When Covid struck and we were first tucked away, our house was a refuge from the outside world. However, as I’m sure many of you can relate, you stare at the walls long enough during online learning and you’re going to want to make at least a few changes with a little remodel.

If you’re desperately wanting to change your kitchen in a remodel, but are scared to take the plunge here are a couple of tips and tricks so you don’t lose your mind.

First and foremost, no matter what HGTV leads you to believe, renovations take longer than a commercial break and it’s made even worse by a Global Pandemic. Remodeling is not impossible but there are aspects that become frustrating. Remember to keep your expectations realistic. Crews are delayed or working on smaller teams. Appliances are in high demand and many brands have been delayed for six or more weeks. Even if they have to sit in the garage, it’s better to order sooner rather than later. We are still waiting for pulls and knobs to be delivered and we ordered them the first of December. We had to change cooktop brands because the original one we chose would not arrive until late March. 

Although I could not control certain aspects of our remodel, I knew I could control cooking and preparing meals for my family. Having undergone a previous renovation in our last house, I knew demolition to completion could take anywhere between six and eight weeks. We did not have a budget to eat out every night and I refused to eat salads and sandwiches the entire time. Meal planning is a life saver. Before demo day, I developed a list of meals I could create using the cooking devices I already owned. I set up our temporary kitchen in the garage using a foldout table, bookshelf and garage refrigerator. I planned meals around our panini press, Instapot and backyard grill. When our remodeling was delayed, we managed to make an entire Thanksgiving feast in our garage. 

As you mentally prepare for delays, be mindful you will also be living in a disaster zone. I’m not a neat freak, but there is only so much construction dust even I can live with. No matter how clean your crew may be, prepare yourself for the dust and debris. Pack up more than just your kitchen. Opening our kitchen impacted the entire downstairs living space, so I rolled up all the rugs and put away all our pictures and decor. I used sheets instead of plastic tarp to cover the couches, so at the end of a construction day, we could watch tv at night without feeling gritty. Upon completion of any project, deep clean your house and remember to change all the filters. It can take up to two months for the dusts to settle, so make sure to have plenty of dust clothes on hand. 

Most importantly, remember this too shall pass and once it is all over you’ll have the kitchen, bathroom or house you’ve always wanted. Remember to be gentle with yourself and your family. Remodeling disrupts everyone including the dogs. I can’t tell you how many times the front door was accidentally left open and they bolted. Or the multiple conference calls my husband had to take outside or the constant online interruptions my kids experienced. If it’s been a long day in the remodeling process, it’s okay to have cereal or sandwiches for dinner. If your teeth are still jittering from the jackhammering make sure to step away take a break. Go to the lake for a day or ask your teacher if you can skip a call just to hang out at the park. It’s okay to preserve your sanity during a remodel. I promise your family and contractor will thank you.

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Michelle is a Virginia girl living in Texas. She was born and raised in Alexandria, VA and graduated from Hollins University, an all-women’s school, in Southern Virginia. After meeting her husband in college, they moved to Washington, DC to pursue their careers in politics. After an exciting communications career on Capitol Hill, she became a full-time SAHM to her four children: Oliver (2010), Alex (2012), Penelope (2014) and Margot (2016). However, she and her husband agreed, DC was not where they wanted to raise their family. In 2018, she and her family relocated to Austin. Now, she is living the outdoor life in The Hills. She loves Peloton, golf-carts and cheering her kids on at the Lakeway Aquatics Center.

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