A kitchen remodel can be an exciting project, allowing you to update your space and make it more functional and aesthetically pleasing. However, the process also requires some planning and preparation. An important first step is paring down your kitchen belongings and packing things up properly to protect them during the renovation. Taking the time to thoughtfully organize and pack up your kitchen will make the remodel process smoother.

Audit Your Kitchen and Pare Down

Before packing everything up, take some time to go through your kitchen items thoroughly. This will allow you to pare down and organize what you have.

  • Remove anything you don’t use or need. Go through your pantry, cabinets, drawers, and appliances. Get rid of any food items that are expired, appliances you don’t use, cookware that is damaged, or utensils that are missing pieces. Donate unused non-perishable foods to a local food bank.
  • Decide what you’d like to upgrade. Make a list of any kitchen items you’d like to replace with newer versions during the remodel, such as cookware, appliances, dinnerware, utensils, etc.
  • Categorize and organize. Go through everything you’re keeping and categorize items into groups – dishes, cookware, appliances, pantry items, etc. Organize each group nicely to see what all needs to be packed up.
  • Label boxes. As you sort items into categories, label boxes clearly with their contents and the room they belong in. This will make unpacking much easier.
  • Create an inventory. Make a list of every item you’re packing up and the box it is in. This will help you keep track of everything during the remodel.
  • Take photos of the existing layout. Before packing up contents, photograph the existing layout of your kitchen. This provides a handy visual reference for where things were originally situated.
  • Pack up what you’ll need separately. Set aside any items you’ll need access to during the renovation, like plates, cups, pans, and pantry essentials. Pack these separately or leave them unpacked until necessary.

Properly paring down and categorizing your kitchen items will simplify packing and unpacking. Only keep what you need and use regularly to avoid clutter after the remodel. Being highly organized at this stage will streamline the entire process.

Protect Appliances and Remove Food

Appliances and perishable food items require some extra preparation before packing up the kitchen.

  • Clean out the refrigerator and freezer. Remove all food items from the fridge and freezer. Toss anything expired and thoroughly clean the interiors. Leave doors propped open to prevent mold growth.
  • Use up, donate, or discard perishable foods. Anything you won’t use up before the remodel begins should be donated if still fresh or discarded if spoiled. Do a thorough sweep for old produce, dairy, etc.
  • Pack up small appliances safely. Disconnect smaller appliances like the toaster oven, instant pot, and mixer. Clean them thoroughly then pack with protection like bubble wrap to prevent damage.
  • Protect major appliances. Major appliances like the refrigerator, oven, and dishwasher will likely stay in place. However, it’s smart to clean them very well first. You may also want to line them with plastic sheeting or tape to protect from dust and debris during the remodel.
  • Turn off water to appliances. Shut off water connections to appliances like the dishwasher, refrigerator water dispenser, and sink sprayer. Turn off the gas supply to gas appliances prior to the remodel as well.
  • Label appliance cords and connections. Label cords with painter’s tape to identify what they connect to. This makes reconnecting appliances much simpler after the remodel.

Taking these appliance and food protection steps eliminates safety issues and prevents messes. Appliances will also suffer less wear and tear.

Pack Up Dishes, Cookware, and Utensils

Kitchen items like plates, pots, pans, and utensils need to be packed with care to prevent breakage or damage.

  • Purchase packing supplies. Procure necessary supplies like bubble wrap, newsprint, tissue paper, boxes, packing tape, permanent marker, etc. Sturdy small boxes with lids are ideal for kitchen items.
  • Wrap each piece individually. Wrap fragile items like drinking glasses, ceramic plates, bowls, and mugs separately in bubble wrap or tissue paper. Make sure delicate items are well-cushioned on all sides.
  • Pack like items together. Group dinnerware together, utensils together, pots and pans together. Pack heavier pans on the bottom, lighter pans on top. Layer items carefully.
  • Use newsprint or towels for added cushioning. Crumple up newsprint or paper towels to create layers between dishware. Kitchen towels also provide cushioning between pots and pans.
  • Fill empty spaces. Pack boxes tightly, filling in gaps between items with newsprint or bubble wrap to immobilize contents. Don’t overpack though.
  • Label boxes thoroughly. Clearly label box contents on all sides. Indicate any fragile items. Use painter’s tape labels so regular adhesive doesn’t leave residue on kitchenware.
  • Stack boxes securely. Only stack boxes if all contain sturdy items. Do not stack lightweight boxes containing breakables. Stack evenly on a steady surface.

