Guest Post by Katey from Having Fun at Home
Our family is living in an apartment
right now, and we often find there can be a temptation to pine away for the
home we hope to own someday instead of making the most of where we are right
now. There are, however, a lot of benefits to living in an apartment, and I want to try to enjoy them to the hilt. With that in mind, here are 13 tips I’ve learned for living frugally and pleasantly in an apartment:
1. See if you can share a wireless
internet plan with one of your neighbors. Half of an internet bill is a
whole lot more better than paying the full thing, and apartment dwellers usually live
close enough to one another to make it work! [Note from Crystal: I’d recommend you check with your internet service to make sure this is alright with them before going ahead with it. Thanks to those of you who wrote to mention that!]
2. If you have a porch or patio, hang
bird feeders and grow vegetables like tomatoes and peppers in containers.
Many birds, especially hummingbirds, will visit even an urban feeder. The garden
will give you a little free produce and will help you feel closer to
3. Invest in wall shelves for extra
storage. Stock up when there are good sales (or check your local Craiglist or Freecycle to snag some great deals). This investment has been very helpful and worth the
money for our family.
4. Scatter bay leaves strategically
around your apartment. That’s right–bay leaves! Apartment complexes are
much more likely to host an infestation of cockroaches. Keep them out of your
apartment with bay leaves; roaches hate the smell! (I was very happy to discover
this solution because, with a small child, I really didn’t want to have to use
5. Talk with your neighbors about
holding a community-wide garage sale. It’s difficult to have a garage sale
when living in an apartment complex, but because space is tight, apartment
dwellers, more than most people, need a way to recycle their stuff and pare
down to what is really needed. If you can’t seem to organize a community wide
garage sale, see if there’s a friend nearby who is planning an upcoming sale with whom you might partner for a two-family garage sale.
6. Invest in a cordless vacuum
cleaner. I received this Shark brand
rechargeable battery sweeper
as a wedding gift and use it all the time. It’s pretty powerful, a lot less
hassle than taking out a big vacuum, and takes up a lot less space in my
7. If you have to use a coin operated
laundry facility, consider getting a foldable indoor drying rack. Wash
your underclothes in the sink and hang them to dry in the bathroom on your
rack. It saves you money and you don’t have to leave your apartment as often to
go to the facility.
8. Take out the trash every day, and
place a box of baking soda at the bottom of your trash can to absorb odors.
In a small place, it is much more vital to keep the bad smells to a minimum.
9. Since there usually isn’t the option
of painting or wallpapering make your own decorations, use homemade photos
and enlarge them. Get cheap frames at garage sales and hang them around the
apartment. I used pretty satin ribbons to hang these in my baby’s room.
10. Pare down your collection of
pots and pans to the bare minimum. Not only will this give you more
cupboard space in your kitchen, but it will make it less likely that you will
end up with a mountain of dishes in the sink.
11. Take advantage of the time you
save not taking care of a yard by taking your family on outings to local parks,
zoos, nature centers, festivals, and fairs.
12. Save counter space by using a magnetic tool strip to hang your knives instead of using a knife holder. This saves space and allows you to be able to see the blades without
picking up the knives to find the right one.
13. Make friends with the
maintenance men and the apartment manager. Not only is it advantageous to
you for getting repairs done more efficiently, but those are two jobs that are
often unappreciated. Most of what they hear is complaining. Even if you don’t
develop a personal relationship, show appreciation by baking them Christmas
cookies or other holiday treats.
Katey is a
stay-at-home-mom in Austin, Texas. Her
inexpensive, creative, and wholesome fun at home.
From Crystal: I know many of the rest of you have lived or are living in an apartment or a very small home. I’d love to hear your ideas for making the most of this situation. Please share your input in the comments section.
photos by Katey