My First Apartment http://www.myfirstapartment.com Sat, 25 Feb 2017 15:51:23 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Green Living: Reduce/Reuse/Recycle in Your Apartment http://www.myfirstapartment.com/2017/02/how-to-recycle-in-your-apartment/ http://www.myfirstapartment.com/2017/02/how-to-recycle-in-your-apartment/#respond Sat, 25 Feb 2017 15:00:43 +0000 http://www.myfirstapartment.com/?p=22496 We’ve all heard the slogan: “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.” Sometimes, however, it’s easier to throw an old newspaper or empty cans in the trash instead of a recycling bin. But remember, just because you live in an apartment doesn’t mean you can’t recycle and be less wasteful. Take a look at these six tips and see…

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We’ve all heard the slogan: “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.” Sometimes, however, it’s easier to throw an old newspaper or empty cans in the trash instead of a recycling bin. But remember, just because you live in an apartment doesn’t mean you can’t recycle and be less wasteful. Take a look at these six tips and see how you can live greener in your apartment.

  1. Shop Smart

One of the best ways to be less wasteful is to shop smart. Plan your meals, make lists, and don’t buy unnecessary items, especially food products that can spoil. Before you buy anything, make sure you can and will use it. Before grocery shopping, eat a small snack to avoid shopping while you’re hungry, which can cause you to buy more food than you need.

  1. Clean with Green Products

Buy green cleaning products for your apartment, dishes, clothing, and even yourself that are made from natural ingredients instead of harsh chemicals.

  1. Have Separate Bins

Designate a small plastic bin, garbage can, box, or reusable bag for each of your recyclable items: paper, glass, and metal. Take your bins a step further by labeling each bin to help ensure you and your guests separate items appropriately. Once you fill your bin, it’s easy to carry and unload it at a recycling center or your building’s or apartment complex’s recycling bins. Keep returnable cans and bottles in a separate bin and take them to your supermarket for refund.

  1. Eliminate Excess Paper

Go paperless on your bills by signing up to receive email notifications instead of paper bills. Unsubscribe from mailing lists, catalogs, coupons, and retail advertisements to avoid receiving mail that you can view online or by email. This conserves paper and helps avoid the clutter of piles of paper.

  1. Donate

Whether it’s clothing you no longer wear or you bought two bunches of bananas and won’t eat them, donate whenever and whatever you can. From shelters to fire departments and non-profit organizations to emergency room departments, there are people who welcome donated clothing, blankets, personal products, and even food. Instead of throwing something away, check first to see if you can donate it. Even if you think that your old frayed towels or old blankets have no life left, a local animal shelter will be happy to have them to keep puppies warm.

  1. Involve Your Neighbors

Ask your neighbors if they recycle, too. If so, create a system that works for everyone where you carpool or swap hauling full recyclable loads to eliminate multiple trips to a recycling center. If not, host an event where you encourage your neighbors to recycle by inviting them to bring their recyclable products to you to carry to a recycling center.

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Tips for Apartment Hunting Pre-Graduation http://www.myfirstapartment.com/2017/02/apartment-hunting-pre-college-graduation/ http://www.myfirstapartment.com/2017/02/apartment-hunting-pre-college-graduation/#respond Wed, 22 Feb 2017 17:00:18 +0000 http://www.myfirstapartment.com/?p=22992 After graduation, most young adults are eager to get out into the world, explore, and live independently. Whether you’re looking to move out solo or with roommates, it can be tricky to coordinate your graduation, move-out, and new apartment move-in just right. Whether you’re hoping to move just across town after walking across the stage…

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After graduation, most young adults are eager to get out into the world, explore, and live independently. Whether you’re looking to move out solo or with roommates, it can be tricky to coordinate your graduation, move-out, and new apartment move-in just right. Whether you’re hoping to move just across town after walking across the stage and collecting your diploma, or planning to move across the county, check out these tips to get a jump start on your search!

Location, location, location

Try to secure a job before graduating. If you have not done it yet, now is the time to clean up your resume, refresh your networking connections, and start applying for jobs that interest you in locations where you’d like to live. Securing a job before graduation will give you more time to find an apartment in a nearby location and eliminates a ton of stress.

