5 Things To Lift Your Mood at Home


You may find yourself stuck in the routine of coming home from work, collapsing, sinking into the couch, and zoning out to oblivion while your eyes roll back into your head as the TV drones on for hours until bedtime. In case it wasn’t obvious, this is not idea for your physical or emotional health! While living in an apartment can put restraints on some of your activities, there are still simple ways to have a happy and healthy time at home.

Open a Window! Weather permitting, fresh air will usually give you a real mood boost! Sometimes air in an apartment can get stagnant and you won’t realize how much it affects you until you get some fresh air. Check the weather for high pollen alerts before opening windows if you have bad seasonal allergies.

Buy Fresh Flowers! Studies show that fresh cut flowers can help improve people’s moods on a regular basis. Check your local florist or farmer’s market each week for special deals so you can keep things blooming on a budget.

Listen to Music! Music can significantly affect your mood, so listen to music that relaxes you or elevates your mood. Instead of turning on the TV, put your iPod on shuffle or play your favorite album.

Light Things Up! Mood lighting does what it sounds like..creates a mood. So have a lamp you love the soft, warm glow of, or some string lights, which help you relax and feel at home. Generally light bulbs which are warmer, or yellower in color are more relaxing than those that are cooler, or bluer.

Embrace Rituals! Traditions, rituals, or habits are all comforts. If you like to come home and make a cup of tea, do it every day as a form of relaxation. Or maybe you enjoy taking 30 minutes to do yoga, but don’t find the time often enough. Whatever fun or comforting activity you enjoy, embrace it and let it be a part of your daily routine.

To Launder or Not To Launder?


Clothes, that is. Laundry is one of the many joys (challenges) of living in an apartment. I’m fortunate enough right now to have a washer and dryer where I live, but I have not always been so lucky. I can tell you right now, carting my laundry up and down the stairs in my apartment building was not one of my favorite activities…nor was spending $3 a load to wash it…and neither was waiting an hour for each load to wash. So if you live in a tiny apartment without a laundry facility, what do you do?

Sometimes you’re stuck using the laundromat, in which case the way you utilize your wardrobe becomes a delicate balancing act- “Wait! Don’t wear that shirt! You’ll need it in three days for a specific occasion and it won’t be clean for another two weeks!” or something like that runs through your head when you go for an article of clothing. When it comes to the laundromat, I suggest keeping a change jar to collect stray quarters and dollar bills unless your laundromat accepts credit cards. I also recommend buying a drying rack to keep in your apartment and air drying as much clothing as possible, which will cut down on the cost of using the dryer. You can also wash things like delicates and underwear in a bucket or in a clean sink by hand in a pinch. I know this is the 21st century, but sometimes it’s not so bad to do things the old fashioned way.

When I lived in a larger city, many people had their clothes laundered for them. In this case, you just drop off your bag of dirty laundry and for a couple dollars extra you can have everything washed, dried, and pressed. Keep in mind you’ll have to get over the notion of someone else going through your dirty laundry. But if you don’t have a laundry facility in your apartment complex and you work long hours, this really makes life easier.

Where there’s a will, there’s a way. Even if your apartment doesn’t have a washer, there are methods of laundry survival. However, I definitely recommend the laundry facility to be at the top of your checklist when searching for a new apartment! You can even do this on the Gainesville-Rent website by searching here and narrowing your search by selecting “laundry facility”!

Caring for Countertops


Apartments are getting pretty spiffy these days and even student housing frequently has some variety of stone countertops. Which is great! Thank you to those who are making good design choices for those on a potentially limited budget. But it begs the question, how do you take care of these nice counters?

If you have granite countertops that are properly sealed (you can check this by dripping water on them and checking to see if it quickly beads up and doesn’t soak into the counter) they actually require little maintenance. Granite is a very hard stone, primarily made up of quartz, which is hard enough to scratch glass. So thankfully it’s a durable surface for you to work on in your kitchen. To keep your granite counters in spiffy condition, use a mild detergent or soap and water to clean them and wipe down with a microfiber cloth. If you use harsh cleaners it will eventually harm the sealant on top of your counters, so steer clear of bleach and ammonia. There are special granite cleaners which work well, but they’re truly not a necessity.

If you have beautiful marble countertops, they are not such a breeze to take care of. Marble is porous in nature and is a metamorphic rock, mostly limestone, dolomite, or calcite. Keeping marble clean is very important if you’re in charge of it – puddles of anything acidic can harm the surface. Like granite, using a mild soapy water to clean will do the trick. Never use acidic cleaners or anything bleach based. There are additional products which can help you keep marble in tip-top shape, such as a monthly sealant and marble polishing powder.


