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Tips for Living at Home During a Kitchen Remodel

Are you planning to stay in your home during a kitchen remodel? Many people who have done it will tell you not to try; that it is too stressful, messy and frustrating. But the financial reality for many is that moving out for two or three months just isn't possible; not and still be able to afford the new kitchen. If you plan to live with a remodel, we have some tips to help make it is easier on you and your family.

The very first thing we want to mention is -- dust. It is incomprehensible, before ever living through a remodel, that so much dust could be generated by a remodeling project. There will be dust like you could never have imagined. There will be thick new layers of dust, throughout the house, every single day, even on non-construction days.

Coping with Construction Dust

The very best way to deal with dust is with barriers over doorways, heater vents, and any other opening from the kitchen to the rest of the house. For ventilation ducts, close the vent and cover the vent with a piece of 1 mil plastic (like that used for trash bags) and tape it all the way around the vent with painters tape. Don't leave any uncovered areas and no gaps in the tape around the edges.

If you have a doorway that will not have to be used at all during the project, then close the door and cover the entire opening with plastic. Tape the plastic to the door trim with painters tape, just like with the ventilation duct. It is best to put it on the kitchen side of the door. Be sure to post a "Do Not Open" sign on the other side, if opening the door will damage the barrier.

For passageway doors that must be made usable, they are done a little differently to allow people to get in and out. It may be a good idea to first remove the door entirely to avoid damage to it by workers carrying tools and construction materials. The easiest way is to remove the hinge pins (start with the bottom, use a helper to hold the door steady) and separate the two halves of the hinges. Put the pins back into the door jam side of the hinges so they won't become lost.

One method to cover the doorway is to tape plastic over the opening, using plenty of tape to stand up to repeated use. Then use a utility knife to make a slit down the center, big enough for people to pass through. A slight improvement is to cover half the door way with plastic, then overlap a second sheet at the center and cover the other half of the doorway. Leave it loose enough for people to get through. Two barriers over the doorway, on either side of the wall, is even more effective.

If the kitchen is completely open to another room, such as the dining room or family room, it will be necessary to create a temporary wall from plastic. Ask your construction manager to have a wall erected to isolate the kitchen from the other room. This is done with a thick sheet of plastic (4 mil or thicker), which is fastened to long boards which are held against the ceiling and floor by uprights that are wedged into place along the wall's length.

Put down a floor covering, such as statically adhered plastic sheeting. It will help to capture dust particles and reduce tracked dirt. Alternatively, a piece of cheap carpet may be effective at capturing and holding dust and dirt. It can be regularly vacuumed and after the project, thrown away. Put these wherever the workmen must walk to get in and out of the kitchen. Ask the foreman or construction manager to instruct the workmen to use only one path in and out of your home, to cut down on the spread of dust.

Run your home's circulation fan more or less continuously, (it isn't necessary to run the heat or AC). Clean or change the air filter in your system weekly.

Place a fan in a kitchen window, set to blow air to the outside; this will help pull dust from the workspace to the outdoors.

Create a Temporary Mini Kitchen

You will need some of your kitchen functions in order to prepare meals for you and your family. However, you shouldn't try to use you existing kitchen while work is being done, even if it were possible. Your existing kitchen will be more or less dismantled, it will be extremely dusty and quite likely will be without power and/or gas during at least part of the project. Instead, create a mini kitchen in a designated space that is not part the construction area, such as in your dining room or family room. Move your microwave, toaster, and coffee maker into your new temporary kitchen area. Also, either obtain a mini fridge or move your kitchen fridge into your temporary kitchen space. You may also want to purchase a hot plate.

Plan meals that don't require a lot of preparation, or cooking steps. Keep meals simple. Some simple meals include sandwiches, canned soups, cereal, fresh fruit, and microwavable meals of all sorts. Consider preparing some of your favorite recipes ahead of the remodeling project and then freeze them for later reheating. Purchase food and snacks that are ready to serve from the package, including things like fruit. You may need to purchase some extra microwavable dishes in sizes to hold the foods you will serve that also fit into your microwave.

Another useful way to create tasty hot meals is to make use of a BBQ grill in your yard. If you don't already have some recipes, be sure to learn how to prepare vegetables, including corn and baked potatoes.

Plan to use paper plates, plastic utensils and paper cups in order to minimize the clean up after each meal. For clean up, purchase a medium sized washtub with handles, for soaking and washing cookware and dishes. Once rinsed mostly clean, the dishes can be thoroughly cleaned in a bathroom sink or bathtub. The washtub's waste water, including small food scraps, can be poured out into a toilet.


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