Dealing with the Less than Desirable Roommates

The fastest way to get to know someone is to live with them. That’s when you get to know ALL of them: the good, the bad, the ugly. So if you’re stuck on a lease with someone you’re finding out embodies more of the bad and ugly, these things might be good to keep in mind.

Establish certain environmental factors as soon as possible:

  •  What temperature should the apartment be?
  • What is my sleep schedule versus my roommate’s?
  • How much noise does each of us find acceptable on a regular basis?

Coming to an agreement on these topics early on will be highly beneficial to everyone’s sanity in the apartment. Sleep deprivation and edginess get very old, very quickly.

Divide up and Share Responsibilities:

You’re probably realizing by now that communication is initially the key to all these things, so be clear about which responsibilities are whose. A good way to tackle this is: if you make the mess you clean it. There are also shared spaces that should periodically be cleaned and a posted schedule (agreed upon by all parties!) is a simple fix for this.

The Golden Rule:

You may have learned it in kindergarten, but that doesn’t mean it no longer applies. Try to be empathetic in all roommate and relationship situations. If you don’t want to be treated that way, your roommate most likely doesn’t want to be treated that way either!

 

Easiest (and Cheapest!) Ways to Improve Your College Apartment

If you just moved in your first apartment, it’s painfully obvious that it will take some time to get a cohesive, comfortable, lived-in look within your new walls. These things take time – Rome wasn’t built in a day after all. Here are some quick ways to make your space look grown up and polished without much effort:

  •  Frame Your Art That poster you bought at the lawn sale during the first week of school isn’t doing you any favors taped up on the wall. Give it a frame and see an instant transformation. Take it a step further and paint your frame metallic gold with some craft store paint for extra oomph.
  • Use Textiles Rugs and throw blankets add a lot of color and pattern to a room’s overall look. If your apartment has carpet, opt for a big colorful, cozy throw blanket and some decorative pillows. In addition to adding color, these items add depth and texture to your space for a more interesting visual experience.
  • Improve the Lighting This is one of the most important parts of carving out a comfortable and happy living space. Adding ambient lighting as an option will put you and potential guests at ease in your space and create a welcoming and calm environment. Overhead lights should be bright and suitable for work, but try adding a lamp or string lights for fun.

Easy Gallery Style Apartment Walls

apart wall art

The gallery style wall is a great trend, especially when you have a lot of little things you want to hang up and don’t know what to do with them. Mixing big with small, you can create an eclectic, creative, and attractive space in your apartment!

Curate your perfect collection of pictures (framed or unframed), mirrors, small floating shelves, or anything else you want to have in your gallery wall display. A good mixture of sizes, textures, and colors will create visual interest. If you prefer a more matching and unified space, stick to a color scheme or use matching frames.

To begin, decide which wall will suit your project best. Which wall do you want to be the focal point of the room? Which has the most space for hanging? Once you’ve picked the ideal spot, lay out the pictures you want to display. A great hack for arranging your objects is to cut paper the size and shape of each one, then using painters tape mock the arrangement on the wall before grabbing the hammer and nails. This will allow you to rearrange the composition, step back, and have confidence that your design is balanced and pleasing before you do any damage to the walls!

Once the layout is decided, one by one replace the paper stand-ins with the real thing. Last, but not least, pat yourself on the back because you did such a great job!

 

(photo credit: theinspiredroom.net)

Why You Should Consider Renter’s Insurance Today

Being a renter, one of the last things I think about is renter’s insurance. It’s much more fun thinking about how to decorate and make the space your own. But when you think of all the wonderful things you spend your time and money acquiring and curating in your home, it becomes obvious that it should be one of the first things to consider.

The first reason it’s a no-brainer is the cost. Many renter’s insurance policies only average around $15 a month, which is pretty inexpensive for the peace of mind that it brings. Compared to the cost of replacing your valuables, it’s absolutely a better deal to insure your belongings.

Renter’s insurance not only insures your goods, but it can also prevent you from being liable if a visitor has an accident in your apartment. The landlord is not necessarily responsible for these things!

The apartment building owner must have insurance too, but it does not cover your individual belongings in your apartment which could be damaged from an accident like fire, flood, or a plumbing leak. Take time to think about keeping your hard earned investments safe (that laptop you spent so much on!) with an inexpensive policy.

Where Does My Bike Go?

Most apartments do not come well equipped with bike storage. There’s a possibility you’re one of the lucky ones with an apartment lobby that comes complete with bicycle storage, but those are few and far between. Locking a bike up outside comes with obvious drawbacks: theft, vandalism, the elements, to name a few key issues. Here’s how to deal.

