project. 

Step 1: Define your house project budget

Define your budget so that you know exactly how much you can spend on your house project. A clearly defined budget is crucial so that you know which materials and services you can agree to, without breaking the bank. You’ll want to avoid signing any contracts or purchasing any materials before sitting down and calculating how much you are willing to spend. 

You can use our House Project Pad to record a list of materials and services as well their corresponding costs. Afterwards, define your budget ceiling and be realistic about how much you can spend. This will give you very clear financial boundaries and allow you to make decisions with confidence.   

You should try to create a 20 percent buffer in your budget just in case there are unexpected costs or additional materials/services you didn’t account for in the initial estimate. 

Step 2: Identify your house project goal and priorities

Just like with any big project, you’ll want to clearly define your goals and priorities. A goal sharpens the focus of your house project and provides a clear sense of direction. The benefit to defining your goals upfront is that it helps you set realistic expectations and prevents any headaches or surprises later on. 

For instance, without a clear goal, you might find yourself spending more than you would’ve wanted or purchasing items that you didn’t really want in the first place. 

Examples of specific house goals:

  • Install deck
  • Remodel guest room
  • Renovate garage
  • Replace wallpaper in bedroom
  • Replace kitchen countertop
  • Update landscaping

Afterwards, select your priorities. For example, if you’re looking to renovate your kitchen, do you want to prioritize the installation of new cabinets or replacing your countertop? See what you can afford and then use your budget towards your priority area

Identify which space is most important to you and define the specific things you want to accomplish. Even if the house project seems small, like creating a new garden, make sure to set your goals early on so that your project can stay on track and on budget. 

Step 3: Make a list

Lists are lifesavers in our work and personal lives, and are just as crucial when it comes to managing a house project. 

Using the House Project Pad, create a list of all the materials and services you need as well as all the details you need to keep track of.

For example, if you’re renovating your kitchen, make a list to help you track all the details. Maybe this means creating a list of appliances and fixtures you will need to purchase. Or hardware and supplies you will need to do this renovation. 

Use the House Project Pad to keep track of key people involved: contractors, subcontractors, landscapers, interior designers, etc. If you’re in the hiring and research phase, make a list of services, keep track of their estimated quotes, and check their references. Then, once you have all your services and quotes organized in one central place, you’ll be better equipped to make a decision. 

You can also use the House Project Pad to help keep track of essential documents that you will need to complete or save. For instance, permits, insurance, receipts, contracts, invoices, etc. 

Step 4: Create a house project timeline

Whether you’re renovating multiple rooms or managing one big house project, you’ll want to keep track of all the different phases and timelines. 

Make sure to record key dates such as payment schedules for contractors and suppliers as well as deadlines for contracts or permits.  

Create an estimated timeline and always allow for additional time since house projects always seem to take longer than expected. It may help to organize your project by their main phases and then by their individual tasks

Look at your plans and commitments for the upcoming year and make sure your home renovation doesn’t overlap with important events that could potentially disrupt your project. For instance, you probably don’t want to schedule a kitchen renovation the same week that you agreed to host a big holiday dinner. Or you probably want to make sure that your new deck is installed by the summer so that you can start enjoying it by then. 

If at any point a house project is making you feel overwhelmed, make sure to write it down. Keep the house project pad at your desk or even by your bedside so that you can always jot down a key detail or task, without missing a beat.