Spring and summer months often bring about thoughts of sunshine, recreation and barbecues. However, if you happen to reside in an area of frequent tornado activity, ominous skies and thunderstorms can spawn dangerous funneling columns of wind, sometimes without warning. This 2011 tornado season has been no exception, with some of the most violent instances of tornado activity in recorded history. Regardless of where you live, including in apartments, these tornado safety tips for apartments can help you prepare for a worst-case scenario.
If your apartment is located in an area with a history of tornado activity, your first step should be to ask your property manager if there are any storm shelters in your complex or building and how the community will warn residents about the danger. Municipal authorities have different methods for alerting the public to impending danger; therefore, you should ask how residents in your area are alerted.
Set up or purchase a portable disaster supply kit, including a battery-powered radio and flashlight, and don’t forget to include extra batteries. A first aid kit and manual, waterproof matches, water and a supply of non-perishable food items are essential supplies. Extra prescription medications, cash, signal flares and clothing are also some items that can help you and your family survive the immediate aftermath of a tornado. Keep your kit handy, and make sure any roommates, family or even guests know where to find it.
If your apartment building is in the path of a tornado, move to the lowest and most centered area of the building you can and stay as far as possible from any windows and in an interior room such as a closet, bathroom or interior hallway. However, do not try to open or close windows; it is a myth that closed windows cause internal pressurization so high that a building can explode. It is vitally important to protect yourself from flying debris and falling objects by staying in a crouched position, low to the ground and covering your head with your hands. You can further shield yourself from harm by hiding beneath sturdy furniture such as a table and using mattresses, sleeping bags or blankets.
Apartment living, even in areas with a history of tornado activity, is an enjoyable experience. Being prepared and having a plan in the unlikely event of a disaster will arm you with the knowledge of what to do should a tornado strike where you live.
Last week, we finished off our apartment living blog post with some suggestions for furniture arrangement in your small apartment. We advise experimenting on paper with different sketches of how you could potentially arrange each room. And don’t overlook the fact that furniture rearrangement is the perfect time to consider painting your apartment.
Different apartments will have different rules for painting/repainting your unit, so consult a manager at your leasing office before making plans. Most likely, you will have to paint the walls white again before moving out. So as long as you’re planning to stay in your apartment for a while, it’s easily worth the effort to do some painting for a more aesthetically pleasing apartment living situation.
You have a few options, the most popular of which is to choose a neutral color scheme that uses varying shades of the same color with a few bold pops here or there. Or, you can go totally bold to make a great impact. Did you know dark colors hide the corner shadows that tend to highlight the smallness of apartments? Whichever route you decide to take, keep your colors cohesive with each other.
Lighting is a crucial element, no matter what color scheme is at play in your small space. Bring in as much natural light as possible by installing airy curtains and keeping windows open whenever possible. Your apartment will feel more open and bright. In tandem with that, pick up some fresh seasonal flowers to display for a lively touch. If you’re interested, invest in a longer-lasting potted plant like an orchid or cactus, for a continuous infusion of color and life in the unit.
Apartment living doesn’t have to look cramped. Make strategic use of mirrors and other reflective surfaces to give an illusion of more space. Scale back on visual clutter by rotating which collections of small objects you keep on display— kind of like an art gallery.
You count on our blog for great apartment living ideas. Likewise, you can count on ApartmentSearch.com to help locate Dallas apartments, Phoenix apartments, Austin apartments, Seattle apartments, and more in your city.
Our friends over at green design blog Re-Nest compiled a list of their top 25 small apartment living strategies for maximizing space, getting organized and de-cluttering. Many of these ideas were contributed by blog readers who have plenty of real experience living and decorating in smaller homes. We’d like to share and discuss a few of our favorites from the list.
The idea of installing wall-mounted shelves might sound scary to those of us who aren’t exactly skilled at handyman activities, or those who aren’t planning to stay in a current apartment for long. But if it makes sense for your situation, you would be amazed at what shelves can do in apartments. Install them above furniture, doorways, or in those particularly cluttered areas that you tend to have a hard time keeping clean. With your stuff off the floor and off countertops or furniture, an illusion of spaciousness is achieved.
On that note, choose furniture with legs that provide at least a little bit of floor clearance for open air flow. Also try hanging various-sized cup hooks anywhere you can think of to help keep things off the counters and floor. We also love the idea of removing doors (even cabinet and pantry doors) for an open layout. You can always opt for curtains where privacy is needed.
