Today we officially started with the demo in our kitchen! The thing I’m dreading most about this project is living without a kitchen. It’s been years since we’ve done a full gut job on the most important room in a house because I know how painful it is. I asked for tips on how to make this time easier and thought I’d share the amazing answers (thank you!) I received and what I’ve been doing in order to survive a kitchen remodel.
We started demo on the kitchen yesterday. The cabinet frame is original to this 1950’s house. I love the charm, but a few months ago, we realized we had termites. We paid to have them sprayed, but we were told that it was a very old colony and substantial damage had been done. Since then, we noticed that if we touched the cabinet frame too hard, it’d dent.
So, it wasn’t really a surprise when tearing down the cabinets that they were pretty much hollow from many years of termite damage.
I know that sometimes renovations can feel frivolous, but between the lack of functionality and this damage, this redo was definitely warranted.
how to survive a kitchen remodel
Here’s my thinking- yes it’s inconvenient, but how can I make this renovation as easy on my family and I as possible? Here’s what I’ve decided will make the most difference
keep a place of sanctuary
That’s the cheesiest caption ever, but it’s easy for a project to make the rest of the house a mess. Make sure to keep one room clean that you can re-charge after a long day. This is a gift to yourself. For us, I’m going to keep the living room as close to normal as possible. If there’s going to be project overflow, I’m hoping to keep that in the garage.
I’m in the habit of cleaning for 15 minutes in the evening. I’m planning to use this time to quickly declutter the living room and keep it clean. P.s. never under estimate the power of a quick 15 minute cleaning!
We ended up moving the dining table into the living room. It’s a little cramped, but it’s nice to have a pleasant place to sit for meals.
make a back-up kitchen
We just got back from a long road trip so eating out 24-7 doesn’t sound super appealing right now. Yes, we’ll do some take out, but we will eat primarily from home. In our kitchen we have a corner in the dining area that won’t really be changed where we have our back-up kitchen. It has a tiny counter top for meal prep next to the microwave.
If you don’t have a space like this, set-up a folding table and create a place for prep. Plug in the fridge close to it.
This can be in the garage or living room. Each house has a different layout, so choose one that will work best for your family.
Here’s some more tips for cooking without a kitchen-
have one area for essentials
I went through the kitchen and made two categories- what we will need over the next 4-6 weeks and what I can store. Things like mugs, baking supplies, fancy dishes got put away. I tried to pare it down to only the absolute essentials.
The excess items mostly were put in plastic bins that fit under our beds. In the stove, I’m storing all the pots and pans.
Here’s what I’m planning to cook with-
-Microwave (to reheat leftovers and simple cooking)
-Grill (since the stove won’t be plugged, we’ll be grilling some dinners)
-Toaster (warm toast is a great addition to lots of meals)
-Dishes (I don’t like using paper plates for environmental reasons. Which means I’ll be doing dishes)
-Tupperware (for leftovers)
I also got the suggestions to use the following- slow cooker, insta-pot, hot plate, toaster oven, skillet, George Foreman grill, and a coffee maker. I think those are all so smart! Personally, I could especially see a slow cooker and a hot plate coming in handy.
In our kitchen, under the cabinet in the dining room I kept my dishes, silverware, and food.
I’ve planned for simple meals- things like baked potatoes, sandwiches, salads, soup, and cereal for breakfast. I made sure to keep those supplies close by so we can quickly create meals.
Suggestions came in for companies like Freshly for microwavable meals. Another tip was to buy a microwave cookbook for making food at home.
Or to pre-cook meals to freeze. I sure wish I had done this! I did make cookies a few days ago because I knew I wouldn’t be able to bake for a bit- lol. Should have made actual meals.
I am excited to do a little take-out. We have some delicious restaurants in the area! I have two strategies for eating out-
-Order healthy options. I didn’t eat super healthy on our road trip, so I didn’t feel great. I’ll make sure to add some veggies into my order.
-Split the meal in half. I like the idea of eating half the meal and saving the second half for leftovers!
Plus it will be fun to support local and small restaurants. This year has been tough on so many companies, it’ll be nice to visit our favorites.
designate a space for dish washing
Since I’m planning on mostly using our dishes, I’m going to have to keep washing dishes. When we finally get our new dishwasher in, it’ll be such an amazing feeling! Anyway, in our garage we have our washer and dryer right off the powder room. That’s where I’ll wash the dishes and then let them dry on top of the dishwasher. Bigger pots will need to be washed in the tub.
I received the genius suggest of installing a utility sink so dishes don’t need to be washed in bathroom tubs and sinks.
make it fun!
There were a few suggestions that I would’ve never come up with- make not having a kitchen fun. How? Put a blanket on the floor and have a picnic. Go to a local park and eat al fresco at a table. Eat outside on the patio. Life is an adventure!
Between our kitchen and living room, we put up a sheet to keep the dust out of the rest of the house. In the kitchen, our stove has towels over it to keep it safe from damage. Around the food I still have stored in the kitchen, towels are up to keep dust off.
I know that thinks will still get messy, but I’ve made the mistake to not prep and leave my cute stuff and then being super frustrated with myself when dusting everything. This time, I stored all decorative items in the kitchen and am doing my best to keep dust in the kitchen.
We also have a Shop Vac that we’ll use to clean up the kitchen to help dust and dirt get tracked into the rest of the house.
keep track of the progress
Sometimes knowing how far you have come and how far you have to go makes living without a kitchen more bearable. I’m going to make a goal timeline and cross off items off the list as progress happens. Seeing the to do list get whittled down is a personal motivator that works well for me.
I’m also going to try and celebrate the little wins. Like yesterday, when we were doing demo we found that the original cabinets were a coral pink color. It’s very similar in color to what I have planned for the lower cabinets! It seems meant to be.
Thank you to everyone who left me such helpful and useful tips. I’m feeling so much more prepared now! I’m going to try to keep in mind that this is temporary and anything worth having is worth sacrificing for. This kitchen better be worth it!
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