If you haven’t yet secured a job, narrow down the location/city you will move to, job or not. Then try to target neighborhoods in that location/city with these qualities for your safest bet:

  • Near public transportation or highways
  • Extremely budget-friendly, just in case your job’s pay is lower than expected
  • Growing location / location near jobs you are interested in

This will be an expensive option, unless you have VERY good friends in your target city who will let you stay with them until you get a job and find your own place.

Make an early decision about roommates

Planning ahead is crucial when moving out, especially because of the multitude of changes that occur after college graduation. If you want to have roommates, identify them early so you can all search together and secure an apartment within budget. Remember, adding roommates can make the process tricky, as each member of the apartment likely has a certain area of town they’d like to live in, and may have other specific preferences. However, if you find them early in the process (a few months before graduation!), you should have time to find something that works for everyone involved.

If you don’t want roommates, make sure to calculate what you can afford in rent each month solo. While this gives you complete control over where you live, you will also have to pay for all expenses yourself, which can get expensive. Be extremely budget-conscious if you’re planning to live alone, especially during the apartment hunt!

We have tons of tips on finding roommates here and here, or check out our Roommates page for more.

Use the internet as a resource

Search online as much as possible. Even though it’s probably too early to zero in on a specific apartment, you can research:

  • The various neighborhoods in your target city
  • Find the best or safest parts of town
  • Rent levels and timing when rentals become available
  • Transportation options
  • Internet and phone company choices available

Limit end-of school expenses

At the end of your university experience, it’s easy to spend a lot of money on parties, dinners and graduation supplies, but remember that you’ll need cash in the bank for moving expenses as soon as you cross that stage and become an official graduate. (Our rule-of-thumb is that you should have in the bank an amount equal to three times your estimated monthly rent to cover your first month’s rent, security deposit and other moving related costs.)

Instead of spending extra cash, try these tips to build up your savings account before move-in date:

  • Sell all textbooks and return all library books to avoid fines
  • Sell furniture you don’t need to underclassmen or locals
  • Host nights-in instead of going out to dinner with friends
  • Use what you have (furniture, decor, etc.) to limit furnishing and decoration expenses in your new place
  • Skip buying university-branded gear during graduation time, since they generally increase in price
  • Start a temporary side hustle to make cash pre-graduation

Budgeting is crucial

Your first few months after graduation can be a rude awakening! Bills, like cable TV, internet, utilities and cell phone that may have been covered in your university housing or funded by your parents become your responsibility! Thus, make sure you don’t search for apartments beyond your means. Instead, focus on low-rent apartments and housing that you can clearly afford. That way, you’ll be left with enough money for other expenses and savings each month. (Don’t worry. In a year’s time, once your finances improve and you know your city better, you’ll be moving to a nicer place.)

The key here?

  • Calculate your maximum rent expenditure (the maximum you CAN afford on your pay) using this calculator or this chart
  • Target rent at 80-90% of that value (Value * .90 = 90%)
  • Search for apartments at that lower rent rate

Use that extra money (the 10-20% you COULD afford) to pad your savings account or cover moving expenses

So, say the rent calculator says you can afford $500 in rent each month. Find 90% of that value ( $500 * .9 =  $450 safe rent payment). Use that $50 each month to add to savings or for unexpected expenses as they come up. Instead of spending everything you can afford, you’ll spend less and keep your expenses under control!

Check out this budgeting tip as you prepare.

Plan B

Robert Frost — ‘Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in.’

If you don’t have a job by graduation and no money to move somewhere while looking for a job, there is no shame in moving back home. According to CNBC, about a third of 2016 grads did exactly that. Get a job locally and get your savings in high gear.  Time goes fast and you’ll be moving out sooner than you realize.

Congratulations on your upcoming graduation and move into your first apartment! How do you feel about looking for your first apartment? Excited? Scared? Ready? Or not? Share your thoughts in the comments!

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6 Tips for Apartment Hunting in a More Expensive City http://www.myfirstapartment.com/2017/02/6-tips-apartment-hunting-expensive-city/ http://www.myfirstapartment.com/2017/02/6-tips-apartment-hunting-expensive-city/#comments Sun, 19 Feb 2017 18:30:52 +0000 http://www.myfirstapartment.com/?p=22947 Whether you’re a pro at moving or you’re moving into your first apartment, moving is stressful. Moving to a more expensive city is even more stressful, especially when it comes to finding an affordable and safe apartment that you love. Don’t worry, though. Do your research, and you’ll find an apartment suitable to you and…

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Whether you’re a pro at moving or you’re moving into your first apartment, moving is stressful. Moving to a more expensive city is even more stressful, especially when it comes to finding an affordable and safe apartment that you love. Don’t worry, though. Do your research, and you’ll find an apartment suitable to you and your budget.

