Alternative Shelving for Your Apartment

shelves

Storage can be a frustrating problem in a small apartment space, causing clutter and subsequently causing you anxiety in the household. Having a designated and orderly place for your belongings helps alleviate stress while you’re home and saves you time when you’re looking for something before you head out the door. Thankfully, buying expensive shelving isn’t always necessary to having what you need to get the job done. There are ways to DIY or buy less expensive items which accomplish the same thing.

Use crates or wooden boxes You can find antique apple or milk crates, old drawer boxes, or contemporary decorative wooden boxes to use sideways and stack as shelves in your rooms. For a long time, I’ve used an antique apple crate with my family name as a combination nightstand and bookshelf. Depending on what you need to store, you may need inner dividers as well and may need to measure your objects to get the appropriate sized box.

Create shelves from a ladder and some planks Old wooden ladders can be found at thrift stores or on ebay and make both attractive and useful bases for shelves. Place wooden boards across the rungs to make chic additional storage for your space. You can also hang wooden ladders sideways against the wall to create a different type of shelf.

Hanging rope bookshelves Create book or knick knack shelves by using heavyweight rope and wooden planks that hang against your wall. There’s a great tutorial here that shows how it’s done.

DIY bracket shelves Angle shelf brackets are easily found and very cheap from hardware stores like Lowe’s and Home Depot. To make shelves you can hang anywhere, all you need are these brackets and some appropriate sized boards. Voila, instant shelf storage!

Picking the Right Light

lights

I did not until recently fully grasp the complexities of buying a light bulb. I was looking for one of those trendy, fun looking Edison bulbs with the long filament (or an LED version of one) when I realized I needed help. I called up my dad while looking around Target to ask a few questions. My dad, being an engineer, loves explaining these types of things in great detail, which in this case helped me out tremendously. After 15 minutes on the phone talking about wattage, lumens, and Kelvin, I finally felt like I had the necessary skills to pick out a seemingly simple light bulb.

Basically there are three bits of information to know about your light bulb choice:

Type of bulb (LED, Incandescent, Halogen)

Wattage (energy usage)

Lumens (brightness)

When choosing a bulb, check the information your light fixture to determine the maximum wattage allowed. This is an important part of the process due to the safety hazard. If you use a bulb which draws too much energy, it can be a danger.

For most overhead fixtures you can choose either incandescent bulbs or LED. Incandescent bulbs tend to produce a warmer color light, while LEDs are usually cooler and bluer. The color of a bulb is measured in Kelvin (K) and a warmer white light is around 2700K while a bright daylight color is closer to the 5000K end of the spectrum.

LEDs generally use less energy and last a longer time so they may be preferable for efficiency’s sake. The bulb’s lumens, is the preferable way to determine how bright the light in your room will be. It’s a common misconception that brightness is determined by wattage, however a CFL or LED bulb may use 15 watts to produce the same amount of lumens that a 60 watt incandescent bulb does. Around 800 lumens is a relatively bright light bulb, enough to sufficiently light a small room. Generally there are charts on the back of the bulb to help you compare and choose the proper option for your light fixtures.

Dog Park Included: Gainesville Apartments for You and Your Dog

dog

Sometimes finding pet-friendly apartments can be a bit of a challenge. Many communities don’t allow animals at all while others have weight and breed restrictions. While this is an understandable caveat for a property manager, it can be frustrating for renters when you have a furry best friend.

Thankfully, the Gainesville Apartment and Condo Guide’s search engine allows you to easily specify the kinds of amenities you’re looking for in regards to your dog. You can search for apartments with a dog walk area or a dog park easily by checking the boxes from the drop menu. This will narrow your results down to help you and your pup find the best fitting community.

These communities in the Gainesville area offer dog parks and/or dog walk areas!

The Bartram Apartments Dogs and cats allowed, no weight limit, non-aggressive breeds, $400 pet deposit

Campus Club Apartments Dogs and cats allowed, no weight limit, $250 pet fee + $35/month

The Continuum Apartments Dogs and cats allowed (please call), $250 pet fee + $25/month

Cypress Glen Apartments Dogs and cats allowed, no weight limit, pet fee starting at $100

Hampton Oaks Apartments Dogs and cats allowed, 50lb weight limit for dogs, $300 pet fee

Legacy at Fort Clarke Apartments Dogs and cats allowed (please call), no weight limit, $300 pet fee + $15/month for dogs

Park Avenue Apartments Dogs and cats allowed (please call), no weight limit, $300 pet fee

Ridgemar Commons Apartments Dogs and cats allowed (please call), no weight limit, $150 pet fee + $35/month

 

For more pet friendly communities, visit our website www.gainesville-rent.com.

