Eating During a Kitchen Renovation | 6 Step Survival Guide

If you currently have a working kitchen, picture yourself without it for the next week.

How does that look?

Maybe a little inconvenient, but doable.

Now try 8+ weeks. No sink, dishwasher, stove, oven, garbage disposal, maybe even no fridge...

Let me speak for you.

It stinks. REAL bad. Not literally, but it really blows.

However, here we are, safely on the other side of our DIY renovation and we didn't starve. In fact, we kind of rocked it and I'm going to tell you how! It had its moments, but for the most part, we got creative and had some pretty easy systems going that made it bearable. Lemme just dive in.

1. Designate a space for a makeshift kitchen.

This took a bit of trial and error, but it was probably the most important part. Here's our first failed attempt at containing our makeshift kitchen:

I crack up every time I look at that photo. What were we thinking?! So sketchy. That table in there wobbled at the slightest touch and an electrocution was just waiting to happen. Good gracious.
So we cleared out another room that was full of our boxed cabinets and countertops and used this second bathroom for washing dishes exclusively and it turned out like this (week one vs. week bazillion):

I'll be honest, it still wasn't amazing, but it was definitely doable. We made it work! Give yourself some room to prep, room to store items, and even room to sit down and eat (we used my desk that's in our bedroom). I highly recommend the stainless steel table you see there. Before our renovation, our kitchen needed it for extra counterspace and at only $125-$150 it beats out any other little "island" you find in stores in terms of price and size. Trust me, I hunted around for the best deal on freestanding islands for weeks.

2. Give yourself several ways to "cook."

Since you won't have a stove, you'll probably use a microwave to replace it most of the time. But believe me when I say that gets old... fast. Have a couple other methods like a grill or a crockpot. We bought this grill for cheap and it's been a total champ. You may end up eating a lot of hot dogs, and grilling them helps you feel more settled than you really are. Plus, raw meat doesn't exactly microwave, so throwing a roast in a crockpot with some veggies is a great home-cooked alternative to frozen meals.

3. Get a wholesale membership.

My in-laws are amazing and gave us a Sam's Club membership as an anniversary gift, which happened to be right around the time we started our reno. This came is so handy in terms of stocking up on bags of microwavable veggies, meat, snack packs of chips or fruit, water bottles!!, and hot dogs/buns. It saved us a ton of money and kept us fed for ages.

4. Go disposable.

I know this isn't very "green" of us, but doing dishes in a little bathroom sink or bent over a tub just sucks. Paper plates and plastic utensils saved us soooo much time (and back-aches) and also saved us from breaking our good glass dishes. Of course, we had a few larger glass bowls for heating soupy items and serving veggies and such. To be honest, you eventually stop eating off of anything at all and you and your spouse pretty much eat straight out of serving bowls and paper towels. So maybe we were "greener" than we thought? Do your best to find disposable items that are biodegradable. 

5. Find your favorites and rotate.

You'll probably find something really easy to make and begin to fixate on it. For us, it was hot dogs. But instead of eating them over and over and getting sick of them quickly, we had them every other day... and I'm actually - to this day - not tired of them. Other meals included:

  • Grilled chicken, instant rice with cream of mushroom soup, and steamed veggies.
  • Frozen chicken tikka masala and naan heated on the grill.
  • Hot dogs, baked beans, chips.
  • Marinated grilled chicken, potatoes, and steamed veggies.
  • Toasted bagels and cream cheese, side of fruit.
  • Sandwiches and chips.
  • Canned soup.
  • Microwavable asian meals.
  • Frozen hot pockets, meat pie pockets, or burritos.
  • Take out: Chinese, Vietnamese, pizza, Indian, etc..

If you can get creative and prep your food days in advance, you'll find it's not too hard to eat decent meals at home, and some frozen meals are really pretty tasty these days!

As wise people say, "it's not going to be easy, but it'll be worth it." True that. With the right tools, organization, and determination, you can survive a kitchen renovation and not starve. 

Now, with a finished kitchen and lots of decorating to do, we are eating delicious meals with the help of a stove and oven. Baking is such a passion of mine and I am thrilled to finally be back at it! Worth it, indeed.

Have you lived in a house during a kitchen renovation? Any other kitchen reno questions for me? Leave a comment or contact me!