We recently remodeled our 27-year old kitchen, with terrific results. There are many things I wish I had known going into this project that would have made the process easier. Let’s talk about preparation. Good prep can make the difference between getting through the project comfortably versus feeling constantly tense and cranky.
Here are five specific ways to reduce the stress of your kitchen remodel by being prepared.
Get ready to store huge boxes containing cabinets and accessories.
We put a few items in the garage, but most of the huge boxes were stowed in our dining room and living room for more than a month. The idea is to store wooden cabinets inside the house so they can “acclimate” to the temperature, humidity, etc. To make room, we removed some furniture and re-arranged the rest. Then we put down tarps as a surface to protect the carpet.
Plan for at least one month and probably two without a kitchen.
If you are doing a full kitchen renovation with new cabinets, counters, floor, and the whole nine yards, it will not be over in a flash! Your plan will work better and your mood will be better if you face up to that right up front. You need temporary arrangements that are good enough to support you for up to two months. (If it is a bit less, enjoy the pleasant surprise.)
Set up your temporary kitchen before the demo begins.
Everything will go better if you get your cats, dogs, and children used to being fed in a new location at least a few days in advance. As you unload your old kitchen, set aside those absolute musts you need for the temporary kitchen–paper plates and plastic utensils, an electric kettle, peanut butter and crackers, paper towels and napkins, and other non-perishable snacks. A small microwave is a must. And if you possibly can swing it, have your contractor allow you access to your refrigerator throughout the project as ours did. A minifridge is great if available.
Prepare to keep small children and pets out of the work zone.
We bought a 4′ x 8′ sheet of heavy vinyl lattice designed for use on decks (cost $29) and wrapped it around the bottom of the steps. We secured it by wedging heavy boxes against the ends. This humble solution worked beautifully to deter our three cats from venturing too far. This barrier was needed even when the workers were gone for the night. Power tools, boards, sawdust, stray nails, and more did not make for a safe environment. We did not figure all this out until about a week into the project; have yours ready in advance.
If you have a garage or porch, free up space for the contractor to store tools and equipment and to set up a workbench.
The kitchen remodel is a big production. The work team needs space to make it happen. If you live in an urban apartment, you will have a bigger challenge finding that work space, so talk to your contractor about it in advance.
The bottom line about preparation for a kitchen remodel is this: it will definitely go more smoothly if you are ready.