Community Spotlight: Addison Lane Apartments


Are you looking for a new place to call home? If your lease is up or you’re searching for something for the upcoming school semester, check out Addison Lane. The apartments at Addison Lane are located in western Gainesville, a short drive or bus ride from the University of Florida. Also conveniently near Addison Lane are Clear Lake Nature Park and Interstate 75 and the shopping available along Archer Road is a short distance away.

If you’re tired of living in a large apartment building with noisy neighbors, Addison Lane is perfect for you. Each apartment is housed in its own one story villa-style building, so you won’t have to worry about the people upstairs stomping over your head or playing noisy music. Combined with the landscape and two pools in view, you’re sure to find Addison Lane a serene place to live. Whether you’ll be living alone or moving in with a friend, choose from affordable one and two bedroom layouts to best suit your personal needs. Leases start as low as $559 and your rent will include on-site security, 24 hour emergency maintenance, laundry access, a clubhouse, pest control, and trash collection.

In case you’re looking for a place you can bring your pets, Addison Lane is pet friendly! Cats and dogs are both permitted, with a 35 lb weight limit for dogs. Up to two pets can live in your apartment with you at Addison Lane, so remember this great advantage when you’re making comparisons on your apartment shopping list!

With flexible lease terms and great rates, Addison Lane apartments make an excellent contender for your next home. Schedule a tour and see for yourself today!


Do You Feel Like the Only Roommate Who Cleans?


Do you live with roommates? Having roommates is an important part of growing up and maturing. It can be great for you because roommates can be fun, supportive parts of your day to day interactions. But learning to live with other people is one of life’s great struggles because we all do things so differently.

Do you split up the chores evenly between yourselves or do you feel like you do them all by yourself? If you find yourself struggling with your roommates because you feel like you’re the “responsible” one who cleans and takes care of the tidying up, an article from New York Magazine’s Science of Us page may have some insight for you:

“As behavioral economist Dan Ariely recently explained in The Wall Street Journal, even when we make it clear who’s in charge of what and everyone’s taking care of their own chores the way they’re supposed to, it can be easy to grow resentful. The reason: We tend to overestimate how much work our own tasks require, and underestimate the effort the other person puts into theirs.”

Simply put, it’s much easier to understand what you’re doing than what others are doing. You know exactly how long you spend on a task and how much you put into it. You only see the results of what the other party has accomplished and it’s easy to feel like yours was more intense.

What this calls for is something that will help in any relationship: empathy. Putting yourself in someone else’s shoes is the quickest way to the possibility understanding another person’s feelings. While this particular example only relates specifically to chores in your apartment, empathy is a mindful and helpful tool to maintaining healthy relationships with others in any part of your life.

One way to “force” empathy in the cleaning situation, as later suggested by the article, is by switching chores with your roommate on a regular basis. When you trade responsibilities, you both know what is entailed in the job and what it takes to complete it.

Double Duty Doors and the Magic of Vertical Space


Finding adequate storage in an apartment is always a challenge and there are a number of solutions to choose from. One of the key ways to combat limited space is by not underestimating the potential of vertical spaces in your apartment. Shelves are an obvious choice for maximizing your organizational space, but have you considered how much space there is available on the fronts or backs of doors? Cabinet doors, closet doors, and room doors all offer an array of untapped storage potential. Here’s how you can utilize the doors in each room of your apartment.

In the Kitchen

Kitchen cabinets provide a number of small places to improve on organization for food, cooking utensils, and so forth. Using either the cabinets above the counter or below, depending on what you find more practical, organizers can be placed over the cabinet doors either way. Some of the types of organizers you can find for the kitchen are: large pantry organizers with shelves to fit over the inside of a pantry-sized door, spice racks which hang over the insides of kitchen cabinet doors, lid organizers to keep the saucepan lids straight, and you can also use command hooks (which detach easily and cleanly when you move out) to hang just about anything off the back of a cabinet door.

In the Bathroom

The biggest need for bathroom storage is for towels or robes – this is also one of the easiest types of over-the-door hangers to find at your local supermarket. So if you don’t already have a towel hanger there, you may want to add one, especially if you have roommates and you’re out of towel bar space. Another organizing opportunity is a caddy for the inside of the vanity door. Keep bottles of toiletries or cleaning products organized this way.

In the Bedroom

Bathroom closet organization is key to having an organized living space. Utilizing over the door hooks (the same kind as used for a towel rack), hanging shoe organizers which fit on closet doors, or vertically lined purse hooks help you keep your clothing and accessories straight. You can also DIY cute looking jewelry hangers to put on a door, like some of these, which double as storage and an attractive decoration.


