The day is finally coming! It’s on the calendar and you’re counting down to the day your renovation will start. How do you prepare? What do you have to do? How will you survive the weeks of disruption in your home? Fear not! While you may not have done this before, we’ve been doing it for years, and we have plenty of tips to help you keep your sanity during your kitchen renovation.
Kitchen Renovation SURVIVAL GUIDE
Everything you are used to relying on to prepare your meals on a daily basis is about to disappear (or change), and take-out gets old (and expensive) very quickly. So what’s a family to do? Think smart and adapt!
Create a kitchen space for yourself
It’s not going to have everything you’re used to, but carving out a space for food prep during a renovation is a game-changer. Whether you take over a section of the basement, or your dining room, there is room in any home to set up a small prep space and some necessities. There are tons of small appliances that can help make healthy, home-cooked meals for when you don’t have access to your stove—think toaster ovens, Instant Pots, griddles and microwaves. If you don’t have these items, don’t go out and buy them before asking around. We all have friends with extra small appliances they don’t use often, so ask to borrow! While your fridge can likely be moved to another area of the house, your stove is trickier, since you require a different electrical outlet for stoves and if you’re changing your layout you might not have one at all for a while. That said, there are times during the renovation that the stove can stay plugged in, but make sure you have plenty of meals you won’t need a stove for.
Take a good hard look at what tools/dishes you’re going to need and keep them tidy in some bins. Pack everything else up and tuck it somewhere. Be realistic! You’re not going to be baking a torte or roasting a turkey. Clutter equals stress so get anything you don’t absolutely need out of your way!
Prepare meals in advance
Once you have an idea of what tools you’ll have to work with, do a bunch of meal prep while you still have your kitchen. If you don’t have a good selection of prepare-ahead meals in your repertoire, hit the internet for inspiration! Pinterest and Food Network have tons of ideas for “Freezer Meals” including chili, casseroles and pre-mixed recipes you can drop into a crock-pot for easy dinners. Chop up fruit and freeze it in different combinations for ready-to-blend smoothie packs, or mix up a few long-lasting salads for the fridge. Coleslaw, marinated veggie salads, and mixed bean salads will last a while in the fridge and are a great quick side to grab when you need it.
If you like home-baked goodies, bake a few batches of cookies or squares you can keep in the freezer, or if you have a toaster oven, whip up a few batches of a freezable cookie dough that you can bake off in small batches when you need a fresh treat. Did you know you can bake cookies in an air fryer? If you regularly enjoy pancakes, it’s easy to measure and mix up the dry ingredients ahead of time so you can quickly add the wet ingredients and you’re ready to go.
Adjust your grocery shopping
If you’re a made-from-scratch kind of cook, this one might be tough for you, but there is no shame in buying things like pre-cut fruits and veggies, pre-made pizza dough or pre-marinated meats. The grocery stores are full of delicious and healthy options to build great meals out of. Get that rotisserie chicken! There are few items more versatile, so try adding it to nachos, quesadillas, chicken salads, pastas and more. Yes, buying pre-made foods is more expensive, but the time and frustration you’ll save are hard to deny.
Make use of outdoor cooking
If you’re lucky enough to be doing your renovation in the summer, this one might be a no-brainer, but there’s no reason you can’t put your BBQ to work even through the winter months. Shovel it out and get grilling! Smokers are great for low-and-slow cooking (make extra so you can have a few meals with leftovers) and your barbecue can be used for more than just burgers. If you’ve never made pizza on the grill, you’re missing out!
Plan for Clean-up
There’s nothing wrong with paper plates, but you’re still going to need to wash some dishes, and you might be without a kitchen sink for some time. Make do with what you have! Laundry sinks, plastic bins, and even bathtubs or garden hoses can do in a pinch. Get into that “camping in our own home” mindset and roll with it. It’s temporary!
Renovations are messy and if they’ve taken over your space, any peaceful retreat your home usually offers is gone. With some major renovations taking weeks or months, taking some time to mentally prepare for the chaos goes a long way when it comes to saving your sanity. This too shall pass, and soon you’ll be on the other side of it with a beautiful new space, but a few preparations will make it that much easier.
This is the time to get your clutter under control. Obviously, focusing on kitchen or other rooms that will be renovated is the first step, but if you have the time, extend that scrutiny to other areas of your house too. The more room you have to breathe, the happier you’ll be. There’s nothing more frustrating than tripping over and moving around items you don’t even really need or like. Donate it, sell it or give it away.
Designate a storage area
When you empty out a room (or multiple rooms) in order to renovate, all that stuff needs to go somewhere (and you’d swear it multiplies as soon as you start packing). Hopefully you’ve pared it down as much as you can, but you’ll need to find a space to store anything you won’t need during the process. If you have a spare bedroom, basement space or an empty garage, those will do. If not, consider renting a storage unit. Many companies offer services that drop a container off on your driveway to use for storage and will come pick it up again when you’re done. This is a great option to temporarily extend the space available. Just make sure you check with us first about where the best place it to put it so it’s not blocking any necessary access.
Consider Child and Pet Care
If you have pets or small children, make a plan for them! There are few things more disruptive to schedules and daily life than a major renovation. Living in a work zone is noisy, dusty and comes with risks. While we do our best to ensure work-sites are as safe as possible, it’s usually smart to keep kids and pets as far away as possible. If you have the space, make a safe area for them to spend the day, and if not, consider finding child care outside the home. Well-rested happy kids and calm pets will go a long way to making sure you don’t lose your patience with the process.
Make yourself a retreat
It’s exhausting to be in your home during a renovation. Nothing is clean, your things aren’t where they belong and there are extra people coming and going constantly so carving out a renovation-free zone for every member of the family is a great idea. Whether that’s bedrooms or a family room, choose places and don’t let the mess in. Store boxes elsewhere, keep the doors closed to minimize noise and mess, and create your own sanctuary.
Cut Your Family Some Slack
As frustrated and tired and frazzled you may be, the other members of your household are right there in it with you, and it’s inevitable that you’re going to clash, probably more than once. Take a deep breath and remember the mess is temporary, and you’ll all still be living there when it’s done. Plan in some quality family relaxing time (maybe somewhere else), and do your best to ignore the little things.
Rely on us!
We have decades of experience and we’re with you every step of the way! Questions? Feel free to ask!