Simplify Your Kitchen Renovation Journey: Start with Decluttering

Over the years, I’ve provided plenty of tips on kitchen renovations, but I’ve never shared the actual process that starts months before the demolition and rebuilding begins. Of course, the design work and choosing finishes take time. However, there’s more. In this post, I’m talking about the months of sorting, decluttering, and organizing you need to do so you can be ready for the renovation when the time comes. In fact, to simplify your kitchen renovation journey, you need to start with decluttering.

Hire Help

Your kitchen renovation journey will be much easier if you hire a professional organizer first. Professional organizers will help you declutter and ask you questions about how you work in the kitchen. For example, if your family tradition is making waffles every Sunday morning, keep your waffle maker handy. Alternatively, if the waffle maker you received as a wedding gift years ago is still in its original packaging, you might decide to give it away. In addition to a professional organizer, hiring an interior decorator to help you narrow the choices of fixtures and finishes can be a real time-saver.

Plan Your Timeline

The best time to plan your kitchen renovation journey is during the warmer months when you can escape to the cottage or at least barbeque in the backyard. Here is an example of a timeline from a client’s renovation.

Our first meeting with the contractor occurred in January, and we started the kitchen decluttering and organizing work in March. I worked with the client for about ten hours doing the preliminary sorting and categorizing of kitchen items. That process spread out over March, April, and May. The contractor started the renovations in July.

If you are tackling this on your own, double or triple that amount of time to declutter and organize because of your other obligations, such as work and managing your household. I suggest dividing the decluttering sessions into two-to-three-hour chunks, so it will be easier for you to manage.

Choose an Area for a Temporary Kitchen

If you are living somewhere else during your renovation (cottage, family member’s house), you may only need a small space for a temporary kitchen in your home. However, if your family will be living in the home during the renovation, you’ll need space to prepare meals, eat them, and clean up afterwards. Some people choose a spare bedroom and use a bathroom sink as a dishwashing space. Others create a temporary kitchen in a basement and use a laundry tub as a dishwashing area. You’ll also need to ensure your fridge is nearby, along with food prep and dining surfaces such as a dining room table and sideboard for small appliances and the essential coffee machine. And, of course, you’ll need temporary space to store food.

RENO TIP: In the months leading up to the renovation, cut down on your grocery shopping. The less you have in your pantry, the less you’ll need to store elsewhere. Also, during the renovation, only buy what you need to eat for one or two days at a time – again, less to store in your temporary kitchen.

Packing the Kitchen

Another major time-consuming activity in your kitchen renovation journey is packing the kitchen before the contractor begins work. To give you an idea of time, it took my team (two people) ten hours to pack a fairly large kitchen. You will likely want to do more sorting while you pack because you’ll need to separate the items you need for your temporary kitchen and those you don’t. Additionally, taking more time to sort when you pack will make it much easier to unpack and organize your kitchen once the renovation is complete.

When packing the kitchen, I suggest you use good quality moving boxes because they are clean and stack easily. Alternatively, you could rent sturdy plastic bins from Frogbox or U-Haul. Whichever you choose, clearly label your boxes/bins so you can find any items you need quickly and easily.

Designate a Place to Store Items You Won’t Use During the Renovation

You need to store the items you won’t use during your renovation. Obviously, you can’t store anything in the kitchen. But, finding places to store bins around the house can be challenging. Also, figuring out what you need in your temporary kitchen for four to six months isn’t easy. You may need to dig into the items you thought you would not use, so consider keeping them close by.

With my client, we worked together to separate the items she wouldn’t need until September. Then, we carried all those bins to the basement. It wasn’t really my idea of a good time (heavy work in humid weather), but getting stuff out of the way is essential for the contractor to work efficiently. If you don’t have a basement, consider renting a temporary storage unit. Remember that you should also find a temporary home for electronics such as your computer, television, etc. because plaster dust can damage these items. Ideally, move them to a new location or tightly wrap them for protection.

Your kitchen renovation journey doesn’t need to be a harrowing adventure. Hiring a professional organizer to help declutter, plan a realistic timeline, and designate spaces for a temporary kitchen and storage is a vital step before you start renovating. Having an interior decorator on your team with renovation and design experience can also save you time and money. If you’re considering a renovation, contact me today. I’d be happy to help you create the home of your dreams.

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