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How to Survive a Kitchen Renovation

They say that the kitchen is the heart of the home. It is the non-stop area of action and gathering place for many families. So when a kitchen renovation is in the works, it can cause a major disruption in your household. Whether your kitchen reno is planned or unplanned, there are steps you can take that will help you to survive a kitchen renovation and keep you a little more sane during the process.

Here are strategies for surviving a kitchen renovation.

Keep a working sink in your kitchen, if possible.

I know this isn’t possible for every situation. But having running water in your kitchen will be extremely helpful. Trust me! When the cabinet that held our kitchen sink was ruined from a major leak, it had to be taken out. I thought I would be going months without a kitchen sink.

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Thankfully, our water mitigation team had a utility sink at their shop they were able to loan us for a couple of months until our new cabinets came in. Using a utility sink to wash dishes wasn’t ideal, and I definitely missed my dishwasher. But not having to haul dirty dishes to the laundry room sink, or wash them in the bathtub made the process of washing dishes so much easier.

Use paper plates and plastic silverware.

If you don’t have access to a working kitchen sink, stock up on paper plates and plastic silverware. Normally, I am not a fan of using plastic silverware. But during a renovation, it is ok to make things easier on yourself for a little while!

Also, have each member of the family put their name on a cup with a piece of tape and a marker. This way, they can reuse the same cup throughout the day. It is amazing how cups stack up!

paper plates Survive a Kitchen Renovation

Put together a “must have” tub or box of stuff.

Depending on how extensive your kitchen renovation is, you will probably have to pack up a lot of your cupboards and cabinets. You probably won’t be able to make gourmet meals with your kitchen torn up, but you will still need to cook.

Put together a tub of items that you will probably end up using over the course of the next couple weeks or months. Examples: measuring cups, can opener, measuring spoons, a mixing bowl, pizza cutter, cheese grater, etc.

It can be hard to decide what to keep out, but generally speaking, you can usually get by with one of each type of cooking accessory. Keep out one baking dish, one cutting board, one mixing bowl, etc. A typical kitchen usually has multiples of these items. Just keep one handy and pack up the rest. Same goes for Tupperware. Try to pack up as much as you can.

Basically, the more strategic you can be when packing up your kitchen, the less time you will spend wasting digging through packed up boxes.

Figure out alternative cooking methods.

If your kitchen renovation involves removing major appliances like your oven, you will want to have a back-up way to cook your meals. Having a slow cooker or instant pot around will be a lifesaver and will definitely help you to survive a kitchen renovation!

You can also plan to use your barbecue more. Dig out your camp stove if you have one! Look into the possibility of setting up your microwave in a different part of the house during your renovation.

While eating out a bunch might sound appealing at first, that cost can quickly add up. You will want to find ways to still cook at your house, especially if your project lasts more than a week or two.

Instant pot Survive a Kitchen Renovation

Prepare meals ahead of time.

Sometimes you are forced into an unplanned kitchen renovation. In that case, you probably won’t have much time to prepare meals before everything starts getting torn out. But if you know a kitchen reno is on the horizon, do what you can to plan for meals ahead of time.

While you still have a functional kitchen, prep freezer meals that are easy to throw into a slow cooker or oven (if you still have access to one.) Stock up on other foods that don’t require a lot of preparation.

Plan to have easy breakfast foods available, like cereal or toast. You can also make quiche or muffins ahead of time and then thaw them as needed. When you are in the middle of the kitchen renovation, you will be glad you took the time to prep some meals!

Set up an outdoor eating space.

While I realize this isn’t always doable (especially if you live in a colder climate and it’s the middle of winter), having an outdoor space where your family can enjoy meals together can provide some sense of “normalcy” while your kitchen is torn up. This is especially important during an unplanned kitchen renovation. Here’s why:

As you will soon discover, if you have a water situation that needs drying, a water mitigation crew will need to bring in extremely loud fans. Trying to have a normal conversation over these fans will prove nearly impossible. Having an outdoor eating space will give you a chance to escape from the noise!

Plan to spend more than you think you will.

You have probably carefully created your kitchen renovation budget and have thought about plenty of details. You might have shopped for the best deals and maybe you plan to do a little of the work yourself to save a bit. The reality is that you can plan down to every last detail, and something unexpected still might happen.

In our own kitchen renovation, when the mitigation crew when to turn the water to the sink off, it was discovered that the valve leaked when it was closed all the way. This meant they couldn’t continue with the job until a plumber was called out to replace the leaking valve. This was not covered under our homeowner’s insurance and was an unexpected cost.

Just plan to have unwelcome surprises come up during your kitchen renovation, and allow some wiggle room in your budget for these unexpected costs. Being prepared for these costs makes it less stressful when they happen to come up.

A kitchen renovation is probably one of the most challenging remodels to get through. But keep your eye on the prize (a beautiful new kitchen!) and remember, it won’t last forever! You CAN survive a kitchen renovation!


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