Community Spotlight: Hunters Crossing Apartments

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If you’re looking for a new spot to call home in northwest Gainesville, Hunters Crossing is an excellent choice with a great location, plenty of amenities, and floor plan options. The Hunters Crossing community has a generous selection of resources to make life easier for you on a daily basis. These resources and amenities help make your apartment feel more like home.

Floor plans are available in one, two, and three bedroom options, or a two bedroom apartment with an additional den. So whether you’re renting solo, with roommates, or with your family, you can find the right layout for your needs. You won’t need to worry either if you are short on furniture because furnished apartments are also available. Apartments at Hunters Crossing are chic and sophisticated and ready for your personal touch.

If you have pets coming along with you, both cats and dogs are allowed here with a pet deposit and small monthly fee. Lease terms are also flexible, with shorter options available if you’re not planning on staying an entire year. Aside from the options you have regarding your stay, there is a long list of amenities Hunters Crossing offers. For recreational activities, there’s a pool on site, a volleyball court, a playground, a hot tub, tennis courts, and more. A car wash area with a vacuum is one convenience often overlooked at apartment communities, but is available at Hunters Crossing.

Hunters Crossing is located close to the gorgeous Devil’s Millhopper Geological State Park, where you can picnic or hike and explore the fascinating natural features of central Florida. The University of Florida and Santa Fe College are short, direct drives from Hunters Crossing, which makes it a great location for students. Check out Hunters Crossing and see how it can become your next home!

Being a Good Roommate in the Kitchen

kitchen

Sharing spaces comes with a myriad of challenges. Each room you share has its own unique difficulties when you aren’t used to sharing it with a roommate (or multiple roommates!). The kitchen can be one of the most-used and messiest of the rooms in your apartment…It’s right up there with the bathroom.

Tending to the kitchen in a mindful and conscientious way can prevent flare-ups with your cohabitors in the future. So after you cook dinner, here are some things you may want to keep in mind while you’re hanging out in the kitchen-

Don’t leave a mountain of dirty dishes – nobody likes coming home to a sink or table full of dirty dishes. At least stow them in the dishwasher if you don’t want to wash them by hand.

Crumbs attract bugs – and make roommates unhappy. Clean up crumbs and bits of food daily to prevent insects from inhabiting your space.

If you use something, replace it – it’s true, sometimes you need to borrow an egg or a cup of sugar. Or half a bag of cheetos. Just try to reimburse your roommate for what you took because grocery budgeting can get pricey.

Don’t neglect the refrigerator – others may not want to see your several week old leftovers-turned-science experiment in the back of the fridge, so try getting in a weekly routine of cleaning out the old and replacing with the new.

Consider cooking something for your roommate – not a necessity, but a nice gesture from time to time to remind your roommie that you’re pals.

Your Secret Painting Weapon: Painter’s Tape

paint

Painting your rental room allows you the ability of turning a space from “apartment” into home. Once you’ve checked with your property manager about the specifics of how you can go about painting your space and whether or not it has to be painted back at the end of your lease, you can set your mind to the creative part. What do you envision?

Simply picking a color which reflects the mood you want to attain within a particular space is a great start. Being able to use something like painter’s tape as a tool can infinitely increase the number of ways you can do this. Obviously painter’s tape is a great tool no matter what, keeping lines clean and paint off of surfaces you’d rather not have paint on. However, it can also be a way to branch out and try new designs and create a really visually interesting space for yourself. For example:

Creating a chair rail line Using painter’s tape, you can create an even line (measure the same distance up from the floor around the perimeter of the room) all around your room to split the space into a two-toned color scheme. This method is what I’m about to use in my new bedroom. I picked two coordinating greens, a light jade and a deep olive, but you can pick colors with greater contrast depending on how much drama you want the room to have.

Creating stripes Pick two or more paint colors and use painter’s tape to section off stripes throughout the room or even just on one wall. Using colors close to each other on the color wheel will be more harmonious and natural while picking them further apart will add more drama. This paint scheme is great if your furniture is mostly solid colors and not busy with patterns.

Creating fun patterns You can create all manner of simple, or intricate, patterns by masking off areas of your walls and painting over top of the tape. For example, these 20 Design Sponge painter’s tape contest winners exhibit the fascinating visual power of masking your walls.

 

5 Cool Finds from Target Kids

I’ve done a similar post about IKEA’s children’s decor and I recently realized that Target has some fantastic adult-approved kids items as well! I think it’s great to look for things where you may not expect to find them, like in this case shopping for your home in the children’s section.

Target’s Pillowfort collection has some great designs that are what I would consider playful, but not altogether juvenile. Some items have an amazing retro feel to them, reminiscent of hand-drawn illustrations in old books. The color schemes are sunny and light, but not overwhelmingly garish. Overall I think Target curates an extraordinarily nice collection of sophisticated, but lighthearted children’s items for the home.   When mixed intermittently with the more “grown-up” things you have, they can add an element of whimsy in your apartment.

