Creative Storage Solutions for Your Apartment

Photo source Ikea

Storage space and organization will always be an issue renters face when moving into a new apartment—especially if they have roommates! With these creative solutions, you can maximize your available storage space and leave your apartment looking better for it!

Hooks offer a lot of vertical storage space

As seen above, you can make the most of your apartment’s untapped vertical space by using hooks.

Store items under your bed

Use the space under your bed to store linens, blankets, clothes, or more. With sliding compartments access is even easier.

Photo source Life Hacker

A fridge-side rolling storage pantry can offer a lot of extra space

Looking for a place to store your ever growing collection of cooking spices? A rolling storage pantry can take advantage of the untapped space between your fridge and the wall.

Get a shower caddy

Shower caddies offer a convenient storage solution for soap, shampoo, conditioners, and any other must-have items for your cleansing routine. Especially helpful if your sink/bathtub is becoming crowded with cleaning products.

Photo Source Fresh Home

Turn your headboard into a shelving system

Many people neglect the available space that can be found in a bed’s headboard and/or above the bed. A few simple shelves can open a lot of room to store items.

Over-the-door organizers are your best friend

Hanging door organizers can help you store and organize shoes, cleaning products, socks, towels, or anything else you might want to keep close together.

Photo source Pottery Barn

Use baskets

Baskets provide a stylish method to organize and group items throughout your house. A pile of CDs may not especially appealing on their own, but put them in a basket and suddenly it looks like a design choice as opposed to clutter.

A storage chest can double as a coffee table

Just because something gets a lot of use doesn’t mean it can’t also add to your storage space. A cool-looking storage chest can add a lot of style to your apartment and provide an out of sight repository for your things.

With these tips, not only will your space offer all the storage you’ll need—it’ll look amazing in the process.

Top 10 Holiday Travel Tips 2016

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The holiday season is here, and with it many will start considering their future travel plans. The unfortunate truth is that holiday travel can be an oft stressful time if not handled with patience and preparation. To that end, we are sharing our top 10 Holiday Travel Tips to guarantee your holiday is nothing but sleigh bells and egg nog.

Empty Apartment Tips

  1. Stop your mail if you’re leaving for more than 5 days.

Other than avoiding the potential frustration of coming home to a pile of mail and newspapers, this tip can protect your home. By keeping your mail from piling up, would be burglars are more likely to be unaware of your absence.

2. If you haven’t already, get renters insurance!

This one is applicable for the entire year, not just the holidays! Protect yourself in case of the worst. Read more about it here.

3. Have a friend or neighbor check in.

Let your trusted confidant know of your travel plans and if you can have them check in on your apartment in your absence. Be sure to get them a nice gift to reward them for their help!

4. Unplug appliances.

Sure, your toaster may seem harmless, but freak and unexpected electrical accidents can cause a fire that can potentially destroy an unattended apartment. Be safe and unplug all unnecessary appliances. You can have your lights plugged in to an automatic timer to give your apartment the illusion of being lived in an attended (see our first tip).

Car Travel Tips

5. Have your car examined before you leave.

The last thing thing anybody wants is to have their car break down when traveling out of town for the holidays. Avoid being stranded from home by having your car examined and ensure it’s winter ready.

6. Pack for the worst!

Sure, gifts and clothes will undoubtedly occupy most of your suitcase space, but you need to have a kit ready for those problematic situations. A car charger, a phone charger, jumper cables, sand for traction on snow, an ice scraper, flashlights, a first aid kit… you get the picture.

7. Take breaks when driving.

When driving for long stretches, be sure to pull over and stretch your legs. It’s important to stay alert when you’re behind the wheel, and more so when driving in the winter time.

Plane Travel Tips

8. Pack light.

By avoiding checking bags you can skip the frustration of potentially losing a suitcase full of gifts and/or clothes. Better yet, you can avoid the checked baggage fees most domestic airlines charge.

9. Travel on off-peak days.

If you’re looking to help your wallet, avoid peak travel days. Not only will you save some dough, you’ll avoid the madness that are the crowds of an airport at full capacity. If you really want to avoid the hassle and save even more money, consider traveling on the holiday itself! Not only is it cheaper but it’s guaranteed to be much calmer.

10. Ship Gifts Ahead of Time

This one applies no matter the method of transportation, but applies to none more so than air travel. Not only do you avoid potentially losing/damaging gifts, but you save yourself the hassle of packing and lugging gift with you on an already chaotic travel day. With a bit of pre-planning your day will be considerably simpler.

With these handy tips in mind, nothing will interrupt your travels be they by plane, train, or automobile. Happy holidays!

 

photo credit: alist Denver Airport Security Lines via photopin (license)

Even the Score with UO $CORE

UO$CORE

 

How much do you spend on electricity a month? What about water? Is it higher than you’d like to be spending? What if we told you that you could be helped with your bills and do your part to help the greater good in the process? That’s exactly the case with UO $CORE, a student run program to help students save money on their utility bills for environmentally-responsible practices.

