First step, of course, is to open the line of communication with your landlord and share your plans, even if the small changes you have planned wouldn’t permanently alter or damage their property. Not only will doing that damage it more, storing it damaged might make it impossible to fix later, or you might forget how it needs to be fixed. Having photos of the process made putting the doors back up way easier. But if this is your first foray into the world of rental customization or you’ve done a terrible job in the past of keeping track of changes, keep these ideas in mind next time you whip your screwdriver out on a restless rental day:
Step one: Keep an ongoing, easy-to-find list of what you do
Start a list — Preferably a digital one on your computer and/or phone of each change you make. Wrap things up so they don’t break. (Image credits: Bethany Nauert; Adrienne Breaux) Now, you may have already developed your own way of keeping track of changes and stuff. You might undertake similar efforts when it comes to marking the right side up of an item and more. Step three: Mark original elements clearly and temporarily
Also with those cabinets, I marked on masking tape with a sharpie the directions they went in, which side went up and what order they went into. Go get yourself a nice-sized plastic storage container, some bubble wrap and whatever else you need to safely store the items you’ll have to replace when it comes time to move. Step four: Keep it all safe and in one spot
Don’t just tuck that ugly ceiling fixture into the closet behind the water heater (I think I’ve done this like in every apartment I’ve ever rented). Have you ever made small, temporary and reversible changes around your apartment to improve the look of your space, completely and fully intending to put everything back in its place when you move out? Organize it by room, jotting down what you’ve done, what the original condition was, what date you made the changes and where you’ll be storing any elements of the property you plan on hiding. Or if your landlord seems open to the idea, ask them if they’d like to hold on to the items you’ve removed.