Essential Tools for Apartment Residents

essential tools for apartment residents

Maybe you need to do simple maintenance. Maybe you want to tackle a small home project, like hanging a series of shelves. Whatever it is, you’ll probably need some tools. Here are the tools you’ll need to complete common projects and simple maintenance tasks at your apartment.

Screwdrivers and Hammer

Need to take something apart? Remove it from the wall? You’ll probably need a screwdriver or hammer. Whether electronic or manual, screwdrivers are a basic requirement for almost any project. Screws are used to hold most things together. Hammers are good for the same reasons: nails are everywhere.

Extras:

For those shelves you’ll be hanging, you’ll probably also need a drill. To hang on drywall you’ll need anchors. But if you’ll be hanging directly on wood, you’ll need a drill so the wood doesn’t split when you put screws in it.

Vise Grips

Vise grips are your all-in-one tool. They lock, so they can be used for clamps. They extend, so they can be used like wrenches. They also grip, so they can be used like pliers. Get a pair of vice grips, and you’re probably set for most projects or issues that’ll arise.

Utility Knife

We’ve covered tools you’ll need to put things together, hang things up, or take things apart. One last thing you’ll need: a tool to cut things. That’s where a utility knife comes in. Most utility knives will enable you to cleanly cut anything from cardboard to carpet, from plastic to drywall.

Extras:

Whenever you cut, you’ll probably need to glue. So keep some glue handy.

You don’t really need many tools when you live in an apartment. That’s because a perk of apartment living is having access to a maintenance team. They’ll take care of all major maintenance issues you might come across. But it’s good to have tools for simple maintenance and projects.

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Save on Summer Bills

save money

Summer is a great time to plan vacations, socialize with friends, and, most of all, go outside. Days are prolonged and hot. And, as a result, electricity and utility bills increase. The following are tips to save money this summer.

Fans

A/C units can drive up electricity bills significantly. Fans are an easy way to counteract that. If you must use an A/C, have a fan on at the same time to spread the cool air quickly. Then turn off the A/C unit when the house is cool. Even if you leave the fan on at this point, you’ll be using much less electricity with the A/C off.

Electricity Spikes

When you are using electricity—by running your A/C or dishwasher—think about what time of day it is. At peak use times, the cost of electricity is more than at low use times. Try running that dishwasher as you sleep, for instance, that way it’s not competing electricity at peak use time.

Go Outside

It’s a nice day. You’re hungry. Don’t turn on the oven. Fire up the grill! Save on gas or electricity by grilling during the summer. But you don’t have to fire up anything, really. When you’re hungry, eat in-season fruits or vegetables. Just fix a salad and enjoy! Most of all, enjoy the summer.

Power Strip

Your smart television uses electricity even when it’s off if it’s plugged in. So does your toaster, coffee maker, and iPhone when it has 100% battery! Get a few power strips and connect all irregular use items to it. That way you can switch them all off at once when they’re not in use.

Save money this summer by taking advantage of the season and taking steps to preserve electricity use. There are many more ways to save money. Let us know how you cut back this summer by telling us on Facebook!

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Create a Chore Wheel

create a chore wheel

You know the type of situation. Your roommate’s garbage lines the countertop. The follow-up awkward conversation. Or your sister uses all the clean glasses in the house to drink the gallon of chocolate milk before you can get to it. And they sit in the sink.

You don’t want to be mean, although you might be annoyed. The best way tackle this type of situation is to plan for it. Of course, everyone is responsible for their own personal messes: laundry, bathroom, etc. But the problem comes when a public space needs cleaning. Who should clean it? You both use it. And you both, probably, don’t clean up after yourselves as much as you should.

A Chore Wheel

ApartmentGuide.com has a very good suggestion. Create a chore wheel. Add all the tasks you’ll need to complete to clean common areas. Have a vote to determine the two worst areas. Place those two areas at opposite ends of the wheel. That way one of you will always have one of the “bad” areas, while one of you will never have both “bad” areas.

Having a plan beforehand can prevent tension in the house. It can also make cleaning the common areas much easier: both of you are responsible for all of it, although individually you’ll only be responsible for half of it at any given time. That way, next time you forget to cover your bowl in the microwave, you might be more likely to clean the mess immediately, to save time later.

A chore wheel can work for any living arrangement. Whether you live with a roommate, family member, or significant other, a chore wheel is a good way to divvy up work unbiasedly. View the ApartmentGuide.Com chore wheel below. Create a wheel that’ll work for all members of the house. Make sure it’s fair, balanced, and includes all the tasks to clean common areas in your home.

http://www.apartmentguide.com/blog/downloadable-free-chore-wheel/

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2 Budget Breaking Habits

2 Budget Breaking Habits

Budgeting allows you to buy the things you need now while saving for the future. It’s important that the habits you develop on the go don’t break your budget. Identifying whether you have these habits may save your money and your budget.

