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May 23, 2014

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Get Your Closet Organized This Fall: An Infographic

September 6, 2013

Can you believe it’s already almost fall? Many students are already sitting in their classrooms again – before we know it, the leaves will change colors, there will be an autumn chill in the air, and Halloween will be upon us.

With a new season around the bend, now is the perfect time to clean your closet. Whether you partook in some spring cleaning or not, the changing weather means now is a great time to go through your closet and storage all over again, whether to remove some clothes that are just too big or to switch out your entire summer wardrobe for some warmer layers.

Below are both photo and text resources to help you clean out your apartment, both courtesy of apartmentguide.com. Let us know in the comments if they help you during your fall cleaning spree!

Image courtesy of apartmentguide.com

As you switch out summer clothes for your colder-weather wardrobe, Lisa advises that you may be sitting on a stash of cash in the form of old outfits you no longer wear. Why not make some money as you declutter by selling items which are only taking up precious storage space in your apartment? (Hint: you can even sell clothing online!)

Remember, too, that you can save time by making your apartment a little easier to live in. The more effort you put in every day, the less time your cleaning work should take overall.

Good luck, fall cleaners!

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How To Use Pinterest & Instagram To Decorate Your Apartment

August 30, 2013
Image courtesy of apartmentguide.com

Love Instagram and Pinterest? Why not do more than use these sites to share and post pictures? You can incorporate your love for these great sites into your apartment decor!

Whether you want to use pictures that you really love or use the ones that you’ve taken and touched up yourself, Instagram and Pinterest are great resources to use when you begin decorating an apartment. Instagram in particular is a great way to use your own self-taken pictures in your apartment, since your photos are saved automatically into your phone’s camera roll.

So, how can you get started as you set out to decorate or redecorate using these two websites? Keep reading to see apartmentguide.com’s tips on the matter!

Set up your own photo shoot
When you set up your own special photo shoot, you can digitally capture the apartment decor you desire. Pick an afternoon to roam around your favorite local spots and let your city inspire your decorating project. Plan a photo session to capture subjects that fit into a personal theme of your choice. Find your favorite things, such as dogs, flowers, bicycles, historical sites, coffee, craft beer or whatever you fancy. If you don’t capture it all the first time around, book some more time. The more images you have to choose from, the better your decorating project.

Find and filter
Heavy-duty Instagrammers may already have an arsenal of awesome photos on their roll. Now your challenge is to categorize images that suit your personal decorating style. Pull together groups of snaps from a specific occasion or trip. Create broad categories like “best friends,” funny family photos or cool close-ups.

Once you’ve made your selections, it’s time to get crazy with Instagram’s awesome filters. These will make your photo display look like it was shot by a pro. There are a lot of filters to choose from, and new ones are being added every day. Play around and see which filter styles you like most. 1970s Polaroid? Solar flare? Sunset lighting? And you don’t have to pick just one: your art projects can each sport a different style.

You can also look for inspiration from other Instagram artists on lifestyle sharing sites like Pinterest.

Go wall out
So far, go good. You’ve got your most gorgeous images arranged into artful themes. Now, how do you print them? You can go DIY and pick up some fancy paper from the office supply store and print at home or get them professionally printed by uploading your images to an online printing company.

Persnickety Prints does a great job with small prints that are perfect for framing or hanging with clothespins from a linePrintstagram gives you even more options like organizing a whole raft of images to create a poster.CanvasPop is another neat print vendor that will print your images on an actual canvas. It’s like having a personal art gallery in your own home.

When you go this route, why not host an art opening to show off your decorating project to your pals?

Coaster-to-coaster decorating
Once you are out of wall space, spread your Instragram art around on other surfaces via these nifty coasters.Coastermatic prints your photos on round stone coasters, while Coastergram whips up a square version with cork backing. Heck, you don’t have to limit your personalized decor to your own apartment; you can give these as gifts and share your Instagram images with your friends face-to-face.

