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Think Smart and Help Lower Your Apartment Electricity Bill

If you have a lack of outlets in your home, the first thing that comes to mind is hiring an electrician to install a few more. However, if you are renting, this is not often an option. So what do you do?

The following tips will help you gain more power and more control over the power you have. The best part? All of these simple steps will help you save on your monthly electric bill as well. It’s a win-win plug-in.


Use Smart Plugs

Amp up your home’s intelligent technology and save on your energy bill. By purchasing smart plugs you can accomplish both and a number of other handy things. Smart plugs fit into your outlet underneath what ever gadget you have plugged in. They have a timer and also work with an app which allows you mobile tinkering. If you want your coffee hot before you get your sleeping body to the machine, preset the timer and presto – hot java! If you are worried about crime rates in your area or always come home after dark, preset your lamps on a timer or turn your lights on from your phone.

These are great ways to use smart plugs, but they also have another energy saving function. Connect a smart plug to a smart meter and you can see what energy you’re using, at what times, and where. Use this information to help you make the smartest use of your appliances.


Rearrange Your Furniture

If your goal is to save on electricity costs, you need to make the best use of your furniture placement. Setting up smart plugs is the first step, but then what?

Think of the sun. Reduce your need for lamps and overhead lights during daylight hours by using the natural light from your windows. Try to avoid blocking a window in your living room with your 50 inch TV. Avoid heavy curtains and choose something more sheer to allow light to flow into your space. Hang mirrors to reflect the light, especially if there are few windows in your home.


Collect electronics and hide the cords at the same time. Place your TV stand in front of an outlet so that you can plug everything in behind it, hiding the cables. Use a surge protector in this spot for two reasons:
-Surge protectors help reduce the chance of an electrical surge from ruining your electronics.
-Once your electronics are powered off, you can shut off the surge protector and this stops the flow of electricity. Without one, your electronics and appliances still draw power when they are not in use.

It’s also important to place appliances, lights and electronics near outlets. If you are going to use extension cords, be sure they have the proper voltage capacity for their use. For instance, if your object uses 15 amps, a 20 amp cord will do the trick. Extension cords should be as short as possible and routed safely. Never place an extension cord underneath carpet and check regularly for any damage. Wiring and related equipment caused 63% of house fires in the United States where electrical distribution and lighting played a factor. Proper use is the easiest way to protect your home.



Unplug Your Chargers

Keeping your cell phone battery at 100% is a priority, but when it isn’t charging you should pull it out of the outlet. It is slightly less convenient but because it constantly draws electricity, unplugging it helps the electricity bill, and who doesn’t like that?


The same goes for your toaster oven, kettle, and other small appliances. If they are not connected to a smart plug then unplug them. This is the most straightforward way to save on electricity and reduce your energy usage.


Alter Outlets

Wish your outlets had more plugs? There are products for that. In fact, you can use a savvy buy like the 360 Electrical PowerCurve Mini to give you the usual outlet space plus two USB ports thus eliminating the need to use a separate outlet for your phone charger and other USB charging devices. For more connections and varieties, try their Revolve 2.4 or 3.4 outlet plugins. These products all come with surge protection and the Revolve line also rotates, making those bulky adapters fit like a dream!


Since you are paying for electricity month after month, you might as well make the most of it. Smart use of your outlets and furniture placement, along with smart products, will save you money and give you the best use of power. Saving on your electricity bill is only half the battle, don’t forget to reduce your heating bill while you’re at it!

The post Think Smart and Help Lower Your Apartment Electricity Bill appeared first on Apartment Living Blog.

from Apartment Living Blog
How a Harry Potter-themed "virtual race" got me off my ass IRL
(image)Virtual Race medal hanger from the Hogwarts Running Club

Just about a year ago I had emergency surgery and spent a few days in the hospital. I then spent several weeks recovering at home. Since I wasn’t in what anyone could reasonably call “good shape” to begin with, by the time it was all said and done? I couldn’t even do a small grocery shopping trip without being winded and completely wiped out for the rest of the day.

