Recycling and Living a Little Greener in Gainesville

Have you always been a recycler or is it a new habit? With Earth Day as well as the signing of the Climate Agreement in Paris the same day happening recently, being earth-friendly is both an important and relevant topic. Making simple lifestyle changes and altering habits are easy and effective ways to reduce the amount of negative impact we have on our planet.

One of the best ways to reduce waste is to change lifestyles. Do you buy a lot of bottled water? You can easily replace this habit with buying several high quality reusable water bottles and cut down on waste. The simple act of buying fewer groceries and products made with a lot of packaging helps tremendously over time. So next time you are grocery shopping, pay attention to how things are put together and think about how much trash it will amount to.

What can be recycled? Here’s a guide to everything Gainesville accepts.

In Gainesville, commercial properties are required to recycle which means all apartment complexes have recycling collections. This makes it incredibly easy for you as an apartment dweller to do your part. Check with your property manager to find out what they collect in their recycling bins and where they are located. You may also want to find out when it is collected each week.

If you’re really interested in reducing your overall waste, you may find this article helpful and very inspiring.

Channeling Emotion Through Color in Your Apartment


Las Vegas knows it best – certain colors make you feel certain things. Hence why everything there seems to be bright, flashing, red and very rarely cool colors like blue or violet. If you decide to paint the walls in your apartment while you live there, take how the color will make you feel into consideration along with how much you like it on its own. Being surrounded by a color can be dramatically different than having a piece of furniture or wearing a shirt of that same color.

Before moving onto general emotions evoked by specific colors, keep in mind that color is affected by other surrounding colors, which can harmonize or contrast and increase visual intensity and chaos. Complimentary colors which are opposites on the color wheel, are those colors which contrast the most, contrary to how it sounds. Also consider the variance within a hue of color, such as cool reds versus warm reds, etc. There is always a broad spectrum of color within an individual hue.

Redvibrant, passionate, dangerous, sophisticated Red walls are not for the faint-hearted. They are often associated with luxurious interiors of old, enveloped in rich materials. Red interiors are not calming, but are intriguing. If you want your space to be exciting and unique, red is a great color to utilize. If you’re looking for a serene, relaxing space, this may not be the best choice of colors.

Pink frivolous, feminine, tropical Pink is such a great color for interiors that is often underrated. Think the beach. Orangey pinks can instantly make you think of the coast, especially when combined with leaf green accents, and who doesn’t like thinking about the beach? Light, powder pinks like one of this year’s beloved Pantone colors (Rose Quartz 13-1520) are delicate, but modern and classy.

Orangeplayful, energetic, fun-loving Orange interiors are bold and borderline wacky. I have personal experience here, having had a bright orange bedroom and it was a blast, but it is quite a commitment. Warm oranges are very sunny and jovial, while cooler oranges (think closer to the color of clay and burnt sienna) are earthy and rich.

Yellow cheerful, distracting Yellow is the opposite of calming in terms of wall-color. It makes for energy-filled spaces. Be careful with yellow, though, because it is proven to cause anxiety in the neural responses it invokes.

Greenrestful, natural, thought-provoking Green interiors obviously remind us of natural landscapes and the outdoors. Green walls are relatively calming, but deeper shades of green can be rich and luxurious feeling as well.

Blueserene, relaxing, refreshing Blue is my go-to interior color. Deep blues are calming while lighter powdery blues can really be refreshing feeling. My personal favorite is a robin’s egg blue which is calm but still has a little playfulness to it. Blue is also a color associated with trust and can be great for a room in which you do a lot of entertaining.

Violet creative, intriguing, regal – Violet or lighter shades of lilac are wonderful for a workspace or studio because they naturally are conducive to creative thought. Deep violet interiors immediately elevate a space’s sense of style, due to the long-standing association of violet with royalty and luxury. My favorite is a light, neutralized lilac, which can be a surprisingly attractive wall color and pairs great with deep burnt orange, jade colored, and white decor.

Picture Hanging 101


Hanging pictures on the walls of your apartment is about as basic as decor gets. It’s a fast way to add character to your pad and break up that a blank wall. If you have paintings, photos, or anything in a frame you want to hang on the wall but aren’t sure how to go about it, these simple guidelines should help!

The standard hanging height for paintings in a gallery (not to be confused with gallery-style hanging) is 60”, which means the middle of the painting/framed piece should be 60” off the floor. This ensures that it is about eye-level and that all the centers of your hanging pieces are the consistent.

