Tips & Tricks

How to Stay Sane Through a Kitchen Renovation

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There are so many things to love about HGTV. There are the Property Brothers, working together to get families their dream homes. Everyone’s addicted to Fixer Upper and would be willing to move to Waco, TX just to have Chip and Joanna design a custom country-chic rancher. And of course, Nicole Curtis’s show Rehab Addict, which leads down a rabbit hole of looking at old homes in your area that can be renovated back to the early 1900’s.

However, there is one major flaw in all of these programs: from start to finish, the process takes only 30 to 60 minutes. Any cliffhanger or stressor is solved by the end of a commercial break. Equally frustrating is that 99% of the projects end on time and within budget. Here’s a reality check for all of us: as much as we wish and hope, living through a kitchen remodel won’t look like what we see on TV. It will be messy. It will be frustrating. Problems WILL happen. And it will take a long time to finish. A really, really long time (more than 30 – 60 minutes). With that in mind, here are some kitchen renovation survival tips so you won’t lose your patience or your mind in the process.

Create a Mini Kitchen

Source: Builder’s Surplus

If you’re living in the house where you’re remodeling the kitchen, there are some ways to create a makeshift kitchen so you can still make edible food at home (think of it as minimalist living for a few weeks). Invest in a folding table, 6-bin storage cabinet (like this one), microwave, mini fridge, plastic bin, small garbage can, and a few cooking gadgets like a slow cooker, toaster oven, electric stove burner, or an electric griddle. Unfold the table, place the cabinet underneath it,  and put a wipeable, sturdy vinyl or oilcloth tablecloth over the table to keep everything (fairly) dust-free.

Ready to fill those bins for your temporary kitchen? Stash one with paper goods, paper towels, napkins, Ziploc bags and plastic eating utensils (yes, we love the environment, but you’re not going to want to wash dishes in your bathroom sink). The next bin should have essential cooking tools in it, such as a spatula, slotted spoon, measuring cups and spoons, can opener, peeler, bottle opener, pizza cutter, tongs, and spaghetti server. Bin number three is a great place for spices like salt, pepper, oregano, chili flakes, garlic powder, onion powder, and other basic cooking supplies like cooking spray and honey. The bottom bins can be divided into a beverage station with instant coffees and creamers (non-refrigerated types), sugar packets, teas, powdered lemonade, and cups, lids, and stirrers. The last two can be filled with cooking supplies and snacks (think dried rice and pasta, pasta sauces, boxes of mac and cheese, ramen noodles, salsa and chips, cookies, crackers, and anything else non-perishable).

Use a 12 or 18 gallon storage container to keep mixing bowls, a frying pan and pot (if you’re using a portable electric stove burner), and other items free of dust and debris. Also, think about what gadgets are most in sync with your cooking style. A microwave is a no-brainer, but toaster ovens are perfect for tossing in bagels or frozen waffles in the morning and baking a chicken breast and vegetables for dinner. There are countless electric, portable appliances on the market, so invest in what you think you would use the most. (And if possible, buy a full-sized refrigerator or freeze in the garage to make life a million times easier.)

Do Your Homework Before Your Kitchen Renovation Begins

Source: Wikimedia

A little bit of prep work before your kitchen is demo-ed is going to save you tons of frustration during the transformation. One of the biggest hurdles to figure out is what to eat during a kitchen renovation. Cut coupons and gather take-out menus for your favorite restaurants now because there will be nights when you’re too tired to cook. Print out recipes from Pinterest or ask friends for their favorite five-ingredient-recipes so you can easily have the ingredients for a simple meal on hand. If you have a freezer in the basement or garage, make and freeze meals ahead of time or stock up on frozen meals for backup.

It’s also important to have all the contact information for your contractors, plumbers, stores where you purchased your appliances, and other kitchen renovation numbers on hand in case problems arise or you need to track your orders. Keeping all of this information in one place (like in your iPad or in a binder with your recipes, coupons and take-out menus) will make it convenient to find them among the chaos.

Keep the Goal In Sight

There will be times when you’ll feel frustrated that your house never feels clean. You’ll get tired of microwaved food and you’ll feel bloated from all the take out. It might take everything in you not to yell, “Get out!” to the many workers that come and go in your home when you just want an hour of peace and quiet. And that’s okay. That’s part of the process. When you’re renovating a kitchen, one thing that can help is to keep a picture of the kitchen of your dreams somewhere where you can see it often. Make a collage with pictures of your countertops, cabinets, appliances and fixtures so that you can remember what the goal is. Reminding yourself what the inconveniences are for makes it worth the struggle.

While we can’t cook delicious homemade meals for you, Dolly can help with all your renovation-related moves. Whether you need to pick up your new table from Restoration Hardware, or put your kitchen gear in a storage unit during your kitchen renovation, we’ll bring you truck and muscle to complete the job.

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