Friday, May 30, 2014
If you're moving, a checklist of what to do is a must to avoid last minute mad packing and stress. Apartment Therapy will tell you what you need to do when to insure you don't spend your last day in your apartment sobbing.
A month before your scheduled moving day, start purging. Go through, one room at a time, and get rid of all the clutter that doesn't need to waste space in your moving truck OR in your new home! This is also the time to order or procure moving supplies. You'll need boxes, bubble wrap, tape and markers. Check out liquor stores and warehouse stores for free boxes. This is also a great time to write down all of your valuables and get insurance for them if you don't already have it. You should also call your utility companies and arrange for your electric, cable, internet, etc. to be moved to your new place. Finally, get copies of school and medical records if you're moving to a new town or changing schools.
Two weeks before the big day, have a garage sale. Not only will you have more stuff to profit off of because you're closer to your moving day, but you can make money to pay for moving costs. You should also visit the local post office and fill out a change of address form and contact newspaper and magazines to let them know what your new address will be.
A week before, finish packing boxes to avoid a last minute scramble. You should also make arrangements for payment with the moving company and print out maps and directions for your movers. Put anything crucial, such as clothes and toiletries for the first few days in your new place, into suitcases.
Moving Day: make sure you have drinks and food on hand for your movers (this is particularly important if you're enlisting the help of friends). Word to the wise, though, save the beer for once everything's been delivered to the new place. Beer=loss of mover motivation. If you're using professional movers, follow along as they inventory your items, sign the bill of landing, make sure everything on it is correct and you are given a copy. The last step, before you say good bye to your former abode, is to check that all doors and windows are locked and turn off all the lights and the thermostat.
Wednesday, May 28, 2014
When #ChoosingARoommate, it's important to find someone who is compatible with your habits and philosophy. Otherwise you run the risk of turning your #apartment into a war zone. Apartment Therapy has a lot of great discussion topics for meeting potential roommates.
Make sure you choose someone with a similar schedule. If you like to stay up late, you don't want to live with someone who turns in at 9 and requires that the apartment be absolutely silent.
Another major bone of contention between roommates is housekeeping style. Make sure you are both on the same page about what constitutes clean and that you can split the chores in a way that makes both parties happy. Or invest in a housecleaning service.
Be sure that your potential roomie can pay their half of the rent. If they don't have a steady source of income or bounce around between jobs, that's a red flag that you might be left holding the rent check bag repeatedly.
Other important areas to discuss with potential housemates are decorating style, how often they have guests, and pets. Make sure you are on the same page about these things or can make mutually agreeable rules regarding them.
Finally, before you sign the lease, have a cup of coffee or a beer with your potential roommate and be sure they are someone you get along with. If you find yourself watching the clock so you can leave, that's probably not the person you want to come home to at the end of the day.
Friday, May 23, 2014
Planting Container Gardens can be a great way for apartment dwellers or anyone without a yard to still enjoy beautiful plants and even vegetables. About.com assures the reader that planting a container garden is super simple, all you need are plants, potting soil, fertilizer and containers. However, if you want those plants to thrive, they go more in-depth with step by step instructions for keeping your new flora alive.
The culprit of most plant deaths is excess water drowning the plant. Make sure the pot you use has enough drainage. To do this, you may have to drill additional holes, as many as necessary, to allow excess water to drain out. You'll also want to cover the holes with something permeable so your water can drain without taking the soil with it. You can use window screening, coffee filters, paper towels, newspaper or products sold specifically for that purpose.
Now that you have your pot prepared, it's time to get planting. Remove your plants from the pots they were sold in carefully. You'll probably have to squeeze the pot to get the roots loosened up. Next, make sure you add fertilizer to your soil and then plant your new green beauty at the same level it was at in the pot you bought it in. Water immediately after planting. On an ongoing basis, you need to know what conditions each plant prefers as far as water, but a good rule of thumb is to keep the soil moist, not wet, at all times. Water when your fingertip comes out dry after sticking it into the soil up to the second knuckle. That's it! Now get out there and turn your brown thumb green!
Wednesday, May 21, 2014
Things can get tricky when you are renting a room from a friend who you are also living with. The Move Channel.com has some things to consider before deciding to take the plunge with friends.
Make sure to set basic ground rules and that you are clear on how your roommate/landlord wants the property treated. Also consider that if you live with a friend and you have friends in common, you may wind up socializing with the same people all the time.