  1. Circle Shelf This item is currently on my shopping list – such a wonderful vintage-inspired design. I’m thinking it will look great on my newly green walls.
  2. House Floating Shelves The color of these might throw some of you off course, since they’re a corally pink, but if you like the color they are a nice visual element to add to your wall that also provides a small amount of storage space.
  3. Phases of the Moon Shower Curtain I love this curtain! Not only is the color superb, but the pattern is so much fun.
  4. Fox Lamp If you like decorating with woodland critters, this solid white fox lamp is perfect. It’s contemporary looking, but also a little on the cute side. And if you really want something different, you’re in luck: it comes in dinosaur and bulldog as well!
  5. Dip Dye Bed Canopy Eat your heart out, Urban Outfitters. This is basically the same thing you could find in their catalog, but at a fraction of the price.

First Apartment Kitchen Essentials

kitchen

Moving into your first apartment is an exciting milestone! The joy of having your own space to do what you will with is a very liberating feeling. It’s easy to go hog-wild and buy tons and tons of stuff for your new apartment, but you can do things more simply (and affordably) by sticking to the basics. Let’s focus on just one room: the kitchen. Kitchen tools, gadgets, and supplies can be overwhelming and often unnecessary for a first kitchen. Keeping the list to the minimum saves space and saves you money right off the bat because it’s hard on your wallet once you’ve put down a security deposit and a month’s rent!

Before getting to the list, I will say that there are two great ways to get things on your kitchen list that save you a lot of money. One is to ask your friends if they have anything they’re getting rid of. I can’t think how many times I’ve known friends to purge their kitchens and give me dishes or cookware that way. Another is to check the thrift stores. Kitchenware is one of the most commonly found things at the thrift store and a lot of it is still good quality and has a lot of life left in it.

Saucepans You don’t need a whole set of saucepans for most meals. I found that for most of my cooking I used a small size (2 – 4 quarts) or I would be using a large size, like a stock pot for boiling. Most sets of saucepans come with at least 4 different sizes of pans which take up a lot of cabinet space in a small apartment kitchen.

Frying pans You can make do with one frying pan, but it’s definitely a good idea to have one. If you’re brave, get a cast iron pan and treat it well – it will be a lifelong friend. If you want something low maintenance, a simple but good quality nonstick pan does the job just fine.

Flatware Stainless steel flatware is inexpensive and will last for ages. I almost always see flatware at the thrift stores or they’re often on sale at stores like TJ Maxx and Marshall’s.

Dishes I got a great, sturdy, and attractive 4 place setting of dishes at IKEA for less than $15. Can’t beat that.

Glasses and Cups These are one of the easiest things to get hand-me-downs of or at the thrift store. Or check places like Target for good deals if you want an attractive matching set.

Cooking Utensils You need at least one wooden spoon (you can use them for just about any cooking endeavor), a plastic spatula for nonstick pans, and a spatula if you plan on doing any baking. Knife-wise you really only need a big super nice sharp knife for chopping things and a paring knife for peeling or cutting small things. All other utensils are pretty much arbitrary unless you’re a wizard in the kitchen.

Gadgets Can opener, traditional corkscrew (which includes a bottle opener on top – multitasking!), kitchen scissors (great for packaging or for cutting up meat!), and a grater.

Appliances Get a toaster oven! They’re amazing for reheating food or for toasting bread. Otherwise, a coffee maker if you’re into that, a microwave (not totally necessary…), a hand mixer if you like baking, and call it a day. De-cluttered counters are where it’s at!

Creating Less Trash in Your Apartment and Putting Less in the Landfill

trash

Being mindful of how we treat our environment and keeping up with tasks like recycling are a part of daily life now. Information about how to keep our planet cleaner is more readily available these days and recycling facilities are more accessible. Aside from that, though, there are additional ways to create less trash that will end up in a landfill for years.

With a little planning, you can make less of a mess for yourself and spend less time taking out the trash from your apartment. Think ahead before buying groceries and homegoods at the store:

  1. Avoid buying products with excess packaging When it comes to groceries, shopping in the bulk foods section can help eliminate excess plastic and paper packaging. Buying items in bulk otherwise or buying fresh veggies, like at a farmer’s market, instead of packaged frozen ones helps you make less trash.
  2. Pack your own bags to go shopping I can’t think of how many times I could kick myself for not bringing my own bags to the grocery store and end up with a mountain of plastic bags instead. Not only does packing your own bags help eliminate this problem but many grocery stores also have recycling collection points for your used plastic grocery bags.
  3. Avoid buying products in non-biodegradable packaging Materials like styrofoam or non-recyclable plastic will inevitably linger in a landfill longer than others. Avoiding these items will help you create less trash and help lessen your environmental impact.