Are you planning on making some home improvements next year? Whether it’s a minor project such as painting, or a major renovation like a new kitchen, you want the project to go smoothly.

There’s a lot you can do to make sure that happens. For example:

• Start the planning process now. That will enable you to discover any challenges and roadblocks early, giving you plenty of time to deal with them. You don’t want to find out at the last minute that the materials needed are backordered everywhere.

• Hire the contractor early. Spring is a popular time for renovations. As a result, contractors often get booked early. If you wait until the last minute, you might scramble to find someone. Or, worse, you might be forced to hire a contractor who’s less than ideal.

• Make your decisions in advance. Choosing styles, colors, options, sizes, etc., can take longer than you might expect. So, start making those decisions as early as possible. That way, project materials can be ordered well in advance of the start date.

• Plan for the realities. Even when projects are well managed, things happen. So, make contingency plans. For example, have a trusted pet daycare on hand if you find that your dog and the renovators aren’t getting along!

Did you notice the theme that emerges from these tips? Start planning your project now. If you do, there’s a much better chance the work will go smoothly this spring.