Training Yourself to Keep Your Apartment Tidy

tidy-fork

If you can train your dog to sit and stay, you can train yourself to keep your apartment looking neat and tidy. It sounds silly, but basically the same principles apply: reinforcement and reward. While it requires a little bit more self discipline to train yourself, that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. Developing these habits takes time, but can be rewarding in the long run, especially when you want to have an attractive living space for entertaining friends.

The key to training yourself is repetition and positive reinforcement. Getting into a good habit can be as difficult as getting out of a bad one, but if you make a point of doing something every day (maybe with reminders on your phone or post-its) it won’t be long before you’ll get in the groove. Once you’ve accomplished your task, reward yourself with a treat of some kind- what is it that you can indulge in a little to help motivate you? Maybe it’s a piece of your favorite candy or an episode of a show that’s a little bit of a guilty pleasure. Once you’ve got the routine down, you’ll be amazed at what you can train yourself to remember on a daily basis.

So the routine idea is laid out, but it’s good to plan several habits to focus on. Here are some of the things I like to do every day in my living space:

Wash all the dirty dishes I truly dislike waking up and seeing a sink full of dirty dishes. Not only is it unattractive looking, but it can be unattractive smelling too. Yuck. Keeping up with the dishes may not seem like fun at first, but once you get into the habit of doing the dishes right after dinner, it will be worth not looking at them the next day.

Putting clothes away I’m a stereotypical female when it comes to choosing an outfit. I pull out a thousands things before I can decide on what I want to wear, and sometimes I change halfway through the day depending on what I have planned. So I like to take 10 minutes at night before bed to put away all the clothes in their proper places before I go to sleep so I don’t have to deal with it the next day.

Recycling Luckily, I don’t have to sort my recycling, but I still like to gather up all the things lying around that I know can be recycled and rinse them out. Then I can put them in my recycling bins so I can easily grab them on my way out the door to take to the recycling center.

Space Within a Space: Carving Out Your Bedroom in a Studio Apartment

studio

Studio apartments come with a number of challenges, but are appealing if you’re planning on living alone without roommates. Aside from the usual amount of square footage, one of the primary difficulties is the division of space. A studio generally comes with very few walls or partitions and it is up to you as the renter to carve out niches in your space.

Thankfully people get creative when faced with difficult problems (and subsequently post them on the internet) so there are a number of options proven to work for dealing with the division of space issue.

  1. Curtains Hanging a curtain is an inexpensive way to divide up space in your apartment. There are so many options available for curtains which makes them appealing and the price tag makes them even more so. Cheaper than furniture and more versatile, it’s definitely one of the best options. Hang a curtain rod from the ceiling near your bed to create an entryway and partition to your bedroom space
  2. Furniture Using tall or large pieces of furniture to divvy up space is another great option. A large wardrobe, set of shelves, clothing rack, or other piece of furniture helps divide space visually in your apartment.
  3. Built-in structures If you’re planning on staying in your apartment a while and you have your landlord’s permission, you can build your own structure to divide up the space. It can be a shelving system, a wall, a rack…there are a number of ways to create a visual divider. The great thing about building your own structure is you can customize it to be a practical part of your apartment as well – you can make it to your own specifications, multitasking for your specific needs.
  4. Plants Using large leafy plants on the floor as well as hanging plants above will create a visual barrier of green that not only makes your space more sophisticated, but also improves your quality of life. Houseplants are proven to improve air quality indoors.

5 Things You Can Use IKEA’s Kallax Shelving System For

ikea-shelving

The modular cube system has become a very popular way to organize over the past years. Almost every big home furnishings store has its own version of 2 to X number of cubes linked together in an open shelving format. IKEA’s version is called Kallax and it’s one of my favorites.

The Kallax system is affordable, comes in white, light tan, a dark espresso color, a neutral blue, and even a bright green in some configurations. It’s not so much the availability of color that is exciting about these shelves, but more the versatility.

Because of the number of cube arrangements and complimentary accessories available, Kallax can be used for a lot of different things.

Bookshelf This one is pretty obvious – Kallax’s open shelving style makes it a lovely choice for displaying books. And since the shelves are deep, it’s possible to arrange books two rows deep, maximizing the amount of storage available.

Dresser By using the storage bins available that fit in the Kallax shelves, you can convert your unit into a chest of drawers for your clothing. Bins come in an array of colors, styles, and materials so there’s plenty to choose from to match your decor.

Room Divider Since Kallax can be purchased in large units, you can use them as a dividing wall in your apartment. I love the look of open shelving as a room divider because it allows the space to remain airy while still dividing it up properly.

Record storage If you like to collect LP’s like me, Kallax is perfect for storing your records. IKEA created Kallax with such great versatility that it’s perfectly sized to fit 33’s and makes an excellent record cabinet.

TV Stand The four-cube Kallax is wide enough for a decent sized TV and provides ample storage below. It turns out a Playstation also fits perfectly into the Kallax compartments, making it a great media shelf.