I knew I had to do something to get myself back to at least being able to take care of my basic responsibilities, but I had no idea what to do. A gym membership was out of the question due to finances and a couple of bad experiences when I was younger.

After thinking about it off and on for a little while, I was browsing my favorite Harry Potter websites and ran across a mention of a virtual running club. My mind was blown. How in the hell could a running club or a race be virtual?

I looked into it a little more (let’s be real…I Googled the term “virtual race”) and was astounded at how many I found, and absolutely gobsmacked at how many of them had amazingly geeky themes.

So, I whipped out my credit card and ordered a treadmill (pink and white to match my flamingo themed living room, if anyone cares) and signed up for my first virtual race.

(image)This is the coolest treadmill in existence.

It was a Professor Snape-themed one from the Hogwart’s Running Club and it raised money for pancreatic cancer research in honor of Alan Rickman — who had died just a few months previously. I’m a total Slytherin, so how could I pass that up?

I was a little nervous about how it all worked, but it was actually fairly simple. You just fill out a form, pay your money, walk or run your miles, and wait for the mailman to bring you your swag. Some virtual races require proof that you actually did the mileage, others are on the honor system. That proof could be something like a screenshot of a pedometer app on your phone, or maybe a picture of your treadmill display.

In my case, that first race was on the honor system, everyone that registered and paid received an awesome finisher’s medal a couple of weeks later. There was also an optional shirt available for purchase which also raised funds for the same charity.

I started out slow, just walking at whatever pace I could manage for ten minutes or so. Every day I would try to add a few minutes to my time and within a month I could walk a 5K (3.1 miles) in about 45 minutes without stopping.

That success, and my shiny medal hanging on the wall kept me motivated and I signed up for more races through various companies and organizations. I now have a Stargate medal, a Klingon bird of prey, a sugar skull with blinking eyes, a TARDIS, and a Spaceballs medal that raised funds for testicular cancer research.

I love the bling and proudly hang them from a hook on the wall so I can see them from my treadmill. The real accomplishment, though, became obvious about four months into this adventure. My husband took me to San Juan, Puerto Rico as a combination birthday and anniversary present.

We flew in, took a cab to the apartment we were staying in, and did not rent a car. We walked everywhere for a whole week. Sure, I got tired sometimes, but I was able to keep up and I never felt like I was going to die if I had to walk one more block. It was amazing and not something that I think I could have done even before my surgery had laid me so low.

This was the perfect combination of external motivation (shiny medals) and appealing to my sense of altruism (donating money to cancer research) to get me up off my ass and moving. I don’t think I’ll ever be a real exercise enthusiast, but I lost a few pounds, I can walk my dogs without problems, and I can do my shopping without feeling like it’s going to kill me. I’m calling it a win.

from Offbeat Home & Life
Lower Your Bills: A Guide To Getting The Best Utility Rates

You got the keys to your new place, congratulations! Only one problem — it’s not all inclusive. Renting where utilities are extra involves an extra monthly bill. To make sure that bill is as low as possible, look around, ask questions, and avoid the small-print tricks.


Utility bills are not all equal. With deregulated services, any licensed company can swoop in and offer a lower rate. Knowing the differences between providers can save you a considerable amount of cash. Use this guide to secure the best rates in your state and keep your bills to a minimum —adulting is hard enough as it is.

Do Your Research


The internet makes it possible to get information about anything at any time. Take advantage of it and look up your state’s general utility information and a list of licensed suppliers. Pop your zip code into Power2Switch and get rates from various suppliers quickly. Before making a switch in companies or starting a new account, make sure you read all the information available.

Stay Sharp

Much like the light dangling from a deep sea fish, utility companies use attractive signing bonuses to draw you in. These may seem like great deals but they often have a catch. Low introductory rates expire, which can leave you with staggering rates after. Always ask what after promotion rates will be.

