Wednesday, December 31, 2014

New Year's Resolutions: Organizing Your Closet


Ready to get a fresh start for the New Year?  Is getting organized one of your resolutions?  Start with your closet with About.com's help and reap the benefits of not only an organized closet, but being able to get ready faster in the morning because you can find something to wear quickly and easily.  

Before you begin, make sure you have the proper tools:  shopping bags (to take clothes to Goodwill or the dry cleaners), a tape measure (to measure the space in your closet), pen and paper (to record measurements), a full-length mirror (so you can try on clothes and decide if you want to keep them), and a basket (for lose odds and ends that need to be relocated).

Next remove everything from your closet:  clothes, accessories, closet organizers, everything, and give your closet a good cleaning.  Dust the shelves and closet rods, vacuum the floor, and dust all baskets and bins.

Time to make two piles:  toss and keep.  When you try things on, ask yourself three questions:  do you love it, do you wear it, and does it show the world the image you want to project?  If the answer to all three is yes, put it in the keep pile.  If you answer no to any of them, you need to consider whether this piece is worth keeping.  If you're unsure and decide to keep it, when you put it back, put the hanger the opposite way from all your other hangers.  If you wear it, turn the hanger around.  If after six months you haven't turned the hanger around, you can be confident it's time to say goodbye.

Now it's time to put everything back.  Group like objects together and place the pieces you wear most often the front and rarely worn items like formal dresses in the back.  If you find you need additional organizational items like bins and boxes, first examine what you own and explore re-purposing items to control costs.  If you do decide to buy new things, first measure the space 3 times so you don't have to return things.

To maintain your neat space, go through your closet once a month and undertake a full re-organization at least twice a year.

If even after you undertake a reorganization you find your closet is still too small, give Austin Apartments Now a call today at 512-258-8224 for help finding an apartment with spacious closets with plenty of room for all your stuff!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Organizing Your Apartment the Right Way


With a new year on its way, your thoughts may be turning towards getting your #apartment organized.  Make sure you tackle #organization the right way with Apartment Therapy's list of what NOT to do.

Don't go to the Container Store and furiously throw storage boxes into your cart, only to find out when you get home that they don't fit your belongings or your space.  Instead, sort your things first and determine how many containers and what sizes you need.  Buy just a few to begin with and know you can always go back for more.

Organize in small increments.  Rather than trying to get your entire house in shape in one day, organize one room or area at a time, and only spend two to three hours on it.  That way you will be more motivated and you won't risk burnout. 

Once you've separated all your stuff into keep, toss, and donate piles, go ahead and get the toss and donate stuff out of your house right away.  Don't let the newly purged items suffer in the purgatory of your garage or your car.  Make plans to get your cast-offs to their new homes and do it right away. 

Once everything is organized, resist the temptation to go back to your old ways.  Continue to use your new system so you won't find yourself in disorganized purgatory again. 

Finally, you don't live in a catalog.  If your space is neat, clean and you can find everything, it works for you and it is a good system.  Don't try to live up to an impossible standard; enjoy your space and recognize that you're human.  Now get to work on a clutter-free apartment!

Need help finding a new apartment to go along with your new organized lifestyle?  Give Apartments Now a call today at 512-258-8224 for help finding a new apartment with plenty of storage.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Inexpensive Gift Wrap Ideas


One of the biggest expenses of Christmas can be wrapping paper, gift bags and all the trimmings.  Add to that the fact that it's all literally thrown away as soon as the gift opening is over and it starts to become obvious why finding alternative ways to make your gifts look festive should be a priority.  About.com helps you save money and use stuff you have around the house while still making your gifts look gorgeous!

Use oatmeal containers as an adorable way to wrap your presents.  Add wrapping paper around the outside to make it look festive and for the cherry on top, add a bow made out of magazine pages.

Gift bags are expensive, but don't forget they're reusable!  Make a point of saving all the bags you get and you'll have bags to use for years to come.  Often others don't want to bother with taking bags home, so you can also get theirs.  

