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10 Steps For Your Design Do-Over

10 steps to get you started on the track to "recovery."

A woman mapping out a total re-do design project for the home

The realization.

If you're like most, you woke up and started your day like any other. Alarm, coffee, quiet time, let the dog out, a crazy blur, get the kids to school, and then BAM . . . out of nowhere you suddenly get hit. Bad. Like an unexpected dodgeball hit to the face.

Your whole home needs a complete overhaul!

I mean ev-er-y-thing. A spring cleaning and declutter session would only expose the shamefully outdated fixtures and styles.

What do you do?

Where do you start?

Well, rarely hiring an interior decorator to do a massive overhaul is in the budget. So, let's start with these 10 helpful steps. (And, feel free to add to these with your own below in the comments.)

1. Figure out what matters the most

Dad holding toddler daughter on dock while watching ducks pass by.

Most artists do not pick up a brush without having any idea what they're gonna paint. You, too, must start with at least a basic plan of what you're trying to achieve. And, I do mean it can be very basic.

When you take on such a massive project as an overhaul, a complete "do-over," always starts first with the big picture. What is your home most used for? Living, entertaining, resting, creating?

Sketch out a diagram of your house and put 1-3 words in each room. Remember, this is your notebook, it doesn't have to be pretty or perfect. These descriptive words will be the basis from where you will start to create your new home.

What is each room's purpose? Write it down. And, don't skip any room in the house. Often, overlooked and unused rooms give you the most capability to maximize your square footage. Forgotten rooms can become your saving retreats to escape to. Laundry rooms can become mudrooms and extra pantry or storage space. A half bath can be a place where you display your latest collection. Guest rooms can store your library. Be creative and think functionally.

This is a time to take in the family's input. What do they see each room as? You might be surprised to find out that the formal dining room you see for entertaining guests is actually seen by the rest of the family as a storage room for fancy stuff you don't use. Now is the time to designate the unused formal dining room as your new office space. Or, perhaps the dark, dungeon in the forgotten den can now be the new boy's game room.

Setting these"boundaries" will be key for moving forward. One of the beautiful things about design is that we can determine what a specific space does for us. The catch-all corner becomes your favorite reading nook - simply because you designed it to be a reading nook.

Take your time on this - this is your foundation. Set a budget - it doesn't have to be big, just predetermined.

2. Clean House

Outdated furniture and toys piled up on side of the road for garbage pickup.

Now that you have defined each room in the house, begin to determine whether or not the things in that room belong. Do they meet that room's defined purpose? If not, move them to the room where they do fit the room's defined purpose. Don't worry about exactly where or how it'll work - just get it in there for now. We'll work out the details later.

For example, I defined my bedroom to be a place of rest and relaxation. That meant the TV went. As did the useless cluster catch-all chair in the corner and a few other things that simply did not set the tone for rest and relaxation. As silly as it might sound, I asked myself, "Does this [insert item] bring me relaxation? Does it help me rest?" If the answer was no, I figured out where else in the house it should go.

One of my key sayings is, "When in doubt, throw it out!" This may seem harsh, but many very helpful charities do their work in your community from donations of used goods - so don't be timid to toss stuff out. If you don't use it, it doesn't have a family significance, or simply doesn't fit into any room's purpose, donate it. Chances are, in your new home, you won