Camping at Home - life at home without the use of your kitchen

living without your kitchen

When people tell me they are ready to remodel their kitchens, we have a lot of information to exchange. I want to know their needs and tastes, and they need to know exactly what the process is. One area that I find some confusion is the gutting part where they don’t have a kitchen for about 6 weeks. Many folks never thought about the fact that they would spend time packing up everything in that kitchen, have a contractor tear everything out often including the drywall, then proceed to rebuild it from the bottom up. This will take some time, almost always 6 weeks.


I want them to be prepared, because there are many ways to make this transition much easier if done ahead of time. Camping at home means that there is a table, chairs, refrigerator, microwave, a few dishes, and hopefully a source of water. I urge paper plates and plastic flatware because the clean up is the hardest part to accomplish. The barbeque grill is a great way to actually cook through this period, but how are you expected to wash all that greasy cook-ware? I explain how they can get some meals put up for the weeks to come. Some families are good at this and actually make casseroles and other cooked meals and freeze them. If they have taken the time to prepare a space in the house to go CAMPING all they have to do is heat and eat mom’s good cooking. Others rely on relatives close by to bring food over. They are the lucky ones. If neighbors are good friends, perhaps they will let you come over to put a meal together, or at lease boil some pasta to put that micro-waved jarred sauce on. In these busy times, several businesses have sprung up to make meal prep fast and freezable. Dinner Done and Let’s Dish charge you a fee to come in and put as many meals together as you sign up for. It all gets packed up in plastic containers and bags, labeled with contents and instructions to go directly in the freezer. Restaurants may sound great at first, but believe me, it gets old quick. (and expensive!)

When all the dishes, glasses, pots and pans come out of the old cabinets, inevitably there are some hard decisions to make. Everything usually winds up on the dining room table on a table cloth. That’s a great time to cull out duplicates or things that never truly have been used at all. Sometime long lost items appear. A few boxes can be filled with donations and carted off to the thrift shop or Goodwill store. Usually a tax receipt is given which makes this trip a win win.

The good news is, when the new kitchen is finally finished, and you get to put everything away, there should be a place for everything, and everything in it’s easily retrievable place. Also, there is almost always more room than before, so those gorgeous glasses in the basement, or the lovely wedding gifts packed away in the basement for years can finally come out and be a part of your life.

This time frame is much like a pregnancy and delivery. It takes what seems like forever, and is pretty inconvenient, but enduring this discomfort makes the end result is so wonderful you’ll get amnesia about that unpleasant time you lived through.

-Julie Hendrickson

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