Thursday, February 21, 2019

Stress Reducing Steps to Take Before Demo Day

As I stood under a temporary porch cover at my outdoor sink washing a day's worth of dishes I called my sister to chat.

A wicked wind came out of nowhere and started swirling and grabbing at the tarps protecting a portion of our unfinished remodel. A light rain was falling. The sky turned an eery green color and I felt like I was in a scene from Twister.

I wasn't sure if I should finish the dishes or go inside as I described the situation to my sister. She started laughing and said, "Wait! You had me at 'washing the dishes outside'! You have this remodel thing down and you should write about it."

So I am...

I am a creative problem solver and this "super power" has served me well in preparing for and getting us through a significant remodel of our home.

But, I haven't done this alone. My husband has his own creative solution ideas. Together we have worked as a team to set up temporary working and living areas that are making our long awaited home remodel a little easier.

At the beginning of last year we started making a list of "Pre-Demo" projects. This was a list of purchases and projects that needed to be taken care of before we did any demo.

We went through the areas of our home (kitchen, family room, guest bathroom, laundry room and attic) that were going to be affected by the construction and discussed short term solutions that we could live with.

Something I definitely didn't want to do was spend extra money on eating out all the time and using the laundry mat. With these two things in mind we made a list of considerations.


1. Dumpster
2. Relocating furniture
3. Relocating the TV
4. Relocating our refrigerator
6. Cooking and food prep area
7. Dish washing area
8. Temporary laundry area


Anyone who has lived through a home remodel project will tell you that it takes more time and cost more money than anticipated.  Both of these are true across the board no matter what the home remodel project is.

We also know that remodeling projects can be stressful. We wanted to head off as many stress points as possible before demo and construction started.

We've walked many couples through their remodel projects, large and small, and have seen how hard the transition time from old to new can be. It's hard financially. It's hard emotionally. It's hard on couple's relationship.

I think it's mostly hard because of our preconceived notions of what we think it will be like. I knew from the get-go that we would face all of those hard things so our Pre-Demo Plan also involved lots of vulnerable conversations and a commitment to continue having conversations through the process.



This might be a "duh" for some people but this is something we had a very long conversation about. Of course we needed to get a dumpster but.....
  • When would we need to have it delivered? 
  • How big of a dumpster would we need? 
  • Where on our property would we keep it considering it would be here for months?
We decided that there was some major cleanup we wanted to do before demo started so we opted to have the dumpster delivered about a month before our goal start date.

The demo team that we planned to hire for the majority of the tear out would bring a large truck for the debri so a regular dumpster rather than a large roll-off was our choice for the duration of our project.

Right now, our driveway slopes right down to our house. It's not pretty and eventually that is going to change. But for now, storing the dumpster right outside our back door is ideal and easy for the bright red truck with the fork lift to take it away for dumping each week.

Side Note....Treat those bright red truck drivers well! They make it happen week after week. Months ago we overloaded our dumpster and because we make a point of going out there every week and personally thanking them for their hard work they gladly (and cautiously) took it for us.


The only room that can accommodate any extra furniture is our living room. We had already started storing some of our previous purchases in that room when our remodeling plans were stalled for a year. Space is limited so we had to strategically plan where everything would go.

With that said, we looked at every single piece of furniture and decided if we really loved it enough to keep. If not, we gave it away.


Again, this took a lot of thought. We needed a space big enough and away from most of the dust. We also needed to consider how we would get access to our cable line.

Even though we've always lived without a TV in our bedroom we decided to make an exception while we are in construction mode. Our dresser is big enough for the television, far enough away from the construction zone to avoid excess dust and we were able to pull a cable line from the attic.

I also brought 2 dining room chairs and a small table into our bedroom so we could comfortably watch the ballgames that are often on during dinner time.


We don't have an attached garage to slide our refrigerator into and besides that, our garage is Don's workshop. In other words, everything gets covered in dust and there isn't room for another thing.

So plan B was to put it against a wall between our living room and dining room. The space was perfect and easily accessible from the area we decided to use for dining/food prep/table top cooking.


We took inventory of all the small appliances we own that would make food prep more convenient during construction.

