My husband and I recently completed a total kitchen makeover, one which was long overdue. This meant that we basically gutted our kitchen space and started from scratch. Even though we hired a professional kitchen contractor, one with a solid reputation, we had no idea what we were about to face.
We didn’t foresee the potential headaches in changing our kitchen’s layout or buying new cabinets, counter tops, and more. Now that we have that new kitchen and we’ve gotten past days of noise, dust-filled rooms and some design flaws, we realize there are some things we should have handled very differently.
Don’t make the same mistakes we did. If you need to get organized for your kitchen redo, here are five top ways to save your energy while greatly reducing stress:
1. Always allow extra time for the kitchen remodeling work and plan accordingly. If you want to be at home when contractors and workers are there, you may need to take days off from work. If you work at home, expect your routine to be disrupted by the noise and your time interrupted by questions. Sure, things could go perfectly….but don’t count on it. Whether large or small, mistakes happen.
In our case, one quartz counter top was scratched and had to be replaced. The measurements for the new sink were also slightly wrong – but that was just enough that new holes had to be cut for the sink, adding days to the original remodeling time line.
Basically, we learned that work schedules aren’t set in stone and materials can arrive scratched, damaged or measured incorrectly. If the job gets done on time, consider yourself lucky and use those extra days to admire the results (in between replacing all those items you removed from the kitchen before the remodeling work began).
2. Want to use photos from magazines for design ideas? Fine. Just make sure to blend the desired look with your actual lifestyle. I had a whole notebook full of design ideas for a dream kitchen. Luckily, our contractor was able to point out the challenges of living in some of those rooms – no matter how attractive they looked in photos.
In one case, a dining table was made of material that wasn’t practical for our family. We’d have spent hours weekly maintaining the finish or cleaning fingerprints off the glass top. In the end, we chose a sturdy but attractive table but went for a showier (but still lovely) lighting fixture to make a major design statement in the room.
We also chose materials which would hold up to heavy use by an active family. Modern rooms with nothing on the counter might work for some people – but not us. We didn’t just want a kitchen that was appealing but also one which we’d enjoy using every day.
3. Remember that major kitchen remodeling projects can leave you without a place to cook or eat meals – sometimes for weeks at a time. Unless you are willing to set up a couple of electric burners and a microwave in the living room and eat plenty of packaged or canned food, you may prefer to budget for takeout, pizza delivery, and restaurant meals. With luck, you’ll be invited to eat at the homes of sympathetic friends or family members.
Eating out doesn’t have to be overly expensive. Besides, dining away from home has one major advantage: you get a chance to escape the chaos that accompanies a kitchen redo. You don’t have to look at dust coating much of your home. And make no mistake about it – no matter how well planned, major kitchen remodeling involves plenty of dust, noise and upheaval.
4. Leave plenty of time to take everything out of the kitchen. This means breakables (cups, plates, etc) need to be carefully wrapped, boxed, and moved to other rooms. Consider hiring someone to do this for you. Want to handle this job yourself? If you’ve got the energy, you may be able to get this part of a kitchen remodeling project done in a weekend. But with our frenzied schedule, we had to allot bits and pieces of time where we could find it.
The night before work was scheduled to begin, we were so short of time that we were flinging items into boxes without even labeling those boxes. We moved everything to our family room. Of course, our family room looked immensely cluttered as a result – and when the kitchen remodeling actually started, we then had two rooms which looked disheveled and messy. We just kept reminding ourselves that the results would (hopefully) be worth the temporary inconvenience. They were.
5. Declutter, declutter, declutter. When it comes time to move everything back into your newly redesigned kitchen, you’ll be glad that you tossed or donated that third sifter or tenth pie pan. If you haven’t used an item in the last year or two, odds are you don’t need it. Every kitchen gadget or chipped bowl you can discard is just one less thing to have to handle later.