Now that my project is done I've had some time to look back at the process and think about what I learned. As I mentioned, this was my first big remodeling project and even though I watch HGTV all of the time I still wasn't prepared for the disruption, the chaos, how overwhelming all of the decisions would be and the length of time the project would take (just over two months).
Today I'll share some of what I learned with you so that if you are thinking about remodeling you can go into it with a better understanding of what is about to happen to your life.
I learned . . . that no matter how many boxes you have it won't be enough. I'm lucky because I had access to an unlimited number of tote boxes that we use at work (I just had to bring them back when I was done). I brought home a few at a time thinking 10 would probably be enough. Silly me. I ended up with 20+ boxes and still had to use my scrapbooking bins for the final items I packed.
I learned . . . that when you don't have a stove or a microwave in the middle of a cold winter salads and sandwiches get old fast. Take advantage of any opportunity to have someone else cook for you, whether it's your mom or royalty (get it? Burger King!).
I learned . . . that once things are packed in boxes it's very hard to find anything. I thought I did a really good job of keeping things I would need in places where I could find them, but then I decided I wanted to slice some cheese and I'll be darned if I could figure out where my cheese knife was. Eventually I moved my often used items (napkins, paper plates, plastic storage containers, etc.) to a hall closet where they were easy to access.
I learned . . . that coming home at the end of every day brought new surprises. It was always exciting to get home and see what had changed that day, but it was overwhelming too. I knew I was adjusting to living in chaos when I came home to find a ladder in my kitchen and it didn't even seem strange.
I learned . . . that if I had a specific request it was helpful to leave a note. I also made sure that I left my cell phone number in a place where everyone could see it, because the worst thing is if the workers need to ask you a question and they can't reach you so they either guess or stop work until they can get in touch with you. If you want to keep the project going it's important to be available. I'm lucky that I work nearby so if they needed me to run home to make a decision I could usually be there pretty quickly.
I learned . . . that if you go shopping for something specific (in this case I was looking for subway tile and grout) it's helpful to have information directly from the person that would be doing the work. It's also important that you are comfortable asking for help if you are a novice like me. I don't typically spend a lot of time at Menards, so rather than wandering around the store aimlessly I just asked for help, and learned a lot in the process.
I learned . . . that even though I wasn't "cooking" I still needed to wash dishes once in a while. It's kind of odd to wash dishes and pile them on the counter next to your toothbrush, but it works. Keeping dish soap and a few towels accessible was very helpful.
I learned . . . that trying to figure out how to organize all of your stuff when it's finally time to move back into your kitchen is harder that you think. My plan was to put away the "easy" things first, the things I knew I wanted in specific location, and then figure out where to put everything else by process of elimination. It turns out that the "easy" stuff was only about 20% of the items and that left a whole lot of stuff that was "hard".
It took an entire day to put things away and I found that it was helpful to just keep every door and drawer open so I could remember where things were and see where I still had space. It was still fun, don't get me wrong, but it was harder than I expected.
That wraps up my week of posts about my kitchen remodeling project. Thanks for following along, and thanks for your kind comments about the results. I'm super excited about how everything turned out and I'm thankful that I had the opportunity to design a space that I love.