How to Stay Sane During a Kitchen Remodel

Helpful steps to take the pain out of temporarily losing your culinary base.

By Brian Winters


Your initial reaction to planning your kitchen remodel is one of excitement. Of course you’re ecstatic - a whole new cooking and entertaining area will soon be yours. Then the reality sets in that you won’t have anywhere to prepare meals for weeks on end. A remodel can throw a wrench not just into dinner prep but into every other little thing you do in the kitchen. While you won’t be making any five-star, seven-course meals during the installation of your new kitchen, there are steps you can take to minimize the inconvenience and provide a temporary meals for your family without relying on takeout food. Use this handy guide to keep from losing your mind during your kitchen’s downtime.


Prep as Though You’re Moving

Remember a few days before your last move when you packed everything but a few necessary kitchen items? Pare your kitchen items down in a similar way. Box up equipment that doesn’t get used every day. Depending upon your family’s cooking habits this could include the food processor, electric pans, large pots, and cooking utensils outside the basics (a large stirring spoon, a good knife, a can opener, etc.). This is also a great opportunity to pitch those unused pots and donate anything you’re not using that’s still serviceable.


Couple packing boxes


Invest in a supply of paper plates and bowls, as well as plastic cups and utensils. They’re not eco-friendly, but your new appliances will be much more energy efficient than the old ones, which should assuage some of your guilt, and you may be able to find a biodegradable brand. You can safely stick with your favorite “real” coffee cups. These are easy to rinse out in the bathroom or with the garden hose.


Set up a Temporary Kitchen

It's as simple as a folding table, a coffee pot, a cooler, and a couple of chairs in a corner of the living room or garage, or as complex as an entire sideboard with shelves and drawers, equipped with a microwave, toaster oven, coffee maker, even a dorm fridge. If there’s enough space, move your refrigerator into the vicinity of the temporary setup.


Kitchen appliances


Cooking Options

Small appliances are your friends. Again, depending upon the space in your temporary cooking area, you can rely upon your microwave and slow cooker, a toaster, an electric griddle, and an electric tea kettle or coffee maker. A great investment is a single-burner induction cooktop. Available for as little as $100, they heat food quickly and are cool to the touch. This is perfect if you have children with curious little fingers that are fascinated by all the chaos and changes.


Induction hob with touchpad. Single burner


If your remodel takes place in the spring or summer (or you live in a warm climate), put your grill to good use. It isn’t just for meat – you can use it to cook vegetables, foil packets with fish or other seafood, even pizza. Plus, you’ll all get a taste of “normal” for a little while along with some much-needed construction-free fresh air. Invite guests to bring a dish to pass and you’ll even end up with leftovers for another day.


Cut Yourself Slack on Nutrition

If you’re particularly attentive to what your family eats, this renovation process is going to challenge your peace of mind as far as nutrition. Remind yourself that this temporary situation isn’t going to have a lasting impact your family’s health, even though it may feel like it. Prepackaged convenience foods may not be a welcome long-term fixture in your pantry, but for now they will buy you a hefty measure of time and sanity.


Prepacked Prawn, noodles and crackers


Pamper Your Pets

Your four-legged family members will be thrown off by all the changes too. Move their food and water to a new location several days ahead of the start of construction so they have time to adjust. Wherever possible, use baby gates that swing open so you can keep your furry critters out of the fray.


Three cats sitting behid their food bowls


Aside from practical considerations such as the above tips, it's important to keep in mind that having the heart of your home ripped apart is bound to make you all cranky now and then. Remember to reconnect on a regular basis, be forgiving, and make new memories that you’ll all look back on fondly. With your designer's help, that modern kitchen can be just what you wanted and all that inconvenience during the construction phase soon will be forgotten.


Images used with permission, courtesy of and

Next: Using Decorative Dishes in Your Interior Design