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Natural Ways to Clean Your Apartment

From adding indoor plants to creating less waste, there are plenty of small ways to have a healthy and happy apartment. But if you want to take things a step further, you can switch to healthy, chemical-free cleaning products to keep your apartment clean!

Here are a few of our favorite natural cleaning products for you to try in 2020! 

Credit: from thekitchn.com, Cat Meschia

Castile Soap: Traditionally, castile soap is made from plant-based oils like olive oil or avocado oil, which makes this as natural of a cleaner as you can get. However, when searching for this multi-purpose, non-toxic cleaning agent, it’s imperative that you look for the label “100% pure.” To reap the natural benefits of this soap, you’ll need to read the ingredients list to ensure nothing harmful has been added to the mixture. Nearly any health and food store today sells castile soap in both liquid and bar soap form!  

Why castile? Some of the known benefits of switching over to castile soap:

  1. It’s a multi-purpose cleaner! From your face wash to your dish wash, you can rest assured that castile soap will meet all of your cleaning needs!
  2. It doesn’t contain fillers and toxins that traditional soap brands use. 
  3. It’s safe for sensitive skin and naturally hydrating. This means: no more chapped hands when cleaning your kitchen counters or washing your dishes!

Branch Basics: This company of all-natural cleaning products comes to us from a trio of ladies with truly inspiring stories about overcoming chronic sickness by eliminating harmful toxins in their homes! Their journey sparked a “positive rebellion” to make clean, healthy products. Head to their “our story” section to feel all the inspirational feels.

Why Branch Basics:

  1. You can clean just about anything in your home with their one concentrate cleaner! From your kitchen to you bathroom and laundry, this cleaner will get the job done. 
  2. They have a non-toxic laundry detergent that claims to even detox clothes previously washed in conventional detergents! Plus, you can add Branch Basics to your dishwasher!
  3. A Branch Basics Starter Kit comes with the concentrate as well as these adorable spray bottles that help distinguish between bathroom, kitchen and laundry! *Bonus perk: you can try it for just $5 before purchasing an entire kit. Head to their site to learn more!

Photo: Branch Basics

Common Good: Founded in 2011, this company set out to “reduce the amount of single-use plastic generated by household soaps and cleaners…We created a range of reusable plastic and glass bottles that can be refilled at our refill stations located nationwide.” From laundry detergent to scrub brushes, you can buy these green, sustainable products directly from their website

Why Common Good:

  1. Their soaps are safe, green and refillable! Plus, they really work! 
  2. Their products are even safe on kids and pets.
  3. Their Clean Kitchen set comes with everything you need, including an adorably minimalist aesthetic. 

Photo: Clean Kitchen Set from Common Good Website


Spring Cleaning: How To Deep Clean Your Apartment

It’s springtime, and that means it’s time to give your apartment the deep clean it deserves. Soon, you’ll be having family gatherings and dinner parties with friends, and the relaxed housekeeping techniques you used during your winter hibernation will need to change.

Read on for the best ways to deep clean the rooms in your apartment.

The Living Room

Your living room is a notorious location for dust. That’s why dusting is priority number 1 here. 

Using a duster, dust the living room from top to bottom. We mean that literally: start by dusting the corners of the ceiling, move to picture frames, tabletops and furniture, and then thoroughly dust the baseboards. After you’ve systematically dusted the room, move on to the door frames. 

Next, use a rag, water, and furniture polish to scrub down any chair/couch legs and tabletops. Once you’ve cleaned all the hard surfaces, use your vacuum hose attachment to remove debris from all cushions and crevices. Next, vacuum the carpet and mop any wood flooring. 

The Kitchen

First, use the same dusting process you used in the living room.

Next, explore the refrigerator. Chances are you’ll need to throw out some expired food and clean some spills. Scrub the interior of the refrigerator thoroughly, and wipe it down with a dry towel.

Using disinfectant, scrub all appliances (stove, oven, microwave, etc.) with the same care that you cleaned the refrigerator. Afterwards, disinfect all kitchen surfaces so that you can cook in a sterile environment. Finish cleaning the kitchen by mopping the floor. 

The Bedroom

Winter coats, furry sweaters, thick scarves–these things can take up a lot of space in your closets and dressers. Fold ’em up in an air tight space bag and place them on the top shelf of your closet! Have items you know you’ll never wear again? Pack those up too and bring them to your local donation center.

Next, your bed. Let’s clear the air and admit: we’ve all shoved things under our beds right before company comes over. But today is the day you tackle that beast. Take a few minutes to climb under there and remove any items you find. You might just stumble upon that other sock you’ve been looking for or that sandwich you made a few weeks ago (we won’t tell). Trash what’s trash and re-organize what’s important.

Curtains and carpet: we hope you clean these items more than just once a year, but in the event that you don’t, it’s time to start. Give your carpets a deep vacuum to remove any pet hair, human hair, dust, and dirt. There’s nothing like fresh vacuum lines marking the trail of your cleanliness. Curtains are the next thing you will want to vacuum. Grab your handheld vacuum for this task. Then from top to bottom, bust that dust!    

The Bathroom

Dust all necessary items, just like the living room and the kitchen.

Use a glass cleaner to make your mirror shine! Disinfect the counters and sink.  Scrub the shower/tub area with a mild cleaner like distilled vinegar, and use mildew spray if necessary afterward. Wash or replace your shower curtain if necessary.