Taking time to properly pack up kitchen items will mean they aren’t damaged or lost during what can be a messy renovation process. Sturdy boxes with plenty of cushioning are key.

Pack Up Pantry Items Properly

The kitchen pantry likely contains a variety of food items with different packing needs.

  • Discard expired pantry items. Check expiration dates and get rid of anything that has expired – dried spices, baking mixes, sauces, etc.
  • Group like items. Keep baking supplies together, oils and vinegars together, canned goods together. This streamlines unpacking later.
  • Use smaller boxes for heavier items. Canned goods and heavier bottles should go in smaller boxes that are not overpacked. Heavier boxes are harder to lift and stack.
  • Include packing material for glass jars. Wrap glass jars of sauces, condiments, and oils individually with newsprint or paper towels to prevent breakage.
  • Seal boxes well. Use strong packing tape to fully seal the top and bottom of boxes containing pantry items. This keeps bugs or pests out.
  • Label thoroughly. The exterior label should list all contents and quantity, especially if box contains glass jars or bottles that could break.
  • Store boxes somewhere climate controlled. Try to store boxes of pantry items in a temperature controlled area during the renovation to prevent food spoilage.

Proper packing of pantry items ensures nothing gets wasted or creates a mess from spills or breakage. It also makes unpacking and reorganizing much more seamless.

Dismantle and Remove Cabinetry and Shelves

Kitchen cabinets and shelving likely need removal before the remodel can begin. Taking the time to dismantle them properly prevents unnecessary damage.

  • Empty all cabinets and drawers completely. Ensure there are no remaining food items, dishes, utensils left behind before taking cabinets down.
  • Have tools ready. Gather necessary tools like screwdrivers, power drill, pry bar, and hammer. Use proper safety gear like gloves and eye protection.
  • Detach from walls carefully. Remove any screws anchoring them to the wall. Pry away gently with pry bar. Seek studs to remove any screws fully anchored.
  • Uninstall doors and drawers. Taking doors and drawers off makes dismantling cabinet boxes much easier. Number pieces to reattach properly later.
  • Watch for plumbing and wiring. Cabinets may hide important plumbing and electrical lines. Locate and avoid contact with wires and pipes during removal. Turn off water supply lines first.
  • Check for hidden treasures. Old kitchens often have items like recipes and photos hidden away. Check thoroughly while removing shelves and cabinet backs.
  • Remove and stack neatly. Once fully dismantled, stack shelves neatly against walls and place doors and drawers together. This keeps similar pieces identifiable for later reinstallation.
  • Protect floors. Lay down tarps or cardboard to protect floors from scratches during removal. Use plywood ramps if necessary to roll out heavy cabinetry.

Carefully dismantling existing cabinetry prevents costly repairs and makes reinstallation smooth after new cabinets are in place. Take time to detach everything properly.

Box Up Kitchen Linens and Towels

Kitchen linens like dish towels, oven mitts, aprons, and potholders can be packed together in larger boxes.

  • Wash everything first. Launder all kitchen textiles before packing so nothing is put away dirty. This also reduces bulk.
  • Use existing kitchen linens as packing material. Old stained towels or rags make great protective wrapping for breakable kitchen items packed in other boxes.
  • Pack similar items together. Keep dish towels together, potholders together, etc. You’ll know exactly what is in each box this way during unpacking.
  • Choose a large sturdy box. A larger box with hand-carry holes cut in the sides works best for bulky textiles. Just be sure the bottom is sturdy enough for the weight.
  • Fold neatly. Fold kitchen linens tightly using storage folds. This conserves space and prevents wrinkling. Stack them by category inside the box.
  • Cushion the bottom. Place a towel or rag on the bottom of the box to cushion items from the cardboard.
  • Fill gaps. Wedge linens into gaps in the box to create a tight fit. Anything loose could become wrinkled or dirty during the remodel.
  • Tape handles as needed. For lighter linens like dish towels, tape or tie a bundle together to allow easier lifting out.

