Real Life Survival During a Kitchen Renovation (with small children)
by Carmie Sanchez, Come Thou Fount blog
There is very little that is glamorous about any type of home renovation that you are living in the middle of. Except for the picture, the vision that you have in your head of the end result. But the process of getting there is pretty messy and very unsophisticated. Re-doing a kitchen involves things like washing your dishes in a cruddy utility sink in your equally cruddy basement and thawing chicken for the next day in your bathroom sink. (Don't worry, the chicken was contained in a freezer bag and it seemed like a better alternative to thawing the chicken outside overnight and risking some wild animal carting off our supper.) There is a pretty much a constant supply of unwanted dirt and dust that somehow accumulates even during times where the work has paused. Yet, numerous people have lived through numerous kitchen remodels, or home renovations of any sort. These are my tips and tricks for making the most of your unideal situation.
Keep your normal routine
This is probably the hardest to do at the very beginning of the renovation process. Especially with small children, a space that they were once free to roam and play in is now suddenly off limits. For children who are used to structure and routine, this can be an upheaval in their little lives. It helps to keep your normal daily rhythm in place as they transition into the temporary lifestyle of a renovation. At the very beginning of your renovation, it's nice to plan on taking your children outside of the house, away from the demolition, dirt, and noise. (It may also be for safety purposes!) Simply taking them outside to play and burn off excess energy helps so much in the adjustment to a more confined living space.
Tidy + Organize your limited space
To be honest, I'm not sure I'm doing the greatest job of this. We are remodeling our kitchen, so where do you think all of my kitchen supplies have ended up? As of this very moment, the microwave is in the living room, the refrigerator is in the office space as well as the coffee pot. There are large brown boxes hulking in the family room full of dishes, cups, baking pans, food storage containers, etc. There is another box in the basement full of small appliances, and other kitchen items have been relegated to random other homes around the house. It is not ideal. It is probably not as organized as it could be, but I do know that being tidy and organized during any sort of renovation is key. The first thing I did the day after demolition was to straighten up the house and specifically the areas that now hold my kitchen. It gave me a much better outlook on the whole remodeling process and it also helped establish our normal rhythm of daily life.
Like I mentioned earlier, any sort of in-home remodeling process is hard on young children, at least until they get used to it. Extend plenty of grace to them as they transition and come up with ways to keep them entertained especially if certain areas are off limits for an extended period of time.
Be creative in meal prep
If you don't have the option of setting up a temporary kitchen during your reno, than thinking about meals can be daunting. It doesn't have to be though. Get creative with what you have available; search Pinterest and Google for recipes that can easily be made in a slow cooker or even the microwave. When you need to fry something, use your electric skillet on a living room side table (true story). It is difficult to make elaborate meals without a functioning kitchen, but that doesn't mean you have to order take out every evening of the week.
Don't forget the end result
Remember that in the end, all of the dirt, upheaval, and sacrifice will be so worth it! It may not be pretty now, but it won't stay that way forever.