When you’re ready to hang your pictures, you’ll need these supplies:

  • Tape measure
  • Pencil
  • Notepaper
  • Calculator (if you don’t want to do the math in your head)
  • Picture hangers – these should be a nail/metal anchor the nail fits through with a hanger, which you can find at a hardware or craft store
  • Hanging wire, if your pictures don’t already have hangers attached
  • Wire snips, if you need to cut hanging wire
  • Hammer
  1.  Check to see what kind of hangers are on the back of your framed picture or painting. If there are none, but there are loops for wire, cut a piece of wire with your wire snips several inches longer than the width of the picture. Thread the wire through each loop on either side and twist the excess around itself to secure the wire within the hanging loop. Allow some slack in the wire, but not so much that when it hangs the wire hangs above the top of the picture.
  2. Next you’ll want to make calculations for where to hang your picture. If you want to center a picture horizontally on a wall, measure the width of the wall and take half. Otherwise choose your horizontal axis how you want. To determine the other half of your x/y axis, use the following method (and I apologize if it sounds a bit like a math lesson):

Using the lip on the tape measure, hook it under the hanging wire or hanger on the back of your picture and pull up until the wire or hook is taught. Now measure the distance between the hanger and the top of your picture frame. Write this measurement down and I will use the letter A to represent this measurement in the upcoming equation.

Measure the height of your picture and divide in half. Write this measurement down and I will use the letter B to represent it in the equation.

The final number will be 60”, which is the height at which you want the middle of the picture to be. So calculate where your y-axis point will be using this equation:

60 + (B – A)

  1. Make your mark on the wall with your pencil in accordance with your horizontal x-axis mark. This is where your hanger will go! Gently hammer in the nail part of the hanger (make sure the other part has not come off) until the vertical part of the hanger is flush with the wall. Check to make sure it is secure, then you can hang your picture!

Voila! Ok, it sounds complicated, but once you get the hang (no pun intended) of it, you’ll be a picture-hanging-wizard and all your friends will be jealous. If you don’t want to hang your pictures in a straight line, try this gallery wall style hanging guide.


Fun and Attractive Ways to Organize Your Chaotic Jewelry Mess


This one may be a little more geared toward those of us who actually wear jewelry, so my apologies to the boys who don’t wear or own any jewelry, or to the girls who don’t have much of an interest. But the rest of you jewelry people hopefully can benefit from a few jewelry storage solutions for your apartment. Strangely enough, I’ve never been a big jewelry person, but I’ve recently acquired a lot of new pieces. Therefore, I most likely need these more than any of you because: 1. I’m newer to this game than most of you, and 2. My necklaces almost always end up in a giant, tangled pile on whichever surface I decide to throw them on at the end of the day. So in all selfishness, I’m doing this as much for myself as the rest of you.

One of the coolest, easiest ways to hang a collection of necklaces is an incredibly simple DIY – find a plaque or board (anything you find pleasing to the eye will do!) and add decorative knobs to it. Places like World Market and Anthropologie sell a plethora of decorative knobs that would add a lot of character to any room. There are a million ways to do this and it can be as unique as your personal style is. If you want to do this an even less costly way, cut up a thick dowel rod and glue the pieces to a board for a simple minimalist necklace hanger.

Home Edit has some good examples here.

There are many ways to store earrings, but it comes down to whether or not you have more stud earrings or dangly ones – I have more stud earrings and prefer to use little ceramic dishes to sort them out. Tiered organizers like this work really well, too and little dishes like that can be so easy to find at a thrift or antique store. If you have more dangle earrings (is there a proper term for those??) then you can make something fun like this to hang them up!

Thanks to the burgeoning online DIY community, there are resources out there for those of us with a really nasty jewelry organization problem. You may find yourself with a boatload of fun, new weekend projects! And to finish up with a few more ideas on jewelry storage, there’s a pretty good collection of ideas here.

How To Clean [Almost] Any Kind of Flooring


Spring is here and the spring cleaning has commenced. I’m a great sweeper, but when it comes to the nitty gritty floor cleaning, I’m sadly neglectful. These floors are lucky if they get a good mopping once a season. It probably has something to do with the sheer exhaustion of moving all the furniture, rugs, etc. and getting to business. But when you think about how much stuff you track in from outside (or how much your dog tracks in) you realize the floors need a little extra care. Here are the best ways to clean any kind of flooring.

Hardwood floors – Lucky you! You got the apartment with beautiful hardwood floors. To clean them, it’s recommended that you sweep or use a microfiber duster to collect all the loose debris and dust first, then mop with either JUST water or a specially made cleaner for hardwood floors. Using vinegar will destroy the finish on your floors. Also, never dump water out on the floor when you’re mopping, but spritz as you go and let the floor behind you dry as you move to the next patch. For a more detailed set of instructions, read here.

