10 Steps to Surviving a Remodel
Living through a kitchen remodel isn't always fun, but these steps will help you work around a kitchen in disarray.
1. Designate a kitchen stand-in
Eating out all the time gets tiresome, not to mention the strain it can put on your budget. And no matter how much takeout you bring home, you'll still need a spot to make school lunches, pour a bowl of cereal or brew coffee. Set up a temporary kitchen somewhere that's out of the way of construction. You can outfit a corner of the basement, garage or a laundry room.
Here's what you'll need:
Cooking Appliances: For around $30-120 you can buy an electric or induction table top burners that plug into a regular outlet. In addition to your burners, set up a small microwave in a convenient location. You'll use the microwave a LOT over the next few months.
6 foot folding table. If you have room for two of these, even better. You'll need a surface for your table top burners, microwave, etc.
Disposable dinnerware. I know it is wasteful, but you're not a terrible person if you use disposable plates and forks for a few months. There are several options that are recyclable as well. Try to minimize the dishes you have to do after your meals.
Get a bus box from a restaurant supply store. Use it as as catch-all for dirty dishes.
2. Consult with the contractor or person in charge of the renovation project for an exact timeline regarding dates and times the renovation will take place.
This information will help you plan ahead, in addition to preparing you for times that strangers will be arriving to work inside your home.
3. Plan meals around small appliances.
Portable workhorses such as slow cookers, microwaves, toaster ovens, electric griddles and skillets, hot plates and coffee makers can get you over the mealtime hump. Move your fridge to your temporary kitchen, if possible; if not, invest in a minifridge and a chest freezer (check Kijiji), or borrow them from a friend.
4. Prepare meals and freeze them.
Prepare ready to make and cooked meals in advance since you may not have access to your stove-top or oven. Slow cooker meals and soups are popular.
5. Plan Dinners with Friends You Haven't Seen in a While.
How long have you been planning to have dinner with that couple you love but haven't seen in 6 months? In fact, how many friends do you need to catch up with? If you are like me, then it's probably quite a few. What better way to get away from the construction zone AND get a free dinner than going over to your friend's house??? You'll have some fantastic conversation topics to talk about over dinner.
6. Stock the pantry with disposables.
Without your usual spot to wash dishes, you'll be getting creative (the bathtub, an outdoor hose, a cooler full of sudsy water). Make life easier by stocking up on recyclable or biodegradable plates, napkins, cups and utensils. You'll streamline cleanup and cut down on the stress of your temporary displacement.
7. If the weather cooperates, put your grill to work.
Here's a secret: Your grill can do almost anything your oven can. Need to roast meat or vegetables, or bake pizza? Look to the grill. You can even channel your Scout days and use it for foil-packet meals, pans of biscuits and rolls, skillet pies and cobblers and, of course, s'mores.
8. Keep a stash of nonperishable snacks.
When you're starving but can't face putting together a full meal in your makeshift digs, snacks can save your stomach. Peanut butter, crackers, dried fruit or fruit leather, canned goods, trail mix and more can make for quick meals in a pinch.
9. Leave town for a short time, if you can.
If you're considering a vacation or need to schedule a business trip, now might be a good time, assuming you're comfortable with the remodeling work continuing in your absence. Bonus points if you're visiting relatives — you might score a home-cooked meal or two.
10. Remember the big picture.
In the grand scheme of homeownership, this is but a short period of inconvenience amid years of kitchen bliss. Keep the process in perspective and treat it as an adventure. When you're hard at work in your sparkling new kitchen, the temporary hassles will fade from memory.