Tasks to Do Before a Kitchen Renovation

Our kitchen renovation FINALLY kicks off next week. I feel like I’ve been working on it for months and I’ve been sharing so much about it since the end of August…but it’s just now happening! Wild, isn’t it? It just goes to show that as a homeowner there is so much work to do upfront. Yes, there will still be work to do once construction begins, but a majority of the work happens BEFORE construction starts on  a kitchen renovation.

I thought it might be helpful to outline some of those tasks that we’ve been working on for the past two to three months around here. That way, you can plan your kitchen remodel and go into it well-organized and excited.

Create a BudgetCreate a budget

There’s no way around it, kitchen renovations are expensive. According to Remodeling magazine, the national average cost for a full, mid-range kitchen remodel is $66,000. And one that is considered “upscale” is around $131,000. Absolutely insane! We decided to live with our old kitchen for a year while saving up to create the kitchen of our dreams. Saving those pennies was a must because our kitchen is going to be pricey and we wanted to have enough money put away to do exactly what we wanted. (I’ll plan to share the budget breakdown once it’s all completed.) Earlier this year, Finn wrote a blog post on the things we do to be financially healthy if you need tips for saving. Long-term ways to be financially healthy

It’s also important to make sure you are liquid enough. For example, we will write a big check to our contractor for this project,  so we need to make sure we have enough money in our checking account for our check to clear! Also, review your credit card limit before big purchases. One of our credit cards has a limit of $25,000 and our kitchen cabinets were a tad over that. (You can read more about our kitchen cabinets and the cost in this post.) When checking out, our card was declined! It ended up working out fine in the end, but make sure you have a game plan going in.

Draw up BlueprintsWhen to hire a kitchen designer

I chatted in detail about this in this post about hiring a designer, but blueprints are a must for any large home renovation. You’ll want to have all of the dimensions of the old and new layouts written out for your contractor (and when buying the kitchen cabinets). We started this process back in April (!!), so give yourself plenty of time to get this done and tweak the drawings until they’re perfect.

Order Your CabinetsYou'll want to order your kitchen cabinets before a kitchen renovation

Once our kitchen cabinets were ordered, this renovation finally felt real. (I think spending a big chunk of change will do that to ya!) The cabinets can take a long time to come in and you’ll want to have them ordered and a delivery date set before you begin construction or you will be living with a gutted kitchen for longer than needed. We started working with our kitchen cabinet designer in mid-July and we ordered our cabinets the first week of August but they don’t arrive until October 1st! It’s a long process from design to delivery, so keep that in mind when creating your own timeline.

Order (& Store) Most ItemsOrder all of your items before your kitchen renovation begins

Ordering the kitchen cabinets was a big task to check off my list. But you’ll also want to have most items on-site before your kitchen renovation even begins. My contractor likes having everything on-site and is very vocal about it (ha!). It’s just really handy to have the specs for each individual product (your sink, garbage disposal, etc.) physically in the room when rerouting plumbing, water, and electricity. I’ve been storing our kitchen faucet, sink, pot filler, lighting, hardware, and more in our garage for the past month.

Know where you have debtI also recommend creating a document with all of these items listed. Mine has the item, a link to it, a column to check that it was ordered, a column to check that it arrived, and more. This simple document has been invaluable to keep me on top of the dozens of items I needed to order for this renovation and you can whip one up quickly in google docs!

One other big thing we almost forgot to order is our new back door. If you’re changing out doors and windows, you’ll want to get those ordered ASAP! We had the door guy come out in mid-July and our door arrives next week. Give yourself plenty of time for big purchases because they often take a while to be delivered.

Walk Through with Contractor

Casey's home renovation progress
Our Master Bedroom During Reno in 2019

I had my contractor come over two weeks ago to walk through the space one more time and discuss any last-minute questions he or I had. I’m all about over-communicating because you just want to make sure you’re on the same page from the start. (You can read more tips for working with a contractor here.) We discussed our plan for his crew to come and go in our home (especially during COVID), the plan for keeping the mess at bay, reviewed the blueprints, went over where all of the products are located in our home, and more.

This is also a good time to sign contracts and have a finance plan. Will your contractor expect a check on Day One? Will you write multiple checks throughout the process? Discuss everything before demo day to keep everyone happy!

Setup your Temporary KitchenBridget's temporary kitchen

Bridget’s Temporary Kitchen During Her Renovation

We’ve slowly been working on our temporary kitchen in the basement. We ordered this mini fridge, this toaster oven, this hot plate, and more. While it won’t be the most luxurious way to eat for the next few months, it will get the job done! I have a post planned for the end of the month to review our setup and chat about how it’s going, so stay tuned for that.

Document Old Kitchen & Box it UpOur family before the kitchen renovation

I’ve taken sooo many before photos of our kitchen from every single angle. Yes, it’s my job to document it, but I think this is a good practice for everyone, whether you are a home blogger or not! It will be so fun to see the old space and compare it to the new and improved setup. So snap away and save those pictures in a safe place.Purging and moving

It’s also important to take time to box up the old kitchen. We spent the last two weeks packing up all of our dishes and it was actually a great time to pare down and purge our belongings. We’ll put all of those boxes in our storage room where we can easily access them if we need to grab something during the renovation.tasks to do before a kitchen renovation

Isn’t it wild to uncover all of the tasks you need to complete before a kitchen renovation? I feel like I’ve been working on this kitchen FOREVER and it has only just begun! All I can say is that you can never be overprepared. Order your items way ahead of time;  keep track of everything; and have a game plan for your family during construction and you’ll be ready to rock your own remodel!


Catch Up On Our Kitchen Renovation

The Year of Casey

Hey there!

I’m Casey Finn, the voice behind The DIY Playbook. I’m a Chicago gal teaching you how to design, DIY, and maintain your home…by yourself! Learn more about me right here.

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