1st Lake Blog

Simple Ways to Start De-Cluttering Your Space

We are all guilty of letting things get a little cluttered at home sometimes. A kitchen counter stacked high with unopened mail… Clean clothes piled up on a bedroom chair… A bathroom cabinet filled with dated toiletries and barely-used beauty products…

You are not alone. The clutter can become a problem if you continue to let it happen, though. Guests might feel uncomfortable sitting in a living room area with a shoe collection a Kardashian would be jealous of. A dining room lined with reusable shopping bags isn’t a great place to host friends for game night. Visitors might not enjoy sharing a bedroom with exposed stacks of old papers and file folders you were “getting around to clearing.” Before it gets too bad, it can get a lot better! Not only will your loved ones feel more welcome in your tidy space, you’ll feel more confident in hosting them in your spacious and neat 1st Lake home!

Start New Habits. Slowly.

It would be pretty stressful and exhausting to try and organize everything at once! According to Zen Habits, “When your home is filled with clutter, trying to tackle a mountain of stuff can be quite overwhelming. So here’s my advice: start with just five minutes. Baby steps are important. Sure, five minutes will barely make a dent in your mountain, but it’s a start. Celebrate when you’ve made that start!”

Want to go even further than just organizing your mail? Open it as soon as you get it! That way you can quickly discard unimportant letters. You might also be opening something that needs your immediate attention!

Zen Habits then suggests starting with your paper possessions like mail, magazines, and important documents. First, sort through and designate a home for that disheveled mail pile. If you have a console in your entryway, consider adding a small tray with tall sides to the table. If you really want to organize your mail, add a few trays to the table – one for important mail and bills, one for junk mail or magazines, and one for outgoing mail. No room for a table or console? There are plenty of wall-based organization products you can hang up in your entryway to hold your keys, bags, sunglasses, and yes, your mail!

If five minutes isn’t enough, Apartment Therapy guest-professional organizer, Nicole Anzia says, “It’s much better to spend a few hours — 2 or 3 — on one project or space. This way you’ll feel motivated to do more, not be burned out by the process.”

Go Room by Room

How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. If you have de-cluttering goals for every room in your house, it’s best to go one room at a time. That way you can focus entirely on that room’s purpose and specific de-cluttering needs instead of half-starting your work then bouncing around to other rooms.

Sort your kids’ art area by category, throw away scraps and empty paint bottles, and create designated areas for each supply.

Use this room-by-room guide by The Spruce to hit the ground running on your de-cluttering efforts!

Accomplish Each Goal in Its Entirety

Whether it’s the 5-minute task of organizing your mail pile or the 3-hour task of cleaning out your closet, you’ve got to finish what you’ve started. Sure, it might make you anxious. It might feel too overwhelming. It might keep you from doing something social. But the feeling of accomplishment and achievement well surpasses any feelings of stress!

If you know you’re absolutely going to wear it, keep it. If you’re on the fence or you haven’t worn it in years, it’s best to donate it!

You’ll be proud you put away your living room line-up of shoes. You’ll be proud you organized that tangled mess of electronics cords and earphones. You’ll be proud you donated your clothes and shoes to people in need. Once you start adjusting to these new habits and routines, you’ll never look back! Starting small will open the door to more efficient habits, so don’t be afraid to tidy up, organize, and de-clutter! You’ll love the space you created yourself!

The Best Ways to Use Essential Oils in Your Home

Essential oils have become a popular addition to self-care regimens, but they’re also useful for a number of household needs. So, what is an essential oil? According to Wikipedia, they’re “concentrated hydrophobic liquids containing volatile aroma compounds from plants.” Essential oils have been traditionally used for aromatherapy, but more and more people are incorporating them into their day-to-day lives. The great thing about these concentrated liquids is their versatility. They’re also a great natural alternative to chemical cleaners.

Essential Oils To Use

Lavender is one of our favorite essential oils for cleaning our homes and healing our skin!

There are dozens of essential oils you can choose from, but there are a few specific options that are ideal for home use. According to Keeper of the Home, they are:

  • Lavender
  • Eucalyptus
  • Lemon
  • Peppermint
  • Frankincense
  • Tea Tree
  • Oregano
  • Wild Orange

Lavender is a staple scent, and you can find lavender perfumes and house sprays at almost any home goods store. It’s a soothing scent, but it’s also a great topical agent for fresh cuts. It acts as an antibacterial serum when applied undiluted. Burned yourself cooking? Apply lavender to ease the pain. Heading out to walk down one of our garden paths? Use it to ward off insects as a natural repellant.

If you combine 5 drops of eucalyptus and 5 drops of tea tree oil to a 16-ounce water bottle, you have a mold-fighting bathroom spray that smells great. Lemon oil disinfects quick, which can prolong the life of your dish sponges, and it disintegrates stubborn substances like wax, sticker residue, and gum.  Peppermint can keep bugs away from your home. Use a cotton swab to brush your windows and doors with the crisp, minty oil and those flying pests will stay away.

You can find essential oils in pharmacies and supermarkets across the area. There are also boutiques that create proprietary oils if you prefer an immersive experience.