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Apartment Tip: Freshen Up With Houseplants

August 23, 2013

Sometimes our apartment begins to feel stuffier than usual. It can’t be helped, especially during the summer, when temperatures fluctuate and we can’t always comfortably open all of our windows for some fresh air. So what’s an apartment dweller looking to add a little freshness to their home to do?

Simple: get a couple houseplants! Houseplants, both in homes and in apartments, are a great way to freshen and purify your air while also sprucing up the look of your living area. It’s a win-win, especially during the summer, when the extra hours of daylight help plants flourish.

Already we can hear you wondering and asking questions like, what kind of plant should you get? How much care will a plant need? Where will be the best place to put one? Well, it’s time to start answering those questions! Check out this article from apartmentguide.com to learn more about the good a houseplant could do in your apartment and get some tips on selecting the plant you get:

Image courtesy of commons.wikipedia.org

Image courtesy of commons.wikipedia.org

What’s in the air?

Many people develop mysterious illnesses and allergies from the place they least expect: Their homes! That’s because we can be surrounded by toxins such as xylene,a pollutant found in paints and gluesbenzene, found in paints, glues, detergents, furniture wax, and tobacco smoke; formaldehyde, contained in processed wood products, foam insulation, some synthetic fabrics, cosmetics and shampoos; and perchloroethylene, or PERC, used by the majority of dry cleaners. These toxins usually enter our systems when we breathe them in as products off-gassing — what happens when material “breathes out” a level of pollution.

How do potted plants improve air quality?

NASA studies have shown that plants have the ability to balance indoor humidity, absorb excess carbon dioxide and pollutants through the tiny openings in their leaves, and release oxygen. They’re like living, breathing air purifiers, and they can be had for little money. What’s more, how many air purifiers can you think of that actually improve the look of any space they’re in?

6 houseplants that clean air

Now that you know how good plants can be for you and the air in your apartment, you’re probably eager to get started. Here are just a few of many plants that are known to improve the healthful atmosphere in your home:

Peace lilyThe peace lily is a heavy-hitter on all lists of healthful houseplants and is known to reduce benzene and formaldehyde. Easy to care for, the peace lily is an all-around powerful air-purifier and pollution-buster and looks pretty, too.

Marginata: This plant’s lovely red-edged leaves add color to your apartment while removing benzene and formaldehyde from the air, as well as filtering out other toxins. It’s also easy to care for.

Orchids: Considered a high-maintenance plant by the uninitiated, orchids are really quite hardy. They are effective at removing xylene from the air and releasing oxygen at night, making them a good bedroom plant. Orchids perform heavy-duty air cleaning while making your apartment look good.

Gerber daisies:These bright and cheerful flowers aresuper effective at removing trichloroethylene, another dry cleaning solution, and benzene from the air. Just give these plants lots of light and consider growing them in a laundry room or your bedroom, where they can do some of their best work.

Spider plant: This long-time favorite houseplant grows fast, with long, grassy leaves. It’s very effective at removing gases and toxins like xylene and formaldehyde from the air. Consider keeping it near the fireplace or in the kitchen to deal with carbon monoxide that can collect in these areas.

Ferns: Once standard-issue in ’70s restaurants, ferns are actually complex plants that have been around since prehistoric times. Their large feathery leaves are what work so well to clean the air of pollutants like toulene and xylene, which both are found in many paints, nail polishes and glues.

In the pursuit of healthier indoor air quality for your apartment, house plants should be your first line of defense. Bring some home today to beautify and detoxify your home.

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Approach Fort Collins With Fresh Eyes: Visit Like A Tourist

August 8, 2013
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Fort Collins, Colorado streetcar 21, a 1919 Birney-type streetcar, leaving the City Park terminus of the heritage trolley line that opened in December 1984.
Image courtesy of commons.wikipedia.org.