Here are 6 tips for finding an apartment in a more expensive city that will help you stay on budget.

Choose an Apartment Near But Not in the Trendiest Neighborhood

Even if you are used to living in the trendiest neighborhood with all the popular restaurants and stores, it probably won’t fit into your budget in your new city. Try finding an apartment close to the neighborhood you want that will allow you to easily drive or take public transportation to the restaurants and shops you want to visit. If the neighborhood is close by, you can take advantage of its appeal without going over budget on an apartment.

Find a Roommate

Living alone may be ideal; you have an apartment all to yourself and never have to worry about the stress that sometimes comes with having a roommate. Paying the entire rent and necessary bills, however, is not ideal. If you’re moving to a more expensive city, you will already be on a tight budget. Find a roommate who will split the cost of rent, utilities, internet, and any other services you both use. Even if you decide to forgo a roommate when you renew your lease, think of all the money you would save by having a roommate for the first year and perhaps getting a new friend in a new city.

Check all of the Apartment Amenities

Are you planning to join a gym? Do you like to frequent movie theaters? Choose an apartment that offers these type of amenities on-site. If you find an apartment that offers these amenities for free, you may benefit and save money. Found an apartment with a gym? Now you don’t have to join a gym and pay a membership fee. Found an apartment that shows newly released movies? Now you don’t have to spend money at a movie theater because you can watch them in your apartment complex.

Take Advantage of Your Apartment Building’s Events

Many apartment complexes host events for residents. Your apartment may host a holiday party or a Friday night block party to celebrate the upcoming summer. Ask if your apartment complex hosts such events, and if so, take advantage of the free meal they offer. If may not sound like much to get a free muffin in the morning or a meal a few times – or even once – per month, but every little bit helps when you are living on a tight budget.

Location, Location, Location

We’ve all heard how important location is, especially when we’re trying to stay within a budget. Save money on transportation by choosing an apartment close to work and activities you’ll often attend. Also, try to find an apartment with access to public transportation to save more on gas and vehicle maintenance. Even better, if you are within walking or biking distance and have time, forgo driving and walk or bike to your destination.

Be Prepared to Compromise

Make a list with all of the pros vs. cons of each apartment you visit so you can easily compare which apartment offers the most for your money. However, the sad truth is that if you are moving to one of the most expensive cities, even with the recent declines in rents you may need to compromise a lot more. Maybe you need to have 2-3 roommates and live in a 4th floor walk-up with no amenities, in order to make your budget work.  If that’s the case, just enjoy the ride. In a year’s time you’ll be probably moving again, most likely to a nicer place!

 

 

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Easy Ways to Eat More Veggies and Promote Healthy Living http://www.myfirstapartment.com/2017/02/easy-ways-to-eat-more-veggies/ http://www.myfirstapartment.com/2017/02/easy-ways-to-eat-more-veggies/#respond Sat, 18 Feb 2017 14:45:23 +0000 http://www.myfirstapartment.com/?p=22822 Part of moving into your first apartment is realizing that not only is your living situation in your control, but so is your nutrition…meaning no one is forcing you to eat your veggies! No more home-cooked meals waiting for you on the table or dining hall convenience! Healthy living is up to you. The good…

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Part of moving into your first apartment is realizing that not only is your living situation in your control, but so is your nutrition…meaning no one is forcing you to eat your veggies! No more home-cooked meals waiting for you on the table or dining hall convenience! Healthy living is up to you. The good news is that this is an awesome opportunity to have some fun learning how to cook and prepare foods that you like. However, it’s also crucial to make sure you get proper nutrition and make healthy choices, which of course, includes eating vegetables! Check out a few ways to incorporate veggies into your daily routine without breaking your habits or budget!

