How To Survive a Kitchen Remodel

You think the in-laws can be tough on a marriage? Try a kitchen remodel. Or better yet, ask the in-laws for advice on your kitchen remodel. Though rumor has it that home renovation is one of the leading causes of divorce, there are ways to minimize the effects of a kitchen remodel. Here they are:

  1. Set up a temporary kitchen. I know you have visions of eating out regularly, sushi one night and Thai the next. You see your kitchen remodel as an opportunity to sample the international cuisines you've been hankering for. Let's get real. Remember those days when you come home from work exhausted and all you want to do is crawl into bed? Or those days that the term "PMS" do not quite do justice? Your temporary kitchen is for those days, not to mention for breakfast, lunch and the sake of the kids.
  2. What you'll want in your temporary kitchen. Stock your temporary kitchen well to minimize the disruption--as with all jobs, the right tools will take you far.
    • Refrigerator. Your refrigerator can be large or small but don't even think about trying to go without one. This is where you will store the cold beer that you will need on more than one occasion.
    • Sink. If you don't have a sink in the space you plan to use as a temporary kitchen, try to be as close as possible to one. Trying to schlep dirty dishes around the house without spilling their leftover contents on the floor gets old fast.
    • A good representation of pots and pans. Observe which pots and pans you use regularly and make these a part of your temporary kitchen. There's nothing like trying to make an omelet minus an omelet pan.
    • Toaster oven. If you think that a microwave will suffice for your cooking needs, think of chicken skin that is not crisped, cheese that is only half-melted and toast that is not, well, toasted. You will begin to see that little ole' toaster oven that you never paid much attention to in a whole new light once it takes up residence in your temporary kitchen.
    • Hot plate. The hot plate will be your burner. Think spaghetti, oatmeal, rice and caffeinated beverages.
    • Grill. If a grill is not already one of your food preparation mainstays, it may become one after your kitchen remodel. If you have an extra burner or warming area on your grill, you can cook your vegetables or warm your bread there.
    • Microwave. Chances are that the microwave is already one of your kitchen regulars. You'll start to cook foods in it that you haven't previously, a process you might even keep up once the remodel is over.
    • Blender. You don't have to be wasting away in Margaritaville to want a blender. Kids love their smoothies. For some fun recipes that include the irresistibly-named Blind Date Pudding, check out FreedomYou
    • Plates, utensils, glasses and napkins. The point of your temporary kitchen is to maintain some semblance of civility in your eating routines; to do that, you'll need the proper implements.
  3. Consider setting up your old (or new) appliances in your temporary kitchen. If you've bought new appliances or have yet to get rid of your old ones, consider setting them up in your temporary kitchen. No point in having a brand new microwave convection oven in a box in your garage when you could be putting it to good use roasting chickens in your temporary kitchen.
  4. Install temporary flooring. If your temporary kitchen is in the basement on a cement floor, consider adding some temporary flooring to warm your space up. Working on a cement floor can be a dismal experience; it doesn't cost much to at least lay down some vinyl flooring to improve the experience.
  5. Make sure your lighting is adequate. There are practical aspects to good lighting (you'll need to be able to see the food you're cooking) and aesthetic aspects as well. If the temporary kitchen does not have overhead lights, make sure that you have adequate light sources elsewhere. Alternatively, if your overhead light is just one giant bulb, get a cover for it to soften the effect.
  6. Seal your kitchen off. While your new kitchen is under construction, seal it off from the rest of the house to minimize the disturbance.
  7. Strategies for eating out. If you will be eating out regularly, rotate the choice of where to go among different family members on a regular basis so resentments do not begin to build. And of course, there must be something for everyone-including the vegetarians in your family-at the restaurants that are chosen.
  8. Consider the season. Planning a kitchen remodel for mid-November might be just the ticket in San Diego but would virtually guarantee cabin fever if you lived in Seattle. Gauge what activities your family will be engaged in and plan accordingly. Of course, everyone's favorite season for a kitchen remodel is summer, so if you're holding out for one contractor in particular, your chances of landing him are better in the shoulder season.

Remodeling a kitchen can be a challenging process. But by following the tips above, you can maintain a dining routine that will help to minimize the disruption.


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