How to Survive a Kitchen Remodel

by | Feb 27, 2023 | blog, How to, Kitchen | 0 comments

For the past few months, you’ve met with contractors and designers and looked at dozens of cabinet door styles, light fixtures, tiles, and appliances. Finally, you have the kitchen remodeling plan of your dreams and are ready to start.

Now comes the hard part: knowing how to survive a kitchen remodel. You and your family will have to live in the house while the contractor demolishes your old kitchen and completes your new one. Be aware that every home remodeling project entails a bit of accommodation and adjustment for the entire family. Still, it’s the most difficult with a kitchen remodeling project.

Although most of those who know how to survive a kitchen remodel, suggest staying elsewhere for the next few months, that’s not always a feasible plan. Living without a kitchen during construction can be a challenge, but it can be done with some pre-planning. It’ll be easier than you think – if you follow these suggestions.

Surviving a Kitchen Remodel includes Not Being in a Hurry

It can take 6 to 16 weeks or longer to finish building your new kitchen. It depends on the extent of your project and the space size. But understanding how to survive a kitchen remodel will help by remembering that it takes time for good work and quality craftsmanship

Watch the video above about how to handle the stress of a remodel.

You want a luxurious, high-end kitchen with professional designers and skilled installers. You may need to be more familiar with all the details, so allow everyone to do their job at their pace.

Living in a construction zone may feel overwhelming, but don’t panic. You’ll soon be thrilled with the finished product.

Surviving a Kitchen Remodel Can Be an Adventure

Frankly, surprises arise with any remodeling project. Plumbing and electrical systems may need to be updated to code; structural issues may need to be addressed, etc. Installing a new kitchen with inferior plumbing or over a faulty subfloor leads to disaster. Every potential problem must be discussed immediately so the deadline might be pushed back an additional week or three.

Wondering how to survive your kitchen remodel? Stay calm and know that timelines are suggestions and not carved in stone. This project will take longer than you think, even if you plan very carefully. Consider this an incredible adventure with your family; remember, you will probably never have to remodel this kitchen in this house again.

Nicole Raffensperger, CKBR – Design Tech Remodeling

Survive a Kitchen Remodel by Having Realistic Expectations

To survive a kitchen remodel, understand that your house will be dusty and messy for the next several months. It will be noisy, too. Even worse, you  go into your kitchen to make your morning coffee. But instead, you walk into a construction zone. How exasperating.

Sometimes you’ll get frustrated, too – especially when you’ve had cold Pop-Tarts for an entire week because you can’t prepare anything for breakfast. You might also have to use the bathtub to wash dishes and eat too much take-out food.

The best way to know how to survive a kitchen remodel is to let go of any control you think you have; because you don’t have any. For a while, anyway, this is not your house, your job, or your project. Strangers will be in your home tearing things apart and then putting it all back together.

Therefore, find reasons to get out of the house. Take a walk, join a yoga class, go to dinner, and hang out with friends who make you laugh. It’ll be over soon, and you’ll finally have your dream kitchen!

Discuss Your Project Timeline with the Professionals

Discuss the timeline with your designer and contractor. This will give you a better idea of the scope of the project. For example, cabinets can take 8 to 10 weeks to arrive. After the new cabinetry is delivered, installing them may take up to two more weeks. Countertops can take even longer because it’s best to wait until the cabinets are in before taking final measurements. Only then will the countertops be produced, which can take 10 to 14 days.

Kitchen Remodel by Design Tech Remodeling
Kitchen Remodel by Design Tech Remodeling

Quality and accuracy are the priority of professional contractors. If someone promises a two- to three-week turnaround for a completely remodeled kitchen, either they’re lying, or their quality will be poor. An unscrupulous contractor will promise you the world. When you realize it will take much longer than promised, it’s too late to do anything about it.

Prepare and Get Organized First

Before demolition begins, it’s essential to take care of the following:

• Pack the kitchen carefully and ask your friends and family for help. Don’t toss things in a box and expect to find them easily at a later date.

• This is the ideal time to decide what should stay and what should go. Keep a donation box nearby while you’re packing. As you work, ask yourself if you use it and how often. Do you have multiples of the same things? Where will you put it in the new kitchen? Is there a family member or friend who could use it instead? 

• Keep out a few plates, cups, utensils, etc., to use during construction. Pare down to the kitchen tools you can’t live without. Box up anything you won’t need for the next few months and keep the essentials close at hand.

• Find an area in the house to use as a temporary kitchen. (More on this below.)

• Plan for eating meals out, fast food, or going to someone else’s house occasionally. Prepare food ahead of time that you can easily cook in the microwave. Be careful not to blow the budget on take-out food.

• Change the way you think about grocery shopping. Since you won’t have all your appliances available, consider stopping at the store more often and choosing fresh food for a meal or two at a time.

• Before demolition, talk to the contractor if you plan to save any plumbing fixtures, cabinets, or other materials being removed. Consider donating these items to a local charity or using them in other areas of your house. For example, cabinets offer great extra storage in the garage. You can also create another kitchen or add a bar area in a finished basement.

Decide What You’ll Need to Survive Your Kitchen Remodeling Project

While packing up the kitchen, decide what you’ll use daily and keep those items handy. Suggestions for items you’ll probably need:

• Cutting boards

• Bread knife, carving knife

• Serving platters, large spoons, and a large tray for carrying dishes and food from other areas

•   Grilling tools (more on this later)

• Mugs, cups, coffee, tea, packets of sweetener/sugar

• Salt, pepper, spices

• Silverware, bowl, and plate for every family member (if not using paper products)

• Can opener, plastic wrap, foil, and a few storage containers

• Dish towels, liquid detergent, a small plastic tub, and a scrub brush

• Don’t forget your pets! They’ll want their water bowls, food, and toys

Create a Kitchen Elsewhere in the House

Eating out all the time is not only expensive, but it can also be exhausting and unhealthy. You’ll also need a space to make coffee, kid’s school lunches, or a quick snack. 

