It’s been pretty quiet on the blog for the last few weeks, but it’s been insanely busy on the home front.
We’re undergoing a major kitchen renovation.
Combining the dining room, craft room (sob!), and kitchen. Breaking down some walls. Opening up the place.
Letting some light in, and trying something new.
I’ll be the first to admit that it hasn’t been all that pretty. But there are a few things we’ve been doing to try to keep our family sane. We’re still not finished, but we’re getting there. We can see the light.
For our family, it’s been absolutely insane. But fun. Kind of.
Three weeks without appliances. All of our worldly possessions from three rooms shoved into our living room. It’s dusty. It’s a mess. It brings cray-cray to a whole new level.
Here’s the skinny. . .
- How to Keep Your Family Sane During a Kitchen Renovation: I think any time the kitchen is involved with a renovation, it’s time to pull out all the stops.
The kitchen is the command center of the home. It’s where all the action begins and where it usually ends.
And when the kitchen’s all torn up, life can get a little nutty to say the least. Though I have not handled this experience as gracefully as I wish I have, I’m doing what I can to maintain my sanity.
Here are my feeble suggestions for others who may soon experience the joy of having their kitchen gutted. . .
1. Go with it. Accept the chaos.
Really. My pal who is always on top of things–the one who cleans up after the cleaners, who is always on time for everything, and in whose home we follow the ‘no shoes’ rule–gave me this advice: Go with it. Accept the chaos.
Go with it.
See me? Don’t I look totally happy just ‘going with it’?
But that advice, coming from my friend, really stuck.
Amy, you have to just go with it. Don’t fight it. Accept the chaos and you’ll be fine. You can’t clean. There’s dust everywhere. Just go with it.
I have repeated that phrase over in my head more times than I care to admit: Just go with it. Go with it. Go with it.
It’s been my mantra. When my kids see me, the Joe-Cool Mom, just ‘going with it’ and embracing the chaos and ignoring the dust and mess, they are more likely going to be able to ‘go with it’ too.
2. Let a lot go. Let a lot go.
The first few days, I tried to remind the kids to eat over their paper plates and to grab a napkin before they sat in front of the tv to eat their dinner (gasp!), but after a day or two, I let. It. Go. I. Let it go.
You want to walk around the ripped-up kitchen floor, eating potato chips out of the bag? Sure. Go for it.
There’s Brady. Letting it go.
Cereal for an after school snack? Absolutely. And you want to walk around, bowl in one hand and spoon in the other? Awesome.
No appliances for another weekend, thanks to bad weather? No problem. ¿Como se dice ‘take-out’?
Maddy, Owen, and Cora, who are allowed to buy lunch one day each week, bought lunch every day for three weeks. While I convinced myself that it was fine, they acted like they won the lottery. See? It really was fun.
3. Try to stick to the routine.
Because our renovation started a few weeks before winter break and stretched to few weeks after, our routine was pretty much crazy from the start. December is nutty. Always.
But while the kids were in school, I homework in one spot–even if it was the coffee table in the basement.
Through the entire renovation, I kept out a sweet pot of pretty white cyclamen given to me for the holidays from a neighbor. We usually have flowers of some sort out in containers or tiny bud vases, so I really wanted to keep something beautiful around through the ugly parts of the reno.
We ate dinner as a family, even if it was Chinese take-out. And it was take-out quite a bit because we don’t have a laundry sink so doing dishes was difficult in the tiny bathroom sink.
Though we totally lost track of whose day it was, I kept our daily schedule up and rolling every day.
And when everything was packed away and I couldn’t find the dry erase markers, I printed out our schedule from our family google calendar on a one-pager and taped it to the tile.
4. Chronicle the adventure.
And in the vein of ‘going with it’, we’ve been chronicling the whole renovation adventure.
Taking pictures every single day and talking about the progress each night.
When we’re finished, I’ll put it all together in a photo book–the good, bad, and the ugly.
And for a few weeks, a whole lot of it was ugly.
5. Keep the kids involved.
We have tried to keep the kids involved in every aspect of the process, from beginning to end.
Since this is their house, we wanted them involved in the adventure. This has meant that we asked for their opinions in all choices we had to make: from cabinet color to countertop, from drawer organization to paint colors.
This isn’t always easy, and some decisions were made even before we asked for opinions (we knew we wanted white cabinets and dark countertops), even inviting the kids to the conversation is important.
Figuring out where to put each item and what drawers made the most sense for us was a hugely fun part for the kids.
I wrote all of the drawers and cabinets we needed on small sticky notes. And we all worked together to figure out where we should put each item.
And then? We all worked together to put the items in the proper places.
Some kids wiped out drawers while others loaded. It made the process move much more quickly, and everyone was a part of it.
These five tips should be prefaced by a biggie: Say YES! to offers of meals and help.
We are hugely thankful to my husband’s parents for generously providing us with invites to dinner, with warm, cooked meals, and for support through this.
Huge thanks to many of our friends who invited us over for lunch or dinner or threw a gift card our way to offset the growing cost of eating out each night.
Though it has not been easy and Owen cried hard at the thought of the renovation (But I loooove the kitchen the way it is. I don’t want it to change. We don’t need it to chaaaange.), now that we’re close to the end, everyone is loving the new kitchen and big, open new room.
Have you done this before? What were your secrets to success–and sanity-savers? Do tell!
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