Check for auto-renewals. Some contracts will state an automatic renewal at the end of the term. If giving permission for the company to go ahead and renew your contract without you makes you nervous, don’t sign on.

Watch out for scare-tactics. Some energy suppliers send reps door-to-door advising you that your current provider sent them and that you have a limited window to switch companies. This simply is not the case. Your energy provider will not send someone to your door on their behalf.

Staying one step ahead will keep you protected against false claims and tricky fine-print.

Ask The Right Questions


According to House Logic, these are the questions you should ask the utility company you’re looking to sign on with:

  • Is the price per kWh a fixed price? Is there a monthly service charge or any other fees?
  • Are taxes included in supplier cost?
  • Is there a contract and how does this affect cost? Am I getting a special one-time deal?
  • Are there any other discounts and promotions I should know about like referral programs?
  • Is there a fee if I decide to break the contract?
  • For billing issues, can I contact you directly and how?


The information to help you make the best decision for your home and your wallet is out there. However, if you don’t ask, that handy data may not get to you. This straightforward initiative gives you the most knowledge about your options, and therefore, the best advantage.



Now that you have the information needed to choose the best utility company available, follow these tips to save on lighting, and get ready to brag about your money-saving savvy. Go forth and teach your fellow apartment hunting friends how it is done.

The post Lower Your Bills: A Guide To Getting The Best Utility Rates appeared first on Apartment Living Blog.

from Apartment Living Blog
Before & After: A Dreary Kitchen Gets A Bright Makeover for Spring
Author’s Note: We’re excited to bring you this post created with our partner, Lowe’s, who kindly provided the paint for this project! When our teammate, Caitlin, was looking for a home, things seemed pretty bleak. While looking online, she dismissed one of the homes immediately. The photos for the listing were “a whole lot of brown” and filled … Continue reading Before & After: A Dreary Kitchen Gets A Bright Makeover for Spring(image)
New York’s Greatest Venues for Sports Fans and More

New York is the must-be place for sports. It’s made history and reigned in incredible records, with big names from almost all the major leagues to their credit. The National Football League Headquarters, the National Basketball Association, the National Hockey League, both Major as well as Minor League Baseball, the Major League Soccer, and the Women’s National Soccer League have all called it home.


In the early 2000’s, many of New York’s major sporting arenas and venues received serious renovations to better accommodate their beloved sport teams as well as the fans. If you’re looking to catch a fantastic game, there’s never been a better time. Here are the top ones you simply must visit:

1. Yankee Stadium – Bronx, NY

The ultra-famous major league baseball team, the Yankees, gave their home stadium their name, making it one of the most historically rich and beloved venues in New York City. The original Yankee Stadium, built in 1923, was carefully renovated in 1976 to preserve all of the original stadium’s charm and characteristic while giving it that modern facelift that makes it a favorite even today.

The ballpark was given more space with a marked increase in amenities and facilities not just for fans, but for those who play there as well. With 4,300 club seats, 68 luxury suites, high-definition video monitors, baseball merchandise, and the New York Yankees Museum filled with Yankees’ memorabilia, fans can enjoy a fantastic experience during game time or browse original baseballs autographed by present and past Yankees’ players.

The stadium has many places to accommodate fans; with a large choice of restaurants, a sports bar, concessions stands, the New York Yankee Steak Restaurant located just beyond right field, and even a Hard Rock Café.

Watching a game at Yankee Stadium is not a cheap event. Prices range from the most expensive tickets at $2,600 per person for a luxury suite, to an average ticket price of $63 per person, but if you’ve grown up dreaming of watching a game at Yankee Stadium, then money can’t compare to the incredible achievement.


2. Madison Square Garden – New York, NY

Madison Square Garden has just about everything in the form of sports and entertainment. Whether it’s at the Theater at Madison Square Garden, the Beacon Theater, Radio City Music Hall, a great game with the New York Knicks and the New York Rangers, or their annual New Year’s Eve concert — the Garden has it all.
Once known to offer substandard food and uncomfortable seating, the Garden’s newly upgraded amenities and steep improvements have gained it a new reputation of superior quality at accommodating fans, players, and performers.