Fresh vegetables

  • Add a handful of spinach or greens to your morning protein shakefresh vegetables - variety of veggies
    • Blend together the spinach, frozen fruit, and protein powder with milk or water
  • Pack healthy snacks for your mid-morning and afternoon hunger
    • Use plastic baggies or plastic containers to package carrots, celery, cucumbers, or bell peppers on the go
  • Prepare or choose a salad for lunch 2-3 days a week for work lunches
    • Try adding other vegetables you like to your salads for an extra serving of vegetables (plus a more interesting lunch!)
  • Always have salad-fixings in your fridge (romaine, spinach, or salad mix) to make quick salads to include in your dinner
  • Find a few easy recipes to cook up on weeknights, like roasted squash and sweet potatoes or quickly sauteed Swiss chard

Canned vegetables

Canned vegetables are such a fantastic addition in your pantry! Stock up on your favorites, which only cost around a dollar per can, because they will save you when you’re trying to bulk up your veggie canned vegetables - veggiesintake! Watch for low-sodium options, since canned vegetables can be packed with salt, but otherwise they are a great way to quickly and easily add vegetables to your day. Some yummy ideas…

  • Green beans
  • Peas
  • Carrots
  • Corn
  • Asparagus

Again, try to get as many green vegetables as possible in your day. Currently, I eat about a half-can of low-sodium green beans each night (split with my roommate), which just requires dumping the can into a small saucepan and heating it up for 2 minutes. So easy!

mixed vegetables

Steamed vegetables

When you think about convenience and healthy options, steamed vegetables are a crucial add-on to your freezer. Many different providers sell frozen vegetables in steam-able bags, meaning all you have to do is pop the frozen vegetable bag in your microwave and heat it for a few minutes. The result is delicious steamed vegetables to eat plain, toss in salads, or saute with meats or pasta.

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The Very Best Way to Find Roommates http://www.myfirstapartment.com/2017/02/best-way-to-find-roommates/ http://www.myfirstapartment.com/2017/02/best-way-to-find-roommates/#respond Wed, 15 Feb 2017 13:00:52 +0000 http://www.myfirstapartment.com/?p=22887 Moving into your first place? A great way to cut costs, make friends, and have fun in your apartment is finding a roommate to live with! Not only are roommates generally nice company to be around, but all of your standard monthly bills could cut in HALF! Think rent, utilities, cable, internet…the list goes on!…

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Moving into your first place? A great way to cut costs, make friends, and have fun in your apartment is finding a roommate to live with! Not only are roommates generally nice company to be around, but all of your standard monthly bills could cut in HALF! Think rent, utilities, cable, internet…the list goes on! Finding the right roommate can be a challenge, hence this advice on the absolute BEST way to find roommates!

You might think that your BFF will be your perfect roommate, but it’s not always a great idea to live with your very best friends. If you spend too much time with one or two people, it’s easy to start getting on each others’ nerves which can lead to tension both at home and in your social life. However, your friends hold the key to your new roommate situation…

Friends of friends make great roommates!

Group Of Friends When you start looking for an apartment, ask around your friend group. Think about how your network of friends works. If you know 12 people really well, each of them probably also knows 12 people really well. That broadens your network significantly!! In your friends’ network, it’s likely they have friends or acquaintances who are also looking for a new place and are looking for roommates, just like you! Some of the best roommates I know met as “friends-of-friends.”

“Friends of friends” generally make great roommates because they:

  • Are friends with your friends, meaning you probably have a thing or two in common
  • Aren’t complete strangers
  • Have an incentive to be a good roommate, since they don’t want to look like a jerk to your mutual friend
  • Are easy to get information about before signing the lease — simply ask your mutual friend what they are like in different situations

But, how do you find them?

Work with your inner circle of friends and let them know your situation: that you’re in search of a new apartment and are looking for roommates to join. Then, start searching:

  • Use social media

Check your close friends’ Instagram and Facebook tags to start checking out their other friends. Not only can that help you get a feel for the people they hang out with away from you, but you may find a couple people that look like they’d make good roommates or friends for you. Then, ask your friends to ask around, whether in person or via a post on social media. By using them to ask their friends if they’re looking for a place, you broaden your circle quickly and easily.

