Kitchen remodels are one of the best home upgrades. They can also be one of the worst to live through – if you’re not prepared.
Whether you’re doing a simple cabinet upgrade or a full-scale kitchen renovation, living without your kitchen can add a bit of crazy to your life. When you lose access to your kitchen, it’s easy to resort to takeout and pizza delivery. Unfortunately, this can sometimes take a big chunk out of your pocketbook and add an extra notch (or two) to your belt.
The key to surviving your kitchen remodel without breaking the bank or completely blowing your diet is to plan. With the right setup and preparation, surviving without a kitchen can be completely manageable.
5 Essentials of a Makeshift Kitchen
From mayo for sandwiches to lettuce for fresh salads, a fridge is essential. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a full-size fridge. In a pinch, a mini fridge is better than no fridge at all. But if possible, move your current fridge to your makeshift kitchen. You’ll really appreciate the extra space.
If you plan on doing any cooking at home (which is the whole point of a makeshift kitchen), you’ll have some dirty dishes. Most likely, your remodeling contractor won’t be able to relocate your dishwasher. But regardless, you’re going to need a sink.
In some instances, your remodeling contractor may be able to set up a utility sink. A utility sink is much bigger than a standard bathroom sink, which will make washing dishes easier. Alternatively, a tub or shower with a handheld showerhead can be a good option. The key is to make sure you have access to warm water.
3. Prep Space
Whether you’re rough chopping veggies or slicing a grilled chicken breast, you’ll need a flat and sturdy place to do so. While your prep space doesn’t need to be huge, it is helpful to have a table.
In a pinch, you can lay a large cutting board over your sink. Alternatively, two sawhorses can be used to hold up a piece of plywood.
In some regions of the country, the BBQ isn’t always the most enjoyable option during a kitchen renovation. When it’s raining or snowing, most homeowners aren’t too keen to go outside and grill.
Luckily in the Tucson area, we’re blessed with beautiful weather. This makes surviving a remodel with a BBQ a surefire win. You and your family might even love it so much, this becomes your go-to mode of cooking!
5. Toaster Oven and/or Microwave
A toaster oven and/or a microwave also greatly expand your dining options. From reheating leftovers to whipping up a crispy melted-cheese sandwich, it’s always nice to have something warm and toasty.
Bonus Items Survival Tips for a Makeshift Kitchen
- Crockpot (Great for soups, stews and one-pot meals.)
- Instapot (Awesome for quickly cooking everything from rice to tender, braised meat.)
- Biodegradable Paper Plates and Forks (Cut down on the number of dishes you have to wash in your makeshift sink by using biodegradable dishware.)
- Jarred Sauces (A great sauce can make a meal. Unfortunately, making your own sauce can also create a lot of extra dishes. Having a few go-to jarred sauce options on hand.)
- Instant Rice and/or Quinoa (Rice and/or quinoa is a great way to fill out a meal. Cut down on the mess and prep, by having some instant microwavable options on hand.)
- Pans You Can Put on the Grill (Pans that can go on the grill allow you to turn your BBQ into a stove and/or oven. Consider a cast iron pan, which works well on the grill and can be extremely easy to clean if treated properly.)
Where to Put Your Makeshift Kitchen During a Kitchen Remodel
When it comes to a kitchen remodel survival guide, the ‘where’ of where you place your makeshift kitchen is essential. It needs to be a place that is:
- Dust free because no one wants to eat the dirt and grime created from a construction zone
- Has easy access to sink because no one wants to cook on one side of the house and rush to the other side to do their dishes
- Is equipped electrical outlets so you can plug in key items like your fridge and toaster oven
- Provides enough storage space for the pantry essentials like salt, pepper, spatulas, and a few canned goods
If room allows, you may even consider asking your contractor not to toss your old cabinets. These can sometimes be moved temporarily into a spare bedroom or basement to serve as your temporary work space. If they don’t have countertops anymore, you can simply lay a piece of plywood on top to create a makeshift surface.
Why Plan Your Vacation During Your Kitchen Remodel?
No matter how you slice it, living through a remodel isn’t a cakewalk. That’s why whether we’re talking about a cabinet remodel survival guide or a full-scale kitchen remodel survival guide, we always invite clients to take their vacation during the remodel.
Not only does this give you a break from the crazy, it offers you an opportunity to return rejuvenated. If you plan to vacation during at least part of your kitchen remodel, the key is to establish a clear form of communication with your contractor in advance.
How will your Tucson remodeling contractor reach out with questions? Will you have regular check-ins? Will they provide status updates?
Understand Your Kitchen Remodel Schedule
Remodeling shows might make you think your full kitchen renovation can be completed in a quick 48-hour weekend. Wouldn’t that be nice? Reality is, a full-makeover takes substantially longer.
Depending on whether you’ve selected custom, semi-custom or fully-framed cabinets, it can take 8 to 10 weeks (or longer) for them to arrive. Specialty plumbing updates can require extra time for parts to be delivered and lines to be connected.
Countertops can take 10 days to be produced or longer. And typically, it’s best to wait to order these until after the cabinets are installed. This allows the contractor to correct any slight deviations from the original specifications.
Additionally, any changes to the project can further delay your timeline. The key is to understand the timeline going into the remodel and how any changes will affect this timeline. Also, avoid planning a big party or gathering just days after the intended completion date. If something does come up to push this date back, you’ll want to have the flexibility to do so easily.
- Donate used items that are still functional, such as older cabinets and appliances that still work. Nonprofits like Habitat for Humanity can often use these items in projects.
- Offer a friend a home-cooked meal in exchange for using their kitchen. You bring all the fixings, do all the work, and have a great time together.
- If you’ll be able to have a freezer during the remodel, consider pre-making a few frozen dinners in smaller portions. This will allow you to defrost and reheat meals as needed.
- Plan a weekly picnic night with your family. If you really love hosting dinner parties, this can be a great way not to miss out on inviting friends too! Make it a potluck affair and invite each guest to bring a separate dish.
- Don’t hold out your most prized possessions to use during the remodel, such as the wood salad bowl carved by your great grandma or your nice crystal wine glasses. Even the most careful among us can have an accident during a remodel. There’s no reason to risk it.
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