 

Sometimes it’s easy to forget that even our own home cities can be a great vacation spot or escape. If you don’t have the time to make a full week or even weekend trip elsewhere, then why not turn your home town into your vacation spot for the weekend?

Don’t think it’s possible? It is! Check out this great apartmenttherapy.com article for tips on how to enjoy your city like a tourist would:

  1. Go to the “Best”: Grab a food guide you respect and follow their recommendations. Exploring via food is a fun thing to do when on vacation, so why not try it at home? Besides, you know you’ve always wanted to drink that “best latte” and critique that “best pizza.”
  2. Get to the Top: One of the things that is at the top of most tourists’ list is to get to well, the top. This could mean climbing a local landmark or simply taking the escalator up to the top floor of a well known local skyscraper. Give this a try and see your city in a whole new light.
  3. Hop on the Bus: A dear friend who works in fashion swears that whenever she feels stressed out and overwhelmed there’s nothing like taking a double decker bus tour. I’ve taken her advice and must admit that I also found it pretty relaxing, and managed to learn a bit more about the place I call home. 
  4. Take a Historical Tour: Whether in the form of a walking tour or a tour through a landmark property, historical tours given by guides who know their stuff are a great way to discover more about your city. 
  5. Museum Blitz it Up: You know those passes that tourists buy so they can see several museums in one day? Well, don’t buy those — you can almost certainly get a better deal as a local with an annual membership — but do go on a museum blitz. In the rush of daily life it can be easy to overlook museum gems in your city, so take a weekend to visit a few of them and soak it all in. 

Need an idea on where to get started? Visit Fort Collins is a great resource when looking for everything from businesses to events to arts centers and more!

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Got Overripe Fruit? Don’t Toss It Just Yet!

August 8, 2013

Image courtesy of apartmenttherapy.com

It happens to the best of us: with summer in full swing and so many of our favorite fruits in season, we manage to buy a little much fruit at the local market or grocery store with every intention of eating it. All too soon it inevitably becomes a little too soft and squishy for our liking before we can even touch it.

Don’t toss that piece of fruit just yet, though! It may be useful yet. Keep reading to get 10 tips from apartmenttherapy.com on using ripe fruit before it goes completely bad:

1. Make Quick Bread: Of course, we all know brown bananas are great for banana bread. But peaches, nectarines, and strawberries are also great in breads, muffins, and scones, where the chopped or mashed fruit bakes into jammy little pockets.

2. Make Jam: Dana gave us a great strawberry refrigerator jam a while back. This quick jam is a great way to use overripe strawberries — or any other fruits that need using up!

3. Make a Crumble, Cobbler, or Pie: The best solution for fruits that are no longer quite so plump and pretty is to wrap them in some pastry! Use our templates for making Fruit Crumble or Fruit Pie, and sub in whatever fruit needs using up. 

4. Make Smoothies: Smoothies are always a good standby for using up fruit! It doesn’t matter how pretty they are as long as they still taste good. I even find that the concentrated flavor of over-ripe fruit makes especially tasty smoothies.

5. Make a Chunky Sauce for Pancakes or Sundaes: Give those syrupy, ripe fruits a rough chop — or even a smash with a potato masher — and you have an instant topping for pancakes or sundaes. Even better, fold the fruit right into the batter for fruit-filled pancakes.

6. Make a Sauce for Meat. Overripe fruit, if it hasn’t lost all of its juice, can still impart some good flavor to a sauce. Chop it into small bits (or whiz it in a blender) and add it to some chicken stock and balsamic vinegar to make a glaze or sauce for meat. You could even substituted it for the jam in our Chicken with Shallot-Apricot Sauce.

7. Make a Salad Dressing: If your fruit isn’t pretty enough to chop on top of your salad, put it in a blender with some olive oil, vinegar, herbs, and seasonings. It can make a fantastic, slightly sweet dressing for a salad, especially when you add some salty nuts or cheese.

