How We’ve Gotten By for 2 Months Without a Working Kitchen

We’ve officially reached the 8 week mark since our former kitchen cabinets, countertops and sink were removed by their new owners. 2 months without a working kitchen has been tricky, but here’s how we’ve been getting through it!

our sconces

We Set Up an Auxiliary Sink

We’re lucky enough to have a bathroom right around the corner from our kitchen, so we’ve set up a dish washing/drying station that allows us to easily clean the essentials. During this interim period, we’ve packed away (almost) all our dishes, glasses and cookware to keep them safe and dust-free. We did keep out a few coffee mugs, a stack of bamboo cups, and a nice knife to help bridge the gap. But overall, we’ve largely switched to ‘disposable’ dishes and silverware to avoid the scratches and scrapes that could result from washing metal utensils and ceramic dishes in our small bathroom sink.

our dish rack

We’re not, however, disposing of these items after one use. We’ve found that higher-quality dinnerware that are intended for single-use can, in-fact, be washed multiple times before degrading beyond usefulness. The heavy-duty black plastic forks from Chipotle and other restaurants have proven to be especially durable, ha!

If a bathroom vanity isn’t a practical option, we’ve also known folks to set up a ‘dish tub’ in a nearby shower or tub as well. A laundry sink is also a great option that can be sold once the renovation is behind you!

We Kept Old Appliances in Service as Long as Possible

In many cases, new appliances are delivered on the same day that the old appliances are removed, so this may not be an issue. In our case, we sold most of our appliances before the new ones arrived. The buyers were kind enough to let us hold onto our fridge for a few weeks prior to the delivery of our new fridge, allowing us to store perishable food in the interim. Paired with the new microwave that we purchased for the new kitchen setup, we were able to keep food on hand and warm it up as needed.

our microwave

All this to say, we found it possible to go without a stove and dishwasher for a couple of weeks, but a refrigerator and microwave were all we needed to be able to make some of our food at home instead of eating every single meal out.

We Purchase Food Strategically

Whether eating out or heating up food at home, we’ve put a lot of thought into our food purchases over the last couple of months.

These are a few things we’ve found helpful:

  • When eating out, we’ve chosen restaurants with large portion sizes and food that reheats well. Leftovers are a valuable commodity when you can’t cook! Shoutout Pasta Bowl Wicker Park for checking both boxes!
  • Items from the grocery store that meet the same criteria have also been great. Think frozen lasagna, pre-packaged salads, chicken sausages that can be grilled quickly, etc.
  • We’ve also eaten lots and lots of sandwiches and salads. Simple, relatively healthy meals are a necessity and cold sandwich fixins have been a staple.
  • Easy breakfasts and snacks for all of us have also been a necessity. Fresh fruits and veggies, cereal, granola bars and oatmeal have all been in heavy rotation!

We’re finally at the stage where we have one foot out the renovation door, and one foot in a near-usable kitchen! This means that some of our cabinets are filled with essentials, most of our appliances are in working order, and we’re thisclose to digging through our packed-up boxes to find our cookware.

For those of that you have lived through a kitchen renovation, which tips would you add to make the time more bearable? Leave your suggestions in the comments below!

PS – If you’re just catching up on our kitchen renovation, here’s how it started, here’s the plan for the layout, here is a big progress update, here is a big update on our new flooring. These are our initial thoughts on the new appliances and this is how we overcame some cabinet install obstacles.