While a kitchen remodel can be one of the most rewarding home renovation projects, it can also be difficult and stressful to get through. Tearing out the heart of your home requires careful planning and preparation to endure the weeks or even months ahead. Living through a kitchen remodel isn’t easy, but it can be done. Here are some tips for surviving a live-in kitchen renovation.
Create a Temporary Kitchen
For a significant renovation, expect at least three months or more of chaos. And unless you plan on eating all of your meals out, you’ll need to create a temporary kitchen. (But even with a makeshift kitchen, you’ll likely eat out more often than usual, so it’s a good idea to add this additional cost into your renovation budget.)
You can set up a temporary kitchen in some place like a garage, basement, or utility room that’s out of the way of construction–count yourself lucky if you have a space with a utility sink. Dining rooms and dens can also be transformed into makeshift kitchens and eating areas.
If at all possible, move your refrigerator to your stand-in kitchen. Otherwise, invest in an inexpensive dormitory fridge to store the basics. Consider using some of your old cabinets in your makeshift kitchen for storage and workspace–if the countertop is gone, place a piece of plywood on top.
You’re not likely to prepare elaborate or ambitious meals in your temporary kitchen, but you can get quite creative with small appliances such as:
- Toaster oven
- Electric skillet, griddle, camping cook stove, or hot plate
- Slow cooker or pressure cooker or combo appliance like an Instant Pot (use liners for zero cleanup!)
Pare DownKeep it simple and pare down the kitchen tools to the bare essentials, storing everything else until your new kitchen is ready. Things you’ll probably want to keep in your stand-in kitchen:
- Chef’s knife and a paring knife
- Cutting board
- Skillet and lidded pot if using a hot plate or camp stove
- A microwavable dish for heating leftovers
If you have access to a freezer during your kitchen remodel, prepare freezable, single portion meals ahead of time. Create shopping lists of foods that will work best with the small appliances and cookware you have on hand. Think in terms of one-pot meals for easier prep and cleanup. If possible, plan your renovation during outdoor barbecue season so you can put your grill to work–channel your inner boy or girl scout to create foil packet meals and more.
If you don’t have a utility sink, you’ll have to get creative with a bathroom sink, bathtub, or cooler full of hot, sudsy water. Streamline cleanup and make life easier by using recyclable or biodegradable dishes and utensils.
Stock Up on Non-perishable Snacks
When the thought of cooking in your makeshift kitchen is just too much, snacks like peanut butter, trail mix, dried fruit, and nuts can be life-savers when hunger pangs hit.
If you’re comfortable with the remodeling work continuing in your absence for a short time, this might be a good time for a vacation to get a break from the chaos for a bit.
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