How to Survive a Kitchen Remodel

Jun 18, 2024 | How to Survive a Kitchen Remodel


How to survive a kitchen remodel might sound daunting, especially if you plan to live in your home during the process. The kitchen is the heart of your home, and not having access to it can be stressful. However, you can manage the ordeal with the right steps.

4 Powerful Steps: How to survive a kitchen remodel?

  1. Prepare a temporary kitchen in another room.
  2. Keep essential utensils and appliances accessible.
  3. Track your extra expenses meticulously.
  4. Maintain a positive attitude to manage stress.

A kitchen renovation can undoubtedly disrupt your daily routines. The construction noise, displaced appliances, and layers of dust make it challenging. But with careful planning and a good mindset, you can emerge on the other side happier with your beautiful, new kitchen.

Infographic summary of temporary kitchen, essential utensils, tracking expenses, staying positive - how to survive a kitchen remodel infographic pillar-5-steps

Preparing for the Kitchen Remodel

Prioritize Organization

Before starting your kitchen remodel, organization is key to ensure you can still cook healthy meals. A well-organized plan can make the chaos more manageable. Begin with creating a packing list of essential items you’ll need during the renovation. This list should include things like:

  • Basic utensils: Knives, forks, spoons, and a few cooking tools.
  • Small appliances: Coffee maker, toaster oven, microwave.
  • Food storage: Containers, plastic bags, and foil.

Having these items on hand is crucial to cook healthy meals during the remodel.

Clear out your cabinets and pack away non-essential items. Label boxes to make it easier to find things later. Set up a temporary kitchen in another room, using a folding table or a corner of the dining room. This space should have:

  • A mini-fridge or a cooler.
  • A portable cooktop or hot plate.
  • Basic cookware and dishes.

Carefully Track Your Expenses

Remodeling a kitchen can be expensive. To avoid surprises, track all your expenses carefully. This includes not just the cost of materials and labor, but also additional costs like eating out more often. According to Deslaurier Custom Cabinets, a well-planned budget is crucial.

Create a financial plan that includes:

  • Contingency budget: Set aside extra funds for unexpected expenses.
  • Dining out budget: Factor in the cost of takeout meals or dining out.
  • Temporary kitchen costs: Consider any additional purchases like a mini-fridge or portable appliances. Some homeowners even use the garage as a temporary kitchen space.

Keep a Positive Attitude!

Renovations are stressful, but keeping a positive attitude can make a big difference. Mental health and stress management are crucial during this time. Remind yourself that the temporary inconvenience will lead to a beautiful, updated kitchen.

Here are some tips:

  • Communicate openly with your renovation team to avoid misunderstandings.
  • Take breaks from the construction zone. Spend time outdoors or visit friends and family.
  • Focus on the end goal: A gorgeous, functional kitchen.

As one homeowner shared, “Adopting a chic, healthy European lifestyle that involves stopping by the market every day for that night’s supper provisions” helped them see the positive side of daily disruptions.

By staying organized, tracking your expenses, and maintaining a positive outlook, you can navigate your kitchen remodel with much less stress. Up next, let’s dive into how to survive a kitchen remodel with practical tips for setting up a temporary kitchen and meal planning.

How to Survive a Kitchen Remodel

How to Survive a Kitchen Remodel

Prep a Temporary Kitchen

Creating a temporary kitchen is crucial when your main kitchen is out of commission. This space will be your lifeline for preparing meals, organizing cooking utensils, and keeping your sanity intact.

Basic Appliances: Gather essential appliances like a microwave, toaster oven, hot plate, electric griddle, and an Instant Pot. These will allow you to cook a variety of meals without needing a full kitchen setup. Additionally, organizing and setting aside essential cooking utensils will streamline your meal preparation process.

Food Storage: Relocate your refrigerator to a convenient spot, like the garage or another room. If space is tight, consider using a mini fridge. Keep your food organized with storage containers to maximize space.