Here at the apartment living blog, we’re always telling our readers to get rid of possessions they no longer use, need or love. De-cluttering isn’t the only way to make your living situation the best it can be, but it’s an important step toward that. Getting organized is a whole lot easier when you have a manageable amount of stuff to work with. Before you do buy something new, be discerning and think about where it will physically fit into the scheme of your apartment.
Maybe you’ve resigned and decided the space you’re in is just too tiny for your needs. To find an apartment that will open up interior decorating options for you, count on ApartmentSearch.com. We’ll help you search for Dallas apartments, Phoenix apartments, Austin apartments, Seattle apartments, and others in your city.
There are positive and negative sides to everything, including small apartment living. If you are considering moving into a smaller apartment, the transition might sound scary. But it’s all about getting into the right mindset and planning ahead for the move. You will be forced to throw away or donate a lot of old stuff you’ve been holding on to over the years, and it’s likely you’ll end up feeling good about that. With strategic space planning and consistent de-cluttering efforts, you can enjoy the maximum living and storage space your new apartment has to offer.
Some people are pack rats, and it can be tough to shake those habits. But consider the benefits of a de-cluttered home and mind. When you keep around only the essentials, or things you have used within the past year, life will feel simpler. It can be very cathartic to go through old possessions like clothing, home decorations and electronic gadgets, and choose to get rid of unneeded items. You may even be able to sell a few things (via the internet, yard sale or consignment store) for some extra cash! Speaking of money, that’s the most obvious benefit of small apartment living. Your space my be smaller, but so will your utility bills and rent.
It makes sense for people to downsize to smaller apartments due to lifestyle changes or for financial reasons. Over the last three decades, American homes and apartments have only gotten bigger. But recently, particularly with the onset of “green” living initiatives, an increasing number of Americans are choosing more modest lifestyles. After all, did you really need that spare bedroom in your last home? Apartment living has its limitations, but there are plenty of conveniences and benefits to balance that out.
Remember to start purging those inessential items well before the move. That way you can move into the new place with fewer boxes to begin with. As you unpack in the new place, there’s a good chance you’ll decide to toss even more. Moving apartments means a new opportunity to de-clutter and organize your life. When you’re comfortable and at peace with your surroundings, that feeling will extend to other areas of your life, including general mental health.
There’s no better way to start your search than by taking advantage of our huge database of Dallas apartments, Phoenix apartments, Austin apartments, Seattle apartments and more. We make it easy to search for your perfect small apartment in nearly any city nationwide.
One of the most fun aspects of life in apartments is coming up with creative solutions to some of the challenges that sharing walls presents. This week, we’ll share some tips for how to host a balcony BBQ with roommates, neighbors, friends or on your own! Just because you don’t exactly have a backyard doesn’t mean you can’t treat yourself and guests to the joys of BBQ on a brisk night. Experience the fresh outdoors while preparing a warm and fulfilling meal before the weather gets too harsh. It’s not too late to invest in an apartment grill that will suit the size constraints of your balcony space.
Before you get started, definitely make sure your property management does not forbid this kind of activity. Different properties will have their own sets of rules, so consult yours before proceeding. At some apartments, a balcony BBQ is not allowed for safety reasons, as it may put neighbors at risk of fire if you are careless with the operation of your apartment grill. If you do get permission to proceed with the event, remember to keep safety first. An apartment grill can get just as hot as full-sized models, and you’ll need to stay attentive to contain the flames.
When you shop to find an apartment grill, it is recommended to look at gas grills. The flames from gas grills are easier to contain than those from a charcoal grill. Therefore, they make sense for use in small spaces like balconies of apartments. There will be less smoke and faster cooking due to the higher temperatures they produce. These models come in many sizes to accommodate the area of your balcony BBQ. While you’re shopping, pick up a grilling storage bin so you’ll have a neat place to stow and organize supplies during and after use.
During the cookout, locate your grill away from the balcony door, so there is ease of access to and from the balcony for guests. Keep a small table nearby so you have a place to set utensils, sauces, plates and cooked meat. You’re ready to prepare a tasty and fun meal!
Still looking for that perfect balcony to grill on? ApartmentSearch.com is the destination for locating apartments in cities nationwide, including Dallas apartments, Phoenix apartments, Austin apartments, Seattle apartments and many more.
Living in Proximity
A major characteristic of apartment living is that the proximity of the people you’re living around tends to be closer than living in a standalone residence. Apartments combine the privacy of having your own place with the safety and social ease of living close to others, and it’s not uncommon for people living in apartment buildings to form great, neighborly friendships.
When you first move into a new place, though, figuring out exactly how to meet the neighbors can be kind of difficult. Obviously, just walking up and saying “hi” works, and that’s a time-honored way to break the ice. The best times to do this can be when someone’s walking in their apartment—because they might be in a rush when walking out. A chance elevator encounter always works, because there’s a captive audience. Keep the conversation short and sweet. Since these people live in the same building as you, you’ll have further opportunities to establish bonds down the road.