Concrete floors – Concrete floors are great because they’re durable, eco-friendly, and easy to clean. Once the floor is swept you can mop them with a soapy water solution or a natural cleaner. If they are stained concrete you will not want to use anything acidic, like vinegar, or anything with ammonia or bleach in it to clean them with as it may break down the finish and stain.

Bamboo floors – Bamboo has become a more popular flooring option in recent years. It has a very modern pleasing look and feels nice to walk on. However, since bamboo floors are very soft, they scratch easily. Gently dust floors with a microfiber duster and use a cleaning solution formulated specifically for bamboo or for hardwood floors.

Ceramic Tile – Keeping the daily grit off will help keep your tile floors shiny, so vacuum or sweep often. Better Homes and Gardens recommends mopping using a mild soapy solution and a rope style or chamois mop because sponge mops tend to push dirt into the grout. They also recommend using a homemade baking soda and water paste to get your grout extra clean. If you have marble tile floors, do not use this method, but use specially made marble cleaning products.

Vinyl flooring – Good news! You can clean your vinyl floors with vinegar. But you can also just mop them with warm water if you’re running low on the vinegar.

Favorite Stores for Saving $$$

You and your apartment require lots of things – food, consumable products like toilet paper, some cleaning products, organizational accessories, and more. And all these lovely things we need (or think we need) can add up like nobody’s business. I happen to embody the horrible combination of loving high quality products, but not the price tag. So, I’ve done some shopping around and found a couple places you can really beat the system and get a better deal on the good brands you like.

Big Lots – This is my mom’s favorite, but we both love to go because you never know what they will have, yet it is almost always cheaper than your regular retail store. Cleaning products and household necessities are almost always lower priced. Big Lots also stocks some good food items as well, brands like Bob’s Red Mill if you like to buy alternative flours or grains like quinoa. The food prices are sometimes less competitive so make sure you do a little price comparison.

Marshall’s – This is my personal favorite. Marshall’s has a plethora of home goods, which nearly always rival your average store’s prices. My top pick for things to get from Marshall’s is toiletries and makeup- they stock amazing brands at a fraction of the price you pay at places like Ulta or Sephora. You’ll never pay $9 for a bottle of nail polish again.

Target – Not always the cheapest on everything and if you really want to save money you should compare prices. However, Target has the Cartwheel app which you can download on your phone. It allows you to add a certain number of additional coupon codes, which rotate and change every so often, to products you are interested in buying and then all the cashier has to do is scan a single barcode at checkout to apply all the additional discounts. These Cartwheel discounts can be used with other Target coupons and also with manufacturer coupons, so the savings can really stack up!

Amazon – Amazon is hit or miss when it comes to deals. If you pay for Prime and you can do the Amazon Pantry, you can save a lot of money on non-perishable grocery items every month. But as always, do your price comparisons because sometimes Amazon Prime prices are different than regular Amazon prices, or may be more than your local store. One of the great advantages to using Amazon Prime is that you can set up a subscription for items that you use on a monthly basis, which saves a lot of time and energy.

Which places do you go for the best deals? Are you a Costco or a Sam’s Club person or are you new to the spendthrift style?

Is Parking a Dealbreaker?


When you’re looking for your next apartment, do you remember to factor in the availability of parking spaces? This of course only applies if you regularly drive and don’t simply bike everywhere, which is a level of cycling power I have yet to accomplish. If you rent a city apartment, especially in a cramped downtown area, parking is not necessarily one of the included amenities.

The last apartment I lived in had street parking only, but there were no limits and no parking passes required which made it a total breeze. However, I’m about to start a new lease soon in which there’s one available parking space behind the building and it is completely first-come-first-serve without a parking pass. I already dread the moment when I will come home, tired after a long day, only to find my space taken by someone else who most likely doesn’t live in the building. Then I’ll be left to circle the area countless times until I either park half a mile away or give up and pull my hair out…which is why it’s important to be prepared for the possibility of parking aggravation.

Property managers can handle parking in various ways and it is an important point to talk over when you are considering renting a new apartment. Some have parking lots with passes included in the rent or as an additional fee. Parking lots are great for space availability, but be sure you understand restrictions for guests. There may be certain hours without restriction, but then all of a sudden your best friend’s car is being towed away! Some rentals will not include parking, but will provide a discounted rate on a nearby parking garage. Parking garages may seem sketchy, but most are well-lit and have security cameras. Aside from being conveniently able to park near your building and easily carry your groceries in, keep your safety in mind as well when you decide where to live and where you’ll be parking. The possible cost of an additional parking space near your apartment may be well worth it.