Kitchen torn apart? Everything you need to know to set up a temporary kitchen during a remodel plus tons of practical tips for surviving the process!
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Do you gaze longingly at the beautiful homes on Pinterest or watch the amazing transformations on Fixer Upper and think, “if only that were my home?”
I’m guilty. They’re amazing.
It’s been over three months since we began our own kitchen remodel and we’re still waiting for the floors to arrive. Most everything else is DONE.
While we’re waiting to pull everything together I wanted to share some of my best tips on how to set up a temporary kitchen during a remodel.
The first one is very important.
For the love of everything that is good, DON’T START TWO WEEKS AHEAD OF SCHEDULE AT CHRISTMAS TIME!
We spent weeks researching and planning (read all about that process here) before we made the decision to go all Fixer Upper and take down the wall between the kitchen and living room and totally gut the room. I had great plans for freezer cooking a month’s worth of menus.
I was in the process of gathering everything together when our contractors decided we could go ahead and take the wall out TWO WEEKS EARLIER THAN PLANNED. Before the Christmas holidays.
Nix the freezer cooking plan and cue the “we don’t have any boxes, call the storage pod people, this is exciting, “help me” freakout!
How to Set Up a Temporary Kitchen During a Remodel
If you’re going to undertake a kitchen renovation there’s no way to avoid some inconveniences. Depending on how in depth the project is and how much you do yourself, it will be a pain in the backside.
Here’s what we did to survive living without our kitchen during the worst of the construction.
#1 Can I stay in my house during a kitchen remodel?
Our family did because finding a place to live while construction is going on can be a pain. Plus, it may add on costs to the job. You may have to switch things around but it’s certainly doable!
#2 Pack up everything you don’t absolutely need.
If possible go ahead and declutter while you’re packing up. Unfortunately I didn’t have time to do this so when I began setting up the new kitchen I was totally stressed because I needed to eliminate some things for space reasons.
We rented a Pod for a month so we had a place for almost all of the furniture in our living room, kitchen and the contents of our cabinets.
If you have a garage or storage building this is an option as well. There are going to be workers in and out of your home so remove as much as you can to give them space to work.
Think through the bare necessities for daily meal prep and eating during the estimated time the kitchen will be out of commission. You probably don’t need cake decorating supplies or every pot and pan you own. You probably WILL need a coffee station!
I kept out some plastic dishes and some regular glassware because we had room on the shelves we set up. Don’t forget plastic containers for leftovers!
#3 Make a plan for meal preparation.
For some families one of the biggest expenses during a kitchen remodel can be eating out. With two teenagers this was not an option for us.
We only had $5 footlong subs one night and pizza on another occasion. THAT’S IT.
I put out an SOS on my Facebook page for suggestions for survival tips and gained valuable insight including tips such as using rotisserie chicken, frozen veggies and which small appliances could replace larger ones, etc. We all love to share our opinions so ask your friends for ways to save money without eating out.
#4 Stock up on paper goods and plastic utensils.
I really don’t like paper plates and plastic silverware in general. Using regular dishes and silverware all the time is my normal but destruction is not the time to be all fancy.
Everything gets more difficult when you’re remodeling so make it simple when you can! Use paper plates, bowls, cups and napkins any time you can. You’ll be glad you stocked up!
#5 Easy is good enough!
Also, don’t be hesitant to let other people drop by food or take you out to eat. It can be hard to accept help but I find it’s a gift for the giver and receiver! God gave us friends for a reason!
#6 Carve out a work space.
If you’re going to create a temporary kitchen during a remodel, this is one of the hardest elements of the process. We didn’t completely figure this part out until we started deconstruction (taking the kitchen apart).
Are you going to lose your stove and/or refrigerator for some or most of the construction time? This is the biggest question to ask your contractors or take into consideration if you’re doing the project yourself (And if you’re DIYing it, I can give you the number for a marriage therapist, lol!)
If you don’t have a working kitchen you’re more likely to eat out, which adds expenses on to the budget.
The answer to this question will possibly hinge on how much empty space you have available in your home. Because we chose to rent a Pod we had room to set up a temporary work space where our dining space usually was.
We took the leaf out of the table, pushed it flush against the wall and moved both the refrigerator and stove to that end of the kitchen.
(I can’t believe I didn’t take a better picture but you can see the frig and stove set up below in the back of the kitchen.)
