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The Kitchenless Cook: A Kitchen Renovation Survival Guide

Embarking on a kitchen renovation is no small feat. It requires not just a vision for your new space but also a strategy for surviving without one of the most essential rooms in your home. Brace yourself, my friend, because you're about to enter a world where creativity meets culinary chaos, and where your patience (and perhaps your takeout budget) will be tested like never before. As I juggle several kitchen renovation projects for clients and stare down the barrel of our own kitchen demo happening sooner than anticipated, I've gathered a few practical tips to help you live through this temporary upheaval with your sanity intact.


temporary kitchen in the living room with compact appliances

Planning Your Temporary Kitchen Setup


Identifying a suitable spot for your makeshift kitchen is your first order of business. It should be a place where you can access power and, ideally, water. Consider these three potential locations:

  • The Laundry Room: It's usually equipped with countertops, outlets and sometimes even a sink, making it a prime candidate.

  • The Garage or Basement: Offers ample space and often access to water. Just make sure it's clean and safe.

  • The Dining Room: Close to your daily living area and can be easily adapted into a temporary kitchen setup.

And yes, if there’s a spot crying out for a utility sink, install that lifesaver. Trust me, washing dishes in your bathroom sink loses its novelty real quick!


Setting Up a Makeshift Countertop


Whether it's a robust piece of furniture or a folding table, having a surface to prepare meals on is crucial. This will be your go-to spot for assembling those quick, no-cook meals or using small appliances. Again, you will want to make sure you have some accessibility to a power source or two.


The Appliance A-Team


Select versatile appliances that will be your culinary lifelines. Multi-functional gadgets that can serve multiple purposes are worth their weight in gold. Bonus points if it’s something that can serve a future purpose in another area of the home or in your future newly renovated kitchen.  Here’s a list of appliances perfectly suited for a compact, makeshift kitchen setup that don't include a microwave!

  • Fridge: Essential for keeping your basics fresh. If room permits, move your existing refrigerator to your makeshift kitchen area. Should that prove impractical, consider acquiring a mini or compact fridge. Not only will it meet your immediate needs, but it can also offer additional storage space elsewhere in your home once the renovation dust settles.

  • Air Fryer/Toaster Combo:  This appliance has become a staple in our cooking routine, making it a natural fit for our temporary setup. Its compact design, multifunctional capabilities, and faster cooking times compared to conventional methods make it ideal for everything from meal prep to warming up leftovers.

  • Slow Cooker/Instant Pot: These are the MVPs of the makeshift kitchen. Perfect for one pot, set it and forget it meals with minimal effort.

  • Electric Kettle: It boils water. Enough said.

  • Hot Plate/Induction Cooktop: allows for stovetop cooking when a full range isn’t accessible. Just make sure you have compatible cookware if you are using an induction appliance.

  • Coffee Maker: Because without caffeine, let’s be honest, none of this is possible.

  • Grill: Offers the perfect reason to take your cooking outdoors, particularly if your renovation is taking place during grilling season. Plus, everything tastes better grilled, right?


Essential Cookware and Utensils


Streamline your kitchen arsenal to the essentials: a reliable skillet, a quality saucepan, and the most underrated item: aluminum foil, all of which will cater to a broad range of cooking tasks. Equip yourself with a few chef's knives, spatulas, and wooden spoons for versatile prep and cooking. A cutting board will be invaluable, protecting surfaces during food preparation. Lastly, incorporate a set of nesting mixing bowls, a space-efficient solution for mixing, stirring, and combining ingredients.


Embracing the Disposable Lifestyle


Yes, we love the planet, but sometimes you just have to embrace disposable plates, cups, and utensils. Consider it a temporary truce with your eco-conscience for the sake of your sanity when resources are limited.


Freezer Meals: Your Secret Weapon


Prep and freeze meals like you’re preparing for the culinary apocalypse.  Sauces, soups and even marinated packs ready for the slow cooker are all options that a great for a quick thaw and heat. Future you will be so grateful for a home-cooked meal with minimal effort. Stay tuned for a future post where we share what we are stocking our freezer with!


The Light at the End of the Renovation Tunnel


Living without a kitchen is a challenge, but it's a temporary sacrifice for a long-term gain. Every inconvenience is a step toward your dream kitchen. And remember, this period of disruption will provide you with a story or two to tell once the dust has settled. Hungry for more tips, or have your own kitchen-less survival stories to share? Drop a comment below – I’d love to hear how you're managing, or managed, your culinary adventures amid renovation!


Your Turn: What Would You Like to Hear About Next?


As we navigate this renovation journey together, I’m curious: what aspects of home renovation are you eager to learn more about? More hacks for living through renovation? Deep dives into design choices? Let me know in the comments, and stay tuned for our next post, where I’ll unveil our floor plans for the interior!


Until next week...Cheers!

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