I just spent the last month and a half traveling. I went to Boulder, Berkeley, Cleveland and even on a hiking/camping trip in Kauai. While I truly enjoyed my visits, I also was reminded that there is nothing quite like the feeling of coming home. What made this return even better was coming home to a renovated kitchen.

The timing for the renovation worked out perfectly, as I got to avoid the renovation completely.


My husband Scott, however, stayed in town and had to live through most of it. Luckily, he was prepared for the worst and he survived, thanks to some thoughtful planning and an open mind. If you have a kitchen renovation coming up, consider some of these tips:

• Plan ahead. If there is a time when you are planning to take a trip, try to schedule at least part of the renovation then. You’ll need to do this well in advance and purchase and order materials early. This way, they can arrive before the renovation starts, which will help to eliminate wasted days waiting for their delivery. If you plan to stay in town, keep an eye out for restaurant special events and coupons. Make a calendar and pencil in fun meals, either as takeout or as social gatherings during the renovation.

• Clear out strategically. Empty cabinets according to how you’ll restack them, and label boxes and clear plastic bags by where they should go when you put them back. Think about how you’ll stack materials before you start, and incorporate furniture or items in other rooms if you can. If you can use extra shelving elsewhere in the home, now is a great time to purchase it. You can use extra shelving to stack items from your kitchen first and then incorporate it in other spaces later.

• Create a temporary kitchen. If the weather is nice — as it usually is — you probably can use a covered outdoor space. If not, use a space that is relatively far from the kitchen so you know it will remain dust-free. Stock it with essentials like a table, microwave, refrigerator/freezer, coffee maker, toaster oven and disposable plates and utensils. Plan on using the grill more than usual and refill propane tanks or charcoal supplies. You also can ask your contractor to set up a temporary utility sink in the back yard so that you have a place to wash.

• Be patient. Although timelines help, they also are very unreliable. Give yourself some flexibility and understand that renovations rarely go exactly as planned.

Have a comment or question for Joanne? Email thefixisinhawaii@gmail.com.