  • Be specific with that you want, but not too narrow

Choosing roommates can be tricky, because many people are particular about the kinds of habits they want to see in a roommate. While it’s important to be selective when choosing a roommate, try not to be too picky. While some traits may be non-negotiable (you won’t live with a smoker, for instance), others should be (i.e. a neat person would be nice, but they don’t have to be a neat-freak). If you’re looking at friends of friends, it’s likely they have some good qualities already, so be open minded!

  • Meet them in advance

After getting hooked up by your circle of friends, meet up with potential roommates before signing a lease. And, try to do so without your mutual friend present. Whether it’s a quick coffee or a dinner, “interview” the person and get to know them before committing to living together. Sure, it may be awkward for the first few minutes, but if you’re a good match, it won’t be weird for long.

The best part about using friends to find roommates is that you don’t have to move in with a complete stranger, making most people feel both excited and safe. There is always the chance for drama when you mix mutual friends, but try to avoid sharing any conflicts with the friend who connected you both, keep communication open, and enjoy the ride!

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5 Ways to Treat Your SO Roommate for Valentine’s Day Without Breaking the Bank http://www.myfirstapartment.com/2017/02/treating-your-so-on-valentines-day/ http://www.myfirstapartment.com/2017/02/treating-your-so-on-valentines-day/#respond Sun, 12 Feb 2017 17:00:19 +0000 http://www.myfirstapartment.com/?p=22889 With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, it’s time to start thinking of how you can celebrate your significant other on that day! If you don’t live with your significant other, or don’t have one for the holiday, consider throwing a “Gal – / Dude – Valentine’s Day” party to celebrate all of your closest friends instead.…

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Valentine's DayWith Valentine’s Day just around the corner, it’s time to start thinking of how you can celebrate your significant other on that day! If you don’t live with your significant other, or don’t have one for the holiday, consider throwing a “Gal – / Dude – Valentine’s Day” party to celebrate all of your closest friends instead. And, if you live with roommates, consider choosing one of the below options to make them feel special anyway.

When your significant other is your roommate, you have lots of opportunity to be thoughtful without spending much money. Living with your SO can be a lot of fun, but it’s also easy to stop appreciating the little things once seeing each other every day has become the norm. Instead of spending a ton of money on fancy Valentine’s Day gifts this year, try treating your SO with thoughtful gestures.

Consider the below options to make them feel appreciated and special!

1. Take on their least favorite chore for the week (or forever)

Most roommate-couples split household chores, leaving each roommate to take on particular tasks to keep the house up and running. Think about the chore that your SO hates doing the most, but they still do for you. Maybe it’s laundry, cooking dinner, doing dishes, or vacuuming the rugs. Take on that task for the week after Valentine’s Day! If they REALLY hate it, consider taking it on for good.

2. Home cook a meal together

Cooking together can be a blast, especially if it’s not something you do often. If your SO generally does the cooking, consider treating them for the night and cooking up something special. The meal doesn’t have to be fancy…it’s the thought and effort that counts!

Valentine's day flower3. Bring home flowers or a treat

Small gifts like flowers, your SO’s favorite snack or candy, or a new book are sweet and inexpensive ways to show you thought about them during the day. These don’t need to break the bank, again, it’s the thought that counts when you think about small gifts!

4. Give them the control of the TV remote

He loves his sports and you like to wind down in the company of your favorite Real Housewives.  Or maybe you love to watch shows about animals and your SO is into crime series. Most couples have different tastes when it comes to TV – as the old saying goes, “opposites attract”! So, for a Valentine’s Day treat, yield the remote for a day or a week and let your SO binge on their favorites.

5. Leave handwritten notes around your apartment

A sweet and romantic gesture is also to leave small handwritten notes around your apartment for your SO to find. Think about their bathroom mirror in the morning, their sock drawer, a kitchen cabinet, of your front door! Bonus points if you leave multiple notes in a few different locations!

If you want to spend a little more money, consider choosing something to experience together, like a weekend getaway, concert, or night on the town to celebrate your relationship!

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Apartment-Training Your Puppy http://www.myfirstapartment.com/2017/02/apartment-training-your-pup/ http://www.myfirstapartment.com/2017/02/apartment-training-your-pup/#respond Fri, 10 Feb 2017 17:00:56 +0000 http://www.myfirstapartment.com/?p=22798 Moving into your first apartment is a great time to consider owning a pet. There are lots of pros and cons and expenses, explored here and here, but if you’re ready for a puppy, you will have to quickly learn how to apartment-train it and avoid costly messes! As I’ve said before, I love having…

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puppy in apartmentMoving into your first apartment is a great time to consider owning a pet. There are lots of pros and cons and expenses, explored here and here, but if you’re ready for a puppy, you will have to quickly learn how to apartment-train it and avoid costly messes!

