Your 3 week kitchen remodel has suddenly turned into a 3 month+ project, Survivor’s got nothing on you! Living through a renovation can be an ordeal – just think of it as camping in your own backyard home. We’ve got some handy tips to making life a little more comfortable during this crazy time as well as how to set up a temporary kitchen so you don’t have to order takeout too often.

We lived without a kitchen for over a year thanks to severely underestimating our home’s remodel…I know every restaurant delivery guy by name within a 5 mile radius of our home.”

Builders Surplus Kitchen Remodel Renovation Cabinets Sink Faucet Flooring Vanity Backsplash

Surviving a Kitchen Remodel

Living Situation

So, you’ve come to that point where you’ve signed off on your new kitchen design and the remodeling process is about to begin. What do you do next? The first decision you need to make is are you going to stay at home or will you decide to shack up someplace else? Obviously if you’re doing your kitchen remodel yourself you’re probably going to be staying in your own home. However if you’re having a professional do the job for you then you’ve got a decision to make. Each living situation has it’s pro’s and con’s for the homeowner and for the installation crew. Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide which you’re more comfortable with and what you can afford.

Camp at Home

Homeowners often choose to stay at home because they believe that they can survive through the estimated “short” renovation period. Being in your home while your kitchen remodel is taking place means that you can keep updated on the work that is done everyday and you can quickly resolve issues that come up, however, construction crews sometimes work better without the homeowner around because they’re not in the way. If you have pets or kids keep them in mind; we’ll be writing a future blog on how to keep your furry family members safe during a remodel. If you do decide to stay at home be prepared for unexpected situations to arise, or for the remodel to take longer than planned. It’s also a good idea to set up a temporary kitchen space so you won’t be forced to call the takeout guy every night. If you’re worried about dust or dirt getting around the home ask your installers to lay down protective coverings and use what they can to keep the space as clean as they can on a daily basis. Kitchen Remodel Survival: Noisy Home


  • Less expense for not having to pay for a second living space.
  • Quick response to issues.
  • See daily updates of the space.
  • It’s still home.


  • In the way of crews.
  • Dust, dirt, and noise.
  • Less (personal) space.
  • Strange people in and out of home.


  • Set up a temporary kitchen.
  • Ask crews to do a daily cleanup.
  • Prepare simple meals before the remodel that can be cooked easily in a temporary space – shout out to crockpot recipes!
  • Set up a temporary space where crews cannot enter, or designate times when crews must be off the property.

Move Out

Homeowners may choose to move out during their kitchen remodel because it’s going to take a long time, because they can’t stand the noise and mess during the installation process, they don’t want to get in the way of the work, or they want their own space without strangers. Some installers prefer that the homeowner is out of the way so they can get in and start their work immediately. Taking up residence somewhere does mean that you might have to pay rent on that second house or apartment (again keep pets and children in mind) – be sure to include this in your budget plus extra expenses in case the renovation does take longer than expected. Also, be sure that you can be easily reached to address problems more quickly.


  • Your own living space.
  • Quiet, clutter free.


  • Extra expense – especially if a remodel goes over the estimated time.
  • You’re not there to address issues immediately.


  • Add this expense as an extra part of your budget.
  • Be easily accessible to address problems quickly.
  • Visit the property on a regular basis – as often as you can to stay up to date on progress.
  • Rent an RV and stay on property – A great compromise!

Tips for the Remodeling Process

Having everything prepared before hand and having a plan B will make things a whole lot easier when tackling a kitchen remodel, whether you’re doing it yourself of having a professional do all the work for you! Kitchen Remodel Survival: Cabinet Install

Get Away.

If you can swing the cash and have the time, try to go on vacation – at least during the first part of the renovation, demolition, which is the messiest. Going on vacation will give you some quiet time to yourself and get you out of the way of the demolition and install crew.

Be Prepared.

Plan ahead of time – this means have a list and check it twice! Confirm with designers and installers about expected timelines and what products you’ll be purchasing. Then plan accordingly – but as always be flexible in case there are any hiccups.