The Garden’s new large entrance features interactive kiosks, climate-controlled space, broadcast studios, retail space, large concourses, top of the line video and acoustic sound systems, and plush comfortable seating. For a bird-eye-view of the playing field below, you can even walk directly above the games on the suspended walkways lining the ceiling


3. Nassau Coliseum – Hempstead, NY

Nassau Coliseum, officially called the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, covers 63 acres of Mitchel Field, a former Army and Air Force base site. The spacious location offers a main arena with 44,000 square feet of space as well as an Expo Center that covers 60,000 square feet. More than enough room for you to enjoy top of the line concerts, exhibition shows, major sporting events, and trade shows.

This historic Coliseum, first built in 1972, was closed for renovations in 2015, but with the exciting new amenities for fans and players promised at their grand re-opening in the Spring of 2017.

The longtime home for the New York Islanders and the New York Nets, Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum’s renovators promised substantially increased seating capacity as well as amenities and special accommodations for fans, performers, and players. Big ticket headliners are already booked to perform in April of 2017. With Billy Joel marking the Grand Re-Opening, and the final performance of the Greatest Show on Earth — The Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey Circus — who will permanently close their tent flaps at the renovated Nassau Coliseum in May, it’s sure to be the best New York sports venue of 2017.


New York has some of the most historical and unprecedented sports venues for all ages, so when you want the best New York experience — or the best game of your life — hit these three venues for an unforgettable memory. While you’re at it, See World-Class Performance Art in NYC for Under $30 to cap it off.

The post New York’s Greatest Venues for Sports Fans and More appeared first on Apartment Living Blog.

from Apartment Living Blog
Before & After: Two Rustic Rentals in Chicago
On Chicago’s southwest side lies Little Village, aka the “Mexico of the Midwest.” Deemed so for its burgeoning population of immigrants, the neighborhood boasts one of the most vibrant cultural voices in the city. The undeniably spirited vibe of the area is largely in thanks to its bustling thoroughfares and close-knit community. Hit one up, and you’ll find yourself strolling to a soundtrack authentically Mexican. The … Continue reading Before & After: Two Rustic Rentals in Chicago(image)
A Landmarked Park Slope Brownstone Awakens with Vibrant Color
When Samantha and Jonah Arcade and their two daughters outgrew their previous Brooklyn, NY apartment of six years, they never imagined they’d find room to breathe in a brownstone that was just 12 feet wide on each floor. But with Tirzah, 8, and Delaney, 4, a 1,000-square-foot home “wasn’t cutting it,” Sam admits. So about nine months ago, the family … Continue reading A Landmarked Park Slope Brownstone Awakens with Vibrant Color(image)
Our 10 Favorite Green & Brown Spaces
In a world of ever-expanding Pantone swatches and paint colors, the options for someone looking to incorporate a unique hue into their home are increasingly endless. Two possibilities seem to still snag much attention from homeowners and designers alike: green and brown. It makes sense. They nearly always lead to fabulous results when gracing a wall or statement decoration, and … Continue reading Our 10 Favorite Green & Brown Spaces(image)
10 Interior Design Color Palettes You Must See
Hi everyone! I’ve been thinking a lot lately about color and creative, fresh color combinations for interiors. Many want to make a fresh interiors start in the Spring in addition to a good thorough cleaning, so why not experiment with new colors? You can start small to see how they work. I add fresh flowers or flowering … Continue reading 10 Interior Design Color Palettes You Must See(image)
10 Rooms Where Exposed Brick Rules
Perfectly painted drywall or plaster has a clean, easy aesthetic in homes and studios. Its versatility allows color schemes to change effortlessly. The charm and personality in rooms with enclosed walls comes from the pieces that fill the space, rather than the walls themselves. But exposed brick is full of character on its own. Whether it’s a section … Continue reading 10 Rooms Where Exposed Brick Rules(image)
Small Business Focus: Growing Flower Haus, Part Three
In today’s online world, content is king. That means in addition to creating your product or performing your service, you’ve also got to get the news out about all of the wonderful things you’re doing. It’s a lot. And honestly, most small businesses can not afford to hire some help for all of these social … Continue reading Small Business Focus: Growing Flower Haus, Part Three(image)
at home with: ayla gurganus of soulflowers.
today we’re dropping in on the bright, light and very charming abode of Ayla Gurganus. ayla is a floral designer who runs soulflowers in Atlanta, Georgia specializing in everyday bouquets, intimate weddings, and events, as well as designing home parties. energized by the elegance and beauty from florals, ayla combines that with a passion for … Continue reading at home with: ayla gurganus of soulflowers.(image)
A Dynamic Home in Westport, CT Filled With Reminders of Brazil
Expressing personal style doesn’t happen overnight, especially when it comes to interiors. Each piece is typically selected over time until a home feels finished. Such is the case with Nana and Lucas Cunha, a couple who share a love for whimsical, iconic and meaningful design. Nana’s hometown of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and Lucas’ of Belo Horizonte, Brazil have … Continue reading A Dynamic Home in Westport, CT Filled With Reminders of Brazil(image)
Celebrating The Human Form: 11 Nudes at Home
Growing up, I was always drawn to nude drawings and photography. I thrived in my college figure drawing class, and it was in that safe space where I learned that drawing and appreciating nude works made me feel more comfortable in my own skin. Unlike magazines and TV, the people being depicted in contemporary paintings and photography … Continue reading Celebrating The Human Form: 11 Nudes at Home(image)
10 Questions to Ask Your Future Property Manager Before Moving