As I’ve said before, I love having dogs in my townhouse. It’s the best feeling to come home to them, and they motivate me and my significant other to spend time outside, exercising, and also just cuddled up with them. Plus, both were shelter dogs so we feel extra good about saving them from what could have been a horrible life. That said, if we hadn’t put in the time and effort training them at the very beginning, our experience may not be that great. It’s difficult to have dogs in your apartment…but it’s downright impossible to have untrained dogs!

Here are a few tips to help train your new pup or dog get used to your apartment.

Potty Training

Potty training is obviously key, especially in an apartment that isn’t yours! Knowing you have your security deposit on the line at the end of your lease, it’s in your best interest to keep your apartment clean (and puppy messes simply won’t work). Here are a few tips for starting the potty training process:

1. Don’t leave your dog for long periods of time alone.

For puppies especially, their bladders are tiny and they are physically unable to “hold it” for much time. If you work during the day, try taking lunch breaks at home or working from home as much as possible during your pup’s first few months.

2. Take them outside constantly.

First thing in the morning, every time they wake up, when you get home, when they sniff around, when they get up from laying down, when look at you funny…take them outside! Teach them that if they communicate it to you, you will take care of their needs. And yes, that does mean taking your dog outside very frequently at first, but that’s how they understand that their restroom is outdoors. And yes, that also means they won’t go to the bathroom every time you take them out…but the point is to teach them if they hold it, you’ll take them outside.

club-soda-carpet-stains3. If (when) they have an accident, use it as a teaching experience.

Remember that your dog is trying hard to please you! If they do have an accident inside, firmly tell them “No”, while pushing their nose toward the mess. Then, immediately take them outside to use the restroom. Never hit or abuse your dog.

4. Clean up accidents quickly.

Accidents will happen. Clean them up quickly using paper towels and club soda, which you can purchase at any convenience store. After dabbing up the mess, pour enough club soda to cover the stain and dab until it is dry. (There are also commercial sprays you can use.)

Managing Energy 

Dogs are generally full of energy, especially if you adopt a young one. Having them in an apartment means you have to quickly learn to manage their energy level to keep them from being destructive. If your dog rips or chews, they’re likely not trying to misbehave…they’re just bored!

1. Exercise with them.

Dogs need exercise to stay healthy and burn energy. In an apartment, there’s not generally much room for them to run and play, meaning they will rely on you for that! Schedule a walk into your daily routine, whether it’s first thing in the morning, before you cook dinner, or during your lunch break. Not only will your dog love it, but you’ll appreciate the exercise as well.

Pet Dog Toys2. Provide durable toys when you’re away.

You’ll probably start to notice that any destructive behavior your dog may have occurs when you’re not in the apartment. Again…they’re bored! Invest in a few durable toys to keep them occupied while you are at work. Think about thick Nylabones, chew toys, or stuffed animals (although if you have a chewer, stuffed animals “explode” pretty easily!) and try a few different types of toys out to learn what they like.

3. Bring them along whenever possible.

Obviously, the best solution is to take your dog with you whenever possible. Dinner at your parents’ house? A day at the park with friends? Brunch with an outdoor patio? Start to think of ways you can bring your dog with you instead of leaving them at home. The excitement of new places wear them out!

Develop Social Skills

Your dog’s social skills, both with humans and with other dogs, are critical in an apartment setting. They will have to interact not only with your friends and family, but also with your neighbors, other dogs in the neighborhood, and new people on walks. Start as soon as you can to develop social skills within your dog for everyone’s benefit.puppy with leash

1. Take them to the dog park.

Once you have your dog trained to “Come” and “Stay” with you, try taking them to an off-leash dog park to interact with other dogs. Most require dogs to have all updated shots, so you can feel safe, however keep your dog close with verbal commands as you assess the situation at first. Many dogs end up loving to run and play with other dogs at the park! However, know that the dog park is not for everyone. For example, one of my dogs loves it…the other gets overwhelmed.