Those at the top of the list were:
  • Microwave
  • Toaster Oven
  • Coffee Maker
  • Electric Tea Kettle
  • Crockpot
  • FoodSaver 
  • Waffle Maker
Others that we considered but decided to pack away:
  • Panini Maker
  • Blender
  • Electric Wok
Next, I looked at our dining room space and divided it into 2 zones. One for food storage/prep and the other for a table we could use to eat at and work at.

I created a U-shaped space with a side-board cabinet at the base of the "U", our dining table to the right and our smaller kitchen table to the left. Then I took a book shelf cabinet that was originally in my husband's office area and placed it next to the refrigerator.

The cabinet part of the side-board became a pantry for dried goods. I covered the top of the cabinet with plastic and set up a coffee station with our coffee maker, mugs and coffee making essentials.

Our dining table is not only a place to eat but a work area for my husband's laptop and printer. An extra chair provides a place to meet with clients, be it humble....but it works.

I cleared off the top of our dining hutch, covered it with plastic and set up our microwave. I packed up the china that was in one of the upper cabinets and replaced it with our everyday dishes. The drawers were also cleared out and packed up and now store ziploc bags, utensils and our silverware.

As for our smaller kitchen table, we turned it into a food prep and cooking station.

One of our pre-demo purchases was a table top hot plate. It's been great for cooking eggs in the morning, soup in the afternoon and steaming veggies at night. I saved a large pull-out cutting board from our old kitchen and use it as a back splash behind the hot plate. This has saved my wall from getting covered with cooking grease and grime!

Other things on our "cook station" table are the toaster oven, cutting boards, hot pads, a container of cooking utensils, cutting block of knives and a few seasonings.

Also, for really greasy cooking, like bacon, we use our BBQ.  Without an exhaust hood over our cooking space, we realized early on that some things are better cooked outside!

The bookshelf next to our refrigerator stores most of the other things we use every day. And a stack of plastic file boxes contain other dried food items.

As for all the other things that will eventually have a place in my new kitchen but I don't need right now - they are packed away and stored under the tables.

Side Note.... I decided to take this temporary kitchen arrangement for a dry run for about a month before we demoed the kitchen. I wanted to see if it was efficient enough for our needs. I probably rearranged it about 3 times before it felt right.

I'm really glad I did this because when our scheduled demo day got unexpectedly move up, I was completely ready for it.


When I was in High School my parents remodeled our family kitchen. Their dish washing area of choice was the bath tub. I can't imagine the plumbing problems they must have had!

We decided to take a different route and use a suggestion from a friend. We found a free-standing wash basin sink at Home Depot and it has worked out perfectly!

Being the amazing husband that he is, Don wanted to plumb hot water to the sink for me so I didn't have to boil water for washing my dishes.

The plumbing part took a while to plan and implement but it has worked flawlessly.

Side Note.... We have a large bucket in our kitchen area that we use to place our dirty dishes which makes it convenient to carry out to the outdoor sink. And...we usually don't buy paper plates but during a kitchen remodel they are a MUST!


This was a biggie for me! I definitely wanted to do my laundry at home to save myself time and money.

We decided to plumb in an area next to the outdoor sink for a laundry area.

Knowing that our remodeling project might extend into our rainy season, we thought it wise to put the washer and drier on a platform so they wouldn't be sitting in water.

We also built a temporary cover for the whole area to help keep it clean and dry.

When I first saw how much time and effort this area was taking I questioned if it was really necessary. Now that we are several months into our remodel project and I've experienced the benefits of the work, I'd say it was all worth it!!

Side Note... Take your clean dishes inside before the neighbor's gardener uses the leaf blower! If you hear us running through the house yelling "the gardeners just arrived!", it must be Monday and we forgot again!

Home remodels can be very disruptive and stressful but giving as much some thought to a pre-demo plan as you do to the design plan of your remodel will pay off in dividends!

Have you gone through a home remodel? Did you have a pre-demo plan? If so, please share your great ideas. If you didn't do anything to prepare, what is one thing you wish you had done before demo day?

No comments:

Post a Comment

I am so glad you stopped by. I always appreciate your comments!