Tea tree oil has a lot of great topical uses, but it’s also an amazing antifungal and antibacterial cleaning option. Mix it with water and lemon oil to clean your high traffic areas with ease. After you’re done fighting germs, soothing burns, and stopping bugs from invading your space, take your favorite scent and diffuse it for a relaxing end to your essential oil home improvement project. You deserve it!

Apartment Living Tips: Kitchen Organization Space Saving Hacks

One of the most frequently used rooms in any home or apartment is the kitchen, but for many people, it can also be one of the most stressful. Sometimes it feels like there just isn’t enough room to prep and cook dinner or store all of your dishes and pantry items.

Organizing a kitchen properly can not only make the kitchen neater, but more practical. By incorporating a few simple space saving hacks, you can create a much more peaceful and enjoyable kitchen experience.

A sleek, modern kitchen with plenty of cabinet space awaits you at our brand new Artesia apartment community in Covington, LA.

A sleek, modern kitchen with plenty of cabinet space awaits you at our brand new Artesia apartment community in Covington, LA.

Organize Your Pantry

If your kitchen pantry has no rhyme or reason to it, it can quickly get out of control if you’re not careful. When this happens, food items, spices, paper products and anything else you keep in your kitchen pantry can become disorganized, messy and hard to find. There are simple ways to tidy up the kitchen pantry and keep it neat so you never have to worry about kitchen clutter again.

Pantry Organizers

Start by purchasing different sized plastic or metal baskets to sort pantry products. Use these to separate pastas, oils, cereal, rice and grains, pet food, tea and coffee, bread and anything else in different bins with labels.

First, remove all items from your pantry and set them on the kitchen counter or table while you wipe down the surfaces inside of the pantry. Throw away anything that is old, empty or that you’re not going to use. Then start sorting the items into the different baskets or bins, except for canned food. After placing the pantry organizer bins on the kitchen pantry shelf, make a spot for the canned food. It’s useful to not only organize items into bins, but organize the bins together by shelf.

After organizing, sorting, and labeling the goods in your kitchen pantry, you’ll be surprised how easy it is to find food you forgot existed. No more thinking you don’t have any groceries in your kitchen when they’re clearly visible right there in front of you!

Keep Your Counters Clear

Keeping your counters clear is key to maintaining your kitchen sanity. Counter space is useful for all sorts of everyday kitchen tasks, from cutting vegetables to making a sandwich. A well-organized kitchen should include plenty of clean counter space.

Wall Hooks

Hooks are great for freeing up counter space. You can find anything from small hooks for coffee mugs to large hooks for pots and pans. If you have nice copper or stainless steel pots, you can show them off. Hanging your kitchen supplies is a great way to functionally decorate. But remember, these hooks can only be hung in our apartments with finishing nails!


There are several magnetic kitchen storage devices that can keep important items out of your way. Magnetic knife strips are a great way to keep knives easily accessible and off the counter tops. Try a custom wooden option like this one. You can also incorporate a DIY magnetic spice rack into your decor. These spice racks are fun, unique, and free up plenty of cupboard space.

Open Storage

If you find yourself needing more cabinet space, look for a cute bookcase or china cabinet to keep near the kitchen. You can use it to store items like pretty glassware, dry food stored in matching jars, cookbooks, and indoor plants. A bookcase can make for beautiful decoration while serving a valuable, space-saving purpose.

Streamline Your Drawer Dilemma

Kitchen drawers often become a place to toss all sorts of things, but with a little planning, your drawers can feel much more orderly.

Drawer Organizers

Everyone has that wretched “everything” drawer filled with scissors, random envelopes, and soy sauce packets. Use utensil trays, small plastic bowls or baskets, and drawer separators to keep everything in its place and easy to find.

With an open floor plan like this one at Artesia apartments, you'll want to keep your kitchen tidy and organized!

With an open floor plan like this one at Artesia apartments, you’ll want to keep your kitchen tidy and organized!

Enjoy Your Kitchen!

After you’re all done organizing your kitchen, get creative and pick a recipe you’ve been wanting to try out. Cooking with a clean canvas is always the best way!

Enjoy ample kitchen pantry space at 1st Lake’s apartment communities, like the Artesia apartment community in Covington. The modern, state of the art kitchens at Artesia feature energy efficient appliances with double stainless steel sinks, multi-tone granite counter tops, and custom cabinetry.

If you’re looking for a more spacious and modern kitchen to cook in and clean, check out the available metro New Orleans apartments from 1st Lake Properties!

Don’t Forget to Spring Clean These Unexpected Spots

Chances are that after Mardi Gras, most people’s apartments could use a good scrubbing. There’s no better feeling than a clean space, but it’s easy to forget to clean certain areas. We’ve collected a list of spring cleaning tips focused on commonly forgotten areas – give these places a good scrubbing, and you’ll notice a difference in your home’s overall appearance and feel while also reducing germs, dirt, and grime.

A sparklingly clean kitchen at Surf Rider apartments in Metairie.