2. Spend time with other people (and dogs).

The best way to socialize your dog is simply to spend time with strangers and new dogs. That could mean stopping to chat with your neighbor during walks, taking your dog to meet friends’ dog
s, or having people over to your apartment. Teach your dog that other people and dogs aren’t a threat, and they’ll be social in no time.

Any other crucial tips for having a dog safely and fairly in your apartment?

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Renter’s Guide to Apartment Privacy Rights http://www.myfirstapartment.com/2017/02/renters-guide-to-apartment-privacy-rights/ http://www.myfirstapartment.com/2017/02/renters-guide-to-apartment-privacy-rights/#respond Wed, 08 Feb 2017 13:00:09 +0000 http://www.myfirstapartment.com/?p=22806 As a renter, privacy and safety should be two of your top concerns. To ensure your physical privacy, meaning your landlord does not show up unannounced or enter your apartment without your explicit permission, do research on your landlord before signing your lease, and read below to know your rights and how to protect them.…

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apt privacyAs a renter, privacy and safety should be two of your top concerns. To ensure your physical privacy, meaning your landlord does not show up unannounced or enter your apartment without your explicit permission, do research on your landlord before signing your lease, and read below to know your rights and how to protect them.

Physical privacy 

Your physical privacy from a landlord is protected on a state level. For more detail on your particular state, visit this site to learn more. In most cases, your landlord can enter your property to:

  • make repairs
  • inspect the property for safety / maintenance
  • show the unit to a prospective tenant or purchaser toward the end of your lease

Notice required

Your landlord must also provide “reasonable” notice before entering your property (24-48 hours in most states), and many will request your permission before doing so. Their notice tends to be enough of a heads up for tenants to feel comfortable, especially since landlords generally enter properties to make repairs or check safety concerns. There are also state-approved hours that your landlord can request to visit; in most states they are daylight hours, meaning your landlord can’t request to come over in the middle of the night.

In the case of a true emergency (think fire), they may enter without giving notice.

End of lease showings

If your property is up for sale or you are near the end of your lease, landlords generally have to provide written notice and provide the detail to you 24-48 hours before any showings of your property to prospective buyers or renter.

Unannounced visits or harassment

Your landlords’ policy (within the law) should be clearly spelled out in your lease. Before you sign it, ask about the clause and make sure you agree to their terms. If not, discuss changes with the landlord or choose another apartment to rent. However, if your landlord continuously shows up unannounced for non-specific or unnecessary reasons, changing locks or withholding rent are not allowable responses. You may want to contact a lawyer to learn about your options.

And, there are caveats to all of these laws. The best advice is to work with your landlord, but do some research if you feel your rights are being violated. For some more detail, check out this page.

 

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Roommate Dilemma: What to Do If You’re Sharing a Room and Losing Sleep http://www.myfirstapartment.com/2017/02/what-to-do-if-youre-losing-sleep-because-of-your-roommate/ http://www.myfirstapartment.com/2017/02/what-to-do-if-youre-losing-sleep-because-of-your-roommate/#respond Mon, 06 Feb 2017 13:00:16 +0000 http://www.myfirstapartment.com/?p=21931 Having a hard time sleeping when you’re sharing a room? It’s more common of a problem than you think! Sometimes our schedules are too different, or one person’s snoring is enough to keep the other up all night staring at the ceiling. But lack of sleep hinders on our productivity, the ability for us to…

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Angry man closing ears with pillowHaving a hard time sleeping when you’re sharing a room? It’s more common of a problem than you think! Sometimes our schedules are too different, or one person’s snoring is enough to keep the other up all night staring at the ceiling. But lack of sleep hinders on our productivity, the ability for us to handle stress, and isn’t great for our overall health. But what can we do if we have nowhere else to sleep? Check out these tips below if your roommate’s nighttime habits are causing you to lose zzzz’s and get back to dreaming!

Try to establish “quiet hours” if one of you is a light sleeper

One suggestion I would make when you first start sharing a room with your roommate is to talk about setting a general time when you reduce the amount of noise for the evening. During those quiet hours, remember to switch to headphones for listening to music or Netflix, use your phone’s light to navigate through the room, and be careful not to slam any doors! Establishing this ahead of time prevents many annoyances and cranky arguments the next day, believe me!