Dining Space: Set up a folding table or use a corner of your dining room as your temporary prep and dining area. Make sure it’s away from construction dust. One homeowner shared, “We set up a temporary living/kitchen/dining space in our sunroom, and it worked out great.”

Make a Menu Plan

Meal planning is key to surviving a kitchen remodel. With limited cooking resources, planning ahead will help you avoid the stress of last-minute meal decisions.

Instant Pot: Use it for cooking rice, sauces, pasta, and chicken. It’s versatile and can handle a variety of dishes.

Slow Cooker: Perfect for pot roast, chili, stew, pulled meat, and soup. It’s a set-it-and-forget-it appliance, ideal for busy days.

Hot Plate: Great for making pasta, eggs, and soup. It mimics a stovetop but takes up less space.

Electric Griddle: Use it for pancakes, bacon, and quesadillas. It’s a lifesaver for breakfast and quick dinners.

Microwave: Perfect for frozen meals, steamed vegetables, instant rice, and reheating leftovers.

Plan your meals around these appliances to keep things simple. One homeowner suggests, “Cook as much as your freezer can hold before your kitchen goes down. Small containers though because a counter microwave is smaller and not as powerful.”

Take Advantage of the Toaster Oven

A toaster oven can be a game-changer during a kitchen remodel. It’s versatile and perfect for indoor cooking, especially during colder months.

Indoor Cooking: Use your toaster oven for baking, broiling, and reheating. You can make everything from roasted vegetables to baked chicken. It’s compact but mighty.

Other Appliances: Complement your toaster oven with a coffee maker, tea kettle, and electric kettle. These small appliances will make your temporary kitchen functional and efficient.

Get Grilling

If your remodel happens during warmer months, grilling can be a fantastic alternative to indoor cooking.

Outdoor Cooking: Grilling isn’t just for burgers and hot dogs. Try grilling steak, chicken, shrimp, roasted vegetables, flatbread pizzas, and kebabs.

Grilling offers a break from the indoor chaos and can be a fun family activity. One homeowner shared, “If you have a grill or BBQ at your home, your kitchen remodel is a great time to use it, even in the off-season.

By setting up a functional temporary kitchen, planning your meals, and using alternative cooking methods, you can navigate your kitchen remodel with ease. Up next, let’s explore tips for daily living during a remodel to keep your household running smoothly.

Tips for Daily Living During a Remodel

Tips for Daily Living During a Remodel - Massachusetts Kitchen Removal Services

Designate a Dining Room Space

You won’t be able to use your kitchen space for meals, so it’s crucial to set up a temporary dining area. This space should be away from dust and construction noise. A folding table in the living room or a corner of the dining room can work wonders.

Pro Tip: Choose a spot where your family can eat comfortably and keep it clutter-free. This will make mealtime feel more normal and less chaotic.

Be Ready to Wash Dishes in the Bathroom Sink

Without access to your kitchen sink, washing dirty dishes becomes a challenge. Use a bathroom sink, laundry sink, or even a garage sink as your temporary dishwashing station. It’s important to have a designated area for washing dirty dishes to maintain normalcy during the remodeling process.

Essential Items:

  • Dish detergent
  • Scrub brush
  • Dish towel

Quick Tip: One homeowner found that washing dishes in the bathtub was a game-changer. “The bathtub has plenty of space, and I could wash a lot at once,” they shared.

Embrace Easy Clean-up

Using disposable items can save you from the hassle of constant dishwashing. Stock up on paper plates, plastic cutlery, and disposable cups.

Quick Clean-up Essentials:

  • Disposable plates and bowls
  • Plastic cutlery
  • Napkins or paper towels
  • Plastic wrap and tinfoil
  • Food storage containers

Pro Tip: Keep a designated trash can with a lid to contain odors and keep pests away.

By setting up a comfortable dining area, planning your dishwashing strategy, and embracing easy clean-up methods, you can make daily living during your kitchen remodel much more manageable. Up next, we’ll discuss maintaining sanity and cleanliness to help you stay stress-free during the renovation process.

