A full kitchen remodel can take a few weeks to several months to complete, so what are you supposed to do for meals during that time? It’s no question that the kitchen is the hub of the home, so being displaced for such an extended period of time can be inconvenient at its best and downright frustrating at its worst.
While this may be a stressful time, finding a way to cook and eat efficiently and healthfully can be relatively easy. By keeping a few things in mind as you choose a site for your temporary kitchen, you should be able to proceed with as little inconvenience as possible.
1. Ask Before You Move Anything: Sometimes contractors are willing to help you relocate your large appliances, which can spare you some unnecessary back pain. If they are experienced, they will know the best way to lift and move your appliances to minimize any possible damage during the transfer. They will also know if the electrical supply in the new space is robust enough to handle the kind of power those appliances need.
2. Plan Out Your Temporary Space Prior to Renovating: Before demolition begins, either talk to your contractor to have them relocate the existing cabinetry and countertops to your temporary kitchen area, or purchase plastic tubs or rolling drawer sets to stash your stuff in. Pack away everything that is excessive or only has one function so that your temporary kitchen will stay free of clutter. Be sure to label everything that you pack away so that you can find something easily should you need it.
3. Think Convenience: This tip is two-fold. Oftentimes during a full kitchen renovation, you will be without a dishwasher, or you’ll need to transport dirty dishes to wherever the dishwasher currently resides. Both options can be frustrating and overwhelming, but what are you supposed to do about it?
Your first option is to go full-on disposable mode. Purchase plates, cups, bowls, and cutlery that can be thrown away after every meal. There are options out there that are compostable or biodegradable so that you can lessen your impact on the environment.
Your second option is to only use items that have multiple purposes.
- A food processor that is also a mixer
- All-in-one cutlery (Is it a spoon? Is it a fork? Is it a knife? Believe it or not, some spork combos even have a slightly serrated edge that knocks out the need for a separate knife)
- A small electric skillet that eliminates the need for a stovetop
- An electronic pressure cooker that can do just about anything
Look for small appliances and kitchen gadgetry that will meet a variety of needs. This will lessen the number of dishes that you need to wash and reduce how much clutter is in your temporary kitchen.
4. Scope Out the Perfect Spot: Look around your house for the perfect place for your temporary kitchen. Bedrooms that have an attached bathroom are ideal locations for your makeshift kitchen because they have everything they need in one place: water, a place to clean dishes, space to set up camp and store food. If you don’t have an empty spare bedroom with these kinds of amenities, you might want to talk to your contractor to see if you can use the garage or back porch area. These are typically the places where their crew will set up tools during the renovation, so make sure that you inquire first so that you aren’t in each other’s way.
5. Choose Instant Meals: If you’re not careful while you’re doing your renovation, you might end up eating a lot of fast food or junk food. Renovations are stressful enough without packing on the pounds and feeling miserable throughout. If you have a mini-fridge, marinate some meat and cook it outside on the grill, then throw in a side dish of microwaved vegetables, and you are set. Keep a lot of fresh fruit and vegetables to use as side dishes or snacks, and look for canned soups that are low in sodium. Pair your meals with some bread or crackers, and you will have very few dishes to clean. Crockpot meals take a little bit of prep up front, but they produce one-pot entrees that save space and are delicious. Similarly, newer electric pressure cookers often have multiple settings like saute, pressure cook, and slow cook, so you can make an entire meal in one pot.
Full kitchen renovations can be overwhelming – especially if you are used to cooking family meals and sitting down together every night. You might be tempted to eat out a lot (which can get pricey) or stock your pantry with grab-and-go junk food, but if you’re mindful about where and how you set up your temporary kitchen, the experience could indeed be a positive (and healthy) one.