Packing linens neatly into categorized bundles ensures you can access what you need easily later and keep loads organized when unpacking.

Protect Surfaces and Flooring

Kitchen surfaces and flooring need protection during a remodel to avoid damage as items are moved out.

  • Clear countertops completely. Remove everything from countertops, wiping down the surface thoroughly once empty.
  • Cover surfaces. Use cardboard, bubble wrap, or blankets to cover countertops and protect the surface underneath from nicks and scratches. Tape down securely. For extra protection, lay plywood over counters.
  • Clean floors. Sweep and mop hard flooring so it’s clear of dirt and debris before covering. Vacuum carpets thoroughly removing all lint and crumbs.
  • Lay floor protection. On tile, linoleum, or finished wood flooring use ram board or plywood to create a pathway from work areas to the outside door. This prevents scratching or denting floors as heavy items are moved.
  • Use rugs and mats. Carpets can be protected using old sheets or furniture pads layered underneath plastic runners or rubber backed rugs that items are moved across.
  • Remove appliances carefully. When rolling out refrigerators or stoves, lay plywood or cardboard under the wheels or feet to prevent indentations in vinyl or hardwood flooring.
  • Watch for nails and screws. Check that cabinets and dismantled shelves are moved out without leaving behind any protruding nails, hooks, or screws that could scratch floors or tear a protective cover.

Taking time to properly protect kitchen surfaces and floors prevents damage that could be costly to repair or replace later on.

Disconnect Kitchen Electrical, Plumbing, and Gas

Kitchen appliances and fixtures typically run on electricity, gas, and water that will need disconnection prior to a full remodel.

  • Shut off the main water supply. Locate the shutoff valve for the main water supply into your kitchen and turn it off completely. This prevents leaks.
  • Turn off electrical circuits. Throw the breaker switches for all kitchen electrical circuits so outlets and lights are off during the remodel.
  • Disconnect appliances. Unplug refrigerator, oven, dishwasher, and other appliances and pull them away from outlets. Turn off the gas supply for any gas appliances as well.
  • Label wires and cords. As you disconnect switches, lights, and outlets, use colored tape to label corresponding wires for easier reconnection later.
  • Cap off open pipes or wires. Any cut pipes or exposed wires should be capped off temporarily to prevent leaks or sparks.
  • Inspect thoroughly. Do a final walk through, looking for any missed connections that still need disconnecting before demolition or construction begins.
  • Store utilities safely. Coil up and tape any disconnected hoses or wires neatly, fastening them off the floor. Keep electrical cords bundled together to prevent tripping hazards.

Taking time to properly disconnect utilities minimizes safety risks and costly plumbing or electrical issues during the remodel work.

Create a Temporary Kitchen Setup

Even with your main kitchen space out of commission during the remodel, you’ll need some essentials handy for preparing meals.

  • Choose a temporary kitchen area. Pick an out of the way space nearby, like a hallway, unused room, garage or basement for your temporary cooking area.
  • Provide basic appliances. Keep your microwave, coffee maker, toaster oven, slow cooker, and other small appliances in the temporary kitchen to meet your basic needs.
  • Include necessary cookware. You’ll want access to pots, pans, utensils, can opener, and other essentials for basic meal prep. Keep these items unpacked or purchase inexpensive temporary replacements.
  • Set up folding tables or countertops. Use folding tables, countertops on sawhorses, or utility carts to create makeshift prep space and surfaces for appliances.
  • Organize with dish racks, shelves, and bins. Use storage pieces like dish racks, shelves, and plastic bins to neatly organize items in your temporary space. Label everything clearly.
  • Keep cleaning supplies ready. Paper towels, all-purpose cleaner, and dish soap will allow you to maintain the temporary kitchen cleanly.
  • Add seating if possible. Stools or folding chairs let you take a quick break in your temporary eating area when the main kitchen is torn apart.

