Pre-demolition: words of advice?

diknippenJuly 18, 2013

We are several weeks away from kitchen demolition prior to remodeling.
What should we do to prepare? Is it even possible to prepare?

I have a microwave, refrigerator (no freezer) and kitchen sink in the basement. A kitchen table and chairs too. That will become our functioning kitchen during remodeling. Garage has a freezer.

Please share your wisdom and advice.

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An nonstick electric skillet was invaluable! From eggs, to quesadillas, to chicken piccata. Do your have a bbq? Ours got a workout, we became so tired of eating out.

Loads of papertowels, a jar of multifunction kitchen utensils, a supply of paper plates, cups and some plastic silverware, although we barely used that. DH prefers the real deal.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2013 at 6:05PM
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No wisdom here but a little advice based on our own demo which was done yesterday:
A trash can/ trash bags kept in easy reach ( we had a trash compactor which was, of course, hauled away, too).
Keep a supply of cardboard sheets/plastic sheets/tape for both ( for wood floors, sealing pass-throughs, covering existing lighting) - dust sneaks in everywhere.
To repeat compumom's excellent suggestion - lots of paper towels. Handy for everything and everywhere, including bathroom used by workmen.
Pre-cook meals and freeze; you won't feel like cooking much once the work starts ( at least, I don't).
Supplies of bottled drinking water - coming in very handy for us, especially as the weather here is HOT.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2013 at 7:10PM
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The best thing I did in preparation was based on advice I read here: I emptied out my upstairs linen closet, finding new homes fro the towels, blankets, sheets, and suitcases, and used those deep shelves to hold ALL of my breakables from my kitchen: all plates, glasses, and many, many other items were carried up there and are sitting happily on those shelves. If I'd had to pack them up, it would have taken FOREVER, and very likely more than a few things would have gotten broken, with all the moving and rearranging we have done.
I also emptied out an old armoire, moved it to our living area, and that holds almost all of our temporary kitchen items: food and utensils. I love having it all in closed storage, rather than on shelves, because every single exposed surface ends up coated in dust. So happy to have this large armoire for everything!
Good luck!

    Bookmark   July 18, 2013 at 7:20PM
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Stop now while you have the chance!! Seriously, move out for three months (we're doing our bathrooms and flooring, too, I am so tired of it all). My electric teakettle came in handy, mostly used to heat hot water for instant oatmeal. My son told a friend he was surprised how good a meal could be from a crock pot sitting on the floor. The hardest thing for me was washing dishes in the bathroom sink or bathtub but at least you have a sink in the basement.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2013 at 8:21PM
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Take pictures. and remember to keep your eye on the end result. Things will look so bleak and dark and gloomy and hopeless in the middle. Remember, it has to get worse, much worse before it will get better!!! The lowest point for me came right before all the pretty shininess began to show. After a point I was so depressed about living in a pigsty. It was never-ending it seemed. Then one day the heavens parted and this gorgeous kitchen began to emerge, mirroring the vision I had in the beginning! Keep your head up and eyes on the final goal! You will have an amazing kitchen when all is said in done. A kitchen you designed! It's completely yours!

you will have dust in places you never thought possible so BUY EXTRA AIR FILTERS! I cannot stress this enough. That dust will kill them!

Evaluate your current cooking methods. I am a stove top cooker primarily and use my microwave a lot. I had to do with out a MW for the whole reno. Could have bought one I guess but I did get used to it. Some may benefit from a toaster oven type thing. I used the heck out of my 2 burner hot plate my mother bought for me :) Tried an electric skillet, hated it.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   July 18, 2013 at 8:55PM
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I set up the temp kitchen in the DR right next to the kitchen and I have to say the dust was not bad at all. Plastic sheeting with zippers to pass through at each doorway worked very well. We had a MW,toaster oven, and fridge. It's just DH and me, so not cooking was not a big deal. Big supply of paper products.

I also provided bottled water and snacks each day for the crew...fruit, granola bars, snack bags of chips, cookies...I switched it out. I also left the coffee pot and coffee, etc available but they did not use it. They were great guys and did such a good job, I gave them all gift cards at the wasn't big but they were very appreciative. One has even come back to do other little projects for us.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2013 at 10:41PM
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Start making a list of things you will need (a few bowls, plastic storage containers, measuring cup, corkscrew, etc). I found it very helpful to spend time in advance thinking about what I would need, rather than trying to figure it all out while I was packing boxes.

We set up a set of metal shelves in the dining room to hold pantry/kitchen items - food and dishes. It's ugly, but effective. I put a small microwave on a TV tray.

When I packed things into boxes, I tried to keep like things together and label everything, so when I did need a cake pan or vanilla, I could find it.

We are lucky to have neighbors who are happy to let us use their stove or oven in a pinch. We've been without a kitchen for 5 weeks (though we were on vacation for one week), and it looks like we've got at least 3 weeks more to go. I think we're going to make it!