You’ve found the rental of your dreams. All you need to do is fill out a few forms and get the keys. But before you pack your bags and sign on the dotted line, ask your future property manager these ten questions.


1. What’s the Guest Policy?

As harmless as it seems to have a pal crash for a few days, some apartments have strict rules regarding overnight guests or future roommates. Check with the property owner to find out if guests can stay overnight—and, if so, how many and for how long. If you’re considering subletting or Airbnb-ing a room, you’ll also want to learn about any restrictions or required fees.

2. Are Pets Allowed?

There’s no hard and fast rule regarding apartment pet policies. Some don’t allow any animals, while others may allow small dogs and cats. If you have a pet or intend to get one, check the lease or ask your property manager. The same goes if you plan on watching a friend’s pet for the day. You may be required to pay a pet security deposit or other pet fees.


3. Can I Install New Home Features?

Just because you rent an apartment doesn’t mean you can’t improve your lifestyle with home automation, from smart lighting to security systems. However, before installing any technology, check the lease terms. Some rentals may have a contract with a particular security company, while others may only allow you to install DIY systems that aren’t hardwired. If you have a specific product in mind, ask the owner.

4. How Can I Get in Touch with Property Management?

It’s important to know where your property management is located and how to communicate with them should you experience a building maintenance problem. Ask how to submit a maintenance request, who to contact in an emergency and how, and how quickly, property management will respond to a request.


5. What Are the Terms of the Security Deposit?

Along with first and last months’ rent, many apartments also require a security deposit. If you are required to pay a deposit, find out if it’s refundable when you move. Legally, security deposits should be refundable, but your property manager can withhold a portion of it should you damage something in the apartment or break the lease. Make sure you have the terms of the deposit in writing.

6. Are There Additional Fees?

Before you budget for your new living expenses, you’ll want to know about any costs your rent doesn’t cover. You may have to pay extra for a covered parking spot; a storage unit; guest keys; pool, gym, or laundry room access; and internet, cable, and landline services. Inquire about prices and if these fees are required, should you prefer to use another gym or laundry service, for example.



