When about to undertake a kitchen remodel, it’s easy to concentrate only on the finished product and what will be going into it. It’s also natural for homeowners unfamiliar with large-scale home renovations to believe that they should just pack up and leave until their kitchen is done – but this leaves them at a distinct disadvantage when it comes time to start cooking and baking.

Living in a construction zone means dealing with inevitable obstacles, such as dust and debris, noise from power tools, limited access to appliances/countertops/sinks during the remodel process itself, inconveniencing other family members who have to live through it just like you do, not to mention that how disruptive the demolition and reconstruction of the kitchen is to everyone’s daily routines.

To minimize these issues, there are a few things you can do to keep on top of the game and make your period of inconvenience as painless as possible. Read on for advice that will help you stay sane during this difficult time.

1) Prep beforehand

Take care of tasks that can be done ahead of time, like emptying the refrigerator and freezer (unless you’re prepared to eat out for a while – your rubble-filled kitchen is not open for business), bagging up items in your pantry, labeling appliance cords so they don’t get unplugged by accident (especially important if there’s no access to your appliances during the construction process), and making a list of all items in your kitchen, along with their locations. You don’t want to be running around looking for a potato masher when you need it most.

2) Let others know what’s going on

If you have children, make sure they know not to go anywhere near the construction zone, and where you’ll be during the remodel. Even if they’re old enough to understand that there’s a lot of noise going on around them, it’s still a good idea to let them know when it will start and end each day.

3) Keep your kitchen closed off from other family members for as long as possible

Just because everyone has to live with the noise and inconvenience doesn’t mean that they get to be in your way. Keep your kitchen off-limits (and clean!) until you’re ready for others to join you, at least during the demolition process. This means making meals elsewhere – like on a camping stove or griddle over a firepit – or having your family fend for themselves until you’re ready to let them into the kitchen.

4) Maintain a well-stocked survival kit

Sometimes, construction accidents are unavoidable – but you can limit their impact by being prepared in advance with what you need to take care of yourself when there’s an emergency. This includes having any prescription medication, bandages, and other first aid supplies, plus a list of emergency numbers (and addresses) ready to grab in case you end up needing them. Try not to be the one responsible for causing your own accident – also check whether there’s tape available that can cover exposed nails or screws.

5) Keep your sanity by treating it as an adventure

Remodeling your kitchen doesn’t have to be a dreadful experience. You can take this opportunity to get creative and come up with a design of your own, or you may consider hiring an interior designer to help out so that the renovation is more fun than frustrating. Even if you don’t get exactly what you want, try not to let yourself be overwhelmed by the stress of the situation, and enjoy it as much as you can.

6) Plan for temporary meal prep areas

One of the most frustrating things about remodeling your kitchen is not being able to use your usual appliances or countertops. You may need to prepare some meals on a camping stove or grill outside, which means you’ll need to make room for your temporary kitchen somewhere in the yard. So, take this time to plan out where you’re going to set up your camping stove or grill and look into storage options that will keep food out of the way until it’s ready to be cooked.

7) Stock up on nonperishables in advance

You may find yourself cooking outside during construction, but that doesn’t mean you need to go hungry. Stock your survival kit with some canned tuna and beans, dried fruit, and nuts for a quick snack during the day. When it’s time for a full meal, plan out what nonperishable items you’ll be buying before it comes time to shop – that way you won’t be stuck without the things you need.

8) Work with your contractor to determine exactly when your kitchen will reopen

No one wants to live without a kitchen for too long – talk with your contractor about how long it’s going to take, and set up frequent check-ins so that you can stay updated on the progress.

Conclusion:

No matter how much you prepare for your kitchen remodel, there’s always going to be some frustration and trouble along the way. The key is to work with your family and your contractor (if you’ve hired one) to make it as smooth a transition as possible – hopefully, this will make the construction process go by faster than you expect.

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