    Bookmark   July 18, 2013 at 11:32PM
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Check here for some good ideas, including my own installation of a DW and range in my laundry room. I highly recommend it!

Here is a link that might be useful: Another temp kitchen thread

    Bookmark   July 19, 2013 at 12:21AM
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screw-top wine: no muss, no fuss! no searching for a wine opener that's *some*where in the boxes...

    Bookmark   July 19, 2013 at 7:02AM
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The best thing I did was to convince our gc to leave my old range and hook up a laundry sink as soon as the plumbing was completed. We had to part ways with our first kitchen cabinet place after a modest retainer was paid as we lost confidence in their ability to deliver and feared a bigger disaster down the road. That set us back at least four weeks. The laundry sink in the empty kitchen has made it all bearable, despite the additional small expense...has been worth it. I have running water and can readily grill or cook on the old gas range. My son admires my resourceful ness, as he puts it. Oh, and one more thought...I bought a rice cooker and have ended up happy with that...despite thinking, why would anyone need an appliance to cook rice? Best of luck... I'm two and half mos in the worst of it but expecting deliveries over next two weeks.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2013 at 7:57AM
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We are coming into the home stretch of the world's longest DIY whole house redo. Working on the kitchen now. We moved the furniture together in the living room. Then moved a few base cabinets out there, topped with some of the old countertop pieces, then set wall cabinets on top. Put our most used kitched stuff in them. Microwave and coffee pot are sitting on old base cabinets with pieces of countertop. This gives us a mock "kitchen" with 12" countertops.

Just so everyone else will feel better about their remodels, we had no regular kitchen sink or dishwasher for about a year. Had a garage utility sink with a pull-out faucet sitting in the kitchen. Next to it was the washing machine. We would pull out the faucet and lay it into the washing machine to fill. Turn on a timer so we'd remember to turn the water off in 16 minutes or it would overflow. The drain from the washer went into the utility sink. Worked perfectly and was quite a conversation piece whenever we had friends over for dinner.

When we finally got the back part of the house done, we moved the washing machine to it's new home and I hammered together 2x4s with plywood on top to make a new sink base. Pushed old formica countertop pieces up to the edges on both sides for leak control and reinstalled the old sink. Quite a step up! I'm not going to know how to function in a "real" kitchen again. Cabinets arrive next week - yeah!

    Bookmark   July 20, 2013 at 8:43AM
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Our demo starts Monday! Diknippen, you have a great temporary camp in your basement. Fortunately, we, too, have a kitchenette of sorts in our basement--so grateful for this.

Here's what I have done so far:
1. Moved just my essentials down to the basement kitchen, including 3 sets of dishware/utensils for each member of family, along with basic serveware.
2. Packed other items and moved them to other secured parts of the house. To echo home4all6's advice, I cleared our hallway coat closet, and am using that as primary storage.
3. Got creative with cooking the past month to use up pantry items, while reiterating to family what *great* meals I'll prepare once new kitchen is done.
4. Made note of favorite crockpot and grill recipes to use during demo.
5. Clipped coupons for local restaurants. Also, a few months ago, our local high school sports teams were selling those coupon packs as fundraisers--many of our favorite restaurants were listed.
6. Began prepping kids: "Kids, our kitchen demo starts next week, so Mom is going to be a ball of stress for a while. Just so you know." ;-)

I've rather enjoyed slowly clearing out our kitchen and getting rid of stuff I haven't needed or used in years. I've made a few trips to Goodwill, and the neighborhood is holding a kid-run garage sale next week (my stuff included!).

It's going to be stressful, but I'm viewing it as a lovely process of simplification. To paraphrase William Morris, the only items returning to my kitchen will be useful or beautiful.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2013 at 10:49AM
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We are two+ weeks in since the counters, etc have been removed; we have only T&G floor for about a month, since the abatement folks had to remove our vinyl layers before their 'big' jobs started once school was out. We have no sheetrock on 2 walls so DH can do electrical, plus the plumber was out yesterday for some of his stuff. Our electric stove is still in the kitchen, and I have used that a bit but am somewhat leery since there is nothing between it and the studs/insulation. Microwave is on a dolly on the floor. BBQ grill is outside. Crockpot is in the dining room. Our old refrig. is living in the new recessed area, so we have refrigeration, thank heavens. No counters, no sink, no DW.

We put up 2 sawhorses with plywood in our den to use as our pantry, foodstuff is there along with plates/silverware. As I packed up the kitchen, I made conscious choices of what to put in the 'pantry'. Corkscrew, a few knives, large spoons, can opener, etc. Everything else got packed up. I won't be doing any baking or 'normal' cooking so all of that other stuff is packed. (I packed up each cabinet separately so I could find things if needed, but so far, so good). I got boxes from Costco to pack the kitchen up.

We set up one of our bathrooms as "the kitchen". Coffeepot is there, as well as a few mugs. Bought an inexpensive set of Corelle to use during this time, but we are using paper plates sometimes. Plastic silverware is just too flimsy and small so we are using our stainless. I have a small bucket that I bought at the Dollar store to use as a 'holding device' until I wash the plates/mugs/silverware/etc. I am washing dishes in a little washtub in the bathtub, and setting them on a towel on the countertop to dry.

