How to Survive a Kitchen Remodel While Living in the House

How to Survive a Kitchen Remodel While Living in the House

Staying home during a renovation isn’t easy, but you can survive a kitchen remodel while living in the house. With a bit of preparation and a few simple strategies, you can save money and maintain a sense of normalcy during the disruption of a reno.

7 Tips for Surviving Your Kitchen Renovation

Minimize inconveniences and interruptions in your day-to-day life and prevent getting in the way of the renovation. These tips will help you survive – even thrive – during your kitchen remodel.

1. Display Your Inspiration Board

A kitchen concept board for inspiration is a helpful tool during the design process, but it also serves as a sanity-keeper during your renovation. Display your inspiration board in a place you’ll see it every day during the kitchen remodel. The visual reminder of what you have to look forward to after all the mess and hassle will help you endure the disruption.

See How to Create a Kitchen Concept Board for Design Inspiration for tips on how to do this.

2. Decrease Stress

A certain amount of stress is inevitable when you’re living in your home during a renovation, but there are things you can do to reduce stress during this time. 

People with lower levels of stress tend to sleep longer than those with higher stress levels [Source]. A good night’s sleep has a huge impact on your stress level, so prioritize a healthy nighttime routine and do what you can to create a space where you can relax and unwind at the end of each day. 

3. Protect Furnishings

A kitchen remodel is going to produce a lot of dust. Remove area rugs and cover furnishings when you’re not using them. 

Consider hanging a barrier between the area under renovation and the rest of the house. This protects your belongings and helps keep things cleaner. Hang and tape plastic across doorways, or try a damp flat sheet when sanding is happening (to catch drywall dust). 

4. Keep Space Clean & Tidy for Safety (for family and pets)

There’s no way to avoid the extra dust produced during a reno, but with a consistent daily maintenance routine, you can keep your living space acceptably clean and tidy. This is necessary for the safety of your family and pets. It prevents injury from debris that might be left lying around and reduces the amount of dust and other toxins your family might breathe in.

Sweep your floors at least once daily. Depending on the work being done or the amount of people and time spent in your home, you may want to do this multiple times a day (after each meal, for example). Mop hard floors daily to minimize dust. 

Use two pairs of slip-on slippers – a clean pair and a dirty pair. The dirty slippers stay in the workspace to prevent tracking dust and dirt from room to room.

Wipe down surfaces and windows to capture dust and consider using an air purifier to reduce allergens, odours, and other irritants. 

Keep in mind that your regular standards must be temporarily set aside during your renovation. It’s simply impossible to maintain perfection during this transition time. Letting go of some cleanliness control will prevent you from burning out. Embrace the chaos. 

5. Plan for Cooking Breaks

There are many meals you can safely and easily prepare at home during your kitchen renovation. Still, you’ll be grateful for a break sometimes. Budget for some take-out or restaurant meals. If you plan for them, you can make healthier choices. 

Some restaurant meals are large enough that you can split it in half and save a portion to enjoy at home the next day. Support local restaurants and look for healthier options beyond fast food. 

Keep in mind grocery stores. They usually carry a variety of pre-made meals and some include a salad bar and/or soup station. 

An even more affordable option is to arrange to cook a meal with friends (in their kitchen). Make it a social evening and share the cost and work of preparing your meal. 

6. Simplify Food Prep

Simplicity is key to surviving your kitchen remodel. Simplify food prep by taking advantage of conveniences like:

  • Pre-chopped fruit and vegetables from the grocery store
  • Pre-hard-boiled eggs
  • Pre-seasoned meat and poultry
  • Pre-cooked frozen meals (like lasagna or pizza)
  • Bottled sauces and seasonings
  • Disposable liners for your crockpot to save on cleanup
  • Paper plates and plastic cutlery (It’s not environmentally-friendly, but it’s temporary and can be recycled.)

Simplify your meals by cooking one-pot dishes and using your crockpot and/or microwave. 

7. Set up a Temporary Kitchen

A temporary kitchen area is a necessity for maintaining some normalcy during your renovation. 

How to Set Up a Temporary Kitchen During Your Kitchen Remodel

Even if you don’t cook a lot or if you’re planning to eat out for most meals during your renovation, you’ll need a designated temporary kitchen space. At the very least, you’ll need to store some snack foods and grab-and-go breakfast options. Most likely, you’ll want the option of preparing some food (or morning coffee) at home, too.

Here are a few tips for setting up a temporary kitchen:

Pick the Right Spot

Choose a spot with hard floors instead of carpet, if possible. It’s best to select a low-traffic area away from the construction site but near to a water source. Make sure you have access to electrical outlets for small appliances and your fridge. (Ensure the outlet can handle the fridge.) 

A garage, spare bedroom with ensuite bathroom, or even an outdoor patio are popular options. 

Prepare a Water Source 

You’ll need access to water for cooking, drinking, and cleaning. If your temporary kitchen doesn’t have a full sink and faucet, you can use a utility bin to collect dirty dishes and a plastic wash basin for washing. Your bathtub or shower can serve as a temporary washing station.. 

Buy a water dispenser for drinking and cooking. 

You can also set up a sink or wash area outside. This works well if you’re using your BBQ a lot. Camping supply stores carry folding tables with a faucet and sink that connects to your garden hose. 

Set Up Temporary Countertops and Storage 

Much of what fills your usual kitchen can be put in storage during your renovation, but you’ll need access to some essentials for your temporary kitchen. Plastic storage bins on wheels are convenient because you can roll them out of the way when you’re not using them. 

A surface large enough to prepare food is also necessary. A dining table works well as a countertop substitute, but be sure to protect it before using it. (Cover it well if placing heat-generating small appliances on it, for example.) 

You can also have your contractor save a section of your old countertop and set it up in your temporary kitchen.

Stock Up on Highly Efficient Supplies

Choose your items wisely. Select small appliances and kitchen tools that serve multiple purposes to save space and time on cleanup. A few suggestions include:

  • Electric kettle – Heat water for tea, oatmeal, soup, and French Press coffee.
  • InstaPot or pressure cooker – Many functions including saute, roast, simmer, warm, and more.
  • Blender – Make smoothies and sauces.
  • Toaster oven – Toast bread, reheat leftovers, cook hot dishes.
  • Glass measuring cup – Heat water in the microwave, mix sauces and other liquids, scoop soups and sauces.
  • Microwave-safe dishes – Cook or bake in the microwave and use them for storing leftovers.

Keep Cleanup Easy

Even though disposable plates and utensils are not the most environmentally-friendly option, your sanity is important, too. You can choose biodegradable and compostable disposables made from sustainable materials. Beyond the convenience, another advantage is that you’ll use less water because you won’t have to wash them. 

If disposables are not an option for you, stick to a minimal supply of dishes. Reserve only 2 plates, bowls, cups and cutlery sets per family member. Even if you have to wash all your dishes more often, it’ll be a smaller task with less dishes available in the first place. 

You Can Survive Your Kitchen Reno

A kitchen renovation creates inconvenience and disruption in your life. There’s just no way of getting around it. But you can survive your kitchen remodel while living in the house by creating spaces to maintain a degree of normalcy. 

Our renovation specialists have the expertise to help you prepare for your kitchen remodel. Contact us today for help with planning your kitchen renovation.

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