Those cabinets that I’m about to trash are full of things. Precious, wonderful, useful things that I’ve collected over the years. I’ve got to get it all out of the cabinets before the demolition. Also, there will be at least three weeks that I will have no operable kitchen. The pizza place is on speed dial, the paper plates are stocked, and I know we can eat on the back porch; but that’s really not much of a plan.
Time, space, and food money are big items that we often fail to put into our remodeling budget.
A little planning and organizing will make life easier during the remodel. Don’t wait until the cabinets arrive and the contractor is scheduled for the next day. Start a couple of weeks before the work begins. Before you start to empty the cabinets, look at the big picture. There has to be a place where the family can prepare a limited menu of food There have to be dishes and utensils to use. There has to be a place for eating, and a place for cleanup.
Where can you set up a temporary kitchen? The temporary space needs to have enough electrical outlets, room for a work table, and adequate lighting. It’s best if it is near a water supply. Even if you use paper plates and plasticware you will still need some water for food prep and clean up. If the refrigerator can be moved into this space that is best. The fridge is easy to move as it takes a standard power outlet, but remember that the water line for ice will be disconnected. Moving ranges to a temporary location is usually not feasible because it involves running a gas line or a 240 volt power source. Count on the sink being totally gone for most of the project. Consider where you will store non refrigerated foods.
Once you’ve chosen the place, you need to decide what to bring to it. Take some notes as you cook and eat for a few days. Notice what equipment you use the most. Think about the meals you make and whether they will be ones you can make with small appliances like your microwave, toaster oven, or electric skillet. Meatloaf no. Pizza – if it can be done in the toaster oven, yes. Plan what types of food you are going to eat during this time. Think about breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. Brainstorm for ideas and keep it simple.
With this plan in mind, it’s time to empty those cabinets. Usually when decluttering we look at three categories: give away – get it out of your house, put away – find a logical place for it, and throw away – it will never be “another man’s treasure.” You can use this method when you are packing up your cabinets. However, with a remodel, the put away has a twist. Some items have to be set aside for the temp kitchen and some will be put in storage.
Have boxes ready for storage and give away, and garbage bags for the real trash. This is the time to purge. Consider each item. Will it have a place in your new kitchen? Now is the time to decide if you really still want all those souvenir cups from Yankee Stadium. Keep? Give Away? Trash? Do you ever use the milkshake machine? Keep? Okay. Storage or temp kitchen? Keep the temp kitchen to a minimum. Those of us who camp know this mindset already. One or two sharp knives will do for the short term even if you own a whole chef’s set. As much as you can, set up the temp kitchen as you go through this process. Consider leaving the utensils for the temp kitchen in the existing cabinet drawers. When D-day arrives just remove the drawers and bring them to the temp space.
A little planning ahead will make things simpler during the remodel and it will make the move into your new kitchen even easier. You may find that after living simply for a few weeks, you will purge even more when unpacking those boxes of stored must keep items.