How to Survive Your Kitchen Remodel

by Sam Ferris
No home-cooked meals for a month? No problem. OK, scratch that ? it is a problem. So is not having a dishwasher or eat-in space. A shakeup to your daily routine plus all the clutter associated with kitchen remodeling is enough to make you think you?re living in Hell?s kitchen.

While there isn?t an over-the-counter solution tucked away in your pantry, there are practical approaches for surviving the dog days of kitchen remodeling. The trick, like always, is planning ahead and making the most of limited resources. Here are eight ways to keep your sanity intact and make it out unscathed after your kitchen remodel is complete.?
Don?t Do It During the Holidays
It?s one of the biggest remodeling mistakes you can make. As much as we love Thanksgiving and Christmas, the last month of the year is as helter-skelter as any. Add in a kitchen remodel and it?s too much to wrap your head (and your budget) around. ?

You also won?t be able to host any guests with a torn up kitchen, which can significantly alter your holiday plans. It?s almost impossible to house family without a working kitchen. Trust us, it?s less headache to wait until after New Year?s.?

Organize and Label Your Kitchen Supplies
Resist the temptation to haphazardly toss your pots and pans into boxes. Instead, take the time to organize your utensils and dishware by cabinet space. It?s also the perfect time to reorganize and make your storage space more efficient. ?

Rubbermaid tubs are large enough to hold pots and pans and sturdy enough to where you don?t have to spend a lot of time wrapping your dishes. Label them so you know where everything is located.?

Clear Away the Clutter
There isn?t a better time to get rid of junk than when you?re forced to sort it out during a kitchen remodel. Chances are you don?t need the Veg-O-Matic or dusty slow cooker you haven?t used in years. ?

Kitchen remodels tend to leave us feeling stagnant, like we?re not able to get work done around the house until the job is finished. Getting rid of items you don?t use is a way to feel productive as well as chip away at your to-do list. ?

Freeze Your Food
I?m not suggesting Lean Cuisines and TV trays every night of the week. No, these frozen dinners are made at home by you. ?

Meal prep is an easy solution to not having a functioning kitchen. If you pre-cook 10-20 meals the week before your remodel starts, all you have to do is put them in the freezer and pop them in the microwave when you?re hungry. You?ll appreciate the break from take out.

Soups and casseroles are primed for a stint in the freezer. Some foods aren?t, like certain kinds of veggies and dairy products. Happy Money Saver has a month?s worth of frozen meal recipes plus a list of what will ? and won?t ? last on her blog. Use it to find creative meal prep ideas or research your own recipes.?

Become a Grill Master
Fire up the grill for a change of pace on the weekends. Grilling lets you prepare a home-cooked meal without using your kitchen, a gesture your family will appreciate after several nights of take out. ???

If you?re going to barbeque chicken or grill steak, ditch the prep-heavy sides. Burgers and hot dogs are light on prep work. Condiments and buns are pre-packaged and easy to clean up, too.?

Cook for a Friend
A chance to get out of the house and eat a home-cooked meal? Seize it. Call a friend and arrange a dinner at their place. It?s OK to invite yourself over when you offer to cook (I made that up).

It may be a good time to try a friend?s recipe or share some of your best-kept secrets with a friend. Seeing an intact kitchen for the first time in a week may be like walking through a funhouse, but the socialization and normalcy will do you good.?

Order Gourmet Take Out
Not all take out is bad. Most major cities have eateries that prepare healthy, home-style breakfasts, lunches, and dinners, all neatly packaged in refrigerated containers. You can even hire a personal chef for a night or two during your remodel. Both of these options cost about the same as restaurant dining. ?

Corpus Christi has several choices for gourmet take out, from personal chef services to pre-packaged meals. Here?s a quick menu of your options:

Bonn A-petit. Self-described as a ?gourmet convenience store,? the local offers pre-cooked southern French cuisine, including breakfast, lunch and dinner. 4301 South Alameda & Roberts, 334-2579,

By The Bay Personal Chef Service. Chef Fred prepares quality, healthy meals at bargain prices for families who don?t have the time to cook (or in your case, is remodeling their kitchen). 1001 N. Water St., 2b, 331-1502.

Stay Fit Foods Corpus Christi. Housed inside Drunkn? Noodlez Asian restaurant, Stay Fit Foods sells clean, lean eats with an Asian flare Monday through Thursday. 4214 S. Alameda, 992-1400.?

Use Disposable Plates and Utensils
It isn?t exactly fine dining, but disposable plates and utensils get the job done well. The small added cost is worth it. Kitchen remodels are messy enough without a stack of dirty dishes waiting to be washed.?

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