Since we needed so much electrical work done we specifically asked our electrician if he could run a line so we didn’t lose the stove. You never know unless you ask questions (read how to save thousands on a kitchen remodel) and this was an important one for me.
Find a place for small appliances such as microwave, toaster and crock pot. An electric skillet or hot plate might be a good option for you.
#7 Decide on a storage solution for food and everything else.
We have a separate pantry/laundry room off our kitchen but I stored food from the kitchen cabinets I didn’t think we would need during these weeks.
This is also a perfect time to check expiration dates and throw some of that food AWAY! Who needs a stray box of instant potatoes you got on sale five years ago?
Instead of storing our bookshelves in the Pod we moved them into the corner of the living room to use as storage for a little bit of everything.
Make the best use of available space to find what works best for you during your remodel. Making adjustments and staying flexible throughout the process is a necessity!
#8 Find a place to wash dishes.
This was a tricky one for us. We originally started this entire process because we have a bathroom we need to gut as well (see our first small bathroom makeover here).
Unfortunately the kitchen took more of the budget than we anticipated (yep, always happens) so the bathroom will have to wait a while.
The point of that little side trail is I really wasn’t sure where we would end up doing dishes when we lost our kitchen sink.
I tried our bathtub but that wasn’t fun so my hubby just used a small bathroom sink in our second bathroom. It worked just fine as long as we kept up with dirty dishes (thus, the advice to use lots of paper products!)
We used this wire shelf (get one like it here) for drying the dishes. You just need to find a space that works for you. It might be a utility sink in your garage, a guest bathroom or even a portable sink that can be rented.
It could even be outside rinsing with a hose and boiling water on a camp stove for washing. You do what ‘ya gotta do!
Since we were changing the entire footprint of the kitchen our contractors allowed us to leave up our old sink for as long as possible and then put the same sink into the new plumbing while we were waiting for the granite on our island to be delivered.
It takes about two weeks from the time the template is measured for granite until it is delivered and installed. That’s a long time without a sink so the solution of using our old one (with plywood for temporary countertops) was a lifesaver.
Plan for a simple station for washing dishes and accept the inconvenience as only temporary.
#9 Be flexible.
Even with all my planning I never knew from day to day where the workers would be at any given time. Our contractors were good about giving us a general idea of the steps in the process.
If a lot of electrical work was happening I knew to plan for a crockpot meal because I was going to lose circuits at some point during the day. A crockpot can be plugged into any available working outlet if necessary or make something easy like sandwiches.
There were also days equipment was all over the place and I could barely even see the refrigerator or stove. I just had to tell myself it was MY house and tiptoe around the tools and obstacles. Our workers always cleaned up at the end of the day.
I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to educate yourself as to what you want, what can be expected and how your contractor will be communicating with you during the project.
(I was given these Property Brothers gnomes during a blogger Christmas party and they were our “Gnomes on the Shelf” during Christmas and beyond. Find humor where you can, my friends!)
#10 Keep the end result in mind.
A brand new kitchen WILL be worth it, but you still have to live with the people in your home once you’re done! Show grace and treat this as an adventure. Attitude really is everything!
I’d love to know if you’ve ever been through construction in your home and how you handled it! Just comment below and let’s share!
Our Ranch Style Home Kitchen Remodel:
♥ Small Ranch Home Kitchen Remodel: The Dream Begins!
♥ How to Save Thousands of $$$ on a Kitchen Remodel
♥ 5 Practical Tips on How to Choose Flooring for Your Home
♥ How to Take Care of Your Pets During Your Remodel
♥ Set up a Temporary Kitchen During a Remodel (you are here)
♥ How to Install Laminate Flooring: DIY Tips and Tricks
♥ How to Choose Kitchen Cabinet Hardware
♥ How to Build a Sliding Barn Door
♥ How to Remodel a Ranch Style Kitchen
♥ DIY Floating Mantel out of Barn Wood
How to set up a Temp Kitchen During a Remodel
- How to set up temporary kitchen during a remodel
- Pack up everything you don't absolutely need.
- Make a plan for meal preparation.
- Stock up on paper goods and plastic utensils.
- Easy is good enough!
- Carve out a work space.
- Decide on a storage solution for food and everything else.
- Find a place to wash dishes.
- Be flexible.
- Keep the end result in mind.
- All posts in Ranch Style Home Kitchen Remodel