My family is currently undergoing a major kitchen remodel. While we contracted the project out, we also took on a portion of the duties ourselves to save cost and stay on budget. This means that we are displaced, eating like we are living in a college dorm, and running on nothing but caffeine and overwhelmed anxiety. Oh, did I mention we have three young kids? We’ve done as much as we can to promote the family sleepover aspect as we snuggle together for 8 weeks in our basement. It’s largely been doable and, dare I say, parts of it have been fun??, in its own right.

Here is what I’ve learned about a remodel: It’s a marathon, not a sprint.

These are six key products that have kept me (somewhat) sane {and my family fed} during this adventure!


This. This machine right here saved my butt as a mom in the midst of a remodel. From chicken tacos to roast beef, dump meals from my grocery store’s meat department to baked potatoes. This little miracle gave our family hot meals when we lacked a stove, oven or microwave. It also gave us a ready-to-go meal even when last minute snafus came up and our schedule was thrown off due to the project.

And this goes without saying here, but for the love of god, you MUST buy the crockpot liners. I’ll assume if you have no means to properly cook your food, you also lack a basic and proper ability to clean dishes. Why not make life easier on yourself and buy the liners?

Deals to check out: Crock Pot 6-Quart  |  Hamilton Beach 7-Quart  |  Hamilton Beach 6-Quart Set and Forget

Paper Goods

For those of you keeping tabs on your environmental footprint, please skip to the next section. Seriously. This next tip is not environmentally kind, but it is very conscientious of the family that is living in a basement and the parents that are already sharing a bed with a 7-year old. Be kind. Don’t judge.

There are people that will absolutely cringe at this suggestion, but bare with me, we’ve cringed ourselves in regards to this specific area. During a major kitchen remodel, you have two simple choices when it comes to dishware: 1.) Move out of your house and into someone else’s that has modern day conveniences like plates & silverware AND the means to properly clean them both or 2.) Hand wash your dishes in an alternate tub than a kitchen sink. On the surface, it seems like an easy solution and not entirely a huge deal. Surely a wash cloth and dish soap can travel anywhere, right? The reality is that you’re cleaning your baby’s bottles in luke warm water in the basement utility sink that you used to wash paint brushes in just last night. If that doesn’t make your skin crawl, try bathing your toddler’s sippy cup in the tub that your pre-adolescent child athlete just cleaned up in. Wait, is that cereal floating in there or mud from between his toes? Either way, GROSSSSSSSS.

Yeah, just go with paper products and give the planet an IOU for better habits once your project is complete. And for the love of mother nature, keep your promise. I know we will.

Electric Kettle

Coffee lovers unite. Tea lovers rise up. This beautiful electric kettle is an absolute must unless you can survive a world without hot beverages. Once you have the kettle, you can easily make drinks with instant pouches or ready-to-stir options. Or, embrace the life of a remodeler without sacrificing a quality cup-a-joe. No one says you can’t use the hot water to prepare your liquid caffeine using a french press or pour over, just like a normal non-remodeling day. Bonus: This also warms water for hot chocolate, oatmeal, and individual mac & cheese cups!

Deals to check out: Hamilton Beach 1.7 Liter  |  Hamilton Beach Glass Kettle  |  Molla Puro Cordless Glass


A griddle is ultra functional in general, but ESPECIALLY in the case of a remodel. Quesadillas, pancakes, grilled cheese, eggs, hot sandwiches, and more. The key word here is HOT. You can get hot food with a simple outlet. The sky is the limit with how creative you want to be with your griddle. But one thing is certain, you {and your family} will appreciate a break from lunch meat sandwiches and cold cereal.

Deals to check out:  Reversible 2 in 1 with glass lid  |  Black and Decker Family Griddle  |  Griddle with Warming Tray

Rice Cooker/ Steamer

We’ve had this little machine for well over a year and have never used it for anything other than rice. I’ve often times thought about how silly it is to take up pantry real estate just for rice, but it really does make the best kind. Before our remodel began, I dug out and dusted off the steaming bowl that comes with it and am SO thankful I did. A few weeks without steamed veggies is like a vacation to kids, but even they were craving fresh broccoli at a certain point. In a dingy basement-living world, fresh colorful vegetables can go a long way!

Deals to check out: Aroma 8-cup  |  Aroma 20-cup  |    Aroma Professional Plus


I didn’t realize just how beat-up our grill looked until this picture right here. Eeeek. That said, this grill was a lifesaver for us over the past few months. We were able to fire it up and within a short time have a meal packed with protein, as well as sides of homemade french fries, grilled pineapple, and skewers of fresh veggies. Mouth watering food and it doesn’t require a functioning kitchen.

Deals to check out: Coleman Road Trip  |  Char-Broil 3-Burner  |  Weber Liquid Propane

Set Up Your Makeshift Space

We moved our former DIY “kitchen island” downstairs, added a small side prep table, and moved the kids’ small table into the area to complete our MAKESHIFT KITCHEN in the basement.

My best piece of advice for living through a major kitchen remodel is to take the time to set up your makeshift “kitchen” space in advance. I started plotting and preparing weeks in advance, long before the contractor made his first cut and before we even signed on the dotted line. As a mom with three young kids, I knew my planning would be useful in keeping things as consistent and routine as they could possibly be. Was this tiny kids’ table big enough to allow our family to sit around and leisurely talk like we normally do? No, but it gave them a defined space to eat at. Plus, the kids felt like we were having three picnics a day, and gosh darn it, that’s just fun.