Now that you’ve hopefully read what I did to get started on my kitchen remodel project, I can fill you in on what I did that made surviving a kitchen remodel possible and how it all turned out. Going through the process, you never think it will end. You question why in the world you started it in the first place. You even start thinking the old kitchen was not so bad when you know how inefficient and ugly it was. Then, the day comes when your contractor says, “We’re done. It’s all yours.” and the pain becomes a distant memory.
To this day, every time I look at my kitchen I smile. When I’m cooking and everything I need is at hand in one of my efficient pullout drawers, I smile. Using my new steamer convection oven after attending a class, makes me smile. When I open my pullout pantry that I can access from either side, I smile. And when I look at my clutter free countertops because all of my small appliances are kept in drawers, I smile. I guess you can figure out I’m doing a lot of smiling. And here’s why…
Tips for Surviving a Kitchen Remodel
Plan how you’re going to live without a kitchen during the remodel. You’ll need a bit of kitchen space for things like a coffee maker, frig, microwave, and toaster. Your contractor should set up a little kitchen for you. We used both our kitchen and dining room tables. He was actually able to leave the frig in the kitchen through much of the remodel, plus we have one in our garage and set up a wine frig in the family room area. You’ll need glasses, plates, and silverware – perhaps disposable to save on washing.
Decide where you can store everything. You will have to clean out your kitchen before starting. Do you have room in your house to store all of your “stuff” or do you need to rent space? I have a spare guest bedroom and unused cabinet space in other rooms, so I was good. I bought some plastic bins and went to work.
Purge, purge, purge. You can choose to do this while you’re packing up or when you’re putting things back in your new kitchen. I chose the latter so I could work things into my new space and let the rest go. Then, in a plastic bin, I put things I might someday use like an unopened ice cream maker that I just couldn’t part with…yet. I’m giving that box a year before it goes to Goodwill.
Decide how you’re going to wash dishes. I had a big sink downstairs in my laundry room which worked out great, even if it did require going up and down the stairs. I tried using the powder room sink, but it was truly unworkable. Using the bathtub as someone suggested was never an option in my mind!
Food. You’ll need to add eating out and take-out into your budget. I tired quickly of trying to do meals in my makeshift kitchen. This would be so much more difficult if I had kids and people eating in shifts. I did use a crockpot, microwave, and outdoor grill a lot. And I probably would have been smart to buy a toaster oven, too. But in the end, Uber Eats was my life saver.
Get out of the house. As often as you can, leave the scene of the crime. Take a walk, volunteer, read at the library, visit friends, whatever you can do outside of the house. It’s noisy, you hear what the worker’s are saying, you have to look at the mess…As a result, you get more stressed. I felt much better removing myself from the project as much as I could.
When Things Go Awry…and they will
Expect delays. Just accept that delays will happen. You can be in a constant state of stress if you let yourself. Don’t. As my contractor told me, “You’re paying me to handle the stress.” Please find a contractor with this attitude!
Learn to handle disappointment. This can take many forms from delays to products to changes in design. You may find out something you loved and counted on isn’t available and you have to find a replacement. It will be okay. Nice options are plentiful.
Don’t take any anger or frustration out on your family. I remember and cringe at the number of times I yelled at my husband about how I couldn’t take this anymore. For the most part, he let me rant. Keep in mind it’s not your family’s fault and they are living through the same crap as you are. Take a breath or count to ten or walk out of the room before you speak.
Put everything in perspective. Remember this is not life and death. It is a remodel. It will get done. You will once again have your life back to normal.
The Good Stuff
There are some items I put in my kitchen that have truly become must-haves. They make me smile every time I use them. And here they are…
- Custom cabinets
- Spice racks in drawers
- Deep drawers instead of cabinets with a pullout drawer on top
- A pullout drawer under the sink
- Steamer Convection Oven
- A microwave drawer
- A pop up oven hood behind the stove
- Pullouts on either side of my stove for things like oils, vinegars, utensils,
- Electric outlets with usb ports in multiple locations. I am seriously in love with my legrand outlets. They come in tons of colors, look amazing, and work great. You can even get them with night lights on the bottom. Now, they are a bit more expensive, but I would seriously consider putting them in your budget.
Yes, there is good stuff like the finished product. It will make you so happy to see the end result, you will forget about all the bad stuff! Seriously you will. Keep the journey in perspective and try to enjoy the adventure. While I don’t want men in my house for awhile, I am willing to entertain another project down the road like the master bathroom. I just hope when I do, I’ll keep my kitchen remodel experience in perspective!
What tips do you have for surviving a kitchen remodel?
Sherry is one of the TriWivesClub and LifeDoneWell co-founders and contributes to multiple blogs. She is a former co-owner of the California Apparel News and had a career in the healthcare industry. Her passions include traveling, real food, the environment, and animal rescue/welfare. She lives a healthy lifestyle and has been a vegetarian since 1987. She and her husband are parents to two rescue pups and reside in Connecticut.