Some people say they would rather not bother with or risk adding individual decorating or convenience touches in a rental. But when it’s so easy to restore the status quo if necessary, it seems to me two or three years is a long time to exist like a monk.
In one of the over-closeted apartments I had, I converted one of the living room closets into a bar. I stashed away the clothes rod and shelf lumber in another closet, and then simply put it back together before I moved. A half-hour’s rebuild allowed me three year’s worth of a kitchen free of the glasses and helpful guests.
Here are some suggestions to undo all those things you have done:
- For shields and anchors, take a sturdy, big-headed nail or screw, put the head on the end of the fastener that shows and hammer until it moves below the wall surface. Repeat this until everyone is pounded into the wall. Pull out picture hangers and nails and anything that wasn’t in the wall when you arrived. Don’t worry if some of the plaster flakes off. Get the putty knife and spackle over all the holes and scars.
- Any of the good quality vinyl coated fabric wall coverings and some wallpapers can be removed by grabbing a corner and pulling. You should wash the wall down afterward to get rid of the dried glue and roughness. If you don’t, the painters who follow will paint right over it, and that’s not fair to the next tenants. Incidentally, if you see the tenants, check if they want the covering left. The landlord can’t object and you save yourself some work.
If you can swing it, consider hiring a commercial mover. On the negative side, the prices are outrageous, and the workers, once the best, are going the way of all flesh – doing less for more. But guess where they learned it? The company will tell you the government sets the rates. True, but unless someone’s gotten altruistic, the price the movers give you is the maximum rate they are allowed to charge, not the minimum they could. Not surprisingly, estimates from the larger companies are as alike as peas in a pod. However, you may be able to get a better deal with a smaller, local mover. Check carefully though and try to get a recommendation from someone who has used them.
On the positive side, the moving companies supply boxes that are the right size and strength for your possessions. Unless you’re rich or somebody else is paying for the move, forgo the packers. You can do it yourself easily.
- Put heavy items on the bottom and build around and up from there. Try not to combine breakable items with non-shock absorbing, nonbreakable ones. Overdo the paper as cushioning and wrapping around, over, between and under. Save your newspapers for weeks ahead – you’ll need them all.
- Snug-fitting and well-cushioned is the word. The wrapping will go faster if you work on a table. Open up flat a pile of newspapers and work your way from the top down.
Seal the boxes with brown sticky paper tape. Get it good and wet by seesawing it under running cold water. Drain and tape. List the contents of the box on the outside with a flow pen or a big crayon. You’d be surprised how fast you forget what’s where. Cataloging can save clutter and time on the other end.
- If you do move yourself, see your friendly grocery store. The latte r has boxes which, even though they’re small, are designed to carry weight. When you realize one twin sheet weighs two pounds, you can see why regular unreinforced cartons can cause side-splitting crises when you least need them.
- Always keep one box around for last moment collections and second thoughts. On the other end of the move, it will seem like a grab bag, but invaluable nevertheless. Once at my place, last in and first out somehow or other was an iron frypan wrapped in a black lace slip.
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