Maintaining Sanity and Cleanliness

How do you live when your kitchen is being remodeled?

Keep One Room Construction Zone-Free

Renovations can turn your home into a chaotic mess. To maintain your sanity, designate one room as a construction-free zone. This space will be your escape from the dust, noise, and clutter of the remodel.

Why It Matters:

  • Noise Reduction: A quiet space helps you relax and focus.
  • Comfort: Create a cozy area with comfy seating, good lighting, and essentials like books or a TV.
  • Mental Health: Having a retreat can keep stress levels down.

Pro Tip: Choose a room farthest from the kitchen to minimize disturbances.

Don’t Stop Downsizing

A kitchen remodel is the perfect time to declutter. Channel your inner Marie Kondo and get rid of non-essential items. If it doesn’t spark joy, let it go.


  • More Space: Less clutter means more room to move and breathe.
  • Easier Cleaning: Fewer items make it easier to keep your space tidy.
  • Mental Clarity: A decluttered space can lead to a decluttered mind.

Steps to Downsize:

  1. Sort: Categorize items into keep, donate, and discard.
  2. Evaluate: Ask yourself if each item is essential or brings you joy.
  3. Act: Donate or dispose of items promptly to avoid second-guessing.

Remember to Relax

Renovations are stressful, so prioritize your mental health. Take breaks and spend time outside your home.

Relaxation Tips:

  • Family Time: Plan outings to the park or a family movie night.
  • Solo Activities: Treat yourself to a spa day or a quiet walk.
  • Outdoor Activities: Fresh air and exercise can do wonders for your mood.

Pro Tip: Incorporate relaxation techniques like yoga or meditation to help you stay calm.

By keeping one room construction-free, continuing to downsize, and taking time to relax, you can navigate your kitchen remodel with less stress and more ease. Up next, we’ll discuss choosing the right renovation team to ensure your project goes smoothly.

Choosing the Right Renovation Team

dining table - Preparing for the Kitchen Remodel

Finding the Right Kitchen Renovation Contractor

Selecting the right contractor can make or break your kitchen remodel. Here’s how to find a contractor who will deliver quality work on time and within budget.

1. Look for Licensed Contractors: Always ensure your contractor is fully licensed and bonded. This protects you from liability and guarantees they meet industry standards.

2. Check References and Portfolio: Ask for references and a portfolio of past work. A reputable contractor will be proud to show off their previous projects and happy to provide references.

3. Use Multiple Sources: Get recommendations from friends, family, and online reviews. Websites dedicated to vetting contractors can also be helpful.

4. Interview Multiple Contractors: Never settle for the first estimate. Interview at least two or three contractors to compare their quotes, timelines, and overall approach.

5. Ask the Right Questions: Discuss your timeline, budget, and vision for the space. Make sure the contractor understands your needs and can deliver on them.

Setting a Realistic Budget

A well-planned budget is crucial for a successful kitchen remodel. Here’s how to set one that’s realistic and manageable.

1. Work with Professionals: Collaborate with a kitchen designer and contractor to get a clear idea of costs for materials and labor. They can provide an honest assessment of what’s doable within your budget.

2. Include a Contingency Fund: Set aside an additional 10-15% of your total budget for unexpected costs. Issues like hidden structural problems or material delays are common, so it’s best to be prepared.

3. Prioritize Your Spending: Focus on essential elements first, such as cabinets, countertops, and appliances. Luxuries like high-end backsplashes or custom fixtures can be added later.

4. Track All Expenses: Keep a detailed record of all costs to avoid overspending. This helps you stick to your budget and makes it easier to make adjustments if needed.

Kitchen Design Layout

A functional and aesthetically pleasing kitchen layout is key to a successful remodel. Here’s how to plan yours effectively.

1. Consult a Kitchen Designer: A professional designer can help you create a layout that meets your needs and fits your space. They bring expertise that can save you time and money.

