Apartment living, at first glance, can seem almost deceitfully easy to keep clean and maintain. For the most part, apartment living does make it easier to stay organized and maximize space. However, apartments can descend from havens of tidiness and efficiency to messy chaos quite quickly without a watchful eye. This can occur because of the space of your apartment, your busy lifestyle, or having visitors. With a little elbow grease and a plan of attack, you can turn your messy apartment into a tidy living space in no time.
If you aren’t in the habit of cleaning regularly, your apartment has probably accumulated dirt and grime in places you never think about. It’s important to get at the deeply embedded dust and dirt first to maximize future cleanings. To leave that old dirt behind would make any future cleaning you do fairly ineffective. Places like ceiling fans, window shades, air vents, and those cracks between the stove and counter tops can be oft forgotten and therefor prime candidates for collected dirt.
You should remove everything from your shelves and cabinets to clean them. Picking up items and dusting or wiping as you go will lead to spotty work and missed spots. You might also consider washing or dusting the items on your shelves before replacing them back to their original spots. If you find yourself with an abnormal amount of dust in your apartment, check your air filter and replace it if it’s overdue. Old air filters can collect dust that will disperse throughout your apartment, making it harder to maintain.
Deciding your first area of attack can be difficult. Often, when looking over a messy apartment, the task can seem overwhelming. Most likely, you’ll want to first take care of things that are creating bad smells first. Take out the garbage (and clean your trash can, if necessary), clean out any rotten or moldy food from the refrigerator, empty out any old containers of food and wash them thoroughly, make sure kitchen sponges aren’t stinky, and if you have pets, clean their areas.
Litter boxes, puppy pads and bird cages, for example, can really become a mess if they aren’t given enough attention. Once you take care of obviously problem areas that create smells, the entire freshness of your apartment changes for the better. With larger problems like smelly areas and deeply embedded dirt already cleaned, the rest of your cleaning might look much easier.
Whether you live alone, with a partner, or with roommates, setting aside time to clean will help keep the mess from piling up. Creating a plan with housemates can help alleviate cleaning stress and keep each person accountable if you live with others. Try giving each person his or her own workday, specific tasks, or particular rooms to keep clean.
Whatever system you choose, make sure the apartment is cleaned once a week. It doesn’t take long for clothes to pile up on the floor, garbage to overflow, or dishes to fill the sink. If you tackle the mess at least once a week, cleaning will become a simple matter of maintenance instead of a chaotic emergency.
Once you’ve taken the time to clean and organize your apartment, take the time to enjoy it! Having a clean apartment means you’ll be more comfortable, and you won’t have to scramble if guests come over without much notice. In the end, your apartment should feel like home. What better way to treat yourself than to relax after a hard day in a clean, cozy space that you can call your own?
The kitchen is a beloved oasis in any home, yet in a shared space, the kitchen has the explosive potential of a minefield to blow relationships asunder. A grimy, funky, kitchen can divide even the closest of roomies, so it’s important to follow a few general rules of thumb when it comes to caring for shared rooms in a home. Check out a few of the suggestions below and it may just save your friendship!
The Dreaded Dirty Dishes
Mother Goose must’ve been inspired by someone like my old roommate because the pots and pans that accrued in our old sink could’ve grown legs and run off with the dish and the spoon. That is to say, unless your roommate is a mycologist, the sink is no place for experimental growth.
To address such a problem with your own housemate, it’s best to talk things out. Try to work out a schedule to share responsibility. If you prefer each roommate wash their own dishes, set a time limit of one or two hours after each meal that dishes can remain in the sink.
If problems with dishes persist, biodegradable, single-use cutlery and plates are available at just about any grocery store.
In most apartments, kitchen counter space is at a premium. For this reason it’s important to respectfully share space. Save space by keeping cookbooks on a separate bookshelf and keep appliance cords tucked out of the way. Lingering grocery bags and food items also take up valuable space, so put items in drawers or cupboards as soon as you get home from the store.
Odor vs. Aroma
Like so many rooms, the kitchen can smell delightful or appalling. A weekly cleaning will keep general scum at bay and will prevent creepy crawlers from foraging for leftovers in your kitchen.
Food odors are a little trickier. Badly burnt food items, for example, have a terrible odor and should be removed from the kitchen immediately after you ensure the item is not on fire. This might sound silly, but often an item can continue smoldering after it hits the trash. This is especially true of grease fires – don’t douse these in water, as it might spread the flames. Instead use baking soda to extinguish the flames.
The odor of burnt food isn’t the only off-putting kitchen smell, however. Some individuals have strong aversions to scents such as grease, popcorn, or curry; if your housemate has a sensitive nose, be considerate of their opinion. Cook the offending item when your roommate isn’t home and turn on kitchen fans to ensure plenty of ventilation.