7. Does the Rent Cover Utilities?

Depending on the apartment building, some of your utilities, such as water, may be included in your rent, while others—like electricity, gas, landscaping, and trash pickup—may be charged separately. Confirm which utilities you are responsible for and whether you’ll need to manage an individual account with your local utility company to turn on service before moving in.

8. How Do They Prepare the Apartment Before I Move in?

The last thing you want to do when moving into a new place is clean up a previous tenant’s mess. Ask your property manager what they will do to prepare the apartment, from steaming the carpets to fixing a leaky faucet. You should also find out if the locks to your apartment will be changed before you move in.


9. How and When Do I Pay Rent?

The best way to stay on the owner’s good side is to pay rent on time and in full. Find out when rent is due each month and where to submit payment, whether you drop it off at the property manager’s unit or mail it to a particular address. You’ll also want to know when a payment is considered late and what the late fee is if there is one.


10. What Am I Responsible for as a Tenant?

Most apartment renters aren’t responsible for lawn care or cleaning communal areas, but you may be expected to maintain other areas. If you have a small garden or balcony, ask the property manager if you’re required to overlook its upkeep. If your oven or air-conditioning unit breaks, will management fix it or charge a fee? Make sure you know what areas you must maintain.


Signing a lease is a big commitment. Keep the process as smooth as possible by speaking with your future property manager and getting these questions answered before moving in. If your next big move is with your significant other, check out this handy compilation of facts, too!

The post 10 Questions to Ask Your Future Property Manager Before Moving appeared first on Apartment Living Blog.

from Apartment Living Blog
I'm a father and I want to talk about parenting with depression
(image)By: kalexandersonCC BY 2.0 (Follow this project with CClones 365-2011 on Twitter | Facebook)I am depressed. It’s 2017 and mental health is not supposed to be taboo anymore, yet for some reason, I would be lying if I said I didn’t still carry some shame even admitting that.

I know that scientifically it’s a chemical imbalance, and I can’t just snap out of it at will. I’ve known that since I was first diagnosed around age 14 or 15. I wish that gave me some relief, but it doesn’t. I still become extremely frustrated and even angry when I don’t have full control over my feelings.

Just to clarify, this doesn’t mean I am always sad

It also doesn’t mean I can’t see all the good in my life, and that I am not appreciative of that good. Depression is like a voice whispering in your ear constantly. It tells you all the mistakes you are making, the people who are mad at you, all the ways you are useless, and all the reasons that you shouldn’t even bother. After a while it just wears you down and then on the real bad days, you believe that voice.

As I said, it’s not new for me, I have battled with depression for basically as long as I can remember in one form or another. I was diagnosed in my teen years, but the feelings didn’t start then. I always have struggled with a feeling of worthlessness or an idea that nobody actually likes me. This tends to be how my depression manifests itself, just absolutely brutal and constant self-doubt. The incessant idea that I am a burden on everyone, and they are just putting up with me out of a sense of obligation.

Luckily in recent years, my depression has been kind enough to regulate itself to mostly the winter months. This year has been more intense than I can remember in a while. But hopefully, with the weather changing, I will be able to get back to my more functional state. If not, I will probably have to seek out other forms of help. (I actually typed and deleted the last sentence no less than 10 times, because I didn’t want to admit in writing I might actually need help.)

I have been fighting this for 20 years, and it’s still almost impossible for me to admit I can’t always do it alone

Like suffering alone is some masculine badge of honor. I still get caught in the “I don’t need any help, and it won’t help me anyway” loop. Still, rather hypocritically, I implore anyone who needs help to go get it, it makes you a stronger person, not a weaker one.

One of the reasons I hate talking about depression is that it feels like I’m begging for reassurance. I’m not looking for that at all. In fact, when I’m at my worst, I just assume it’s all not real anyway and people are just saying nice things to me because they have to. It’s absurd, I know you don’t all hate me, and I know that I’m not totally worthless. I logically know that, but unfortunately the logic isn’t always enough.

