How to Live Through a Kitchen Remodel
Renovations are tough, and it’s going to suck. Anytime you have your home invaded by contractors with walls knocked down, dust everywhere, and people in and out constantly it’s rough times. In fact, behind money struggles, remodels are the number two cause of divorce (yikes!). But don’t worry – there are things you can do to make remodels suck less as long as you’re willing to go ALL IN with eyes wide open to the nitty-gritty. So before you decide to renovate your kitchen, there are some things you need to know about how to live through a kitchen remodel. I’ve got five tips to share, so let’s dive in.
Tip #1 – Prepare Yourself
Be fully aware of what a renovation entails. It’s going to be messy, noisy, incredibly inconvenient and it’s going to put stress on your marriage and family. There’s no avoiding any of that. Preparing yourself mentally is key for survival.
Get ready for a challenging few months, even if you’re not doing the work yourself. It’s going to put strain on your home, your family and your resources, so take a deep breath and buckle up.
You’re in for a rough ride, but the outcome is going to be worth it. And remember, if it was easy and inexpensive, everybody would do it.
Tip #2 – Prepare Your Space
Real talk: you need to prepare for three months without a kitchen. (Yeah, that sucks.) Will the remodel take less than three months? I hope so. But we are coming out of COVID, supplies are in high demand and difficult to get, contractors are busy, things happen when you open up walls and start dealing with plumbing and electrical, etc. It’s A LOT and you need to be ready.
If you’re going to survive three months without a kitchen, you’ll need a creative setup. (Think back to your college days when you got by with a toaster oven and the good old George Foreman grill!) Cook with convenience in mind and plan to use a blender, slow cooker or even your outdoor grill.
It’s not going to be glamorous or sexy, but you need to plan practically. Your dreamy end result will be worth it.
In addition to a creative kitchen space, takeout is going to be your best friend. It’s truly how you live through a kitchen remodel when you can’t plan meals, shop or cook the way you’re used to. Keep the cost of dining out in mind as you plan your budget for the remodel. Trust me, you’ll thank yourself later.
Not sure this can be done? Where there is a will, there’s a way, Friends. I did a full kitchen remodel a couple of years ago in Texas for a sweet family with three kids under the age of four. If they can do it, so can you! They cooked out of a tiny RV kitchen and it was hilarious and adorable. Was it ideal? No. Did they make it work? Yes. They made it a fun adventure for their family.
If you can approach your project with that same sensibility, find comfort in small things and plan ahead to make the best of it, you will have figured out how to live through a kitchen remodel before it even starts!
Tip #3 – Prepare for Mess
Mess is inevitable during a renovation, but one way to mitigate this is to tape off the construction zone. Good contractors will do this naturally, but if they don’t either ask them to or do it yourself. Tape off those openings with plastic sheeting and painters tape. This keeps the construction area accessible, well defined and as dust-encompassing as possible, while the rest of your home remains livable.
The more you minimize the spreading of dust and renovation-related junk, the happier you will be. And it’s your house, so don’t hesitate to speak up.
Tip #4 – Prepare a Menu
Create a manageable menu and meal routine for you and your family. In a temporary setup, you are going to be out of your element. You will likely need to shop more often for groceries and you won’t have your typical prep space or appliances. It will be a lot like living in a dorm room or hotel, so you’re going to want to be very intentional with your meal plan and allow for plenty of takeout.
Keep meals simple, let go of gourmet and give yourself lots of grace.
Tip #5 – Prepare a Zen Zone
Declare a renovation-free zone. Keep in mind, more than just your kitchen will be impacted during your remodel. Contractors are going to need to have somewhere to store their tools and materials as they arrive, and appliances and kitchen items will be relocated to other rooms. It will feel like this one project is completely taking over your life!
As annoying as it is, that’s perfectly normal. I recommend giving your team specific areas for storage and workflow, but also designate areas that are off limits. This is how you live through a kitchen remodel.
Above all, protect your peace by giving your family a safe space to go for a little zen when you need it.
Here’s one more helpful tip: Be kind and patient with yourself and with your team. Things are going to go wrong. Delays will happen. It’s not a matter of if these things happen, but when. You never know what surprises are lurking behind walls, under floor boards, inside plumbing, etc. They’re always there; I have yet to work on a remodeling project where we didn’t encounter something unexpected.
Be gentle. Trust your team. They want the best for you and it’s a process for everyone.