Kids' artwork is an adorable way to wrap presents that will bring a smile to recipients' faces.  Use larger pictures they make from throughout the year, or ask them to make some custom Christmas art just for your packages!

Brown kraft paper, available from office supply stores or hardware stores in the painting section, gives presents an antique look and you can even add stamps, stickers, or other decorations to dress it up.  Looking for a free alternative?  Try brown paper grocery bags!

Take-out containers are another fun way to wrap up gifts.  Wrap your gift in tissue paper so it can't be seen and add some ribbon to dress it up.  This would especially be fun for food or treat gifts.

Resale shops often have large collections of wallpaper, which are another great way to wrap gifts.

Have a lot of fabric scraps that you're just saving for a rainy day?  Use them to wrap gifts!  Cut to size and just tie with some pretty ribbon and you are done!  Scarves from a thrift store or ones you don't wear anymore are another great source of materials for this project.

Finally, reusable containers, from tins to old suitcases, are all great ways to give a gift.  Think creatively and frequent thrift stores and garage sales, and you'll find a substantial stockpile cheaply.

After the Christmas hoopla is over, is it time for you to find a new apartment as a belated Christmas gift to yourself?  Let San Antonio Apartments Now help make your Christmas dreams come true!  Give us a call today at 210-255-3074!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Protecting Your Pets During the Holidays


There are lot of things associated with the holidays that are hazardous to our little four-legged friends.  Plus the fact that they will be spending more time alone while we go to holiday gatherings or get shopping and other errands done means they may be more likely to get into things they would have ignored otherwise.  Follow Apartment Therapy's guidelines and keep your furry loved one happy and safe this Christmas.

Mistletoe and Holly are both poisonous to cats and dogs, so don't use it or use artificial versions if you really want to decorate with these holiday staples.

If you have cats, it's best to have a fake tree.  The toxicity levels in most Christmas trees can cause an upset stomach and vomiting in cats.  (Dogs won't have a problem with fir trees.)

If you do use a real tree, cover the water where dogs can't get to it.  The pesticides and fertilizers in the water that have come off the tree can have deadly consequences for dogs.

Cover electrical cords that go to lights with tape and attach them to the floor so your curious cat or dog won't chew on them.

If you are going to be leaving your pets with a sitter, make sure they are on the lookout for signs that your pet has ingested something dangerous, like broken bulbs or chewed cords.  Leave your emergency vet's number just in case and make sure your pet sitter knows what to do in an emergency.

Need help finding a new apartment for you and Fido for 2015?  Give Apartments Now a call today at 512-258-8224.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Meal Planning During the Holidays


Meal planning is sometimes hard to keep up with this time of year.  However, you will save money, eat healthier, and retain some sanity if you follow The Kitchn's meal planning tips!

Mark your calendar or planner to show when you have events that will keep you away from home for dinner.  That way you won't accidentally buy food for that meal that goes to waste.  

Always go to the store with a shopping list so you don't forget anything or wind up getting a bunch of stuff you don't need.  However, don't plan too far in advance because a lot of events can pop up last minute.

Make sure your pantry has a lot of cooking staples you can go to in a pinch and use it rather than picking up fast food.  Another way to save time during the week is to  do prep work for weeknight meals on the weekend so you can cook more quickly during the week.  This can include chopping vegetables or cooking a pot of rice that can be heated up later.

Keep healthy snacks easily accessible so that you reach for a piece of fruit rather than a sugar cookie.  Another way to keep up healthy eating habits is to prepare breakfast the night before so you can be sure to get your busy days off to a good start.  

Keep your meals simple to save your sanity.  A slow cooker is a great way to make meals quickly and simply.  Plus you can get last minute holiday chores done while dinner cooks.

Finally, leftovers are your friend  Repurpose what you already have to turn into a new meal or at least use them for lunch.

What's your biggest time saving tip during the holidays?  How do you prevent holiday burnout?

Ready to find a new apartment for the new year?  Give San Antonio Apartments Now a call today at 210-255-3074!

Austin the 5th Least Affordable City for Millennials


Austin is the 5th Least Affordable City for Millennials to buy a house in, according to a report by Trulia, shared by the Washington Post.  The study found that many Millennials are living in cities where they can't afford to purchase a home.

