You may be a recent divorcee, or a college student, or just someone who has moved into his first apartment. Or perhaps you are just living in an apartment and wish it could be a little bit more fun. Here’s a few tips to help make apartment life a bit better.
Tip #1 – Bedrooms aren’t for sleeping.
Most apartments share a pretty basic design, and often one of those design features is having the air conditioning unit in the corner of the living room. This means it’s entirely possible to keep your living room cool during the day when you are at class or at work, but when you come home to sleep the bedroom is hot and sticky. It’s a frustrating situation. Try putting your bed in the living room in front of the air conditioner. It sounds simple, but it works.
Of course, this won’t work if you live with someone else in a two bedroom apartment, but it’s great if you live on your own. The bedroom, which is now unused, can be transformed into almost anything. Move your couch and television into it to have a separate living room. Move your kitchen table into it and create a dining room to bring your dates to. Or, stick your desk and computer in it and make it a study. Be creative.
Tip #2 – You are Picasso
All too often men move into apartments and the only art on the walls is beer posters and Snap-On girls. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but why not raise your standards just a bit? Homemade art is cheap, easy to do, and can really improve the look of a room.
Today, even the cheapest computer printer is capable of printing amazing looking photos. You can usually pick up cheap document frames at office supply stores that perfectly fit standard 8.5 x 11 paper. Print some photos off and hang them on the walls. Print them in gray scale for that classic black and white look, and you will save expensive color ink. The photos can be pictures you took on your own, or just pictures you found on the net.
Alternatively, you can also frame magazine ads, pieces of cloth, old logos cut from T-shirts, or almost anything else. A quick Google search can bring up thousands of ideas for cheap art. If you can scrounge up a couple cans of spray paint, you can even create some big pieces. This large picture was created from a scrap piece of wood paneling (painted on the smooth side) and some masking tape. The frame is actually just some cheap wood molding that was glued to the edge to finish it off.
Tip #3 – Cheap entertainment
Friends are usually the cheapest entertainment you can get, and you won’t meet them inside your apartment. Getting out and doing the things you like to do is the best way to meet new people. Whether you spend some time at a batting cage, riding your bike, or hanging out at the library you are sure to find other like minded people.
Inside entertainment can be cheap too. Get a public library card instead of buying books and magazines. Rent your video games instead of buying them. This fall I rented Black for the Xbox. Fantastic game, but I had finished it in a week. I’m glad I spent 5 bucks renting it instead of $55 buying it. Online services such as www.gamefly.com allow you to send games back when you are finished with them and get another one from your list, all for a reasonable charge. Pick up a new hobby like paying guitar. You can find a used acoustic guitar for less than $100 and there are thousands of internet sites out there that can teach you how to play. Hole up during a cold winter and learn a few songs, then impress all the ladies on your next summer long weekend at the lake.
Tip #4 – Cleanliness
Don’t become a slave to advertising. A couple bottles of cleaning solution and a pail are all you need to keep the apartment looking good. Skip the Swiffer. They work great, but are expensive. An old rag and some water will do a great job of keeping your apartment clean. The biggest steps to keeping your apartment smelling good though are taking the garbage out regularly and doing your laundry and dishes. That six week old pile of dirty socks and pizza boxes not only make your apartment smell funky, but the odors can even make your clean laundry smell bad. Also, don’t try to do a big cleaning once a month. Pick one room a day or week and clean it. This keeps the job small, and prevents it from becoming a huge job that you will keep putting off.
Tip #5 – Be cheap
There are a few things that you can do to save money. I recently met a few people who had just moved into their first apartments that had both cell phones and a land line in their apartment, but never used the land line. If you don’t need it for a fax machine or something else, get rid of it. Spend the money on a good internet line, or save it for a rainy day or hot date. Minimize the amount of eating out that you do by finding easy alternatives at home. Frozen pizzas cost half what Dominos charges, and there isn’t a single guy alive who hasn’t experienced the wonder of ramen noodles. Be careful with groceries though, make sure you are eating well and not just cheap