Tackle the toilet bowl with toilet bowl disinfectant. Make sure to clean the handle and seat. 

Last, mop the floor, and enjoy your fresh bathroom!

Other Resources

There are plenty of other sites that have great tips on giving your apartment a deep clean. Try Apartments.com, BuzzFeed, and U-Pack for more great cleaning advice.

Once your apartment is clean as a whistle, start inviting your friends to your apartment with pride!


1st Lake’s Tips To Make Downsizing Easier

Have you ever downsized? In case you haven’t — simply put, downsizing refers to moving to a smaller apartment or home. 

Over the last few years, minimalism has become a trend among millennials and others attempting to simplify their lives as a reaction to the fast-paced, cluttered lives that we lead. People also downsize in order to use fewer natural resources. Or, they’d just like to focus and compartmentalize their lives based on their top priorities.

No matter what, downsizing requires a lot of organization. This post will give you a few tips on how to make downsizing easier. Read on for more!

Get Rid of the Clutter

This process can be difficult. After determining how much space you’ll have in your new place, you’ll probably realize that you need to get rid of a lot of your stuff. 

The easiest way to make these decisions is to plan ahead. If you intend to toss or donate your excess personal items, you should give yourself plenty of time to track how much you actually use the things that you own. Observe the parts of your wardrobe that you didn’t touch for a month, six months, or a year. Do the same thing for the items in every room. 

Which kitchen utensils haven’t been touched? What furniture hasn’t been used? Do you notice any items on your grocery list that you regularly don’t end up using?

After creating this list, bite the bullet and be ruthless about de-cluttering your space. Give away what you can and toss the rest.

Measure Your New Home

This is pretty simple. Make sure you have exact measurements of every room in your new place. There’s no bigger pain than realizing your furniture won’t fit after you bring it up three flights of stairs. 

Make a List of Items You Can’t Do Without

This is a slightly different process than de-cluttering your home. 

Imagine yourself in an emergency scenario — any other situation where you have to leave your house with a very limited amount of time to prepare. Or, simply keep the term “bare necessities” in mind as you meticulously take an inventory of your possessions.  

These are the kinds of items to hold onto:

  • Family heirlooms
  • Important prescription medication
  • First aid kits
  • Expensive or meaningful artwork
  • A few important books
  • Private records and personal information (digital or hard copy)

Another trick, suggested by House Beautiful Magazine, is to categorize your possessions and ask yourself this question about every category: “If I could only take 5 of these with me, which 5 would I take?” 

The maximum number of items may change depending on the category. For example, a 3-item cap on paintings makes more sense than a 3-item cap on forks. 

Avoid Purchasing Unnecessary Items

Moving to a new place is an exciting event. It’s a time for a fresh start, and sometimes we get carried away with trying to reinvent ourselves by changing our surroundings. 

Something you want to avoid is buying items to complement your new home — and the “new you” — that end up ruining all the hard work you’ve done to de-clutter and optimize your use of space. For more tips on avoiding unnecessary purchases, check out this guide from Nationwide.

After all, it’s important to remember that “downsizing” means your home will be smaller. And you may have many reasons for your new lifestyle, but part of the process is acknowledging that you can’t fit everything you currently own into your downsized living space.

Learn More About 1st Lake’s Floorplans, Seasonal Promotions, and More Today!

Contact us today to learn about our wide variety of locations and amenities, and let us help you find the perfect home in one of our gated apartment communities!


Where to Donate Clothes and Household Items in the New Orleans Area

Every so often, it becomes time to get rid of the old to make room for the new. This applies to household items and wardrobes as well. 

If your closet has become too cluttered lately, you might want to consider donating items of clothing that you no longer wear. There are plenty of ways to dispense of your retired outfits and make some space for your new ones. 

Take an inventory of your possessions and look for items that you don’t really use anymore that you can pass on to others in need. After you’ve gone through your drawers and closets and sorted your discarded items in a donation section, there are a few ways to get them off your hands. 

Listed below are a few different ways to have a get-together, turn a profit, or make a charitable donation with your unused clothes and household items.

Shelters 

Community shelters in your area are a great option for donating your clothes and household items. Shelters can always use donations, and there will always be people who are in need of clothing and other items.

Below are some shelters in the New Orleans area:

  • Bridge House/Grace House – 4243 Earheart Blvd & 7901 Airline Dr
  • New Orleans Mission – 1134 Baronne St
  • New Orleans Women & Children’s Shelter – 2020 S Liberty St

Online

We live in a digital era where most things are done online. Freecycle, Craigslist, and eBay are free and easy online tools you can use to give away your old clothes or appliances. You can manage the entire process by listing the items you want to give away for free or sell, and coordinate your own shipping or delivery.

Clothing Swaps 

Another great way to pass on your unwanted items to someone who might be happy to take them, plus discover some new treasures of your own, is to participate in a clothing swap. A clothing swap is a gathering of people who contribute clothing that doesn’t fit or that they don’t need anymore, and anyone can take someone else’s clothing if they choose. Host your own and invite family and friends!

Salvation Army

The Salvation Army, located at 4526 S Claiborne Ave, is always a great option. They are a social services organization that accepts all types of donations to sell for a discounted price.

Let 1st Lake Help You Find a Great New Orleans Apartment!

Looking for a great New Orleans area apartment? Check out what’s available at our Metairie, Kenner and River Ridge locations!


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!”

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.

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!

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!