8. Make Juice: If you have a juicer, your fruits can go right on in. If you don’t, try pureeing the fruit in a blender or food processor and straining it. The solids are great on top of yogurt and the juice can be drunk on its own or added to glasses of sparkling water.

9. Make Fruit Leather: This is especially good for fruits that have passed the squishy stage and gone to the wizened stage. Blend up the fruit and spread it in a thin layer on a Silpat or dehydrator rack — you can bake it at very low temperature in the oven until it’s leather-like or dehydrate it in a dehydrator.

10. Make Popsicles: Last but not least, we can make popsicles — one of my favorite afternoon snacks on a hot summer day. You can juice the fruit first and strain out the solids, but I love leaving some of the fruit a little chunky so that there are pieces to nibble.

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What Will Apartment Life Look Like In The Future?

August 2, 2013

Image courtesy of apartmentguide.com

Do you ever wonder how the apartment world may or may not change as we move into the future? This topic is definitely on the brains of many developers and leaders. Earlier this year at the No Place Like Home Conference in Anaheim, Calif., more than 230 leaders in urban development discussed what the future might hold for apartments and multi-unit housing.

An excerpt from an apartmentguide.com article reaveals insight into what at least one expert predicts the future may hold for apartments:

Joel Kotkin, author of The Next Hundred Million: America in 2050, believes that “the suburb of the future may well resemble more of a self-sufficient village than a prototypical suburb of the 1950s.”

So what would a self-sufficient apartment village look like?

Are suburbs the cities of the future?

A suburb will “increasingly not be limited to being a ‘bedroom’ community, since many will work at home or commute to employment in another suburb,” Kotkin added. “Its population will be far more diverse, by age and ethnicity, than its historic predecessor.”

In a keynote address during the PCBC homebuilding trade show, urbanist Richard Florida said “we have to get over this nonsensical verbiage of cities or suburbs; it’s cities and suburbs.” He also reminded his audience that “what people prefer is all the same: a safe, secure, crime-free environment; lots of economic opportunity; openness to all people; and quality of place.”

This all seems to boil down to the premise that future housing options will be more inclusive, all-encompassing, compact and efficient. The new apartment village will be more self-sufficient and able to fit the needs of many types of apartment dwellers.

Click here to read more of the article and learn about what the future might hold for apartment parking options, green living and more.

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Why Are More People Renting?

July 26, 2013

Image courtesy of quizzle.com

More people are renting now more than ever, and that trend is likely to consider into the future; the National Association of Realtors estimates that another 5 to 6 million families will join the ranks of renting households in the next 10 years.

But why exactly is this trend on the rise in a country that once placed high value on owning a house as part of the American dream? To find the answer, Apartmentguide.com explored some of the obvious — and not so obvious — reasons why Americans are choosing to forgo the housing market and rent long-term in a recent blog post:

Renting is the new buying

For many Americans, it seems that renting really is the new buying. In a post-recession economy, one might expect that renting has become popular because more people simply cannot obtain mortgages.

According to at least one real estate survey, that’s not necessarily true. Less than one third of renters cited an inability to get a mortgage as a reason to continue renting. 43 percent of renters said that they just don’t want to own homes. Another 39 percent reported that they plan to continue renting because they enjoy it.

For these Americans, a renting preference is likely driven by the flexibility and amenities that renting offers. It’s easier to move when you want, convenient to have a landlord who takes care of repairs, and nice to be able to afford living in the neighborhood you prefer.

For many renters in cities where the cost of living is high, renting allows them the option of choosing neighborhoods where they couldn’t afford to buy. Renting can be a realistic, reasonable long-term choice that allows for an enviable lifestyle.

Personal reasons to rent

There are also personal and philosophical reasons why it’s better to rent rather than buy a home. Freedom and flexibility are often cited by younger renters as reasons why they prefer a lease over a mortgage. While the idea of putting down roots and building a family nest through home ownership appeals to some, others see home ownership as a trap, a limiting life choice that locks them into a 30-year mortgage agreement and keeps them from moving around and exploring life.

