Learn how to plan an upcoming kitchen remodel and keep every detail organized so the project goes as smoothly as possible.
Are you planning a kitchen remodel in the near future? Stressing out over how to keep up with every single detail, contact, and appointment? A kitchen redo is super exciting, but there are a lot of moving parts. This quick guide will give you some pointers on how to organize your project, whether you hire contractors or do it yourself.
We finished Phase 2 of our kitchen remodel just before the holidays last year, and I kept a running list of notes in my phone throughout the process so I could share them with you. I learned what to do and what not to do, so this advice is based on my own personal wins (and fails).
Do Your Research
Before I start teaching you how to organize yourself during a kitchen remodel, let me take a second to remind you how important it is to research your contractors before hiring them. Whether you have your kitchen gutted, refaced, or just do a few small upgrades, heavily research every single company you plan to use.
Before we hired the refacing company for our own kitchen, I checked out their website, social media, and customer reviews. I checked sites like Yelp, Facebook reviews, and Better Business Bureau to look for any red flags. My tile installer was recommended to me by someone I trust, and I still did research on his company, too.
Be aware that there will always be negative reviews, so don’t let those scare you off immediately. Look for common complaints or recurring issues. If you don’t see any, and the good reviews outweigh the bad, they’re probably safe. Also make sure everyone you hire is licensed and insured in their field. Don’t be afraid to ask for proof!
Create Your Entire Plan Ahead Of Time
Before you pick up the phone and schedule your cabinet company, tile installer, painter, electrician, and plumber, hold that thought! You need to have your entire plan all together, on paper, so you can communicate clearly.
Contractors may not be able to see the same vision you have stored in your head, so you need to pull those out of your imagination and onto paper or a digital screen. I recommend putting these items into a digital PDF and saving to a Dropbox file or Google Drive so you can share them via email.
Elements Of A Good Kitchen Remodel Plan:
- A drawn proposed layout of the kitchen. (don’t worry if it’s not drawn well. A sketch is totally fine. You can learn how to draw a room to scale here.)
- A mood board of your “vision.” Don’t worry about getting the exact items you want to buy on the mood board; just a visual representation of what you want. I make my mood boards (like the image above) in Canva. Here’s a tutorial.
- A list of paint colors and where they will be used, including the exact brand, color code, and finish. Don’t forget about trim, doors, and ceiling.
- A full budget breakdown. You need to know ahead of time exactly how much money you have to spend and how you can realistically divide it up.
- A priority list. It’s important to know what your must-haves and your nice-to-haves are, so you can pick and choose what takes priority.
- Names and contact numbers for other contractors on the job. They may need to talk with each other about some things, so it’s good to give them each other’s contact info. (Skip this if you’re DIYing the job.)
- A list of measurements. Jot down the specs of all your appliances, windows, backsplash square footage, doorway openings, windows, cabinets, and pantries.
- A calendar and timeline for you to keep up with everything. Make sure you post this somewhere in the home where every member of the household can see it.
Assign ONE Project Manager
Things get mixed up, miscommunicated, and misunderstood when multiple people are managing the kitchen remodel. Even two spouses can cause a lot of confusion with the contractors you’ve hired. Decide on one single person to be “in charge” of communication with contractors, shopping for supplies, and scheduling appointments. Other people can help support the project manager, of course, but the manager should be the one to tell others what they can do.
During Phase One of my kitchen remodel, I had to work all week while the contractors were in my home. I appointed my mother-in-law as the project manager. She stayed at our house, answered questions, and kept everyone on track. If something needed to be resolved, she called me, but she was their main point of contact. It made things run super smoothly.
Schedule In Time Buffers
In every kitchen remodel, there will always be holdups. Whether you are doing the remodel yourself or have hired the whole thing out, there’s no way it will stay completely on schedule.
Always leave extra time buffers for when things take longer than expected. I totally failed at this during Phase One, because the refacing company told me it would take 3-4 days. I had my tile guy lined up to come in on the 5th day to do the backsplash. The refacers didn’t finish in the time they allotted, so the tile guy had to get pushed back. That screws up his schedule and stressed us all out. Learn from my mistake and expect everything to take at least a day or two longer than you were quoted.
During Phase Two, the process took three times longer than expected due to surprise water damage, additional repairs, short-staffed contractors, and more. But this time, I was prepared for delays and had backup plans for everything possible. We did have to pivot a little on the plans, but I already had a plan B and C written out “just in case.”
Do The Prep Work
This tip will make or break your whole remodel, I promise. Before any contractors arrive, ask what you need to do to prep for their arrival. There may be things that must be done before they can start like clearing out your cabinets or removing appliances.
During Phase One of my remodel, I needed to have the old wallpaper removed before the tile pro came to do the backsplash. Wallpaper removal is not part of his service, and if I hadn’t asked about prep work, that could have delayed my appointment or caused me to pay an additional fee.
During Phase Two, I was responsible for taking all the appliances out of the room before the floors went in. And since the tile floor goes into the closets in the kitchen, I had to clear them out as well. Don’t just assume you know what you need to do to prep. Take the time to reach out and ask. You’ll save a lot of time, stress, and money.
Need Checklists and Planners For Your Remodel?
I’ve got you covered! Check out the Home Remodeling Project Planner in the Organized-ish Shop. You can download the full printable kit that includes checklists, expense trackers, and contact list so you have everything you need right at your fingertips. I even tested it out during my own renovation, and it totally kept me sane during the process. Get the Renovation Planner, along with all my other home organizing planners here.