Having basic cooking necessities and cleanup supplies nearby keeps life running more smoothly with the main kitchen unavailable during remodeling work.

Plan for Efficient Unpacking

Once kitchen remodeling is complete, you can unpack all the carefully labeled boxes and settle back into your new space. Make the process go smoothly with these strategies:

  • Have a detailed inventory. Refer back to the master list you made when packing so you know exactly what is contained in each box before opening it.
  • Unpack in categories. Unpack all boxes containing dishes first, then appliances, cookware, pantry items, etc. This allows you to put everything right where it belongs efficiently.
  • Watch for new built-in storage. Your remodeled kitchen may have new cabinets, drawers, or shelving built in. Use this storage wisely as you put items away to prevent clutter.
  • Install storage organizers. Take time when unpacking to add any new drawer organizers, cabinet bins, racks, or turntables that maximize space for the items being stored.
  • Look for temporary removal instructions. If cabinets or countertops were recently sealed, painted or finished, check for any instructions on allowing time for curing before putting unpackaged food or dishes away.
  • Clean surfaces before unpacking onto them. New countertops or sink areas should be wiped down to remove dust before placing unpacked appliances, dishware, etc.
  • Plug appliances back in properly. Refer to labeled cords and connectors when reinstalling kitchen appliances in their permanent homes for proper electrical connections.

Following an organized unpacking plan ensures everything finds the right home in your newly remodeled kitchen for maximum efficiency and enjoyment of the updated space.

Frequently Asked Questions About Packing Up for a Kitchen Remodel

What’s the first step when starting to pack up your kitchen?

The first step is doing a thorough kitchen audit and pare down. Get rid of anything expired, damaged or that you simply don’t use. Organize and consolidate what remains into labeled boxes by category – dishes together, pots and pans together, pantry items together, etc.

Should you dismantle existing cabinets and countertops before remodeling?

Yes, existing cabinetry and countertops usually need to be dismantled prior to a remodel to allow for installation of new components. Carefully detach them from walls, removing doors, shelves and hardware. Dispose of or temporarily store items removed.

How do you properly pack up dishes, glasses and other fragile kitchen items?

Fragile kitchen items like dishware, glasses and mugs need individual wrapping in tissue paper or bubble wrap. Pack them gently in small sturdy boxes with plenty of newsprint or towel cushioning between each piece. Label boxes as fragile.

What’s the best way to pack up canned goods and other pantry items?

Heavy items like cans, bottles and jars should go in small sturdy boxes that aren’t overpacked to prevent crushing. Wrap glass jars individually to prevent breakage. Seal boxes well with strong tape. Label each box clearly with all contents.

How can you protect kitchen surfaces and flooring during a remodel?

Use cardboard, plywood, and moving blankets to cover countertops and protect flooring. Tape covers down securely. Lay plywood pathways for moving heavy appliances. Use rugs and mats over carpeting. Remove appliances across plywood boards.

Where can you set up a temporary kitchen during remodeling?

Designate any nearby, out of the way space for a temporary kitchen, like a garage, hallway, basement or little-used room. Set up folding tables or utility carts for makeshift counters. Keep essential appliances plugged in. Organize cookware, utensils, and pantry essentials neatly for easy access.

Summary of Packing Up Your Kitchen for a Remodel

Preparing a kitchen for full remodeling requires extensive organization, packing, dismantling, and planning. By paring down belongings, properly packing appliances, cookware and fragile items, removing existing cabinetry with care, protecting surfaces, disconnecting utilities, and setting up a temporary kitchen, you can smoothly transition through the renovation process. Thoroughly labeling packed boxes and keeping a detailed inventory ensures efficient unpacking and resettling after