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Surviving Your Renovation

"The best day of your renovation project is the day they start. The next best day is the day they leave."

How to Survive Every Day In Between

1. Triage

When you pack up your kitchen, sort your gear into three categories: storage, temporary kitchen, and toss/donate/recycle. This task can be done over time, with the final items leaving the kitchen the night before demolition begins.

Also, label the boxes that are going to storage with detailed descriptions of their contents so you can locate things you might need later—because, in a remodeling process, you never know when “later” might be. Make sure to put them somewhere safe, but not in the garage! (More on this in tip #6)

2. Set up a temporary kitchen

You will need to either move your fridge or pick up a dorm-like mini-fridge. Be careful, mini-fridges do not hold a lot. So, when you’re shopping for groceries, keep this in mind, especially when it comes to the freezer. If you have to move your existing fridge into your temporary space, do so.

Also make space for a toaster, coffee maker, and countertop microwave. If you have not gone for the air fryer craze yet, now’s the time to consider jumping in. Same for a pressure cooker. Trying to create meals with no access to a range top or oven is very hard and eating out gets old and expensive quickly. If you can, take advantage of today’s countertop cooking technologies.

In addition, allocate yourself only the number of cups, utensils, dishes, and other tools that you are willing to wash by hand in one session. Keep it very simple, you will not be preparing extravagant meals.

3. Have a dishwashing strategy

The thing you will love the most in your new kitchen is the sink. DOn’t think so? After using the bathroom sink to rinse vegetables, dump out coffee, and wash dishes—which will not only feel weird, but it will get tiresome—your brand new sink will be a gift from the gods. If you have a utility sink, consider yourself lucky, unless it is in the garage (again, more on this in tip #6).

There is no great fix for this, but giving it thought before day one will help. Some questions to ask yourself are: how will you transfer dirty dishes from where you eat to the sink after using? Will you keep dishwashing soap in the bathroom with dish towels and a drying rack? How about not having a garbage disposal? Try and figure out some sort of receptacle close to the sink you’re using to wash dishes for easy and separate removal of the “leftovers”.

4. Control the dust and chaos

There will be dust. Lots of it. We will cover your carpets and floors, and hang plastic sheeting around the demo site which will be weighted down with lumber and/or taped to the floor. Essentially, we will create barriers between the work and living spaces. These barriers usually have a zippered closure to enter and exit through and work well to contain construction dust. It will not be perfect, but it helps. Be prepared with a swifter or microfiber duster to get the drywall dust daily if possible.

Remove anything you do not want to be bumped or broken from the route that workers will take between the outside door and the work area. We will also put down protective heavy paper to protect your flooring.

5. Have a plan for pets

Set up somewhere safe for your pets, out from underfoot, with food and water and a soft place to sleep. If your dog is not crate-trained and/or you don’t own a crate, invest a little bit of time and money necessary for both. There may be times the crate is needed, or that your dog may want to retreat into it.

If you have a cat or multiple cats, please plan for them to be in a safe space without access to the work area. If you have inside kitties, you may want to put their food, water, and litter box into a room that can be closed off from the activity and noise of construction.

If you have specific pet-related information, please let us know. We want all of your family members to be safe and comfortable throughout the process.

6. Kiss your garage goodbye

During your renovation, your garage will become a workshop, lumberyard, cabinet assembly line, toolshed, warehouse for new appliances, a graveyard for old appliances, and a place for the crew to take phone calls and eat lunch.

It will fill up with sawdust and tile dust, so cover or move all the things you don’t want to get dusty. Relocate stuff you will need, or you will be climbing over piles of cabinet doors to get your pruners and garden gloves, or Christmas decor. (Yes, that means you should probably clean out the garage before the whole process begins.)

7. Plan to take pictures!

Even though you think you’ll want to forget those orange tile countertops or that track lighting, be sure to take lots of before pictures. As the project progresses, take more pictures so you can look back at the amazing transformation your space will undergo. We’ve provided a section in your Client Binder where you can print out your favorite before, during, and after photos.

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