Monday, January 10, 2011

A Renter's Survival Guide

Sure, renting comes with some drawbacks: no painting the walls, getting stuck with dated tile, etc. But the perks are pretty spectacular: no property insurance, immediate (free!) repairs. If I do say so myself, I've gotten pretty good at renting. Here are a few tricks I've learned over the last decade. {And this list isn't just for renters...homeowners, you'll probably want to stick around, too}.

  • Tip 1: Upon moving in, find out the exact shade of paint used for the walls and/or doors. Trust me. It will be a huge relief to know you've got an easy fix when your kid "decorates" with a Sharpie.

  • Buy this. Seriously. All other carpet spot removers are junk in comparison. I didn't know how I'd survive in a rental with practically white carpet. Then came the spilled grape juice, the play date that ended in a bloody nose, and a case of exploding eyeshadow. This stuff is a even got permanent marker out of my couch. (B: pretend you didn't read that).

  • Now these things make me feel like a rental goddess. In previous rentals, I may have been be a little hammer-happy. I ended up with multiple nail holes under each picture on the walls. I'm sure my landlords loved that. Problem solved: stick one (removable) strip to the wall and one to your picture and you can adjust the picture to your heart's content. This is extremely helpful to those who are fickle with wall decor. (Please tell me I'm not the only one).

  • Dear Costco, could you please start selling these by the case? They're perfect for cleaning the burned mess off of the stovetop, wiping crayon off the dining set (is it starting to sound like I don't watch my children? I should look into that).

  • Then along comes the baby who is obsessed with the boingy thing on the back of the door. In her adoration, she removes said spring-like apparatus, resulting in a doorknob through the wall. Grab yourself a fast patch kit, paint over the wall with that paint we talked about before, and ta-da! Good as new.

  • And lest this post get too industrial, let's talk wall decor a minute. I've had it with boring walls. While I'm not a fan of inspirational quotes plastered all over the place, whimsical, colorful decals can really boost the feel of a room. All with the non-committal confidence a renter needs. Just slap 'em up, and peel 'em off when it's time to move along. Because even renters deserve fun walls. {I found this one here}.
My next experiment in renting is testing out the array of grout paints out there. Mine is looking pretty grungy. Ick.

Happy Monday, folks!


Erin said...

I saw on a tv show that hairspray removes sharpie and other permanent marker from walls

fyek said...

I've been a renter for a long time, but our baby is only nine months old, so these are good tips for our future. (Ha ha ha, like we never wrecked the walls before him...I'm blaming the poor guy before he can even mess the place up...shameless.) I love that your son crossed off one of the people in his drawing on the door. That photo is amazing.

piccolinadesigns said...

BRILLIANT post. Thanks for the wall patch recommendation!! I was just trying to figure out what to use this week to patch the dreaded 'tip-resistant kit' holes in the wall where I removed and relocated furniture this week.

A recommendation for the paint: Keep your paint receipts. They usually include the color number for you to order touch-up paint later. I save them in a 'home misc.' file.

Sherwin Williams also keeps records on their computer system for 3-5 years. Just ask them to tag it with your name and project (ex. "bedroom paint") when you are purchasing the paint.

Frog tape is also a painter's dream. It is a painter's tape that repels paint so you can get a very crisp straight line (ex. stripes on the wall or around trim). Works great, very few touch-ups needed.

Wahzat Gayle said...

Wonderful post.
I am not a renter but I do need most of those tricks with my four monkeys especially the paint idea my children are wonderfully artistic LOL

km said...

I just walked into my office to find black paint (remember those smelly paint markers you posted about a couple months ago) all over my walls!!! :):):) It's all your fault I purchasd those! :) Time to get out the magic erasers... Having kids means having messes so I'm HAPPY to have lots of messes in my home. I'm goign to try your carpet cleaner.