Thursday, September 18, 2008

13 Ways to Make the Most of Apartment Living

My family is living in an apartment right now, and for us there can be a temptation sometimes to pine away for the home we hope to own some day instead of making the most of where we are right now. There are, however, a lot of benefits to living in an apartment, and I know I should try to enjoy them to the hilt. I have made a list of 13 tips that we have discovered so far toward that end.


Maybe you have some to add? I'd love to hear them!


Tips for Living Frugally and Pleasantly in an Apartment


1. See if you can share a wireless internet plan with one of your neighbors. Half of an internet bill is a whole lot more fun than the full thing, and apartment dwellers usually live close enough to one another to make it work!


2. If you have a porch or patio, hang birdfeeders and grow vegetables like tomatoes and peppers in containers. Many birds, especially hummingbirds will visit even an urban feeder. The garden will give you a little free produce and will help you feel a little closer to the outdoors.


3. Invest in wall shelves for extra storage. Being able to stock up when there are good sales will be worth the money.


4. Since there usually isn’t the option of painting or wallpapering make your own decorations. Use homemade photos and enlarge them. Get cheap frames at garage sales and hang them around the apartment. I used pretty satin ribbons to hang these in my baby’s room.


5. Talk with your neighbors about holding a community-wide garage sale. It’s difficult to have a garage sale when living in an apartment complex, but because space is tight, apartment dwellers, more than most people, need a way to recycle their stuff and pare down to what is really needed. If you can’t seem to organize a community wide garage sale, see if you have a friend that is planning an upcoming sale that you could share.


6. Invest in a cordless vacuum cleaner. I received this Shark brand rechargeable battery sweeper as a wedding gift and use it all the time. It’s pretty powerful, a lot less hassle than taking out a big vacuum, and takes up a lot less space in my closet.


7. If you have to use a coin operated laundry facility, consider getting a foldable indoor drying rack. Wash your underclothes in the sink and hang them to dry in the bathroom on your rack. It saves you money and you don’t have to leave your apartment as often to go to the facility.


8. Take out the trash every day, and place a box of baking soda at the bottom of your trash can to absorb odors. In a small place, it is much more vital to keep the bad smells to a minimum.


9. Scatter bay leaves strategically around your apartment. That’s right- bay leaves! Apartment complexes are much more likely to host an infestation of cockroaches. Keep them out of your apartment with bay leaves- they hate the smell! (I was very happy to discover this solution because, with a small child, I really didn’t want to have to use chemicals)


10. Pare down your collection of pots and pans to the bare minimum. Not only will this give you more cupboard space in your kitchen, but it will make it less likely that you will end up with a mountain of dishes in the sink.


11. Take advantage of the time you save not taking care of a yard by taking your family on outings to local parks, zoos, nature centers, festivals, and fairs.


12. Save counter space by using a magnetic tool strip to hang your knives instead of using a knife holder. Not only does it save space, but it's nice to be able to see the blades without picking up the knives to find the right one.


13. Make friends with the maintenance men and the apartment manager. Not only is it advantageous to you for getting repairs done more efficiently, but those are two jobs that are often unappreciated. Most of what they hear is complaining. Even if you don’t develop a personal relationship, show appreciation by baking them Christmas cookies or other holiday treats.


So now it's your turn. What good tips have you discovered that you wouldn't mind sharing with my family?

16 comments:

Noner said...

Knives hanging on the wall have always made me a bit nervous.

Carissa said...

I would add to #10, to use a hanging pot rack if the layout of your kitchen permits. Our pot rack has given me probably about 2 cabinets worth of extra space. Plus we can hang the pots on them when they're still a little damp after washing (saves counter space by not having to wait for it to be completely dry before putting it away in a dark cabinet.

Carissa said...

I would also add that tablecloths are your friend to creating "sneaky storage". You can drape them over tables to hide baskets of stuff underneath or you can even put them over your file cabinets and nobody will ever know your rectangular side table is really a file cabinet!

JLT6907 said...

i like those ideas. i'll have to forward a couple of them to my sister since she lives in an apartment and there isn't a lot of space.

happy TT

Katey Magill said...

I know what you mean, noner, about being nervous about knives on the wall. I have been amazed though at how strong the magnetism is. They're not going anywhere!

Katey Magill said...

I really like the tablecloth idea! Thanks, Carissa!

Alice Audrey said...

A lot of this works for mobile homes too.

My TT is at http://aliceaudrey.wordpress.com

Jill said...

Lowe’s - One-Year Plant Guarantee is something a lot of people aren't aware of and could Save you $$. Check it out here:

http://pointsandprizes.com/blog/contests-and-sweepstakes/lowes-one-year-plant-guarantee/

Gayle said...

It's good to find the positive in apartment living...I'd be finding the negative and looking for a way out. I have a house on 2 acres with one neighbor and feel crowded!

Nicholas said...

That bay leaf suggestion is very interesting!

Jerine said...

I've been living in apartment all my life and I believe garage sale is really difficult. At the end of the day I'll be collecting more and more stuff each year without selling them off. But I find it hard to talk to my neighbor cos I hardly seen anyone outside

Rebecca said...

I so wish I had knows that bay leaf trick when I was in college!

Great tips!

:)
Becki@BlogMommas

Blessed Nest said...

Love the bay leave tip "Scatter bay leaves strategically around your apartment."
I don't have that problem but never want it either...natural solutions. Always love that!!

Jerine said...

I've been living in apartment all my life and I believe garage sale is really difficult. At the end of the day I'll be collecting more and more stuff each year without selling them off. But I find it hard to talk to my neighbor cos I hardly seen anyone outside

Noner said...

Knives hanging on the wall have always made me a bit nervous.

Nicholas said...

That bay leaf suggestion is very interesting!