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Getting Ready For The Demolition

Part 3 Of Our Real Life Remodeling Journey

Publisher's Comments

The following story is part of a series of articles about my family's experience with our home's remodel. Links to the other stories are found at the bottom of the page.

We're in the "getting ready" stage of the remodeling process. The contract is signed and we know there's no turning back. The only thing that's left to do now is prepare for the inevitable demolition and destruction that's to come.

Losing The Kitchen & Family Room

The plan for our remodel calls for an expanded family room and a kitchen renovation. In reality, virtually all of the existing family room has to come down since there's really nothing, other than two foundation walls, that can be used in the expanded design.

Family RoomThe Family Room

The wall with the large fireplace hearth is the one that gets "moved" but with that comes ceiling and floor elevation changes that essentially doom this room as it currently stands. It'll have to be torn down and rebuilt to the new dimensions.

Family RoomThe Side Of The Family Room That's Being Extended

The kitchen renovation is long overdue. Everything in it except the floor is original to when the house was built in 1965.

The silverware and utensil drawers have no more slides - they gave up the ghost several years ago. Instead we have wood-on-wood with the bottom of the drawers sliding on the cabinet's face frame. Muscling them in and out provides a great upper body workout not to mention the added fiber in our diet from the wood dust that falls into the bowls below the drawers.

Kitchen CabinetsThe Kitchen & Adjacent Family Room

The oven and stove-top are original. Two burners don't work anymore and the oven is temperamental. But heck, we can't complain too much. They've lasted for the better part of 45 years.

And never mind the awful floor plan. Our countertop peninsula and our refrigerator sit opposite each other with about 30 inches between them. When you open the refrigerator door one half of the kitchen gets blocked off.

Suffice to say, the kitchen needs to change and as a result, we're going to lose it and the family room for a while. That means we'll have to find replacements for these rooms in the remaining space we have.

Packing Up The Kitchen

My wife and I took the better (best??) part of a weekend to pack up and prepare for the work to start. Cindy focused on the kitchen, packing and storing the non-essentials. We found that there are a couple of key objectives to focus on when moving out of a kitchen:

  1. Identifying the minimal 'survival gear' needed
  2. Packing and storing (or getting rid of) everything that's left

To achieve #1 it helps to start thinking about your typical kitchen routine before any remodeling starts. By that I mean think about what you touch and use every day. If you do this well you won't have to go digging through boxes trying to find your favorite coffee mug later on.

One way to go about this is to have a notepad handy when you're in the kitchen and write down the typical tasks you do at certain times of the day. Most of the time you'll find that your time is associated with particular routines. Just write down what you do in the morning, at lunchtime, when the kids come home from school, at dinnertime, etc. Keep a mental note of the things you use the most during those times and jot them down later. When it comes time to pack, use your notes to guide you on what you can store away and what will need to be in your temporary kitchen.

Maybe we lead a boring life but for us the routines are pretty consistent, as is our typical menu. We found that we could survive with a couple of pans, our basic utensils and a few other items. In other words, you could apply Pareto's rule to kitchen utilization: 20% of the stuff in your kitchen gets used 80% of the time.

Once you isolate the survival gear, pack the rest away in boxes and then store those boxes someplace that'll be out of the remodel zone. By the way, leftover wine boxes from the liquor store make great packing containers for stemware, glasses and similar items.

Purging and Donating

Packing up the kitchen is also a great way to purge your house of unneeded items. Going through all the cabinets and drawers reveals all kinds of treasures and things you forgot about long ago.

We used the rule that if we haven't used it in the last couple of years, we'll probably never use it. We gave away items that are still useful and trashed the stuff that was, well, just trash. Who wants to move into a new kitchen with all the baggage left over from the old?

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