How To Survive A Kitchen Renovation
Are you all sick of hearing about our new kitchen yet? I feel like I've been banging on about it so much recently, but it kinda took over our life there for a little bit. There were times during the process when it felt like it would never end, but now that it's all done, the dust and mess and grumpy tradesmen have been forgotten. That being said, I thought I'd share some of the things we learnt about how to survive a kitchen renovation. Some of these were tips that friends or family shared with us, and some were things that we found out the hard way, but hopefully they'll be helpful to some of you guys.
How To Survive A Kitchen Renovation
1) Get prepared
We were lucky that we knew about 6 weeks in advance when our kitchen renovation would take place, so we had plenty of time to get prepared. One of the best things I did was use this time to batch cook and fill our freezer with healthy eats that we could pop in the microwave once the oven had been ripped out - I made a selection of soups, stews and a cottage pie for good measure.
We also saw this time as a great opportunity to have a bit of a clear out - we had crockery and pans that were well past their best, and we also took quite a few cookbooks to the charity shop. This not only meant that we had less stuff to store elsewhere in the house while the renovations took place, but it also made unpacking once the kitchen was finished much easier too.
2) Accept that it will be chaos
I think because I'd tried to be so well planned and organised with the renovations, I underestimated just how chaotic the whole process would be. By the time we'd ripped the floor tiles up the whole house was covered in dust, and things only got worse as the electrician started drilling into the walls and the plasterers got to work.
I think if I'd accepted up front that our house would be messy and manic for the month, I'd have coped with the renovation a lot better mentally. Try and accept that no matter how organised you are, the work will have a big impact on your life, but that it will all be worth it in the end.
3) Plan the work for a quiet period
Which leads me nicely on to my next point - if you can, try and plan the main bulk of work to happen during a quiet period in your diary. I totally failed at this and so not only were we living in squalor without anywhere to cook or wash our clothes, I was also trying to launch a new business, work overtime to get some new projects off the ground at my day job, and keep on top of my social life too.
It's safe to say that there were a lot of tears and stress, and I've learnt to make sure my commitments are at an all time minimum before we undergo any more renovations!
4) Budget for the extras
As the old saying goes, whenever it comes to anything with house renovations, it always takes twice as long and costs twice as much. This is something I seem to forget every time, and our new kitchen was no different! I think it's sensible to always have at least a 10% buffer on top of how much you think it's going to cost to make sure you're not scrabbling around at the last minute or dipping into savings.
Some of the things I totally forget to budget for were new plug sockets and switches (much more expensive than you'd first think!), paying someone to fit fit our new range cookers (I didn't realise that they're not as straight forward as normal ovens) and, a very obvious one - paint!
5) Keep one room as a safe haven
As we live in a small terraced house, we really struggled to contain the mess to one room. Our living room was turned into a storage unit for the new kitchen while everywhere was being plastered and tiled, our spare bedroom quickly became overrun with crockery, cookbooks and all of the laundry we couldn't do, and there was a week or so where we had worktops crammed into our tiny bathroom because there was nowhere else they would fit.
One thing I'm really glad that we did was to keep our bedroom as a little safe haven. We tried to keep everything in there as neat and tidy as we could, and that meant we had somewhere relatively normal to eat our dinner and retreat to after an evening of painting.
It goes without saying that we are so incredibly lucky to have been able to renovate our kitchen, and all of the stress, tears and expense were more than worth it. But I hope that by sharing these tips some of you guys will be able to have a more seamless experience if you're ever tempted to rip your kitchen out!