Set up a temporary place for a substitute kitchen away from dust and debris. It might be in the garage, basement, home office, or bedroom. It helps if it’s near a bathroom or another water source like a wet bar. 

Set up a card table and chairs for dining, use some storage boxes or a desktop for prep space to have an area for basic meals with the family. Keep a microwave, toaster/oven, coffee maker, mini-fridge, or other small appliances nearby. This will allow the family to function similar to how they did in the old kitchen.

Family sitting at picnic table

Having a table for meals will be important because sitting on the floor or a bed will get old fast. Try sitting outside at the picnic table or on the porch during nice weather. Make it festive by adding a pretty tablecloth or placemats.

Many people rely on paper plates, cups, and napkins, so there is less dishwashing. However, it can be expensive, bad for the environment, and won’t always work with “real” food. Have you ever tried to cut a steak with plastic utensils on a paper plate?

Each family member only needs one bowl, plate, drinking glass, knife, fork, and spoon. It won’t take long to clean up with the limited number of dishes you’ll use.

The Best Way How to Survive a Kitchen Remodel is to Get Grilling

Here is a great way to get the rest of the family involved with making lunch or dinner:

Family grilling outdoors
  1. Use the grill.
  2. Go online to look up grilling techniques and new recipes to try. You may discover how much fun it is to bake a pizza, roast veggies, or make something other than hot dogs and hamburgers on the grill.
  3. Think back to your childhood and make foil-packet meals, skillet pies, scrambled eggs, and, best of all – s’mores!

Who knows – if you get the family involved with cooking on the grill, they may enjoy it and want to do it more often. You may end up renovating the backyard, too!

Keep a Container of Snacks Handy

What do you do if you’re starving but don’t have the energy to put together an entire meal in your temporary kitchen? Eat some snacks.

You can serve peanut butter sandwiches, trail mix, cut-up fruit, fish crackers, pretzels, and other easy-to-eat foods for a quick meal. 

How to Survive a Kitchen Remodel By Cleaning Up Immediately After a Meal

No matter how much you love to cook, your family’s routine will be disrupted during your kitchen remodel project. Skip trying to make any fancy meals for the time being. Messy foods like pancake batter or spaghetti are probably best to make after your new kitchen is finished. 

Many meals are difficult to prepare, eat, and clean up after. No need to add to the mess already in your house. Your menu should probably be the food you can prepare more easily, like soup, sandwiches, cereal, hamburgers, etc.

There’s a catch when it comes to cooking in a makeshift kitchen. While you’re setting up the new space, decide how you’re going to handle the clean-up. Is there a sink or bathtub nearby? Will you bring the dishes outside and hose them off? Can you fill a small plastic bucket with warm, soapy water?

Plus, be sure to have dish detergent, drying towels, and a scrub brush nearby. Have a lidded trash can to scrape the scraps and keep them closed to contain odors. Once the dishes are clean, put them back in their new spot. Keeping this area tidy will also help you survive the remodeling process.

Have a Construction-Free Zone

Choose at least one room in the house to be used by the family to relax and be together. This “sanity-saving” room will not have any construction debris, supplies, tools, or anything from the kitchen. It is off-limits for anything construction-related.

The best options for this area are a room not directly above or below the kitchen and not the adjoining family room. It’s too easy for workers to spread boxes of tile, tools, appliances, etc., right next to where it needs to be installed later or stored. Above or below the kitchen may be too noisy to read a book or watch television easily.

If You Can, Go Out of Town 

Family getaway

If you are comfortable allowing the contractor to work in your house while you’re gone, consider planning a getaway during construction. You could stay with some relatives for a short visit or stop at a nearby town you’ve always wanted to see. Look up local Airbnb’s, short-term rentals, or a fancy resort if you choose to live it up.

A family vacation is a great option for the dilemma of how to survive a kitchen remodel. Wait until after the demolition phase to ensure any structural problems have been rectified. Even going away for a long weekend can help you relax and unwind. Come back feeling refreshed and ready to see the progress made.

Keep the Big Picture in Mind

Kitchen Remodel by Design Tech Remodeling
Kitchen Remodel by Design Tech Remodeling

In the grand scheme of things, these next few months are just a short bit of inconvenience. When you finally have your dream kitchen, any memories of hassles or problems will fade away. The question of how to survive a kitchen remodel all comes down to being adaptable, having some patience, and keeping a positive attitude.

Design Tech Remodeling

Design Tech Remodeling Staff
Design Tech Remodeling Staff

As you’ve discovered, there are various ways to help your family survive a kitchen remodeling project. You can cook outdoors, eat in restaurants more often, take a vacation, stay with friends briefly, have a construction-free zone, and more. 

You can also make your remodeling project more enjoyable by working with the professionals at Design Tech Remodeling.

Explore our Photo Gallery for amazing ideas and inspiration for your luxury kitchen remodel project. Discover why Design Tech Remodeling is the best in southeastern Wisconsin for traditional, contemporary, or transitional kitchen designs. 

Our NARI-certified kitchen designer will ensure your new kitchen reflects your vision by enhancing the workflow, maximizing storage, and blending seamlessly with the rest of your home. Design Tech Remodeling is among the highest-rated remodeling contractors in the greater Milwaukee community. Contact Design Tech Remodeling today and find out how to get your dream kitchen project started.

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