If one’s home is a castle, the bathroom is surely the all-important throne room. As such, it is only appropriate that this space is outfitted with finery befitting a king! Luckily for modern gentry, the amenities available for one’s bathroom are markedly more posh than medieval. Consider adding a few of the gizmos below to your throne room to add a little royal treatment to your daily routine.
The warmth and tranquility of a soothing hot shower are qualities likely to put one’s mind at ease. With the chattering of the day’s activities locked securely outside the door, the bathroom provides a haven for the mind to wander at leisure. As such, you might have a great idea or two, too, while you’re relaxing. But what can you do with an idea you have in the shower?
Two words – waterproof notepad! AquaNotes has designed such a notepad, complete with suction cup backing to secure the pad to a shower wall. There’s even a pencil included with a suction cup holder to mount alongside the pad.
Liquid is the favored state of soap in the modern day, but the Kikkerland company has introduced a gadget for the bathroom that may just change the tide. The Suction Soap Holder Magnet is designed just for bar soaps. This handy gizmo consists of a suction cup, to be attached to a smooth surface, and an arm with a cap type fixture at the end that suspends the bar of soap. Say goodbye to gooey bar soap messes!
The company that brought the Roomba vacuum cleaner to the modern world, iRobot, is now tackling the toughest room in the house with their robot cleaning machines. The Scooba 230, which retails for just under $300, promises to eliminate 97 percent of common household bacteria on surfaces including linoleum and tile. The Scooba 230 does need to be filled with a special iRobot cleaning solution, but like its Roomba brother, the Scooba 230 is designed to scoot under cabinets and around toilets for the utmost in robot-delivered cleanliness.
Spring is finally here and that means change and new beginnings, not only with the weather, but in your own apartment, too. Part of making room for the new is getting rid of the old, and one of the best ways to do that is to take inventory of your possessions and evaluate what you want to keep and what your 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, decide where and how to give them away. Use these places below for ideas.
Shelters – Community shelters in your area are a great option to donate 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.
Online – We live in a digital era where most things are done online. Freecycle, Craigslist and EBay are free and easy online tools to 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 treasure of your own, is to participate a clothing swap. A clothing swap is a gathering of people who all contribute clothing that doesn’t fit or that they don’t need anymore, and anyone can take someone else’s clothing if they choose. If you don’t know of anyone having one, host your own and invite family and friends!
Salvation Army – The Salvation Army is always a great option that accepts all types of donations to sell for a discounted price to underprivileged people, or anyone looking for a bargain. Check your area for Salvation Army drop-off locations.
Many studies have been conducted on the influence of semiochemicals (fragrances, pheromones, even body odor) on mood and behavior. Essentially, how, and why, do smells make us feel?
There is even an entire lab at Rutgers University dedicated to the study of such matters. One such study, conducted by Professor Jeannettte Haviland-Jones’ Human Emotions Lab, concluded that flowers and flower scents promote happiness. Other scents, according to Vanderbilt University’s Health Psychology department, can promote calm, relaxation, or even rejuvenation.
Any modern department store will have a selection of diffusers, essential oils, and scents, as will many bath and body, candle, and home décor stores. Choosing a signature scent for your apartment will individualize your space, infuse a sense of home, and just might spruce up your attitude, too.
To promote a relaxing environment, choose a musky scent such as sandalwood or citrusy bergamot. If you’d like your signature home scent to invigorate your space, choose a piney rosemary or cool, spicy peppermint aroma. The scent of lemon promotes high energy and positive mood as well.
To encourage alertness, diffuse the scent of eucalyptus. If you need to ease feelings of tension and anxiety, opt instead for a savory sage scent.
Flowers and gardening are certainly “good things” according to media empress Martha Stewart, who enjoys the intoxicating fragrances of freesia, rose, and gardenia.
If you enjoy perfumes or cut flowers, the sky is the limit in terms of scents for your home. If you wish to keep live plants, an apartment renter should choose a sturdy bulb plant such as freesia or tuberose rather than a voluminous, prickly rose bush. Lilies are hearty, fragrant bulb flowers too and they will grow well in a home or on a balcony garden.
The lily family is extensive, including a total of roughly 1,300 species. The selection of bulbs at your local home and garden store won’t be that extensive, but you should be able to find a bevy of ubiquitous varieties including white Easter Lilies, magenta speckled Stargazer Lilies, and orange Tiger Lilies.
If you choose to showcase cut lilies instead, snip and discard the anthers (the pollen-coated bits) from the centers of the lilies to avoid messy pollen dispersion. Garden gurus claim this little trick will extend the shelf life of your flowers, too.