It was time. That was the motivation for tearing apart our kitchen and creating three weeks of chaos in our lives. The kitchen was to say the least a little dated and we needed a little better functionality. While we weren’t taking down walls, we definitely stripped it apart completely. Like most kitchens, our kitchen is the hub of our house. It’s where meals are planned and eaten, schedules are organized, and great conversations are held. Most everything begins and/or ends in the kitchen in one way or another.
We’ve done renovations before so we knew what disruption they create. This time we did our best to be in control of the situation rather than let it control us. That being said, chaos is still chaos. As with any life experience, there are always lessons to be learned or reminded of.
Here are a few we took away this time:
Easy is not always better.
In the first few days of the renovation, demolition was the theme. In the midst of the mess, it was easy to turn to fast food. But the novelty of easy wore off pretty quick as we all just wanted “real food”. It took a little more planning, a little more organization and a lot more creativity, but we abandoned take-out food for home cooked alternatives. I now have a new appreciation for my crock pot. Easy is easy but it’s not always better. Consider where you opt for easy in your life even though it’s not the best choice.
Disorder disrupts the energy flow.
There are many things that we know but we tend to forget. I’ve known for a long time that disorder in one’s living space seriously messes with the energy flow around you. When things are disorganized, you are less efficient, less creative and more distracted. The renovation was a huge reminder of how disorder impacts negatively on all the areas of your life. Purging the cupboards of everything that we didn’t use or love was a freeing experience. And then when the work was finally done, you could almost hear the whoosh of energy swirling about when things got back to the way they should be. Do not underestimate the impact of the disorder, little or big, that is currently in your life.
In the midst of chaos, keep your eye on your vision.
The fun part of a kitchen renovation is imagining what you want and then creating a design that makes it happen. We spent a considerable amount of time looking at pictures of cool kitchens, checking out samples of materials and collaborating with a great contractor. We came up with some neat ideas to make the space not only more functional but also architecturally pleasing. Seeing it come together piece by piece was exciting. Every day as I stepped over construction materials and cleaned up the latest coating of drywall dust, I keep thinking about how wonderful the new kitchen would be. At the point when everything seems like it is most chaotic, is the time when your clear vision of what you want can help you keep moving forward. If you don’t have a picture of where you are going in life, you are likely to feel discouraged about the progress you are making. If you don’t have a vision, create one.
Get back to basics.
Focusing on what was most important was a key to us keeping a smile on our faces during those three weeks. No fancy meals – just the basics. No dishwasher – just old fashioned washing up. No whining – well at least not too much. Being inconvenienced during a kitchen renovation is definitely a first world problem. The biggest basic we can all get back to is being grateful for the blessings we have no matter the situation. Most of us are privileged beyond measure. The next time you catch yourself complaining about something, check in and see if you need to get back to basics about what is working in your life.
Several years ago my husband gave me three Chinese wise men representing the attributes of a good life: Good Fortune, Prosperity, and Longevity. They have always had a place of honor in our kitchen as a reminder that life is good. Before, during and after the renovation, life is definitely good.