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Don’t get fooled by New York City designer magazines. They show you the before and after photos of magnificent kitchen renovations. It all seems so easy. What they don’t show you are the weeks in between. Weeks of sheer chaos where you don’t have a functional kitchen and your house is filled with construction dust. Surviving this bedlam is a sheer test of patience and love in NYC.

Let’s look at ways you can survive your kitchen remodeling project.

Get Your Gear in Order

When packing up your kitchen, you need to consider what you will use during the renovation and what you will need to put in storage. You don’t need a dozen pots and pans, a full dinner set, and all your small appliances.


Set aside enough dishes for everyone to eat off during a single day. Grab three or four of your favorite pots and pans. Keep the can opener and other small appliances out. Pack the rest.

Set Up Your Temporary Kitchen

If you’re like most, you don’t have an infinite budget for eating out or ordering take-out every night.

A microwave and a double-burner electric hot plate will do most cooking jobs. You will need a refrigerator for storing food. If you can keep your old one in the dining room, that’s great. But even a dorm-sized fridge will do the trick. You can use the bathtub or mop sink for washing dishes. You can use the dining room table or a piece of plywood on sawhorses as a temporary countertop.

Think Simple for Meal Planning

You can’t expect to create elaborate meals in a temporary kitchen, especially after going to work all day. Keep your meals as simple as possible. Sandwiches, wraps, salads, toast, fruit, yogurt, and cereal can go a long way. If you want something hardier, prepare a one-pot meal on the hot plate. And, of course, in New York City, takeout is always an option.

Consider Your Pets’ Needs

While the kitchen is under construction, your pets need to be confined away from that section of the house. The noise and vibrations may spook them, plus you don’t want to worry about them slipping out.


Put their food and water bowls in the bedroom or office. Make sure they have a soft place to sleep. Keep the door closed and put a sign on it to remind people to keep it closed.

Control the Dust and Chaos

Construction dust is going to get everywhere. The contractor should use plastic sheeting or drop cloths to cover open doorways, furniture, and floors. Invest in or borrow a shop vac to remove dust that gets into your living space.

Map out the walkway the contractors will use to get from the front door to the construction zone. Cover that area with old rugs or drop cloths to protect the flooring.

These ideas will help you survive your NYC kitchen renovation. Keep in mind that this kitchen remodeling chaos is only temporary and you will have a brand-new functional kitchen to enjoy using for years to come.

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