What are Your Rights as a Renter?

renter

Understanding your rights and freedoms as a renter in the state of Florida is important. You should be aware of the things you are allowed as well as what a landlord or property manager is and isn’t allowed to ask of you. Being aware can save you future hassle and can alert you to misconduct that may be going on in a rental community.

There are certain things your landlord/property manager is required to tell you. For example-

  • Owner/agent identity
  • Fire protection that is available
  • Radon disclaimer
  • Security deposit account information (information relevant to whether or not the account deposits are held in collect interest)

Florida law sets limitations on security deposits-

  • Landlords must return a security deposit refund within 15-60 days after the rental property has been vacated
  • Tenants must be given a list of any deductions taken from the security deposit amount before the refund is provided

If a security deposit is not returned by a landlord-

  • Tenants can sue landlords in small claims court for up to $5000 of unreturned security deposits

Rental regulations to keep in mind-

  • Your rent is due on the date listed in your lease agreement and your landlord can only charge you a late fee if it is spelled out in the lease
  • Your rent cannot increase due to a matter of discrimination. This is strictly prohibited by Florida state law
  • State law requires landlords to provide at least three days after rent is due before evicting a tenant

For more information on your rights as a tenant in the state of Florida, read more on the Florida Bar website here.

Spending a Fraction of Your Normal Grocery Bill

groceries

I’m great at clipping coupons. I carefully trim out a number of coupons every time I receive ads in the mail, stacking them neatly and putting them in my wallet. It sounds ideal, like I’ve really learned how to do this coupon thing. But unfortunately, the follow-through is where I seem to get lost. I consistently pull coupons from my wallet, about a week or two (sometimes painfully only a day) late once they’ve expired and are no longer of any use to me. So, in the recycling bin they go and the cycle viciously continues and I save absolutely nothing on my groceries.

I might be behind the times, but I’m just now discovering how cool some new grocery store apps are when it comes to saving money and not having to keep up with the obnoxious physical coupons. I first experienced this kind of unbridled shopping joy when I got the Target app, Cartwheel, not all that long ago. I use Cartwheel on a regular basis, “shopping” in advance before I go to the store and seeing which brands I can get an additional discount on. It’s extraordinarily convenient to plan this way before a big shopping trip. So you can get an advantage on your grocery / shopping bill and not have to keep up with any little slips of paper which makes this a winning combo.

Many grocery stores are beginning to develop coupon apps, which I’m thankful is catching on. Publix and Winn-Dixie both have coupon apps that can help keep you organized while you shop. Yes, we have the technology!

 

Community Spotlight: Park Avenue Apartments

parkve

Gainesville boasts a diverse selection of apartment communities, which provides an attractive array of options for the new renter. If you’re looking for a space with plenty of amenities and a certain level of comfort and luxury, look no further than Park Avenue Apartments in northwest Gainesville.

Brand new, Park Avenue is home to a lovely array of contemporary-styled apartments ranging from just one to three bedrooms. Varying layouts and square footage for each number of bedrooms means there are options for you as a renter – so whether you’re planning to live alone or with roommates, you’re covered. All of Park Avenue’s gorgeous apartments feature wood floors, granite countertops, and walk-in closets.

In addition to each room’s great amenities, there are advantages to living at Park Avenue from a community standpoint as well. If you choose to live at Park Avenue Apartments, you’ll have a fitness center to work out in, a pool, a movie theater, game room, and computer lab. The Park Avenue community also features a dog park for you to take your pup out in. Another added bonus is the 24-hour maintenance available if anything should happen to go wrong. This means you can rest easy and not worry!

If you want a quiet and picturesque place for you and your pets to unwind each day, or even a great place to entertain your friends on a regular basis, look into Park Avenue Apartments.

A One-Box Moving Trick

cat

Ok, maybe the title is a little on the misleading side. I would never claim to be able to fit all my belongings in one box. But there is something you can do with one solitary box which will make your life a little bit easier. To begin, I recently moved (for what feels like the millionth time) and realized that it’s important to do some planning ahead. I normally like to take things as they come and just go with the flow. However, some things require some forward thinking from time to time.

The one box thing is this: Create your ideal box of items you will need the day you arrive at your new apartment. These are the items which normally you may pack up with the other items in the room they are normally found in. But really what should happen here is to collect items from each room which you will need your first night / morning in your new place. The reason being, if you pack them up with everything else then you have to struggle to find these items in a mountain of boxes at a point which you’re already exhausted.

I had this realization when I woke up on my first morning in my new spot and there was no coffee pot (timed and set the night before) brewing. Tragedy struck. So it’s helpful to make a list of the things you might need in order to avoid such catastrophes, like going to school or work uncaffeinated.

Here are some items you may want to consider throwing in your One Box:

  • Sheets
  • Pillow
  • Phone Charger
  • Toiletries
  • Toilet paper
  • Shower curtain and rings
  • Towel
  • Coffee maker and coffee
  • Non perishable food and snacks
  • A small set of tools
  • Several cooking utensils and dishes (enough for one meal)
  • A book to read (if you’re like me)