So why am I discussing my depression now?

Well, there are a few reasons. Writing has always been cathartic for me, and hopefully this will help a little. That’s the selfish reason. I am extremely bad at actual conversations about feelings and my own mental health, so writing is the best way for me to work through these things. But more importantly…

I’m a father now, and I want to talk about parenting with depression

I’m sure other parents have gone through this, and it’s not a topic we talk about a lot. Postpartum depression has gotten a lot of press in recent years (as it should), but depression impacts dads as well. As men, we tend to avoid these kinds of topics by and large; which is foolish, but that doesn’t make it any less the case.

I don’t have all the answers about parenting when you are depressed. To be frank, I don’t have a lot of answers at all. I just know that I want to be the best dad I can, even if I’m not at my best. I don’t want my daughter to see what I am going through when I’m struggling.

So, I do what I am very accustomed to doing… When my little girl is around, I block out how I am feeling and concentrate on being Dad. I force myself to go out, play, be social, and do all the normal things that anyone who has fought depression knows can become overwhelming tasks. The nice part of this story is that in turn, I tend to feel better while I am with her. She helps me be my best just by being around and being the pure embodiment of joy that she is.

The flip side of this is when I am done with these activities, I am just exhausted. Physically and mentally drained, and I don’t mean the normal way you feel after a day with your kids. I use all my energy to be my best around her, to keep up that facade. She deserves that. When I am not actively struggling with depression I have the energy to be Dad, and then also clean the house, exercise, shave, cook, and perform the other day to day tasks of adult life.

Now, I know there is another side to this. She needs to see that mental health is important, and it’s not always pleasant. As she gets older, and if she starts asking questions about depression or other mental health issues, I intend on being honest with her. I also am terrified that she will one day have to deal with this, and I hope that my experiences (and my wife’s expertise as a therapist) will allow us to spot things early and get her any help she needs. I just don’t need her seeing me at my worst at five years old.

I can’t do it this way forever

I know that. It’s too draining, and it’s not healthy. I owe my daughter, my wife, and even myself more than just getting by on a day-to-day basis. So I will do what I need to do, if this doesn’t fade with the season as it tends to. And, in the meantime, I will do my best to be the best father I can be.

from Offbeat Home & Life
A Master Guide to Cleaning Your Bathroom and Keeping It Clean

You want to believe when you move into a new apartment that it’s been deep cleaned. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. Considering you don’t know who lived there prior to you, you also don’t know whose rear end was last on your toilet seat. In order to give yourself a fresh, germ-free bathroom, use this guide to confidently clean the grossest room in your place.

Rule #1: Glove-up. Protect your hands from all the chemicals and bacteria covered surfaces you are about to touch.


Start in the Shower

Begin with your showerhead. Why? A pathogen linked to pulmonary disease called Mycobacterium avium likes to collect in this spot. Plus, the soap scum struggle is real. Vinegar is an environmentally, cost-friendly cleaning wizard and your new best friend. Fill a plastic grocery bag with vinegar (enough to cover your shower head) and tie it around your nozzle. Let it soak overnight if you can. This will clean off the bacteria as well as grime that clogs every shower head.


If you don’t have new shower curtains, run yours through the washing machine. It’s way easier than scrubbing them and it does a better job! Simply hang them back up to dry.

For glass doors/walls, mix baking soda and vinegar into a paste and then cover the glass. Let it sit for an hour and then scrub with a microfiber cloth. Rinse it off and buff with a dry microfiber cloth.

Your tub needs less attention than you might think. Fill it with hot water then drain and apply your favorite bathroom cleaner and let it sit. Scrub clean after 15 minutes.

Give your shower and tub a surface clean every week and deep clean monthly.


Grout Gutting

Your grout hosts bacteria too. Giving it a scrub with a toothbrush and bleach will prevent bacteria growth and mold. Seal it every six months to keep the grout in the best shape and to prevent bacteria from sneaking into its porous surface. DuPont Sealer from Lowes is a good choice and only costs $15.


