When I spoke with Susan about the massive undertaking that would be our current renovation, her best piece of advice was to "be organized". In working with a contractor, Susan advised, it is best to have your materials chosen and ready in order to avoid delays. With that, making sure that the crew knows exactly which materials go where and to have a plan for each room.
The first thing I did was make a spreadsheet with a list of items needed for each of the areas we were planning to renovate. As I did that, I assigned a budget to each item to help me better understand where the spending was allocated to. I reviewed the lists with Susan and she gave me some ideas of fixtures but mostly of color schemes and patterns.
When it came to ordering, I did my best to order multiple items from the same retailer. As an example, it made it easier to order tile for all of the floors and walls from one store. This way, when I needed to change out one of my accent tiles, I was able to go back and compare the new mosaic against the tiles I had already ordered. It sounds like a simple thing, but keeping things simple, certainly made them less stressful overall. And I would highly recommend apps or sites that allow you to save favorite items.
Once items came in, I printed out my lists per area of what I ordered and bought some different color index cards. I spent an evening in the garage with a marker, some masking tape, and a goal of making sure there was no question as to where any of the items went. I labeled every box with an index card with a specific color designated to that space along with any specific notes about that particular item (i.e. tile will be in a herringbone pattern, etc). IMPORTANT NOTE: I found out from a retailer that they will not return items if you have written directly on the box.
Once I had all of my boxes labeled and my lists together, I went back to the webpages of the items that I ordered. I searched for the installation guides and detail pages on each of the items. It took some time but I printed them out and put everything into an accordion file organized by project space. It was an extra step that allowed me to review the items I had ordered with my contractor without having to open up boxes until I was sure that we could use them.
Major renovations can certainly turn your house into a chaotic mess. Organizing your materials is a great way to take control of the chaos and it will keep you sane in the process.