How to Stay Organized for a Successful Kitchen Remodel

disorganized papers in a leather bound file folder

Staying organized is the key to accomplishing a successful kitchen remodel.

While I consider “great organizational skills” to be a key point on my resume, I felt lost when I first went to research kitchen remodeling. There are so many components and so much information that my first step was to find some key organizational tips.

So how DO you stay organized during a kitchen remodel?

Fortunately, keeping each piece of the puzzle straight can be accomplished using two main organizational systems:

1. a three ring binder for all physical material and

2. an electronic binder such as Microsoft’s OneNote for all the electronic material.

By the time you have all your puzzle pieces lined up, you can start putting them together during the labor process, and feel confident that no puzzle piece will be missed.

Three ways to physically stay organized during a kitchen remodel.

I see roughly three ways you can go about collecting physical documents: One, use a three ring binder, two, a file folder, or three, at least keeping them all in one place within your home.

I will insist on a binder complete with sheet protectors and printed title.

kitchen remodel book to stay organized

The world has shifted much of it’s storage to “the cloud” and other techie devices, but I guarantee you will get paper fliers from home stores, notes from kitchen showrooms, business cards, signed contracts and change orders, receipts, etc.

You will find yourself wishing you had it all in one place. And you will wish it was organized so that you can find that particular receipt in seconds rather than hours!

Why not organize further? Divide your subjects into different sections.

Think ahead and create different sections for your documents so that you know where to put them as you inherit them. Here are a few good headers to choose from:

  • Timeline
  • Budget
  • Contractors (Business Cards)
  • Contracts/ bids/ change orders
  • Receipts
  • Measurements, plans, drawings
  • Questions to ask your contractor

You will most likely also have random paint “chips”, magazine pages, print outs of designs, and the like.

Create a Book for your Kitchen Remodel

You could go as far as me, and have it even more organized. I created Word documents and printed them out as the different headings in my book. 🙂

I made a page for each component in the process and listed out what was currently there, and what things were changing. This allowed me to think through every detail and come up with questions at the bottom to go over with the contractor.

Broken into sections, this felt far less overwhelming!

You could also add into your organized book:

  • warranty information
  • a journal section for writing down your experiences
  • an inspirational picture of your future kitchen’s appearance

Seeing the big picture among many little details may calm you and keep you focused. Eyes on the prize!

And last but not least, I created a Homeowner’s Responsibility page which listed out:

  • every aspect of the remodel
  • the materials that needed to be purchased and who was purchasing them, and
  • all of the actionable items, like the demolition.

It was rather easy to get on the same page with our general contractor when we could see the list of items literally on the page in front of us.

Now let’s pivot to using digital storage to stay organized during a kitchen remodel.

With thousands of pictures at our disposal on the Internet, it’s hard to keep our selection of “likes” organized. You might also want to save on-line retailer information for future product purchases.

So how do you organize it all?

Let’s start with Pinterest. Although not a great place to organize everything, the Pinterest app is a great resource for inspiration. You can create boards and save tons of pictures and articles to look at in the future.

If you are interested in seeing what this could look like, you can check out my Pinterest page, with folders for each type of project and hundreds of pictures and articles saved for future use.

You can also use an organization software like Microsoft’s OneNote to organize your kitchen remodel.

Copy and pasting a small group of text, highlighting text, and writing notes are some of the many benefits of using Microsoft’s OneNote.

OneNote usually comes standard with the purchase of Microsoft’s Office package.

Once your electronic notebook is set up in OneNote, you are ready to create sub-sections, just as you would in a physical book.

There are a few different ways you can organize your material, but I use one section at the top and multiple pages for each of the different components such as flooring, cabinets, kitchen hardware, etc.

Then, new material gets added to each page as things catch my eye, and I place them in their respective pages for future viewing.

How to organize your Kitchen Remodeling budget?

Setting up a budget is no joke. It takes a lot of thought and a lot of truth. Once you have established your initial budget, you can create a document to keep your budget in check. Experts say to give yourself an extra 10-20% for unplanned expenses, so be sure to have contingencies. Nothing like running out of money half way through your project!

The best way I found to keep a budget and not go overboard is to do the math. Find the average percentages and then try to follow them.

Your kitchen remodel should be between 5-20% of your home’s value.

Closer to 5% if you live in a home cheaper than your city’s median home value and closer to 20% if you live in an up-scale area.

Once you have your overall budget, then you factor in each component of the remodeling process. Again experts at the National Kitchen and Bath Association, have given us a rough estimate on what you can expect, we can use this information to figure out how much money to spend on each component.

  • Cabinetry and Hardware: 29%
  • Installation: 17%
  • Appliances and HVAC: 14%
  • Counter tops: 10%
  • Flooring: 7%
  • Lighting: 5%
  • Walls and Ceiling: 5%
  • Design: 4%
  • Doors and Windows: 4%
  • Plumbing and Accessories: 4%
  • Other: 1%

Obviously, this is going to vary based on scope of project, and each project’s circumstances. For example, in our remodel, we didn’t buy any new appliances, so we used that money to get better flooring. I also want to add that our electrician bill was about 13% of our overall budget, so these percentages can vary greatly.

How much time should this planning phase take?

At least three months of your time should be spent collecting material and ideas before you involve the professionals or swing a hammer!

You can find more information on how long kitchen renovations take here.

Furthermore, while your general contractor will be an invaluable resource, you should not start utilizing him or her until you have a clear idea of what you want. Don’t waste time setting up appointments only to realize you don’t have anything to give them to work from.

You know what you need better than they do. Take the time to organize and it may even help them decide to take you on as a client!


Thanks for taking the time to learn how to organize your kitchen remodel. I hope these notes end up in your OneNote Notebook and you have a smooth and successful kitchen remodel.

Helping you plan for tomorrow,


Want more information about kitchen remodeling? Click here for the Step by Step Kitchen Remodeling Guide.

step by step kitchen remodeling guide

Additional articles about kitchen remodeling you may find useful:

How long does a kitchen remodel take? And what factors can make it longer.

Top 10 things to consider in your kitchen remodeling design.

Homeowners guide to a DIY kitchen demolition.

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