Check out sleep aid apps for drowning out your roommate’s snoring/sleep talking

Woman sleepingSometimes all we need is some background noise to close ourselves off from the outside world so we can drift to sleep. One app I highly recommend for this purpose is “White Noise”. It has over 42 different sounds to listen to from ocean waves crashing and raindrops on pavement, to white noise and fans blowing. Pop in a pair of headphones, turn on the app and you wouldn’t even notice the snoring coming from one bed over! Rather not drain your phone battery? Try using a fan at night to drown out noise.

Invest in a comfortable couch or air mattress if all else fails

While sleeping in our own bed is the ideal situation, sometimes we just have to move to another location in the house to get some sleep. It might be a good idea to skip on the modern trendy looking couch for something comfortable and roomy to sleep on. You can also invest in an air mattress similar to this one on Amazon. It inflates within a few minutes and comes with a built in pump!

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How to Use Leftover Ingredients to Minimize Food Waste and Save Money http://www.myfirstapartment.com/2017/02/how-to-use-leftover-ingredients-to-minimize-food-waste/ http://www.myfirstapartment.com/2017/02/how-to-use-leftover-ingredients-to-minimize-food-waste/#respond Sat, 04 Feb 2017 17:00:34 +0000 http://www.myfirstapartment.com/?p=22605 Sometimes we feel inspired to make a dish we see on Pinterest and shop for the necessary ingredients, only to find out that we only need a little bit of an ingredient. I’ve definitely been there, as the person who was stuck with a 14 pack of tortillas when I was making fajitas for only…

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Italian Frittata with slices of fresh greensSometimes we feel inspired to make a dish we see on Pinterest and shop for the necessary ingredients, only to find out that we only need a little bit of an ingredient. I’ve definitely been there, as the person who was stuck with a 14 pack of tortillas when I was making fajitas for only two people. What do you do with the leftover ingredients? I’m not the biggest fan of tossing leftovers and wasting food (money too), so I’ve looked into some ways for using leftover ingredients. Check out these tips below!

Vegetables

If you have a lot of vegetables and don’t have the necessary ingredients to create another dish with them, there are still options for using them! One idea could be to roast them and serve them with meat for dinner. Or throw all the leftover veges into a pot and make a soup. Veggie quiches and frittatas are other great options for using leftover vegetables. Check out this link for more ideas for using up vegetables.

Herbs

fresh herbsFor using herbs quickly, try mixing them with scrambled eggs or mixing them into pasta sauce or soups. For long term storage, chop herbs and freeze them with olive oil in ice cube trays. Whenever a future recipe calls for that herb, just thaw the cube with the oil and voila!

Grains (bread, tortillas, baked goods)

For finishing off a loaf of sandwich bread when you’re tired of grilled cheese, try making homemade croutons for salads or a cup of soup! Cut bread into cubes and bake in the oven for fresh croutons. Add Parmesan cheese or garlic for flavor! For a simple recipe, check out this link.

For tortillas, try making breakfast burritos and storing them in the freezer. They keep for about a month and whenever you’re running out the door in the morning on your way to work, they make a great fast breakfast! You can also use tortillas to fry your own tortilla chips. Now you only need salsa or guacamole!

Fruit

smoothieFor fruits that have a short shelf life (we’re looking at you, strawberries!) try using fruit to make smoothies and protein shakes.  Store leftovers in the freezer, and thaw whenever you get a smoothie craving. If you like to bake, leftover brown bananas are perfect for banana bread.

You can also use leftover fruit as a quick fruit salad or as a topping for frozen yogurt or ice cream. For a warm  topping, put berries in microwave safe bowl with a little sugar, cover with microwave safe plastic wrap, poke a few holes in the wrap with fork and microwave 2 minutes or so. This berry sauce will make a great topping for pancakes and waffles the next day!

Meat

Try using leftover chicken or beef for stews, Mexican food, or add it to pastas. Leftover chicken is perfect for chicken salad and with some leftover veges, a chicken pot pie. Leftover marinated meat is also great as protein for salads or in sandwiches for work lunches. Finally, try adding meat to scrambled eggs for a gourmet, protein filled breakfast. Steak and eggs anyone?

I hope these tips inspire you to play with new ingredients, and find ways to use any excess ingredients to create other dishes. Happy cooking!

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