So, you’re considering having your kitchen remodeled or at least updated and may be wondering just how long you’re going to be without that heart of your home. Your family depends on the kitchen to, well…survive right? We need to eat and we need a place to store, prepare, and serve the food. Just how terrible is it going to be without having a functioning kitchen while it’s being worked on? With proper planning…..yes it will be an inconvenience, but it is a completely survivable situation. While some kitchen renovations may not be as intrusive, most will best be handled with some points that follow.
Setting up a temporary kitchen.
That’s one of the first things you will want to consider. I suggest a small to medium size table set up with a microwave, coffee pot, and maybe a hot plate or toaster oven if you’re really ambitious. If you don’t already have a small microwave, you could even use your over the range microwave if you had that removed. Since those are setup with venting filters/lights underneath you may need to use something underneath so it sits flat and so the door will open. You’ll want the table big enough to allow room for food prep and service. Paper plates and cups with plastic flatware makes life simpler during this time. If you can manage a couple chairs around the table with room to use them you’ll be doing well. If possible your table will hopefully be somewhat close to another sink/somewhere to get water and use to wash the very limited amount of utensils you may need. Garage utility sinks are the best in these situations since they are typically fairly large, if you don’t have one you may need to just use the nearest bathroom sink. The extent of your temporary kitchen might be reflected in the extent of your kitchen remodel project, how long is it going to take to be a fully functioning kitchen again.
Emptying all cabinets and clearing all counter tops. You will probably want to get some boxes and maybe even some large plastic bins. You can pack up most all your plates, cups, silverware, pots and pans in boxes. Find a good safe place away from the “construction zone” and stack these away, you won’t be needing to get to them during the remodel if you stock up on those paper plates etc I mentioned already. You might want to keep a small pan if you opted for having a hot plate, and you may want to keep a couple plastic mixing bowls handy. Use a plastic bin with lid to keep the items you still want access to, it can be slid under your temporary kitchen table and the lid will help keep it all clean.
Storing your food items. Some of the food items in your kitchen you will not be needing while your kitchen is being worked on. Baking staples and other non essential/non perishable food like flour, spices, oils etc. you can box up and stash away with the other boxes in a good safe place. Other food items you will still want access to. Cereal, bread, fruits, snacks etc. you can again use plastic bins with lids to keep them handy at your temporary kitchen table. You might find it’s a good time to have an occasional night out to eat dinner since it’s definitely going to be more difficult to prepare a full course meal with just a temporary kitchen set up.
Relocating your refrigerator. Obviously you’re going to want full access to your refrigerator. Keep this in mind when choosing the locating for your table. The refrigerator can be placed most anywhere there’s an outlet to plug it in, though it also does mean you’ll need to disconnect the water line turn off the ice-maker if it’s so equipped. You can just get bags of ice and keep that in the freezer for the time being. The best plan will allow you to have your temporary kitchen table, refrigerator near each other and outside of what will be the main traffic flow of the actual remodel. I always recommend to have a piece of plywood or other firm surface to have your fridge sitting on rather than carpet.
If you are having your kitchen done by a professional remodel contractor, of course you will be meeting with them to make a number of situations together. Cabinet choices, counter tops choices, appliances etc…..and it would be well worth the time to discuss details of the kitchen item storage and temporary kitchen table location. It helps the whole project run smooth and on time to eliminate working around obstacles and minimize the potential for damage. It will also help to make sure there will be enough space to deal with new materials being delivered without interfering with space needed for the stored kitchen cabinet items.
How long will this “inconvenience” last? It’s really going to depend on the extent of work being done and who is doing the work. There are variables that will help determine how long you need to plan for. The size of the kitchen/number of cabinets involved is just a start. Any layout changes planned particularly if that means changes to electrical circuits and plumbing locations can add a fair amount of time. Materials being used will also affect this time including most slab type counter tops. Templates need to be made after the new cabinets are installed, then the counter tops are actually fabricated and finished and scheduled for installation. Tile materials whether it’s flooring, counters, or back splashes can also take some time depending again on size and extent of details. Discuss the schedule with your contractor, they should be able to give you a pretty accurate time frame to expect. If you chose a contractor with a good reputation and good reviews, chances are they are the ones most capable of giving a realistic completion date and making that happen for you without a bunch of needless delays.
I’ve been through this as the contractor in many homes over the years, and I’ve been through it in my personal home. It’s not so terrible, especially with good planning. I actually get a little kick out of some of the different reactions from folks that are about to go through this when we’re planning their kitchen remodel. Some can be pretty concerned about losing their functioning kitchen while still feeding the family until they can once again regain the heart of their home. Others…..just quickly talk about how happy they’ll be to get a break from cooking and plan to just “eat out” until it’s done. Trust me, even the happy (don’t have to cook) ones need to plan a good temporary kitchen even if it’s pretty minimal. If you have children you will want to plan a little extra with them in mind. What are their usual snacks and how accessible will they be? Maybe some juice boxes instead of using worrying about keeping enough disposable cups on hand. Whatever your normal routines are can typically be incorporated in your temporary kitchen. I’ll admit for my own kitchen, fast food and frozen dinners were my staple. I had my microwave and coffee pot, paper plates etc. and my stash of snack items.
Temporary counter top and sink might be something to consider, if there is going to be a very lengthy time between having your cabinets installed and your finished counter tops ready to install. A piece of plywood can be placed on top of the sink cabinet with a simple single bowl sink, faucet, and drain connected with no need for a disposal. It’ll mean a little extra work and possible expense for the temporary sink and faucet. You can decide on that option for yourself, some kitchen remodel contractors even have a temporary setup that can be reused from job to job. Just keep in mind that you really still don’t have all your food and service items back in place anyway so is it really worth it if you already have an alternate sink you’ve been using up to this point. I have a stainless steel sink, simple faucet that I picked up on clearance once upon a time to have on hand for just this sort of thing. It still hasn’t been put to use yet, since so far, everyone has just opted to wait the extra week or two for the real counter tops.