We are doing mostly grilling outside, and having 'side dishes' from deli counter as salads. Bagged salad also. Some freezer meals I had made in advance. We have only eaten out twice, so I am pretty happy about that.

So far so good. I know it will all be worth it!

    Bookmark   July 20, 2013 at 11:28AM
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I also used the DR for my temp kitchen.
GC moved the fridge into the DR. It worked great except for once when sparky turned off power to the outlet and I discovered several hours later- so no harm

I cooked a lot of meals in preparation for the big event and also bought a number of pre-made items from a great little farm store nearby.

All of our boxes were between the DR and great room- stacked under and over a table plus I used the fireplace area- so if I needed something, I could snag it.

We each had one plate, bowl, glass, and silver and when we didn't have a DW, we washed in the laundry room.

We also used paper products But tried to minimize the use Whenever possible.

We used our delonghi counter top oven a lot(similar to the breville)
The key was the induction burner and a couple of vessels to use.

I ended up pulling out the crockpot and use that as well.

Of course I only expected this to last for two weeks But it took a lot longer than expected

I heard the horror stories of dust and covered everything in big sheets. The dust was much less than I expected and GC always made sure that the plastic was in place.

Hang in there and stay positive because it and will be worth the effort

    Bookmark   July 20, 2013 at 11:33AM
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I didn't have the space to set up an alternative kitchen in the basement, and had to use either the laundry tub in the basement or the bath sink upstairs for water.

1) cooking appliances = microwave, toaster oven, and George Foreman grill (easy to wipe clean and has worked beautifully). Also kept out my crockpot but haven't used it yet.
2) an enclosed cupboard of some kind near the cooking/eating area to keep dishware, cereals, snacks, etc.
3) a plastic dishpan (or 2) for washing things and toting them and covered plastic pitchers for keeping water handy for wiping up the work area
4) heavy duty plastic sheets, picnic tablecloths and cardboard for covering the dining table and buffet; also cutting boards. I used cooling racks to elevate the heat generating appliances off the plastic/cardboard/furniture.
5) extension cords for the appliances, frig etc as needed
6) a dedicated old broom, brush and dustpan for the work/adjacent dusty areas
7) I also have a shop vac, fitted with a drywall dust filter, and have used that for cleaning even beyond the kitchen so that I don't risk my everyday vacuum. Not as easy to use but adequate.

Believe us when we say dust gets everywhere. In my 1200sq ft 2 story it got into every room. Cover artwork and upholstered furniture with sheets, close doors, and protect electricals (ie computers) during the active demolition and again when drywall is sanded. Cover other hardwood floors with rosin paper or fabric dropcloths in the walk paths.

Have several conversations with your GC and workmen about containing dust and make sure that they follow through. Mine talked the talk but didn't walk the walk when I wasn't around.

OH, yeah, if you have cats -- my elderly cat got very upset by the whole disruption and started urinating in places other than the litter box. Be prepared!

Happy remodeling!

    Bookmark   July 20, 2013 at 11:50AM
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We have a demolition headed our way perhaps in August. My dental hygienist told me what her family did. Each night they piled the kids in the car and asked which country should we visit tonight? We live in an area with lots of ethnic food. They would look into teaching the kids about the different cultures of the restaurants they visited. They turned it into a party! Wouldn't work everywhere or for every family, but you have to admire using it to an advantage.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2013 at 1:38PM
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OP here--
What bountiful wisdom and experience. Thank you.

And what humor. Many posts made me laugh out loud. I like how all of you have kept perspective even in extremely stressful day to day living situations.

Good luck to everyone still in the midst of their projects.

I am now off the pre-cook some meals based on your advice.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2013 at 3:52PM
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Never thought about how good we have it in that our existing kitchen won't be demo'd until the new one is done!

    Bookmark   July 21, 2013 at 4:06PM
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We set up a temporary kitchen in our seldom used living room. It is right next to the kitchen thru a doorway that had plastic sheeting on it. The plastic never wanted to stay put, so yes, dust got everywhere. I knew it was coming--just part of the Reno.
We used a camping table and some old wooden cabinets I had for food storage and to hold a microwave. I used my crock pot sometimes, but not as much as I had planned. Things were often chaotic and I didn't feel like cooking some days. On those days we had pizza or cereal or microwaved frozen dinners.
I used a dish pan from the dollar store to cart my dirty dishes to the mudroom tub. They dried on a towel on top of the dryer. We used lots of paper plates and plastic forks. I felt guilty at first, but it saved my sanity!

    Bookmark   July 21, 2013 at 11:27PM
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Thank you for all the responses. I am taking action on many ideas so our life is less stressful during demolition and remodeling.

Love this forum!

    Bookmark   July 25, 2013 at 1:48PM
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