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New RTA Cabinets? What To Do With Your Old Cabinets

A kitchen is usually the heart of any home. That includes rentals, even short-term ones. If you’re a homeowner, updating your kitchen cabinets can add value when you go to sell.  If you’re a landlord, updating your kitchen cabinets can make your property more appealing to tenants. In either case, RTA cabinets (ready-to-assemble cabinets) are a very economical choice.

Why Should I Replace My Old Cabinets?

You may be asking yourself “Why should I replace my old cabinets?. They’re in decent condition”. That’s a very reasonable question. The answer depends on your situation.  If you’re a homeowner and planning to stay in your home, then replacing your old cabinets can make your home more pleasant and functional.

If you’re a homeowner and planning to sell your home, then updating your kitchen cabinets can make your home more appealing to buyers.  Similarly, if you’re a landlord, or thinking of becoming one, then updating your kitchen cabinets can make your home more appealing to potential tenants.

Remember, both home-buyers and tenants generally want homes they can just move into and enjoy.  They will probably want to make small updates, e.g. change the decor.  They will, not, however, generally be keen to make significant changes, like installing a new kitchen.  In fact, most tenants can’t make these sorts of changes.

Why Bother With Cabinets At All?

If you pay attention to interior design in magazines and blogs or on social media, you probably have seen a lot of open shelving. It is very popular with some interior designers and DIYers, even for kitchens. Open shelving in kitchens can look great in photos. As most people recognize, however, it’s generally not as practical in real life, especially not in kitchens.

Open shelving in kitchens only works well in one of three situations. The first is if you have a really big kitchen. You can keep your open shelving well away from the working areas and essentially use it for decor.  

Secondly, if you have a really tiny kitchen, you may not have space for cabinets. That would open shelving as your only option. Thirdly, if you are trying to squeeze the last bit of storage space out of a kitchen, open shelving might slip in where a cabinet would be too bulky.  

In general, however, even when space is tight, you want to use cabinets if at all possible. If necessary take off the cabinet doors to reduce the amount of space they use. Cabinets without doors will still provide more protection for their content and less visual clutter than open shelving. That’s why, in the real world, most people still prefer them.

How To Safely Remove Old Cabinets

It’s actually pretty simple to safely remove old cabinets. The key to success is effective preparation. Clear out the kitchen and put tarps over the countertops and possibly the floor as well. Gather all your tools and then shut off the utilities to the kitchen. This includes water.

Disassemble as much of the cabinets as you can. You can generally remove doors, drawers, and shelves. You should be able to remove trim and seals. You can potentially save the trim. If this is your aim, then you should generally work slowly and carefully. If, however, you’re not bothered about this, just let it crack. Trim can be easily replaced.

Removing Wall Cabinets

If you’re working on your own, it’s a good idea to put supports under wall cabinets. These give you a bit of breathing space if your hands slip. It is, however, better yet to have an extra pair of hands to help. Your helper doesn’t have to know anything about DIY. They just have to be able to give you a bit of extra support, literally.

Check if your wall cabinets are connected to each other. If they are, disconnect them. Then remove the attachments or start prising the cabinet away from the glue. Once the cabinet is loose, just lift it off.

Removing Lower Cabinets

Removing lower cabinets follows essentially the same basic process as removing wall cabinets. The only real difference is that it takes a bit more preparation work. This is because the lower cabinets will be home to the appliances. These will therefore need to be disconnected and removed before you take out the cabinets.

Pro-tip, before you start working on removing lower cabinets, double-check that you have shut off the water to the kitchen!

How To Replace Your Old Cabinets Economically

For a lot of people, the most cost-effective way to replace kitchen cabinets is to use RTA cabinets. Check out www.rtadirect.com for a great selection at very reasonable prices. If you know what you need, you can just buy the necessary cabinets. If not, you can work with a kitchen designer.

Your RTA cabinets will then be delivered to your door. They will come complete with all the fittings you need to put them together. All you’ll need is your standard tools. You’ll also get full and detailed, but simple-to-follow instructions.

Basically, if you can assemble flat-pack furniture and take out old kitchen cabinets, you’ll be absolutely fine with RTA cabinets. Yes, you’ll have to invest a bit of your time in putting them together (or pay a tradesperson to do it for you). Overall, however, the cost-savings more than justify this.

What To Do With Your Old Cabinets

Even if your old cabinets aren’t up to use in your rental kitchen anymore, they could still find a new lease of life somewhere else. If they’re still in reasonably good condition, somebody might be happy to buy them from you for their kitchen. If they’re not in such a good state, you might still find somebody who’ll be happy to take them off you for free.

Alternatively, you can use kitchen cabinets for storage in other areas of the house. For example, you could use them to create a mudroom. The robust and easy-clean nature of kitchen cabinets makes them ideal for this kind of environment. You could even put them into closets for better organization.