New kitchen - any practical tips to help me survive?(23 Posts)
We'll shortly be having a new kitchen installed, scheduled to take 5 weeks. I'm obviously really looking forward to the end result but a bit panicky about how to manage while it's all happening. Anyone got any suggestions of things I can do to make it more bearable (or things not to do!). I've never had any building/renovating work done before so not too sure what to expect.
If you have the space set aside an area as a temporary kitchen - could be in a utility room or dining room - with fridge, microwave, kettle and a table for prep, etc. Perhaps invest in a plug in two ring hob too. I would batch cook meals and freeze them so you can just defrost and heat them up and add veg. A slow cooker would be useful too.
I was without my kitchen for a couple of months when it was being done. We went right back to brick and had to move the gas pipes around so it took a while.
We built a temp kitchen in the dining room. I had my fridge and freezer (both under counter ones). A microwave and a slow cooker. A kettle and a toaster. And we have a gas BBQ which we put on the patio outside of the dining room door (picture me out there cooking in later October at 7 months pregnant with DH holding the umbrella over me!)
It worked really well. Most main meals were cooked in the slow cooker. Though we did sneak off for a toby carvery on a couple of occasions. A good quick slow cooker meal is a packet of turkey breast chunks, a packet of thai green curry sauce, a can of coconut milk, and a pack preprepared veg. Put all but the veg in the slow cooker, salt to taste and put on full heat. After 30 mins add the veg. Leave until it's cooked and eat with veetee microwave rice.
We had some building work at the same time and the builders were really good at moving things so we could still use them. The fridge/freezer was moved to the hall, the microwave to the sitting room and the ovan ended up being connected in to three different places in the kitchen so that we could carry on using it for another week.
Can your washing machine be plumbed in anywhere else? We managed to squeeze the entirety of our kitchen stuff into the dining room and attached both washer and dishwasher to the basin in the loo next door, dryer then microwave above one, sink and micro-oven on the other, then an electric hot plate on an old cupboard. Bit of a squeeze but other than lack of countertop was an improvement on the old kitchen and fine for a year (had to rebuild entire extension...) You can get a 2-plate electric hob for about £35 and with that and a fridge and microwave, that would be fine for a month.
Oh this is all great. Stupidly I hadn't thought about hanging on to our freezer and moving it into the dining room. If I can make a few meals in advance and freeze them it'll be a big help. I know the builders have said they'll move things around as much as possible so I'm not without anything for longer than necessary but I want to be prepared as much as possible. The washing machine can't be moved anywhere else but they've promised I won't be without it for too long and there's always a neighbour or launderette. I'm trying to be positive and concentrate on the end result but don't want to be completely unprepared.
If you have to wash up in the bath as we did, I would recommend investing in 3 builders buckets (those soft ones). I put dirty dishes in one downstairs and kept the other two in the bath. I brought the dirty dishes up stairs in it and put it in the bath in the right. I washed up in the middle one and put clean dishes in the left hand one which I then took downstairs. Worked quite well
Make friends with your local laundrette - we got a special price for going so often! Definitely move your fridge freezer to another room if you can and set up a temporary kitchen with kettle, toaster and microwave if you can. Get to like salad - it's just easier. Expect it to take longer than 5 weeks. But it will be worth it!
Old cupboard carcasses, removed from your old kitchen, are a very sensible place to keep your food and crockery in your temp kitchen.
Keep them coming! This is so helpful (except I'm sitting here reading the tips and thinking "why didn't I think of that". Think I'm lacking in the imagination dept!). Thank you all.
Definitely invest in a slow cooker. They only cost about £20. Even if you just chuck some chicken/beef/lamb in it with a jar of sauce, it's better than ready meals all the time. Microwave rice=less washing up.
Wow! I had a kitchen done before and am about to go through it all again in the new house and never once did any one suggest to me nor did I think of batch cooking ready to preheat! I like to think I'm fairly intelligent too! Thanks for a great tip!
I bought a load of plastic plates/bowls and cutlery. Not very economical but it saved a lot of the nightmare of washing up in the bath. I have a slow cooker but I've never been one to use it much, but one thing I did use a lot was one of those George Foreman grill things. It was great for doing fish/chicken etc with those ready cooked rice pouch things and steam fresh veg pouches you can sling in the microwave.
I bought a load of plastic plates/bowls/cutlery. Not very economical but saved a lot of time spent bending over the bath washing up. I also used my George Foreman lean fat grilling machine thing a lot to cook pork/chicken/fish fillets with ready to eat rice pouches and steamfresh veg you can sling in the microwave.
I was just about to say the George Foreman. Great for doing chicken, bacon. Also paper plates. Slow cooker was great. About to start more work and will be without washing machine and dryer. Thats making me more nervous than not being able to cook properly.
Yes I'm really worried about not having a washing machine. Trying not to think about mountains of dirty clothes piling up
If you're going to buy a portable hob, I definitely recommend an induction one for the speed of heating and timer. My Tefal one (about £50) has programmes like boil and hold, milk simmer and slow cook. I've almost given up on my gas rings it's so convenient.
Make sure a magnet sticks to your pans, though!
Thanks all. I'm frantically writing everything down and googling all the gadgets. I'm feeling much more positive now (prone to anxiety!), so actually looking forward to a new kitchen. Before, I kept wondering whether I would really prefer to stick with the old but functional one just to avoid the hassle and decisions of a new one. But I'm filled with enthusiasm now and just want to get on.
I got a single induction hob that I could plug in and a microwave that could also cook as normal. Be prepared for meals to be a bit basic for a while.
Marking my place as I'm bloody terrified about the looming great kitchen rip out here starting in a couple of weeks!
Our plan currently involves keeping the conservatory as normal as possible (it's the kids' playroom) but with the doors closed to keep dust and mess out of/in there (like I say - kids' playroom). Temporary "kitchen" in the dining room area of the house (our ground floor is pretty open plan) with microwave, slow cooker, toaster, washing up bowl, tassimo machine (priorities here!) and fridge freezer, using the dining table as a base for that. Packing stuff into plastic stacker boxes with lids to store the kitchen stuff wherever we have space plus a policy of nothing gets packed away unless it's passed the huge clean/declutter test first. Planning on doing a lot of slow cooked meat in sauces with microwave rice type dishes, or I know if I'm desperate I can do pasta in the microwave (had to live without a cooker in the past).
I've got pretty bad anxiety issues generally but now I'm just looking forward to starting to see the end of the building work at that end of the house to be honest - we had the conservatory and garden done last year which dragged on and on and on, then went straight into knocking a wall down to make a kitchen/diner - but we haven't had that work fully finished yet as it's pointless plastering over it when cupboards are going to be ripped out all over the shop - so we've been living with mess and chunks of plaster gone for bloody months and it's really getting to me now. At one point when they were doing some of the work we had the newly-open-planned kitchen blocked off from the kids with a wooden garden fence running down the wall-line, complete with gate in it and the kids had blinged it up with tinsel!
Lots of microwave meals, take aways and eating at parents. We also set up a basic mini kitchen in the lounge and used disposable crockery/plates/cups as I can't stand washing up!
Also if you have school age children and they are available, order school dinners for the duration. At least you then know they have had something substantial and you can make them something quicker/easier in the evening - saves the bother of making pack lunches in the make shift surroundings too.
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