Use that nesting instinct to tackle remodeling wisely

Use that nesting instinct to tackle remodeling wisely

Somewhere in the fifth to ninth month of pregnancy, you may experience the instinct to "nest." Although its origins and biological triggers aren't fully understood, this is the sudden urge to tackle unfinished tasks around your home and organize your place for baby's arrival.

While the instinct is considered safe by obstetricians, it's important not to overexert yourself, despite your feelings of energy and excitement. Here are four tips to help you make the most of this biological drive.

Get organized

Before you get to work on any project, start by taking stock of what you need to get done. Without a solid plan in place, it's possible you'll finish only parts of the jobs you start or simply end up repeating the same task over and over again. For example, one common effect of the instinct is the urge to unpack, pack and then repack a hospital bag.

Make a list of all the things you'd like to accomplish around the house and estimate the time you'll need to complete each. Consider skipping tasks that will take weeks or months. If your baby arrives partway through the job, chances are it will stay unfinished. Start with something small and see it through to completion. If you're satisfied with the results, move on to the next job on your list.

Tackle the right projects

Baby-related tasks should be at the top of your list, and many work well as an outlet for your instinct. Preparing the nursery or childproofing the house (though slightly premature) are both good choices. Building a crib, setting up a rocking chair or organizing clothing are all straightforward tasks with finite conditions for completion. Painting the baby's room is a possibility as well, but be careful, since paint with high levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) can be dangerous for mothers-to-be and children. If you want a more artistic touch, consider hiring a local artist to paint a whimsical mural in your nursery.

Avoid the wrong projects

Nesting may push you beyond simple cleaning and organizing tasks, and you may find yourself looking at old kitchen cabinets, a leaky toilet, or damaged hardwood flooring. But before you strap on knee pads and start pulling up boards, take a step back. Equalized hormone levels give you energy and excitement, but you'll tire more easily than usual. Going full-bore on a renovation may not be your best choice.

When in doubt, delegate

Now's the time to be the perfect project manager. If you have a partner, consider partnering up to tackle bigger jobs. You can source out materials and prices and do all the planning, and your other half can do the physical labor.

If you're thinking about a bigger job like landscaping, a kitchen renovation or bathroom remodel, you might want to hire a professional contractor to get the work done. This still gives you the control over what gets completed and how, but you can act in a supervisory capacity, directing the work as you see fit. Be sure to get a solid time line from your contractor, however, since you don't want a kitchen demolition happening just as you bring your newborn home.

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