Decide how bills will be paid and split. You can call your utility company to get an estimate for how much bills will be. Be respectful of your friend and pay your rent on time. They may be a little more forgiving if you're late, but don't sour your relationship by by chronically turning your check in past the due date.
If your landlord is a couple, make sure you have a contingency plan in case they break up. Also, stay out of any arguments they may have and don't take sides.
Finally, if you are renting from a friend, you may not have a formal lease contract to sign. Cover any questions you have and perhaps write them down and sign it so both parties are on the same page.
Monday, May 19, 2014
The smoking situation can be a tricky one for roommates. Perhaps you are the smoker and feel that you should be able to smoke inside because you pay half the rent. Or perhaps your roommate is the smoker and their smoking is bothering you. Either way, it's something you should get on the same page about. eHow.com addresses some common roommate etiquette rules such as smoking.
The best thing to do is to just keep smoking outside. Smoking can make allergies worse, and makes all the furniture and even the walls and carpet smell like smoke. These odors are difficult to remove when your lease is up and your landlord may take it out of your security deposit. It also can start a fire if someone falls asleep with a lit cigarette or drops one around flammable objects. The best policy, even if your roommate says they are okay with it, is to smoke outside.
If you and your roommate do decide to allow smoking inside your apartment, make sure it isn't prohibited by your lease and that you are absolutely clear on the rules about it. Also, be careful and always make sure any smoking materials are completely extinguished. Never smoke in bed. Make sure all guests know the rules and follow them as well.
Finally be open to revisiting your policy. If one of you quits smoking, for example, it's highly unlikely they will want to continue to allow smoking inside your home. There's no one one more militantly anti-smoking than someone who's just given it up! If you're the quitter, be kind to your roommate who still smokes and if you're the one who still smokes, be respectful when you request a change of the status quo. You may find that you are no longer compatible as roommates, but still try to be civil with one another until the end of your lease.
Wednesday, May 14, 2014
Do you have a #LoudRoommate? Don't think you just have to live with it. There are solutions and Lil Miss Red T-shirt.com has advice for getting that loud roommate to turn down the volume.
The first step should be talking to your roommate. The television, the radio or phone conversations shouldn't be so loud that you can hear them in another room. Of course, just having another inhabitant in your apartment means there will be some noise, but it shouldn't be unreasonable. If they want to listen to music, it's perfectly rational to ask them to do it in their room or on headphones.
Create white noise in your room to mask the loud roommate. Whether a fan, a white noise machine, a white noise app, or music of your own choosing, any of these solutions should help you focus or sleep in the face of sound.
Get earplugs for sleep and headphones for the offender and yourself.
Thursday, May 8, 2014
Sharing an #apartment with a roommate and not sure how to handle guests? Check out About.com's suggestions for how to set limits on guests before they become a problem.
Give your roommate ample notice if you are going to be having guests. If a guest drops in without giving you warning, let your roommate know immediately by calling or texting them so they will know someone is there before they return home.
Show your guests what they can use and what is off limits. If your guest uses your roommate's stuff without permission, then you have to replace it and apologize to your roommate.
Have a limit for how long a guest can stay that is agreeable to your roommate as well. Make sure your visitor leaves things exactly as they found them and if they don't, clean up after them right away.
Have a rule for how often guests can visit. It can be draining for your roommate to always have guests over. After all, they didn't sign up to run a hotel!
Wednesday, May 7, 2014
Renting out a room is a great way to earn extra income to pay your #apartment rent or to help cover the mortgage, but you need to protect yourself. Check out Investopedia.com's advice for renting out a spare room and make the transition to landlord a smooth one.
First of all, if you are a renter, make sure your lease doesn't prohibit sub-leases, many do. If you own or you have no clause prohibiting sub-leases, then you can explore renting out a room more in-depth.
Decide exactly which room or rooms you are going to rent out and make sure the space is ready. Think about practical considerations like what parts of the property your tenant can use, will any furniture be provided, and where the tenant will park. If you want to charge the going rate for rent in your area, you need to match other properties as far as the quality of accommodations.
Make sure your tenant will be safe and comfortable in their home. Broken items or noisy neighbors that may have been merely annoying to you can cause a tenant to move out or sue you if they get injured.
Speaking of worst-case scenarios, make sure you have enough insurance to cover you if anything unexpected happens on your property to your tenant or their guests. Also, if your home was built prior to 1978, be certain to follow laws regarding lead paint disclosure.
Make sure you properly vet and screen prospective tenants by conducting criminal background and credit checks. Once you've found the perfect person, make sure both parties sign a lease agreement that lays out both sides responsibilities and rights.