For some, renting also means having more time to yourself. Have a broken dishwasher? Just call the apartment community maintenance department, and they’ll be up to fix it in a few hours — with no time or money spent on the renter’s behalf. Home maintenance is time-consuming and stressful, and renters enjoy knowing that the stress of tending to home maintenance doesn’t fall directly on them.

For these reasons and more, renting is becoming a very appealing lifestyle. The idea of home ownership as a rite of passage and a symbol that one has become an adult no longer holds true for everyone. While there are still many positive aspects to home ownership,  there are just as many reasons to rent, instead!

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Garden Without A Garden: 10 Ideas For Your Patio & Balcony

July 19, 2013

Maybe you really love flowers. Maybe you’re the kind of person that likes growing their own vegetables. Either way, if you want to have a garden, there’s no reason you shouldn’t.

Even if you don’t have a garden in the way we typically think of – a backyard or large plot of land – there’s no reason you can’t flex your green thumb. Even apartment dwellers can have their own mini garden. Don’t believe us? Check out these 10 tips from apartmenttherapy.com on how you can transform your patio or balcony into a garden:

1. Increase growing space on a tiny balcony with this DIY pallet garden.

2. Canning jars mounted to the wall are cute and practical.

3. Possibly the cheapest and easiest gardening idea I’ve seen yet…re-purpose an old shoe organizer.

4. Here’s another vertical solution. You could grow an entire salad.

5. Gutters easily mount to a wall or balcony railing for plants that don’t have deep roots.

6. This patio garden is made from a couple of galvanized tubs stacked together.

7. How to make a container water garden.

8. If you’re looking to grow larger plants, these self-irrigating planters made from plastic tubs are a great idea.

9. Linsey of LLH Designs planted herbs in wine boxes.

10. For those of you with no outdoor space, here are some tips for growing citrus indoors. Bonus: your apartment will smell amazing.

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Photo courtesy of apartmenttherapy.com

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Do you have a vision board?

July 12, 2013

 Do you have a vision board?

While we’re sure that a lot of people think about Pinterest when we talk about boards, a vision board, Pinterest is not. Pinterest is a fantastic, fun way to collect and browse through gorgeous pictures – but a vision board is something more.

Never heard of a vision board? Check out this excerpt from an apartmenttherapy.com blog post:

I’m no stranger to collaging. In middle school, my three-ring binders were plastered in colorful clippings from Seventeen and Jane. In AP English, we had to put together a poster that told the story of who we were — my mother keeps this mixed media masterpiece hanging in my old bedroom. And a little while ago, after weeks of collecting images, I finally sat down to create a vision board, a project that’s taken much more time than I imagined, but already feels worth it. Do you have one?

Though mine features some home and décor images, the vision board I’m talking about isn’t a style tray, mood board, or hard-copy version of Pinterest — it’s my dreams for the future.

The Secret, Oprah, and others have popularized vision boards as a way to utilize the Law of Attraction. By creating a visual image of your goals, your subconscious internalizes them and helps turn them into reality. Jen Sincero, author of the awesome no-nonsense self-help book, You Are A Badass, calls the process of creating a vision board “a craft day with God.”

Whether or not you believe in the G-man, the idea that action borne from positive energy will attract good things is definitely appealing. Realizing that you bought the exact home from your vision board or that it’s given you the motivation to plan a trip to your dream destination is a pretty great reward for the cost of a poster board and a glue stick.

Never created a vision board and want to? I suggest resisting the urge to print stuff from the Internet. Clipping from magazines add a lovely dose of serendipity. I took my time and ripped out any page that I had an emotional reaction to. I had more clippings than space on my board, so I only used the ones I felt most drawn to while gluing.

Once you’re done, hang the board where you’ll see it. My vision board is currently in my bedroom, where it’s the first and last thing I see each day.

Do you have a vision board – or do you prefer to stick to Pinterest?

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