At last – the plan is in place and construction is about to begin on your dream kitchen. Now there’s a new challenge to face: how are you going to survive without a kitchen for the several weeks or months the project will take? Most people can’t afford to rely on restaurants and take out (and if we did we’d pay the price with our waistlines as well as our wallets).
There’s no denying it’s going to be inconvenient, but with these tips, you will find sanity in living without a kitchen.
The important thing to remember is that no matter how simple or extensive your kitchen renovation is going to be, assume your kitchen will be off-limits for the duration. This will give the contractors the space they need to do their job. Plus, a work area can also be a safety issue for you and your family.
1. Set up a Makeshift Kitchen
Find an area with electrical access and set up the bare essentials like your coffeemaker and microwave. Your new counter space can be as simple as an old table and some shelves to store a few dishes, plus an area to manage garbage and recyclables. Just make sure it’s out of the way of the construction zone.
Bar fridges can be bought cheaply second hand, or rented if you need to keep dairy or other perishables. You can also make things civilized with a seating area and some chairs. Keep your sanity intact by telling yourself that you’re reliving your university days.
2. Plan for the Bare Essentials
When living without a kitchen, you’ll need to pack and store most of your dishes, ingredients and appliances to get them out of the way of the workers. You’re going to need to decide what gets stored and what you can’t live without.
Try to narrow things down to a coffeemaker, a microwave, a cutting board and knife, and a set of dishes for each family member. Depending on your habits, a toaster oven, slow cooker or hot plate might be good options.
3. Cook and Freeze Meals in Advance
Unless you want to survive off of microwavable meals, spend some time creating meals that can be frozen and stored in your deep freeze. Treat yourself to stews, chilis, curries and other favourites that freeze well and that will comfort you when you’re thinking about the disaster area that is your kitchen.
The key here is to break it up into single meal portions that are easier to thaw, reheat and clean up. This tactic will also get you more meal variety on a day to day basis. For example, a giant lasagna pan is difficult to manage if you’re taking a week to finish it, and even lasagna’s cheesy goodness can get tiresome.
4. Rely on Nonperishables
Depending on the length of the renovation, stock up on items that don’t need to be refrigerated. Healthy options include nuts, seeds and fresh and dried fruits. Plan a meal prep for the days you’re living without a kitchen.
5. Reduce Washing Up
While not having access to your kitchen sink, what will you do with all those dirty dishes? While it’s technically possible to wash dishes in the bathroom sink, for many of us there is a huge yuck factor in this collision of worlds.
Disposable dishes like paper plates will make things easier, just ensure you buy disposables that are recyclable or compostable. In summer months, you can wash dishes outside using your garden hose (remember, cold water can make soap harder to rinse away).
6. Grill It
Who needs boiling water when you’ve got a grill! Your barbecue can make your life a lot easier, weather permitting. For winter remodels, a determined outdoor chef can rig a tarp overhead to keep the snow away.
Have fun and explore the incredible variety of barbecue recipes out there. It’s even possible to do your Christmas turkey on the grill with the right equipment. Don’t barbecue in your garage, however – the fumes are dangerous in confined spaces.
If all else fails, get out of the house as much as you can. This can be a vacation, a quick getaway, or even regular evenings spent with family and friends. You can even offer to cook for others in their kitchens.
Cheer Up By Daydreaming About Your New Kitchen
Especially if your remodelling project is going to take several months, things can get gloomy. To help lift your spirits, keep your plans and samples handy so you can look at them and think about how wonderful the end result will be. Use a schedule and keep track of the progress.
Are you ready to embark on a kitchen renovation adventure? The first step is to talk to an expert kitchen designer to make sure the design and plan will work.