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Apr 4, 2009 08:29 PM

Surviving a kitchen remodel

Any tips on what to leave unpacked and how to get through this with a minimum cost? We will have a grill and microwave.

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  1. How many people will you be cooking for? You might want to look into getting a cheap electric burner.

    What to leave unpacked:

    one place setting per person, plus a couple of extras
    bowls, both for mixing and for eating stuff like soup, cereal, ice cream
    One large all-purpose skillet
    One pot large enough to cook pasta in
    One smaller sauce pan with lid
    One paring knife
    One large knife
    One wooden (pot stirring) spoon
    Cheap/Sturdy glasses
    pot holders
    measuring cups and spoons
    if you're a coffee drinker, something to make coffee
    oil, vinegar, basic spices and condiments

    Beyond that, it really depends on what you like to cook and eat. I'd have a small box with my most used tools (vegetable peeler, microplane, tongs) -- the things you reach for most often. If you eat a lot of rice, a rice cooker might be helpful.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Ruth Lafler

      I survived mine a few years back. I was weary by the end of it.

      I never thought to get a cheap electric burner, good idea from Ruth.

      I moved my fridge/freezer into the dining room, (not pretty, but it saved my sanity). I put
      paper plates and bread on top of my fridge.

      I moved my dining table up against a wall. On it, against the wall, I placed my microwave, a toaster oven and coffee pot. I cooked lots of meals ahead and froze them.

      The tough thing for me was washing dishes and flatware, my bathroom sink is tiny.

      Good luck, take deep breathes and you will love everything when it's done.

      1. re: mcel215

        I can't believe I forget the toaster oven!

        I went two years without a kitchen while renovating my house. My sister used her laundry room (which has a much bigger sink than a bathroom) during her kitchen remodel.

      2. re: Ruth Lafler

        The induction hot plates are relatively cheap too, at least compared to the whole stove and they would save you time. A hot plate like that is good to have at a buffet after your kitchen is done, because you don't need to worry about anyone burning themselves on it.

        1. re: Bryn

          If you have compatible cookware (plain or enameled cast iron, some brands of stainless), I definitely second the recommendation for a single induction burner. Much, much better quality and more power than a cheap coil burner. You will probably really want a burner sometimes for simple things like eggs or simmering a sauce...especially if it rains and you can't grill.

      3. Menus from all the nearby take out places!

        1. We had the grill, micro too but also bought a electric pot to boil pasta and such.

          Hated every minute of it :o) but it was worth it in the end.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Eric in NJ

            We survived 4 months with fridge, microwave, grill (with a side burner) and a toaster oven. I actually used the toaster oven a lot. I bought a set of those wire shelves from Target. The micro and toaster lived on one shelf, plates, glasses, etc. on another, food stuffs on the others. We didn't have a table (it was in storage), so used TV trays. We had a bar sink/counter/cabinets in the sunroom, which we used for prep and storage of cookware, etc. That was a lifesaver!

          2. Hi Nosey -

            I JUST got done with ours. 3 months. We had the fridge moved to another part of the house, a microwave, a toaster, a panini grill, a waffle iron, and a crock pot. If I could do it over, I would have gotten a flat electric griddle as well.

            If you still can, go get some (Id suggest the above) cheap electric appliances.

            Make some big batches of food you like that freezes well.
            I did lasagna, a few Indian stews, chili, tinga, pulled pork, smoked chicken halves, grilled chicken breasts and thighs.

            I'd also go get an ultra cheap set of dishes, plastic glasses, and silverware.

            I've read in many places (and experienced 1st hand) that although you might plan to cook every night while your kitchen is in shambles, don't be surprised if it doesn't really work out that way. It's REALLY a pain in the butt to cook on some table in a corner of the house. I wold HIGHLY suggest to look on for deals in your area, and collect take out menus, and pay attention to restaurant daily specials. If you have any family or close friends, let them know about your remodel, many of our friends offered meals since they've done their kitchens as well. I know that if any of my neighbors or family told me they were gonna do their kitchen, I'd invite them over for dinner a few times at least. BTW, here's a PPT of our progression - it's 94 meg, so it may take a few minutes to load, if you care to see ours.

            2 Replies
            1. re: gordeaux

              Thanks for the wonderful presentation. The kitchen looks wonderful. Our house is about the same age as yours. The kitchen was re-done in the '80's. We are at 12x12 now, but are taking out 2 partial walls and will have kitchen, dining room and sunroom as one. We are crossing our fingers about the foundation.

              The fridge will be in the LR. An old chest will be our cabinet. I see lots of take our in our future.

              Thanks everyone for the good ideas and wishes.

              1. re: gordeaux

                Like the ritz compared to me. I made do with a a few pots and pans, coffee maker and it all fit it a small tupperware tub. Have some fun and be creative. Mac and cheese on the grill, grilled pork, potatoes and grilled romaine with fresh veggies all on the grill. Come on way way too many appliances for me. A grill and micro just for the coffee and I was good to go.

                We had fun reinventing how to make meals.

              2. You can cook so much on an outdoor grill. Buy some cheap disposable aluminum pans- great for cooking vegetables.