Unexpected Spots to Clean

Crevices between Appliances

Have you noticed crumbs or food stuck in the tiny gap between your oven range and countertop? Use a crevice attachment on your vacuum or a long, thin duster to capture grime between nooks and crannies.

Tops of Appliances

Just because you can’t see it doesn’t mean it’s not there. Dirt and dust can accumulate on top of appliances like microwaves, refrigerators, and stove vents – clean these areas to remove months of buildup in one simple swipe!

Ceiling Fan

Similarly to the tops of appliances, ceiling fans can collect dust and grime on the tops of their blades. Use the pillowcase trick so that dust doesn’t fall onto the floor!


Did you know your television remote control could be one of the germ-covered items in your home? Use a disinfectant wipe or spray to clean between the buttons and on the front and back of the remote. Remember to clean other oft-handled small appliances, too, like keyboards and tablets.

Salt and Pepper Shakers

Have you ever cleaned your salt and pepper shakers individually? Probably not – but you should! Like the remote or shared tablet, salt and pepper shakers are used by everyone in the household every day.

Soap Dispenser

Similar to salt and pepper shakers, your soap dispenser is an oft-used item that can accumulate germs and grime. Wipe it down each time you clean your kitchen or bathroom countertops.

House Plants

Use a duster on house plants like orchids or ferns. The plants will immediately look brighter and refreshed, plus you’ll be removing surface dirt and grime!

Inside the Fridge

Don’t wait until move-out day to give the fridge a frantic scrub-down. Take your time wiping the insides of all drawers and shelves, and you’re guaranteed to smile every time you open the fridge. You can also refer to these five all-natural methods for cleaning the fridge.


Even if you vacuum and wash the floors, you’ll see a big difference visually if you take the time to wipe down your baseboards with a damp cloth. Dust and small hairs can accumulate easily on baseboards, sullying the overall look of your floors.

Keep It Clean With More Easy Tips

Be sure to read up on more easy cleaning hacks here on our blog, or visit our Pinterest board dedicated to apartment organization and cleaning tips for ideas you can use throughout your apartment!

Must Know Refrigerator Organization Tips

Do you find yourself practically playing a game of Tetris to fit all of your groceries into your refrigerator? Whether you have a smaller fridge or just more refrigerated items than you know what to do with, don’t stress.

How To Organize Your Fridge

There are ways to create more space to make room for everything that needs to be refrigerated. Start with these fridge organization hacks, and read on for the best places to store everything inside your refrigerator:

There are ways to create more space to make room for everything that needs to be refrigerated. Start with these fridge organization hacks, and read on for the best places to store everything inside your refrigerator.

There are ways to create more space to make room for everything that needs to be refrigerated. Start with these fridge organization hacks, and read on for the best places to store everything inside your refrigerator.

Remove packaging

This is a quick and easy fix for products that are taking up more room than necessary. Many products like rice or prepared food come sealed in a bag inside a large, bulky box. By eliminating the packaging, less space will be needed to store the item in the refrigerator.

Cleanse your fridge

Chances are, you have a lot of products that have been sitting in your refrigerator, neglected for a long period of time. Most likely these items include salad dressing and condiments, wilting produce, half-empty bottles of flat soda, frozen popsicles or prepared meals, just to name a few. Make a habit of routinely cleaning out your fridge to throw out the items that have expired or spoiled.

To keep the surfaces of your refrigerator clean, lay down some easily removable cling film on each shelf of your refrigerator to catch spills and crumbs, and remove them and replace as needed.

Organize your groceries

Smartly utilize your refrigerator space by separating different types of food in designated baskets, like condiments, greens, dairy, fruit and meat. Label the containers to keep to a consistent system going and for quick and easy access.

Best Places To Put Everything In Your Fridge:

Did you know that there is a correct method for organizing your fridge and making the most out of your groceries? Follow these tips to maximize your food’s freshness and save money in the process!

On Top of the Fridge

Store things like cookbooks, paper towels and appliances on top of your fridge. NEVER store bread, wine or produce on top of your refrigerator.

Refrigerator Doors

The door is the warmest part of your fridge, so use it to store products that aren’t as sensitive to temperature, such as confinements and sauces, juice, pickles, sodas and bottled water.

Refrigerator’s Upper Shelves

The upper shelves of your fridge have a consistent cold temperature perfect for storing leftovers, drinks, ready-to-eat prepared foods and herbs.

Refrigerator’s Lower Shelves

The lower shelves of your refrigerator are the coldest part of your fridge, which makes them ideal for keeping your milk, eggs, dairy products and raw meat safe.

Crisper Drawers

Your refrigerator has two crisper drawers for a reason. These are made for storing fruits and vegetables separately.

Other Fridge Storage Tips

There are certain things you NEVER want to refrigerate, including tomatoes, onions, squash and potatoes.

Many items in your kitchen pantry can be stored in your fridge if you prefer, like nuts, peanut butter and almond butter, flour and natural oils. Some medications and beauty products are also best when refrigerated.

How does your fridge stack up?

1st Lake Properties offers spacious kitchens with modern appliances at our many convenient New Orleans area apartments that will make refrigerator organization a breeze.