If you ask people who have done a major kitchen renovation before, they will tell you that the best way to survive the construction stage is to flee and stay somewhere else. Even your designer and your builder will agree to this. Unfortunately, this option isn’t possible for every homeowner. There are times when they need to live on-site and be a part of the construction.
If that’s you, here are every bit of information you need to prepare for what lies ahead:
Let go of the control
The first thing to do before your kitchen renovation is to prepare yourself mentally. Your renovation project will be messy and noisy. Expect to walk in a cluttered and chaotic site every morning for a week or two. Say goodbye to quiet mornings because you will wake up from demolition and construction sounds. No more fresh, homemade, and hot meals too. Your renovation diet will consist of take away meals and ready-to-eat microwavable.
Also, there is a 50-50 chance that you will encounter delays and unexpected changes. It will be frustrating, but understand that it happens in pursuit of a better outcome. The choices are simple: either we fix errors now or deal with more problems in the future.
You are about to embark on a stressful journey — do not absorb the tension like you’re a sponge. When these things happen to you during construction, let it be. Let go of the control but not to a point that everything will fall out of the plan.
To avoid getting stressed-out, try meditation or take yoga classes. These activities will clear your mind of problems and will help you feel calm. Do your yoga and meditation outside the house and far from the construction site. Go to a gym, park, or a friend’s house (if your friend does yoga).
Organise your stuff
The next thing to do is to organise all your stuff before the builders and contractors come in. Here’s a checklist of what you should do:
✅ Pack up
Put away all the appliances and utensils that you won’t use for a while.
When you’re unsure of the items to display and pack away, ask yourself… “Am I going to use this often?”. If not, then carefully wrap, pack, and store it in boxes. Store the items in groups and label each box properly to make unpacking easy.
Understand that this process takes a lot of time so, do this a week before the builders come knocking at your door. If the job is too much for you, ask help from your partner, friend, and other family members. You can also hire professional movers to pack your stuff for you.
✅ Leave a few important kitchen items at hand
Don’t pack everything. There items that you don’t want to pack in boxes because you will need them to prepare meals during the renovation. Keep these items in your makeshift kitchen (more on this later) for easy access:
- Barbecuing essentials
- A few knives
- Chopping board
- One or two platters
- Dining essentials (one mug, glass, plate, set of cutlery) for every member of the family
- Coffee, tea, sugar, creamer
- Paper plates and plastic cutlery (for builders)
- Liquid detergent
- Salt, pepper, and other spices/condiments
- Can opener
- Bottle opener
- Foil and plastic wrap
- Tupperwares and other microwavable food containers
- Pet food and their bowls
- Food trays
✅ Move your fridge
As said earlier, you will munch on a lot of take away and microwavable food options. You need a working refrigerator to store these. So, move your fridge elsewhere in the house. If you don’t have a fridge yet, rent a mini-fridge and put it in your makeshift kitchen.
Set up a makeshift kitchen
The kitchen is the heart of the house. Food preparation never stops even during a renovation. When renovating yours, set up a temporary mini-kitchen to replace its function.
Throw in these handy equipments in your makeshift kitchen:
- Electric grill
- Electric kettle
- Coffee maker
- Slow cooker
- Small frying pan
- Barbecue (put this outside the house)
You can station your makeshift kitchen anywhere in the house as long as there’s access to water and electricity. If you have a kitchenette in the garage (like other lucky people), set up your makeshift kitchen there.
Designate a place for meals
With your kitchen (and dining area) gone, you have to set up a temporary place to eat. It’s not always ideal to eat off TV trays on the sofa or on the living room floor. It will be nice to have an outdoor dining area where you can eat under a nice, warm weather.
Prepare to eat a lot of microwavable food
As mentioned earlier, your renovation diet will consist of pre-prepared food from the grocery and take away dinners. Think of quick oats, cereals, and heat-and-eat sandwiches, meals, and canned soup. Store these food items inside your mini-fridge or in portable racks. Take them out only when you’re about to microwave or eat them.
But, buy and eat real food too
Go to the market once in a while to buy fresh produce and meat that you and your family can cook. When it gets dark and all construction stops, gather everyone around the barbecue and grill your meal outside the house.
To make grilling easier for you, unpack all the kitchen utensils used for grilling and store them in your makeshift kitchen. Same goes with the condiments you like with your barbecue.
Cut your food garbage
A lot of renovators store all their plates and eating utensils away and use paper plates and plastic cutlery instead. This is okay for a short period of time. But, keep in mind that this decision is costly and is harmful to the environment. Instead, leave one plate, bowl, glass, mug, knife, fork and spoon for each member of the family. No need for extra plates — you don’t want dinner guests in your house during a renovation.
Clean up food rubbish
Clean up immediately after every meal. Scrape off all food rubbish and throw them properly in a covered trash bin. Wash the dishes you used straight away — you don’t want mice and roaches invading your makeshift kitchen. Towel dry all the plates, glasses, mugs, and cutlery you used and put them back in their rack.
Designate a construction-free zone
If you ever heard your designer or builder say “pick one room and make it yours”, believe them. A construction-free zone in the middle of a messy and chaotic builder works is key to surviving a major kitchen reno.
When you establish one room or area as off-limits, you have a place that’s clear of work. Note that this room isn’t the place to store all the things that came out of your old kitchen. It’s a sanity-saving space. It’s where you can live normally after a tiring day.
The best place to be your construction-free zone are bedrooms that aren’t adjacent to or above the kitchen. Builders tend to store their tools and construction supplies in a space close to construction, thus adjacent rooms shouldn’t be off-limits.
Are you going to live on-site when your renovation starts?
It’s almost impossible to get through a renovation without encountering bumps and challenges along the way. But, the journey will be easier if you have a great team on your side. They will take off most of the work and stress of your shoulders. They will also help you surpass every problem along the way.