7 Tips for Surviving a Remodel With a Temporary Kitchen

Jacqueline Quach
Written by Jacqueline Quach
Updated May 16, 2022
Husband serving coffee to pregnant wife
Photo: Dean Mitchell / E+ / Getty Images

Create a comfortable space to cook while your kitchen gets a makeover

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The kitchen is the heart of the home, where you make delicious meals and memories. When it’s time to renovate, you’ll have to rearrange your daily routine. However, there are many ways you can carve out a space to cook and survive a kitchen remodel—just follow these easy tips to set up a temporary kitchen. 

1. Designate a Space for Your Temporary Kitchen

Set aside a space to cook and prepare meals in your kitchen (depending on how extensive your remodel is) or another space like the dining room or yard. To find out which configuration makes the most sense, know in advance whether you’ll be able to use your stove and refrigerator. You can always use a portable countertop stove or a mini-refrigerator if both of those appliances are out of commission. 

2. Take Advantage of Small Appliances

Since you’ll have limited space to cook, use small appliances to make cooking meals easier. Microwaves, toaster ovens, blenders, and electric kettles can cut down your cook time. 

For example, you can make meals in bigger batches and reheat them using a microwave. If you’re a breakfast person, using an electric kettle to make instant oatmeal in the morning is easier than scrambling eggs. In place of your oven, you can use a toaster oven to toast bread and bake cookies—the possibilities are endless.

3. Create a Kitchen Tool Kit

Put together a temporary tool kit that includes everything you’ll need to prepare daily meals. When assembling your kitchen tool kit, set aside necessities for cooking and store them all in one place. It helps to keep your cooking setup light if you have to switch spaces during the remodel. 

Here are some items you might need for your kitchen tool kit:

  • A plate, bowl, cup, and dining utensils for each person

  • Cooking utensils (a spatula, cutting board, and knife)

  • Paper towels

  • Pots and pans

  • Cooking oil, salt, and spices

  • Airtight food storage containers

  • Dish rack and drying mat

4. Pack What You Don’t Need

A couple packing boxes in the kitchen
Photo: Catherine Delahaye / DigitalVision / Getty Images

Make space for your temporary cooking space and store all of your appliances, extra dishware, and supplies in the garage, a guest bedroom, or anywhere in your home with additional space. Only keep out what you’ll need for everyday meals, including utensils, cutting boards, and basic pots and pans. 

You’ll also want to keep your kitchen supplies packed away from dust and debris during the renovation, so label everything you store away to make it easier to organize your kitchen after a remodel

5. Map Out Your Kitchen Remodel Timeline 

A kitchen remodel can take anywhere from six to 12 weeks, so it’s helpful to know what you can expect. Ask your contractor about the logistics of the remodel so you can decide which space in your home is best for a temporary kitchen. You can keep your cooking space in place during the entire remodeling project by planning ahead. 

Sometimes, renovations can take extra time, depending on the scope of the job. Allow for some flexibility when putting away your temporary kitchen so you can continue to use it if needed. If you’re thinking about remodeling your kitchen but aren’t sure how long it will take, consider calling a local kitchen remodeling pro who can help you break it down.  

6. Put Together Meal Prep Ideas

Take stock of the appliances and basic supplies you’ve set aside for your temporary kitchen and plan out the meals you’ll make. It’s an important step that makes using your makeshift kitchen much easier. 

You can cut down on extra steps by using frozen veggies and picking up pre-marinated meats at the market that are ready to cook. If you have a working refrigerator with lots of freezer space during the remodel, prep, freeze, and label your favorite meals. To save even more time, include foods that don’t need to be cooked, including cereal, sandwiches, and other cold foods. 

7. Bring the Kitchen Outside

If you’re remodeling your kitchen during the warmer seasons, you can take advantage of it and turn your backyard into your culinary headquarters. All you need is a barbeque and a spot for all of your ingredients. You can place some shelves next to the grill to create a short-term outdoor pantry. Barbeque grills also provide enough heat to act as a stove, so place pots and pans over the flame and use the grill to heat your food. 

8. Set Up a Space to Clean Dishes

Carve out a place to clean and dry dishes after meals. If your kitchen sink isn’t available, you can use the sink in a guest bathroom, basement, or garage as a temporary kitchen sink. Make space for a dish rack where it makes the most sense, whether that’s next to a sink you’re using or on a temporary shelf lined with a drying mat. If there isn’t space for a dish rack, immediately dry your dishes with some towels after cleaning.

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