How to survive a kitchen renovation

What if you can’t stay somewhere else during your kitchen renovation? Here’s how you can survive when you live on site.
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Image credit: Aleksandra Zlatkovic

If you ask people who have done a major kitchen renovation before, they will tell you that the best way to survive the construction is to flee and stay somewhere else. Even your designer and your builder will agree to this. Unfortunately, moving out isn’t an option for everyone. Some renovators chose to live on-site and get through the renovation. 

If that’s you, these tips will help you prepare for what lies ahead: 

Be emotionally resilient

We always say that proper planning and working with the right professionals from day one are the keys to a successful renovation.

However, there is another element that can help you throughout the process.

It is emotional resilience, your ability to adapt to stressful situations or crises.

During a kitchen renovation, you will be exposed to:

– a cluttered and chaotic house
– eight hours of torturous construction noises
– tons of demolition debris

Not to mention, not having a kitchen also means you can't easily whip up a fresh hot meal for your family. You are stuck eating instant noodles, takeaway, and microwaveable meals.

Plus, a lot of things can happen, and some of them can be frustrating.

When things go unplanned, try not to absorb the tension like a sponge. Instead, hit pause for a second, find out what's wrong, discuss the problem with your team, and solve it together. Listen to the recommendations of the design and construction professionals working on your project. Trust that they know the best solutions to the unexpected problems you've encountered.

If you need to take your mind off things, try:
– yoga
– meditation
– working out in a gym
– spending valuable time with friends and family outside the house

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:

Keep these items accessible at all times:

  1. Barbecuing essentials 
  2. A sharp knife 
  3. Chopping board
  4. One or two microwaveable food containers
  5. Dining essentials for every member of the family
  6. Coffee, tea, sugar, creamer
  7. Paper plates and plastic cutlery for the builders
  8. Liquid detergent for washing dishes
  9. Salt, pepper, and basic condiments
  10. Can opener
  11. Bottle opener
  12. Foil and plastic wrap
  13. Pet food and their bowls
  14. Food trays

You will need these to prepare meals during the renovation. You will place them in your makeshift kitchen, which we will discuss later.

Pack up the rest of the kitchen

Stow away all the contents of your cabinets, drawers, and pantry. Carefully wrap, pack, and store inside boxes. Organise the items in groups (i.e. spices, pots and pans, dishware, wine glasses, etc.). Label each box properly to make unpacking easy. 

Packing everything in boxes will take a lot of time so it's best to do this a few days before the builders come. 

To get the job done much faster, ask for help from the people around you. You can also hire professional movers to pack your stuff for you.

kitchen renovation
Image credit: The Gold Hive

Set up a makeshift kitchen

The kitchen is the heart of the house. Before your kitchen renovation starts, set up a temporary makeshift kitchen so you can still prepare food and snacks.

Throw in these handy appliances: 

  1. Electric grill
  2. Electric kettle
  3. Electric stove
  4. Toaster
  5. Coffee maker
  6. Slow cooker
  7. Small frying pan
  8. Microwave
  9. Fridge
  10. Barbecue (outside the house)

Put all the dining and cooking essentials that you will use on a daily basis here too. 

You can station your makeshift kitchen anywhere in the house as long as there's access to water and electricity.

Designate a place for meals

With your kitchen and dining area are gone, you have to set up a temporary place to eat. It will be nice to have an outdoor dining area where you can share meals as a family.

outdoor dining pergola

Store ready-to-eat and microwavable food

As mentioned earlier, your renovation diet will consist of pre-prepared food from the grocery and takeaway dinners. Purchase quick oats, cereals, and heat-and-eat sandwiches, meals, canned soup, etc. Store these items inside your fridge or in racks. Then, take them out only when you're ready to reheat them.

Cook real food too

Go to the market to buy fresh produce and meat that you and your family can cook easily. Later, 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. The same goes with the condiments you like with your barbecue. 

Cut your food garbage

It is tempting to use paper plates and plastic cutlery during meals to avoid washing dishes, but this decision is costly and is harmful to the environment. So instead, leave one plate, bowl, glass, mug, knife, fork and spoon for each family member. 

Using disposable eating utensils is non-negotiable when you need to cut off your water supply. 

Clean up food rubbish

Clean up immediately after every meal. Scrape off all food rubbish and throw it 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

As the name suggests, a construction-free zone is an area of the house where no work is being done and is off-limits to builders. Stay in this area if you need a break after a tiring and stressful day. A construction-free zone is a must, especially when you have kids and seniors staying in the house with you.  

Are you going to live through your renovation project?

Staying on-site during the construction and installation of your new kitchen is a challenge. It will be hard to achieve a work-life balance during these times. 

To make the situation more manageable, you must:

  1. Create your kitchen renovation dream team. Superdraft's platform will give you access to the nation's best design and construction professionals. Get all the PROs you need and manage them all in one place.
  2. Familiarise yourself with the entire design and construction process and monitor your project's progress. Superdraft's platform allows you to see all the stages of your project, from initial design consultation to construction. Knowing the plan of action makes project management more manageable, especially for first-time renovators. 

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