Have supplies delivered early.

Order all of your products early – except for the countertop, that needs to wait until all of your cabinets are installed. Having all of your products delivered early and inspected before installation begins means that you’ll save some time if you received the wrong product or a damaged product.

Have a Plan B.

This goes along with being prepared. Not everything is going to go 100% smoothly – a vendor may find that they are out of stock of your product or there might be an emergency which puts the project behind several weeks. Have a plan for every worse case scenario – it’s better to be prepared and cautious!

Be Patient and Have Fun.

Your kitchen remodel is going to take some time, remember that. Keep a calendar and write down milestones or goals that are completed with the project that way you can see that progress is being made!

Temporary Kitchen

Having a place to cook during a kitchen remodel can be an obstacle because of available space – or lack-there-of; setting up a temporary kitchen will help you to survive on something else other than just the delivery guy. In fact, you can actually order and rent a temporary kitchen for the duration of your kitchen remodel! Have fun with your temporary space. Get inventive, handy, and creative during your renovation; put those scouting survival skills to the test!
Kitchen Remodel Survival: Temporary Kitchen

Credit To: Cori of Hey Let’s Make Stuff

Choose a Suitable Space.

Deciding where to put your new temporary kitchen can be difficult, someplace with a sink or is close to access to water would be ideal. You might not need a whole lot of space, then again you might want someplace more suitable if you can find it.

Use your old cabinets.

If you have the space, when your old cabinets are torn out, ask your installer to move them to the basement or garage for you to use as temporary counters. Just lay some plywood on top and you’ll be good to go.

Just the Essentials

Move or store large appliances and uncommonly used utensils out of the way, keep only what you know you’ll use. Typically people choose to keep their microwave, crockpot, and toaster oven, I’ve even heard of one couple that moved their coffee maker into their bedroom.

Best bit…….moving the coffee maker into our bedroom!! WHAT A SLICE OF HEAVEN in the morning!”

You can prepare tons of frozen meals ahead of time and just throw them in your crockpot. Done. Delicious, no hassle meal! Be sure to have some storage space for everything. If you didn’t use your old cabinets, plastic craft drawers work nicely!  

Use your Friends, your grill, get inventive!

Don’t put the chinese takeout on speed dial just yet! Ask a friend or family member if they’d allow you to come over to cook a meal for your family – some people can’t resist a free home cooked meal so throw a bone their way too to say thanks! If the weather is nice enough use your grill – it can do everything that your oven can, it’s for more than just BBQ!


Sometimes the lack of a conventional kitchen will wear you down, you’re not hungry enough or your tired of delivery so you don’t want to cook anything. Have some snacks and non-perishables on hand will help you out when you’re in a rut.

Washing Dishes

You can do one of two things when it comes to your eating utensils during a kitchen remodel. You can: A) Use biodegradable and disposable utensils; or B) Get inventive by using your bathroom, a water hose, or a bucket of sudsy water. Kitchen Remodel Survival: Washing Dishes You may be overwhelmed or very excited to start this project, either way following these tips and having everything planned out accordingly before your kitchen remodel even starts will help everything in the beginning! Don’t be afraid, this whole ordeal will eventually be overwith and you’ll have your shiny, new kitchen soon enough!

The Bathroom Dilema

All of these tips can easily be converted to help you to survive a bathroom renovation as well! You’ll more than likely be okay if you have more than one bath and you’re not remodeling them all at the same time, but it’s different if you’re redoing your one and only bath!  
    Builders Surplus is a full service remodeling company with locations in Louisville, Kentucky, and Newport, Kentucky, which also serves Cincinnati, Ohio. We specialize in interior design, which comes as a free service to our clients. We sell building supplies ranging from unused surplus, to first quality in stock, to high end custom order and everything in between. We also provide measurement and full installation services. If you have any questions or would like to set up a free design consultation with one of our interior designers, we would encourage you to do so. Happy Remodeling! Written By: Kat Flaherty

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