Savings

If there is a single reason to budget, it’s probably to save for the future. Having a savings account is a crucial step in this process. And, with some banks, you can link your savings to your debit card to protect you from overdraft fees and charges.

But more importantly, the purpose of savings is to save your money. So transferring money from your savings too often is a budget breaking habit. One way to ditch this habit is to exclude the money in your savings from your monthly planning. Don’t even consider it as a backup, in case you need more money for the month. Just let it sit in savings, indefinitely, collecting interest.

Smaller Purchases

A Starbucks coffee. A lunch from that restaurant at work. A video game. Another coffee from Starbucks. A shirt. Dinner from Little Caesars. These purchases add up. Pretty soon you could spend $50 to $100 in a day without noticing.

Purchasing on the go without accounting for it in your budget is a budget breaking habit. When you’re creating your budget, apportion money, weekly or daily, for small, miscellaneous purchases. This should allow some wiggle room for coffees and, maybe once in a while, a pizza. But whatever you do, don’t buy something if you haven’t accounted for it in your budget. That way, you’ll always be safe.

Conclusion

Creating a budget is an important step toward creating a better future for yourself. It’s an easy way to plan ahead and save. It’s also a stress-free way of enjoying yourself in the present: because you know that bill a month from now will be paid off with the money you’ve set aside for it. But a budget won’t work if you develop bad habits. If you have them, break these two habits, or they will break your budget.

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Poolside Etiquette

Poolside Etiquette

A pool at the apartment complex is a huge luxury during hot summer days. But when the poolside is packed with people, after hour cleaning and maintenance can be difficult to keep up with. Do your part to keep the poolside as good as you found it by practicing good pool etiquette.

No Glass

Breakables, especially glass, should not be brought to the poolside. The poolside is one of the only public places people walk around without shoes. Broken glass at the poolside can close the pool for a few days for cleanup, and, worse, someone could get injured. Keep your fancy glassware inside when you go for a swim.

Clean Up

Sure, it’s nice to relax in the sun, eat some Cheetos, and take a quick swim. But you wouldn’t want to swim with that Cheetos bag floating in the water, would you? What about a somewhat empty McDonald’s shake? Probably not. Be sure you leave the poolside with everything you bring with you.

Limit Guests

It’s fun to swim with friends. But apartment pools are made specifically for the hundreds of residents that already live at the property. It’s okay to bring friends every once in a while, of course. But be courteous to your neighbors by limiting your guests.

Limit Noise

What do you think of when you think of relaxing at the poolside? You probably don’t think of people screaming “Marco!” “Polo!” in the pool. Or a loud country song that probably shouldn’t see the light of day in the first place. All this is to say, when you’re at the pool, try to limit your noise so people who are trying to relax in the open can do so.

Practicing good pool etiquette is an easy way to help keep the pool open all summer by limiting trash. It’s also a good way to connect with friends and neighbors without disturbing others. When you’re at the poolside this summer, be sure to practice good pool etiquette!

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How to Create a Good Wi-Fi Network Name

wifi tips

Many apartments require tenants to use the property Wi-Fi provided service. Others let tenants choose their own service. Either way, many people have the capability of creating Wi-Fi hotspots with their mobile devices. Wi-Fi networks are virtually everywhere. A good Wi-Fi network name is an easy way to protect your network without spending money.

Many people will just connect to any Wi-Fi network that’s not password protected. Obviously, the first step in securing your network is requiring password authentication. This is standard on many routers already.

But one important step to deterring likely unwanted connections is to name your network something unappealing, intimidating, or unfamiliar. Variations of “Malware” and “Virus” are good choices, as they resemble the names of unwanted software typically used to hack computers.

Another way to go at this is to type a random string of characters as if the name is computer generated as in, “13d;j43fadoi.” This will give the appearance of a non-human element, making people think the network is a dubious one. “The Johnson Family” is way too nice of a name. It’ll attract attention and most people will think, “Oh, these people don’t really understand what they’re doing. I’ll just steal off their network.”

A sure-fire way to protect your network from strangers is to just make it “hidden.” That way, only people who actually know the name of the Wi-Fi network can find it. Whatever you do, take precautions. The cost of your Wi-Fi network is usually determined by how much you use it. And when you have strangers using your Wi-Fi, it can lead to many unwanted fees.

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5 Topics to Discuss with a Potential Roommate

Topics to Discuss with Potential Roommate

You don’t really know people until you live with them. These five topics will help you determine, beforehand, whether a potential roommate will be a good fit for you.

Cleaning

Many people are okay, and sometimes don’t even notice, living in a mess they’ve made themselves. Dishes could be stacked to the ceiling, the floors unswept for days. But you won’t notice at all if you’re never home or if you play video games constantly. Living with another person can really open your eyes to some of your messiest habits. Ask your potential roommate what he/she thinks a clean home looks like.