2. Focus on Functionality: Think about how you use your kitchen. The layout should facilitate easy movement between the sink, stove, and refrigerator, often referred to as the “work triangle.”

3. Consider Aesthetics: Your kitchen should also be visually appealing. Choose colors, materials, and finishes that match your style and the rest of your home.

4. Plan for Storage: Adequate storage is essential for a clutter-free kitchen. Incorporate plenty of cabinets, drawers, and pantry space into your design.

5. Be Flexible: Sometimes, adjustments are needed as the project progresses. Being open to minor changes can help keep your remodel on track.

By focusing on these key areas—selecting the right contractor, setting a realistic budget, and planning a functional and beautiful layout—you’ll be well on your way to a successful kitchen remodel. Up next, we’ll tackle frequently asked questions about kitchen remodels to address any lingering concerns you might have.


At Bonsai Builders, we understand that a kitchen remodel is more than just a project—it’s about transforming the heart of your home. Our team is dedicated to providing master craftsmanship and exquisite designs that reflect your personal style and meet your practical needs.

With over 26 years of experience and a commitment to quality, we have successfully completed over 125 jobs across Massachusetts. Whether you’re planning a minor update or a complete kitchen overhaul, we are ready to bring your vision to life.

Our service areas span across Massachusetts, ensuring that you receive top-notch service no matter where you are. From custom cabinets to innovative kitchen layouts, we handle every detail with care and precision.

Ready to start your kitchen remodeling journey? Contact Bonsai Builders today to learn more about how we can help you achieve the kitchen of your dreams.

By choosing Bonsai Builders, you are investing in a team that values your home as much as you do. Let’s create a space where memories are made.

Frequently Asked Questions about Kitchen Remodels

How do you live when your kitchen is being remodeled?

Living through a kitchen remodel can be challenging, but it’s manageable with some preparation. Set up a temporary kitchen in another room. Use basic appliances like a microwave, toaster oven, and a mini-fridge. This setup helps you prepare simple meals and keeps your household running smoothly.

Meal planning is crucial. Focus on easy-to-cook meals that require minimal equipment. Instant pots, slow cookers, and electric griddles can be lifesavers. Plan a menu with meals like soups, sandwiches, and pasta dishes.

Alternative cooking methods are also handy. If the weather is nice, use a grill for cooking outside. It’s a great way to prepare healthy meals without needing a full kitchen.

What is the hardest part of the kitchen remodel?

Many homeowners find that dealing with kitchen cabinets is the hardest part. Cabinets are central to your kitchen’s functionality and aesthetic. Custom-made cabinets can be particularly tricky because they require precise measurements and careful installation.

Installation can be time-consuming and must be done correctly to avoid issues later. Make sure to hire experienced professionals and double-check all measurements before any work begins.

How to stay sane during a kitchen remodel?

Staying sane during a kitchen remodel involves setting realistic expectations and maintaining clear communication with your contractor. Understand that delays and unexpected issues can happen.

Clear communication with your contractor can prevent misunderstandings and ensure the project stays on track. Regular check-ins can help address any concerns promptly.

Keep your end goal in mind. The inconvenience is temporary, but the beautiful, functional kitchen will be worth it. Take breaks from the chaos by designating a construction-free zone in your home where you can relax and unwind.

By following these tips, you can navigate your kitchen remodel with less stress and more confidence.

Our Content

Our experienced contractors and design specialists carefully review and edit all content to ensure it meets our high standards for quality and accuracy. We do this to provide our readers with content that is accurate, complete, reliable, and up-to-date. Bonsai Builders, located in Sutton, Massachusetts is a trusted neighborhood building source across Massachusetts for kitchen remodeling, temporary food preparation space, and more with over 26 years of experience and over 125 jobs completed. 

Bonsai Builders has renovated many split-level home kitchens across Massachusetts. Bonsai Builders is selected as best of Houzz year after year further showing their expertise and trust among homeowners in Massachusetts.

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