First things first, get a lighter bike. I know your Schwinn from the 70’s is adorable and comes complete with a little basket, but try lugging that up and down the stairs. It won’t be so cute any more. Find a steel or aluminum frame bike if you have the choice to do so. Some new “city” bikes are foldable, too! This will help you carry it, and also help with number 2, which is:

  1. Get a wall-mounted bike rack. Most of these only work if you have a masculine style bike with a straight crossbar. If so, and if your bike is lightweight, you can attach a wall mount to a sturdy wall in your apartment and get your bike off the floor. Some of these little wall racks also double as a shelf, which is fantastic for your bike accessories or as a landing strip when you walk in the door.
  2. If a wall-mounted rack is not an option, opt for a floor rack. Sometimes you can fit more than one bike on these standing racks.
  3. If none of these options sound good to you and you have a covered balcony, this is an alternative. However, remember your bike is more likely to rust outside due to humidity and rain.

Etsy is a fabulous resource for handmade bike racks with plenty of options to choose from. If these are out of your price range, some very affordable models are available on Amazon.

One Last Summer Road Trip

It seems like the internet is already aflutter with talk of Pumpkin Spice Lattes and fall color palettes, but I would like to take a moment to appreciate the wonderful time of year that is the end of summer. It’s still here, by the way, in case you didn’t notice! There’s plenty of sunshine and long days to enjoy before the inevitable sets in and fall takes hold. With several weeks before school begins, there is time for one more fun-filled summer road trip.

(All distances based on Gainesville, FL)

Destination: St. Augustine    Distance: 75 Miles

The oldest European settlement in the continental US, St. Augustine is a charming combination of Old World and contemporary. See Spanish influence on architecture and even cuisine while exploring the streets of Old St. Augustine. For a dose of military history, visit the Castillo de San Marcos, which is the oldest fort in the United States. Don’t forget to spend a day at the beautiful National Park beaches, too!

Destination: Key West           Distance: 500 Miles

This is the Big Kahuna, but the drive alone is worth it. If you have the time, enjoy the amazing scenery along the A1A all the way out to Key West. Only 90 miles from Cuba, Key West is one of the famed places to grab a classic Cuban sandwich.   If you’re a literary fan, make a point to stop at the Ernest Hemingway house to see the museum there (as well as the 50-some “Hemingway” polydactyl cats which call the spot home). Again, don’t forget the beaches.

Destination: Black Bear Scenic Byway        Distance: 40 Miles (to either Palatka or Silver Springs)

Though it’s not a beach destination, exploring the lush terrain of the Black Bear Scenic Byway is a rugged adventure all on its own. If you’re outdoorsy, there are plenty of activities along the Byway: canoeing, horseback riding, camping, fishing, and hunting. If you’re an avid photographer, you’re liable to see any number of wild things to snap pictures of (maybe even a black bear).

For more road trip ideas, read:

Florida Road Trips that do no include Theme Parks

 6 Super Easy Florida Road Trips

 

 

Dos and Don’ts for Using Vinegar in Your Apartment

Vinegar truly is a miraculous substance. It has antioxidant and antimicrobial properties which make it perfect for cleaning with. In turn, you can use fewer expensive chemical cleaners, benefitting the environment and also your wallet!

Do:

Use vinegar as glass cleaner. Use an equal mixture of white vinegar and hot water to make an excellent glass cleaning solution.

It’s an excellent stain fighter. If you spill red wine on your carpet, use a mixture of vinegar and warm water to remove the stain. It can also remove ink stains from fabrics by soaking overnight in a solution of two parts milk to one part vinegar.

Grout – Use a solution of vinegar and dish soap to make a great dirt fighting compound for grout

Clogged drains – pour equal parts (use a small amount) vinegar and baking soda into a clogged drain and let set. After 30 min., pour boiling water over to flush out.

Don’t:

Hardwood floors – It can eat away the finish on your floors leaving them dull looking. It’s better to use mild soapy water on your hardwood floors.

Knife blades made from carbon steel can be damaged and discolored by vinegar because of its acidity.

Granite countertops – these countertops are very porous and will absorb the vinegar, which is extremely detrimental to this type of material.

Maybe:

Use vinegar in your dishwasher and washing machine. Sources vary on how good of an idea it is to subject your machines to the acidity, but it does help get your clothes and dishes cleaner.

Back to School: Study Space in a Shared Apartment

If you’re about to move into a new apartment with roommates (possibly you already have), you probably realize how quickly the new semester is approaching! When the school year begins and the homework and paper assignment come piling in, will you have the right workspace to get the job done? Here are some ways you can thwart the chaotic environment that is a shared student apartment.

 

Problem: Your roommates constantly try to talk to you while you’re studying

Solution: The age-old “Do Not Disturb” sign on your closed bedroom door. Have a roommate meeting and explain that when the sign is turned to this position, it means serious study and homework time.

 

Problem: Noisy neighbors

Solution: Noise-cancelling headphones. One of the miracles of the 21st century, these may not be the cheapest thing you buy this year, but they may be the most beneficial. This way you can listen to relaxing ocean noises instead of secondhand movie soundtracks through the walls.

 

Problem: Privacy

Solution: Folding screens are attractive and useful in this case. If you don’t have space in your bedroom to study and have a desk in a shared space, you may need to block out other distractions. A folding screen is very practical in this case because it can be used and then removed when you are finished. Voila!

 

Happy studying!