Clean as you go is the sign of a pro!

I was a nurse for 15 years and I prided myself on my organization and cleanliness on the job.  Doing demo on a house is not much different.

Commit to having a clean work space because it is a safety issue.  If you don’t clean you will eventually trip over that pile of trash, the random tool, or electrical cord. Pick up after every day of work and if you are too exhausted to do that, make it your first chore when you get started the next day.

I read a bumper sticker on the back of a contractors truck over 20 years ago that stuck with me.  CLEAN AS YOU GO IS THE SIGN OF A PRO!  I try to make this habit.

What I’ve learned from experience, well that and from TV remodeling shows, is get yourself a Rubbermaid BRUTE trash can.  Any size from 20 to 32 gallon is manageable.  Use this to haul large debris to your truck, trailer, or trash container. Save money on contractor bags by using them only for small debris, or hard to contain items.  Keep your brooms handy in or near the room you are working in.

I love my large push broom because it makes short work of the copious dust, bug parts, crayons, and other gross unidentifiable stuff that comes out of a wall when you tear it off.  I also like having an upright broom for detail work and getting into corners. I have found that a large dust pan is not exactly the best thing for clean up but a sturdy medium sized pan works best because the debris you generate is heavier than you think, and getting it into an unruly plastic bag is easier. Don’t forget to have a shop vac handy because you really don’t want to look too hard at the stuff that was in the walls.  A flick of a switch and it’s a memory…a gross horrible memory.
Last try to keep your salvaged items neat and orderly.  I like to save as much as I can but I really have to ask myself some hard questions often so I don’t let junk pile up that I may not end up using. “Will I really repurpose the 1/8 inch luan sheets into a sailing vessel or a bunch of Roman shields?”  Probably not, well maybe.  MDF once it is torn off is not really much use because it just doesn’t come off very nice and why would you use MDF on anything within arms reach anyway?  Toss it!  Old growth lumber you want to keep and repurpose as much as possible.


If you don’t re-use then find a local salvage outfit and donate to them.  My favorite place in the Portland/Vancouver area is my buddy Preston’s place Salvage Works.  He turns old stuff into new wonderful stuff, and preserves old house parts so you can complete your remodel in period style.   Consider shopping at a place like this first for your lumber, flooring and house parts.

Happy renovating,