/ Budget & Planning

Manage Dirt, Dust and Debris

A Dumpster is a must for a kitchen remodel.

Renting a dumpster during a remodel can make the cleaning process go more smoothly.

The amount of dust and dirt that accumulates during a remodel can be alarming. You cannot stop it completely, but you can prepare. Here are a few tips:

  • Protect what you can't remove; floors should be covered, dust curtains hung and a pathway defined for workmen to enter and exit the workspace. Use plastic sheeting and tape to seal off doorways into other rooms and cover bookshelves, furniture, and electronic equipment. Some contractors will do this for you.

  • Turn off the central air or heat when the workers are sanding floors. Keep extra air filters on hand.

  • Ask that the construction area be "broom cleaned" (swept) at the end of every day to minimize the mess.

  • If necessary, prepare a storage area in the garage or in another room near the kitchen for holding appliances, cabinets, and other items until it's time to install them. Or rent a storage space for a month or two during the construction phase.


Sometimes it will be necessary to rent a large Dumpster (like the one in the above photo) so the construction crew can get rid of large amounts of debris. Whether you use a large dumpster or not, if the construction crew is going to take debris to the outside of your home, you should set up some ground rules for where trash is put, as well as some rules about how construction workers should exit your home.

The inside of your home will be in disarray during a remodel, but the outside of your home doesn't have to have a trampled lawn and random piles of garbage. The National Association of the Remodeling Industry recommends the following rules to preserve landscaping and curb appeal:

  • Ask that all lumber and materials be stored on paved surfaces, not your lawn."

  • "If that is not possible, designate a path across your lawn with stakes and string - allow several access points and try to keep the path as direct as possible."

  • "You may want to lay down temporary plywood sidewalks - they distribute weight and will prevent ruts in your lawn. Standing the plywood up at the end of each work day will help preserve the grass. Be sure to remove the plywood as soon as the work is done."

For more tips about dealing with landscaping during a remodel, visit the NARI website's remodeling section.