Allergies

Do you spread peanut butter all over your countertop by using it as a plate for your peanut butter sandwich? Do you have cats? Now is the time to understand if your potential roommate has allergies and what kinds of changes in lifestyle it might entail for you.

Typical Schedule

If you work early hours, you probably won’t enjoy the company of a roommate who parties all night with Call of Duty. You probably won’t like his nightly guitar practices, either. Ask about your potential roommate’s typical week and weekend. You might be surprised. And, if you’re not, so much the better.

Visitors

Whether you are introverted and remain aloof for large portions of the day, or extroverted and enjoy the company of many people, the type of people you enjoy hanging out with might not be the type of people your potential roommate socializes with. Ask your potential roommate how often guests will stop by.

Sharing

Will you split the food bill? Will your Ramen be his Ramen? These are things you should decide beforehand. If you don’t want to share your things with your roommate, let that be known. But don’t wait until move-in day. Set expectations at your initial meeting.

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5 Questions to Ask before Signing the Lease

questions to ask before signing the lease

When you’re apartment searching, don’t schedule visits without preparing some questions first. Here are five general questions to get you ready for your next visit.

Fees

Ask what costs are included in rent and what aren’t. Are utilities included? Water? What about a recycling option? It’s also useful to know how often rent increases and by what percentage. Some apartment complexes increase rent by a certain percentage every year. How will you access the internet? Does the property provide it or are there local options?

Guests

Is there a limitation to the amount of guests that can visit at once? Where can they park? Will they need parking permits? Friends and family are important. Get to know the policies so you won’t be in the dark when they visit.

Pets

What kind of pets are allowed? Are there limitations on breed or restrictions on weight? Must they be house trained before they’re allowed on the premises? Many properties won’t allow untrained pets. So it’s good to have an idea before you decide to go out and buy a puppy.

Repairs

How often are repairs taken care of? What is the normal procedure for submitting a repair request? How do you follow through on repair requests? Maybe once a year you might need to submit a repair request. You’ll rest easy knowing what that looks like.

Parking

You’ll have to park somewhere. Ask about whether the parking lot is generally full, when it’s the busiest, and if you’ll need a parking permit. That way, if the parking is scarce, you can plan ahead.

These questions should give you a general idea of whether the apartment is a good fit for you. But if any specific questions come to mind, don’t be afraid to ask. That’s what property managers are there for!

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Move-out Day Cleaning

move out tips

Everyone wants to get the most back from their deposit. That’s what making the most of Move-out Day means. It means cleaning those areas you usually wouldn’t and doing maintenance on spots you’d usually let go. The following will help you get the most back from your deposit.

Carpet

This is a huge part of preparing your apartment for move-out. If you’ve ever lived on a laminate or hardwood floor, you know how much dirt you can track around your house. But when you have carpets, sometimes the dirt is hidden, especially if the carpet is thick.

If you haven’t used a carpet cleaner on your carpet yet, now is the time. You might be surprised how much dirt your carpet hides.

Damage

Light switch covers, doors knobs, drawer handles, door stops, blinds: all are commonly used or commonly damaged items in your apartment. If you wouldn’t like the state any of these are in when you move into your new apartment, then it’s probably a good idea for you to replace or fix them.

Small holes

If you don’t use adhesive strips to hang your pictures and posters, chances are your apartment is riddled with small nail holes. But this is an easy fix. Simply purchase a putty knife and spackle or wall joint compound. Spread the spackle or wall joint compound over the hole(s). When it dries, sand it to match the depth of the wall. Repeat if necessary.

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Dog-Proof Your Apartment

dog proof your apartment

Preparing your apartment for a new dog is a lot like preparing it for a child. You’ll have to rethink how you organize, store, and use everyday products. Here are common ways people adjust their lifestyle for the new furry family member.

Locks

Lock all base cabinet doors: in the bathroom and the kitchen. Dogs are notorious for learning how to open cabinets. Everything you’d be horrified to see the new dog eat, expect it. It’s a good idea to put your trash in a closet or large pantry, according to the same reasoning. As long as it’s locked, you’ll have no need to worry.

Cords

Don’t be afraid to rearrange your furniture for the new family member. Placing couches and tables in front of outlets, at this point, isn’t a terrible idea. Although it’s less practical, it’s only temporary. Dogs can be anxious in new environments, causing them to do things they normally wouldn’t. Once you know your dog’s personality better, you’ll be able to move your things back how you like them. The most important thing, though, is giving your pet the chance to adjust to the new home.

Crates

The effectiveness of house training techniques varies from dog to dog. If you plan to use crates to train your dog, use it early and often. Most dogs respond better to training with crates when you begin immediately. Don’t let your dog sleep on the couch or bed and then use a crate. Then you’ll just irritate your dog. When used early, however, they are one of the best ways to deter dogs from using your lamp posts as fire hydrants.

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