In Austin, 20-34 year olds (the millennial age range), comprise at least 23.5% of the population, putting it in the top ten of cities in the country for millennial population.  However, only about 20% of the houses for sale in Austin are affordable for millennial buyers (payments including taxes and insurance are equal to 31% or less of their income).  Many millennials rent, but 93% of them say that they want to own a home one day.

There are many other cities across the nation with much more affordable housing, but millennials have a different set of wants in housing, and these cities aren't where they want to be.  If you're happy in Austin, Texas, you probably don't want to pick up stakes and move to Akron, Ohio just because it is the most affordable city for your age group.  Many young people face a difficult choice about living in the city they love or moving to one they can afford.  Luckily, Austin has lots of beautiful suburbs and areas just outside the urban core where one can still find good deals on houses and apartments. Also, as most people get older, than earnings increase, so home ownership may eventually be within the millennials' grasp.

Renting is a great alternative to the current high prices of home ownership in Austin.  Austin Apartments Now can help you find an apartment that fits in your budget and where you want to be!  Give us a call today at 512-258-8224.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Return of Application Fee and Deposit


Clients often ask if they will get their application fee and deposit back if they change their mind or are not approved for an apartment.  This is a complex issue with a few different answers, so read on for an thorough investigation.

The application fee and application deposit are two separate things.  The application fee is what you pay the landlord to process your application and generally covers things like a background and credit check.  The application deposit is the amount the landlord requires to take the apartment off the market and hold the unit while they process your application.  
Generally, if you change your mind on the unit, then the landlord will keep the application deposit.  If your application is rejected, then the landlord should return the deposit.

On the other hand, application fees are almost never returned, whether you are rejected or change your mind, unless the landlord doesn't post the eligibility criteria and then you are rejected. 

Texas Law doesn't specifically address whether you get your application deposit back if you change your mind, so it's up to the individual agreement you signed. Some application agreements state that if the applicant doesn't sign the lease within 3 days after the application is approved, then the landlord can keep the entire application deposit.  Even if it is not addressed in the agreement, landlords often keep the application deposit if the applicant later decides not to lease from the landlord.  

It's always worth talking to the landlord and seeing if they will be reasonable about returning at least part of your deposit if you change your mind, especially if they are able to rent the apartment again quickly.

Need help making sure you find the perfect place before you sign an application?  Want to be sure you'll be approved for an apartment before you plunk down cash?  San Antonio Apartments Now can help by showing you all the apartments that meet your criteria and only showing you those where you will be approved.  Give us a call today at 210-255-3074.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

What Guests Do and Don't Care About



When putting together a party, it's easy to let perfectionism take over.  Relax, there are some things your guests just won't care about.  Instead, focus your energy on the few that actually do matter at a party with Apartment Therapy's helpful tips.

Guests don't care if your apartment is in perfect shape.  Focus on a clean bathroom, mostly dusted surfaces, a clutter-free living room, and if you have time, a quick vacuum and you will be good to go.  Things not perfect?  Turn down the lights and use candles so no one can see the dirt!

Visitors aren't bothered by where the food came from.  So feel free to buy pre-made dishes at the grocery store or dessert at the bakery and enjoy yourself!

Partygoers won't have their time ruined by whether or not you have assembled the perfect super-group of friends.  They're all friends with you, so they should all have more in common than not.  Relax and let the conversation take care of itself.

Now that you've saved energy in those areas, focus on presentation.  Place food, even if it's from the store, in pretty bowls and add flowers, lights, candles and even place cards to make things look put together.

Make sure you have plenty of whatever you serve.  It's always better to have extra food than to run out. Go ahead and send guests home with to-go containers if you have a lot of remaining dishes at the end of the night.

Finally, enjoy yourself!  No one wants to be at a party where the host is unhappy.  Smile, have a good time, and let things go.  Your guests are there to see you, not to experience the perfect party.

Need help finding an apartment where hosting is a breeze?  Give Austin Apartments Now a call today at 512-258-8224.