An Apartment Party Breaks the Ice
A great opportunity to do so is by throwing a party. When doing so, keep it simple. Clean your apartment beforehand, get some snacks (more than you think people will eat) and some refreshments and have a little meet and greet. The point here is to gather some people together who have at least one thing in common (living in an apartment) and see what else you have in common. Talk about your interests and see where the common ground lies with your neighbors. After all, great friendships are all built on these introductory moments—you never know where shared interests will lead!
If you’re in the market for an apartment for rent, the possibilities are endless. Consider looking at Dallas apartments, Phoenix apartments, Austin apartments, or Seattle apartments, which are all excellent, dynamic places to put your roots down in. Of course, those aren’t the only places you can move! Using our handy searching tools, you can find an apartment just about anywhere in the country. Best of all, if you do so using our website, you can earn up to $200 in renter rewards. That’s hard to beat.
An apartment gym can be a seriously sweet amenity. Apartments that include access to a community gym may be at the top of the list for many renters, and for good reason — they’re convenient and they can help you save money on a pricey monthly membership to a regular gym. Though typically small and basic, apartment gym facilities are a big plus for residents who dig pumping iron, riding a stationary bike or jogging on a treadmill.
Apartment Gym Etiquette
There are several unspoken rules you should keep in mind if you use an apartment gym:
- Make sure you clean up after yourself. Bring a towel to wipe up sweat from machines and benches, and if sanitizer and paper towels are provided, clean the gym equipment before and after you use it out of courtesy to the next person who will use it. You might also want to consider bringing a second, smaller towel for wiping sweat off your forehead.
- Don’t talk on your cell phone. Apartment gyms are small, and neighbors working out near you might be annoyed if they have to listen to your conversation. You can always step outside if you absolutely must take a call.
- If there are other people around, be careful that you don’t stay on a gym machine for too long — someone might be waiting for you to finish. Sometimes there will be a sign-up sheet or the management will post notifications regarding gym machine time limits, but if there isn’t anything posted, just use your best judgment.
- If you work out with free weights, put them back when you’re headed to another station or your apartment. Gym weights left on the floor can wind up hurting one of your neighbors.
- On a similar note, if you use a bar with weights on it, be sure and re-rack the weights. The gym patron who uses it after you may not be able to lift the amount you were lifting.
Find an Apartment with a Gym
Is all this talk about apartment gyms making you want to live somewhere that has one? We can’t blame you. Find an apartment that offers an apartment gym at ApartmentSearch.com, or search for an apartment for rent by state or city.
Lost key woes? It happens to the best of us. You come home only to find that you’ve lost your apartment key and have no way to get in. Maybe you were at work and left your keys at your desk, maybe you locked your keys in your car, or maybe they just vanished into thin air. No matter how it happened, it’s no fun to deal with a lost key.
First things first: Take a deep breath or three and let that sinking feeling pass — it’s going to be okay. Try to think about the last time you saw the lost key. Retrace your steps if you can. I left my apartment, got in my car, stopped by the gas station, got groceries and drove back home. So the keys must still be in my car or somewhere between my car and my front door.
We realize it may not be as simple as that. If you have a roommate, he or she may be your key to getting back in. Give them a call, as it could possibly save you money if your apartment management office’s policy is to charge for lost key situations. If you’ve been locked out during normal business hours and do not have a roommate who could let you in, stop by the apartment management office for help.
If it’s past normal business hours, try to remember what the policy is regarding lock-outs. Does your apartment management office have an emergency phone number or an after-hours contact number? Often, apartment complexes have someone available after hours who can be reached should you find yourself in the lost key dilemma.
Know the Lock-Out Policy Before Your Sign the Apartment Lease
One thing that can really help to prepare you for lost key situations is to find out what the complex’s policy is before you sign the lease. They should have it written out, and if you don’t see it or if it’s not clear, be sure to ask for clarification. Are there fees associated with getting someone to let you in? Will you be charged to re-key your locks? If you’ve lost your key late in the evening or early in the morning, would there be someone available to let you in?
Spare Keys May Help Avoid Apartment Lock-Outs
You should always check to see what your apartment’s policy is regarding copying keys, but if they allow it, it may be beneficial to make a copy of your apartment key for a trusted friend or family member who lives close by, just in case. While making several copies can potentially leave you more vulnerable to a break-in, giving a copy to someone you trust might really come in handy should you ever be locked out of your apartment.