There are a few things that you can do to maximize your apartment living experience. Check out our picks for the best apartment hacks to do just that:
Find out what you can upgrade and what you can’t – Your apartment should feel like home as much as possible. Find out what parts of the apartment you can upgrade and what you can’t. For example, things like shower heads or black out curtains are little upgrades that can make a world of difference in your quality of life. Upgrade as much as you possibly can to maximize your living situation.
Make cooking easy – Here are some office favorites that make cooking and preparing meals quick(er) and easy(er): crock pot, Foreman grill, NutriBullet, and rice cooker. Any and all of these are definitely worth investing in, in our humble opinion. They are relatively affordable, you can get pretty much any of these for under $100 and they will definitely make life easier for those culinary challenged individuals.
Newspaper over paper towels – Yep, you read that correctly. We’re taking a page out of Big Daddy and ditching the paper towels for some good old fashioned newspapers… not for everything though, just for cleaning windows. For some inexplicable reason, newspapers leave your windows streak free.
Remove extraneous light bulbs/invest in energy efficient ones – This is a small, easy hack that can pay huge dividends in the long term. How many of those bathroom lights do you really need to have? Or the ones connected to the ceiling fan? Remove a few to keep the energy bill down and replace all others with energy efficient bulbs. You’ll be amazed at how low your electricity bill will be. We’re going to sound like Mom here, but don’t forget to turn off the light as you leave each room too. Your wallet will thank you later.
For decorating/furniture: Frequent the dollar stores, garage sales, swap meets, Craigslist – You can pay full price, but you definitely shouldn’t. Especially if this is your first foray into apartment living/decorating. Maybe Craigslist scares you off a bit, but there are some great deals to be had in dollar stores and especially in garage sales and swap meets. Make an early morning/afternoon activity of it. There are definitely bargains for quality items you can take advantage of if you look hard enough. We’ve made away like bandits at our fair share of rummage sales and swap meets especially for things like art and furniture pieces.
Get on a cleaning/chores schedule or develop a system that works – One of the hardest things to do with an apartment, no matter what the size, is keeping it clean and tidy. You’d be surprised at how long at it takes to clean an entire apartment (think an entire day or more). No one wants to spend their valuable time cleaning their entire apartment on the weekend or day off. Get on a schedule so your living space doesn’t get out of control. Maybe you dedicate one chore every Saturday or Sunday morning that rotates every week… this week it’s vacuuming, next week it’s the bathroom. You know yourself best so come up with a system that works for you. One of the better tips we heard of is to have people over often… it forces you to keep up your apartment!
Your apartment extends beyond your unit – If you think your living situation is limited to just your particular apartment unit, think again. Research or get as much info on the complex itself and the surrounding area. You don’t want to be living in a complex filled with rambunctious college kids if you’re raising a young family looking for a peaceful environment. Also, research the surrounding area. There are countless horror stories of people thinking they got the perfect apartment only to find out a litany of problems with the surrounding area; traffic, loiterers, homeless people, train tracks, freeway noise, police station, etc.
Be nice to your property manager AND neighbors – This one seems like a no brainer, but it is absolutely key. You never know when you’ll need a favor (neighbors), some emergency maintenance done, or maybe even an extension on rent. Whatever the circumstance, you want to make sure you’re on your landlord/property manager’s good side. If you have a history of being a great tenant, they’re less likely to raise your rent, lag on fixing things, etc.
Read the reviews – The best thing you can do BEFORE moving into a new apartment is reading reviews of the complex, apartment managers. You definitely want to know beforehand if management tends to be shady, lags with maintenance issues, cares for the safety of their tenants, etc.