Lighten Your [Travel] Load!


I’m guessing your summer vacation planning is in full swing – I know mine is! The sun is out and the air is nice and hot already and the summer months are upon us. Once your plans are set, it’s time to start the packing. Whether you’re going a few hours away or across an ocean, consider these packing tips to help you lighten your load. Plus, when you do that, it makes more room for awesome souvenirs!

Things you really DON’T need to pack:

Much of anything valuable You may need to bring your computer and your phone, but otherwise keep the valuables to a minimum. Things, especially small things like jewelry, get lost, stolen, or left behind so easily when you’re on vacation. It may be best to leave those at home.

More than two books I understand, trust me. I’m quite the reader. Unless you have an extraordinarily long flight or trip (I did take more than two books to Taiwan, but they were all short…) you most likely won’t read more than two. I also recommend leaving the hardbacks behind.

More than two pairs of shoes The rule of two, again. Sandals and closed toe shoes. Or, casual and dress shoes. Or, active and lounging shoes. Fit your two to your trip!


Things you really DO need to pack:

Small bottles of things Don’t bring the full size, don’t even mess with TSA or you’ll regret it when you’re waiting around an airport and they’re poking through your things. Chances are, you’ll have to trash it and buy a new one if you pack the full size. Make sure all your bottles are TSA compliant and skip the hassle. If you’re not flying, travel size just saves some weight in your bag so either way it’s a winning idea.

Sleep Mask or Earplugs if you’re flying because sleeping really isn’t easy on a plane, so you may as well aid that as much as you can. And everyone needs their beauty sleep.

Hand sanitizer you never know what you’ll get into when you’re traveling!

Community Spotlight: Towne Parc Apartments


If you’re a student at the University of Florida and you’re ready to start looking for a great new place to call home, consider Towne Parc Apartments, which are located a short two miles away from UF campus. They’re close enough to be convenient for getting to class or campus events quickly, but not so close that you feel surrounded by student activities around the clock. Towne Parc’s location is also convenient to Santa Fe College as well as the main highways for traveling.

The apartments at Towne Parc offer a variety of layouts, so you can find the perfect fit for your needs. Not only does Towne Parc have affordable one bedroom apartments, but you can also share a space with roommates in a 2, 3, or 4 bedroom townhouse. Towne Parc’s offers time and energy saving amenities including dishwashers in units, 24-hour maintenance, some washer and dryers in select units and an alarm system for security.

Not all of living happens indoors- and Towne Parc keeps that in mind. This community has a beautiful pool for residents to enjoy doing laps or lounging with friends in the sunshine. There is a basketball court, tennis court, scenic community lake, picnic area, and organic garden also for residents to use outside. If you prefer to enjoy your recreation inside, a fitness center and racquetball court are at your disposal.

Towne Parc offers 12 month leases, but they do have a limited supply of 7 month leases for some 1/1 apartments.  Another amazing plus is cats and dogs are welcome at Towne Parc with no weight or breed restrictions, with a pet fee. Schedule your tour today and see for yourself how great life can be at Towne Parc!

The Future is Now – Automating Your Apartment


You might think that home automation is only for those who own their own homes and not for renters. However, there are surprisingly a number of options for renters who want to upgrade their apartments with newer technologies that can be controlled remotely. Better yet, it can be done without sacrificing your security deposit!

Lighting is one of the easiest things to automate. Companies like GE make smart bulbs, which are like regular light bulbs, but are programmable with an app on your phone. They are more expensive than normal bulbs, but the great thing is they are installed and removed as easily as regular light bulbs and don’t need to be installed like another piece of light regulating equipment might. Smart bulbs can be changed remotely at the touch of a button or they can be programmed to turn on, off, or dim at certain times of day. Another great perk is they can be set to turn on when your smartphone is in range when you get home and off when you leave the range and the house.

Another aspect of apartment living made easy through remote technology is security. If you’re going on vacation or if you simply want to be able to keep an eye on your apartment, you may want to try out Nest Cam. The Nest Cam can be set to alert you if there’s motion or activity in your apartment while you’re not at home. The Nest Cam takes video at a wide angle, so you can place it in a room and have visual access to what’s happening there. One of the really neat things about it is you can listen in and even speak into your phone microphone to have your voice transmitted through to whomever may be listening (“get off the sofa, Sparky!”).

It’s amazing what we’re able to do with our smartphones, which seem to always be by our sides these days. So take advantage of these capabilities, which can save you time, energy, and even possibly money on your day to day activities at home.