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As the ideas, dreams and plans of the new cabinets, countertops, flooring and appliances begin to solidify, it's important to think about the logistics of your kitchen remodel and include plans for a temporary kitchen. For some it will mean folding tables heaping with small appliances crowding the dining room. For others it will be laundry rooms serving double duty as a kitchen clean-up area and for some it will be turning to outdoor grills and patios for mealtime.

But droves of us are willing to cramp our routine and lifestyle for the temporary stress and disorder that comes with remodeling the kitchen.

The Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University says kitchen remodeling has been a favorite pastime for Americans in recent years.

Overall remodeling expenditures hit $214 billion in 2001. More than 4 million kitchens were upgraded or remodeled to the tune of $14 billion.

Remodeling Magazine, in its 2002 Cost vs. Value Report, says the average American will recover about 80 percent of the amount they put into their remodeling upgrades once they sell. In some parts of the country the yield is more than 100 percent.

But many are unprepared for the temporary turmoil that for some boils to a fury during the remodeling process.

"We looked like 'The Grapes of Wrath,' with the refrigerator on the front porch and the trailer in the driveway," Sheila Reynolds said in a Sept. 27 Sacramento Bee California Life Home and Garden article. "A year later I can laugh ... You have to have a huge sense of humor."

The National Association of the Remodeling Industry says you should start planning for disruptions and a break from your routine early. Begin by packing up all your kitchen goods. Ask your contractor how much of your stuff needs to be cleared away to begin work.

Next you should label each box with its exact contents. You don't want to be frantically searching for your cereal boxes when your first breakfast time rolls around. The remodeling group suggests keeping a stash of things you'll need on a day-to-day basis, including coffee maker and supplies, can opener, cutting board, microwave, utensils, and paper plates.

Dale Nichols, owner of Summit Builders in Granite Bay, Calif. and president of the Sacramento chapter of NARI, recently went through the remodel of his own kitchen.

"I used to think I was sympathetic to my clients; now I know what they really have gone through," he said in the California Life Home and Garden article. "It sucks. It really does. You have to go into this experience with the idea that it's the most miserable experience in life."

But Lori Moler said it's all worth it in the end, comparing it to childbirth.

"You forget the actual pain and discomfort and only remember the wonderful final product of your combined efforts," she said in the article.

So what can you do to fully prepare yourself for a kitchen remodel?

Lowe's offers the following tips:

  • Find a location for a temporary kitchen. Dining rooms work well because you already have a table there. You can set up your small appliances on folding tables around the room. Try to get as close as you can to a sink so cleaning up will be as easy as possible. If the weather is agreeable, your deck or patio is ideal, particularly if you have a grill raring to go.
  • Cook some meals in advance and freeze them.
  • Purchase precut and prewashed vegetables.
  • For chicken recipes, purchase preroasted chicken from your local deli or meat department.
  • Take advantage of your outdoor grill.
  • If you have a camper or motor home, you'll be in luck. You already have your temporary quarters.

    To reduce clean-up, use paper plates and napkins and plastic utensils. Pull out your crockpot for easy, one-dish meals.

    Finally, relax as best you can and try to view this time as a family adventure. Before you know it, you'll be in your revamped kitchen.

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