Toilet Time

Tackle the toilet bowl first. Pour a cup of baking soda into the bowl and let it sit for a few minutes. Scrub with your toilet brush and then flush. If you still have spots, invest in a pumice stone. A dampened pumice stone will help get those stubborn marks out. Clean the rest of the toilet with your choice of cleaner and pay extra attention to places where grime builds (like around the hinges that attach your toilet seat).


When you are all done cleaning the toilet, do not forget that the toilet brush needs cleaning too. Pinch it between your toilet seat and bowl rim. Douse it with bleach and let it sit for five minutes. Afterwards, pour warm water over it to rinse the bleach off, rotating the handle while you pour. Put soap and warm water into the basin for the brush and allow it to soak there for another 5-10 minutes. Empty the dirty water into the toilet and flush. All done.

Rule #2: ALWAYS (Always!) put the seat down to flush. When you flush your toilet, an invisible fireworks display happens and it isn’t pretty. Germs fly out and cover everything. This study on microbiological hazards of household toilets will frighten you into the habit.

Beware- never use bleach and vinegar together. This combo creates a toxic chlorine and is extremely dangerous to inhale.

Clean the sink or swim…in germs.

Pour a little white vinegar or baking soda down the drain to clean out any residue. Build up here can leave a smell and a handy grip for insects to climb. Invest in disposable wipes for your faucet. If you use a cloth, be sure to store it separately and avoid the spread of germs. A handy trick for cleaning the space where your faucet meets your sink top is to use floss. It gets right in there and tackles the job well. Wash your basin with vinegar, baking soda, or your favorite cleaner.

To keep soap bars from scumming up the surface of your sink, dab a tiny amount of baby oil on the spot the bar sits.



Floors, Doors, Walls and Tiles

Every surface in your bathroom must be cleaned, especially when you move into a new home. Tackle each of these surfaces with cleaners that are safe for them. Always do test spots to be sure you won’t stain or strip paint, or damage tile. Don’t forget that doorknob too.


Once the first clean is done, it’s all about smart use and upkeep. By keeping your toilet lid down and doing a quick clean weekly, as well as a deep clean monthly, your bathroom will be as germ-free as it gets. Clean your place top to bottom with these tips and don’t forget to wash your hands when you’re finished.

The post A Master Guide to Cleaning Your Bathroom and Keeping It Clean appeared first on Apartment Living Blog.

from Apartment Living Blog
If you love The Rocketeer, you'll love this Art Deco home for sale
(image)All photos via

I truly don’t believe that I can sum up this amazing real estate find (thanks Offbeat Homie Rebecca!) any better than this one sentence from its listing:

1920s style Art Deco home built in early ‘90s by founder of Gardenburger, blending the style of Miami’s South Beach and glamour of Hollywood.

(image)I completely thought this was a renovated office building. It’s not.

It’s basically like a hotel from the '20s and an office building from the '90s gave birth to this ridiculous home — complete with an homage to The Rocketeer (the ultimate Art Deco + '90s combo!) — and it’s one of the greatest things I’ve ever seen…

(image)And yes — hell fucking yes — that is a piano stage right smack in the middle of it!(image)I’m just obsessed with the kitchen tile.(image)Oh, guest room right off the kitchen, I’d chill in you so hard.(image)Shall we go upstairs?(image)By the way, I literally yelled “awesome!” when I saw this light fixture.(image)There’s no version of my brain that would have chosen those chairs to place on that carpet. But, damnit, if I’m not glad that SOMEONE did it so I could see it in action.(image)Psst: I see you The Rocketeer!(image)I’m into this bed nook.(image)Ooh look! It’s another bed nook made from those ubiquitous glass bricks and less-ubiquitous hanging window panes!(image)And then there was this photo of a fireplace that I couldn’t actually figure out which room it belonged to. But please enjoy it, because it’s awesome.

from Offbeat Home & Life
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