$CORE stands for “Student and Community Outreach for Renter efficiency” and was started in 2012 by James Walton, a senior business major who secured a grant from Eugene Water and Electric Board to create the program. Through $CORE, student staff perform free audits and install upgrades in older, off-campus student rental housing while also helping student tenants by providing information, materials, and skills to help lower their carbon footprint and utility bills.

If you’re interested in hearing more about how $CORE can help you save money then you should register for a free energy assessment!

Energy Assessment

What does this assessment include? Simply put, two Energy Evaluators will come to your house and assess your energy needs. Over the course of an hour they will install low use devices such as CFL lightbulbs and weather stripping, while also give you some information on how to lower your energy consumption and carbon footprint.

Not only will your bills be lower and your house better for the environment, you’ll even get a free pizza from TrackTown Pizza if more than half the household is present!

CFLBulbs
Say hello to your new best friend.

Tips for Reducing Energy Use

$CORE’s Facebook page is constantly updated with handy tips to reduce your utility bills and carbon footprint. We’ve selected a few here to share.

  • Wrap your water tank with jacket insulation to save up to 10% on water heating costs.
  • Install low-flow showerheads.
  • When cooking on a stovetop, match the pan size to the heating surface to prevent heat loss to the surrounding air.
  • Put your computer and monitor to sleep mode (or off) when you’re not using them.
  • Replace your bulbs with Energy Star® efficient light bulbs.
  • Keep your freezer full to minimize energy used. For maximum savings fill the freezer with gallons of water.

A quick session with UO $CORE and you’ll have lower bills, a diminished carbon footprint, and free pizza!!! That’s what we call a win-win!

photo credit: CFL bulbs via photopin (license)

Decorating Your Rental on a Budget – Part Two

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So you found an apartment and now you want to make it feel more like a home without spending a fortune. We know that decorating can be a challenge when your options are limited by rental rules.

Apartment Curtains

Make your windows a work of art. There are numerous ways to creatively dress up your windows without it costing a fortune.

  • Before you begin, measure your windows (starting from where you will install the curtain rod). This will help you determine how much fabric you will need (consult with a local fabric store to help you determine how much fabric you will need for this project)
  • Look for a basic medium-weight fabric such as cotton or a cotton-linen blend so it is easy to work with. Bright colors or patterns will give a refreshing contrast to the monotone white walls in your apartment.
  • To make your ceilings seem taller, hang the curtains 6-10 inches above the window.
  • Consult with a DYI website to get easy sewing tips on simple curtains. If you don’t sew, you can always use an adhesive fabric tape.
  • Hang your homemade curtains with inexpensive clip rings which can be purchased at most hardware stores or any Target or Walmart.
  • If you want an even easier window treatment, you can of course purchase inexpensive pre-made curtains at most stores. Fabric shower-curtains are another option, and are easy to install. You can even make a window valance using a scarf or a tablecloth.

Decide on your color scheme and stick...Blending colors that contrast with white walls will make the space feel more open. Cool colors like green, turquoise, blue, and purple can make a room feel more spacious and elegant. Warm colors like orange, yellow, and red can make the space appear cozy and intimate.

 

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photo credit: June:22 via photopin (license)

Decorating Your Rental Property on a Budget (Part One)

Apartment Decorating

Ever wonder how you can personalize your apartment without spending a fortune or ruining your chances to get your deposit back?

Lots of our tenants have!  That’s why we have put together a list of simple decorating tips to help you make your apartment feel more like home.  Whether your taste is traditional, eclectic, minimalist or kitschy it is possible to create a desirable living space on without spending a fortune when you use a little bit of
creativity. Here are some ideas on how to decorate your rental property on a budget.

Bring in area rugs to add more color. If you are decorating on a budget, an area rug  is a big purchase. Look for bargains online and at discount stores like IKEA, thrift stores or resale sites like Ebay or CraigsList. Once you find the right rug that fits in with your color scheme, place the rug in the middle of the room to frame your space.

Brighten up standard walls and ceiling lights with DIY artwork ideas!

  • Add soft lighting throughout the apartment with inexpensive lamps with lamp shades rimmed with ribbon for a personalized designer look.
  • Tack a scarf or square of neat fabric to the ceiling over a drab boring light fixture. The fabric hangs far enough down that it won’t heat up or scorch, and the pretty colored light shines through below.
  • Staple fabric over a bulletin board. Hang on the wall and pin your favorite pictures on it.

Choose light and functional furniture (if possible). Chances are, you probably do not have a budget to buy all new furniture. For many of us apartment dwellers, our furniture chooses us when we inherit pieces from our family members. Despite popular belief, you don’t need as much furniture as you think.

  • Remember- what you move in, you will eventually need to move out. So go light and stick with the essential pieces- a few living room pieces for seating and storage, a dining room table, a bed and a dresser is really all you need to get started.
  • You can find great deals on used furniture at thrift stores or resale sites like CraigsList.
  • If you get a thrift store sofa, consider covering it with an inexpensive slip cover in a soft or muted color that blends with your accent colors.
  • Repurposing furniture from a thrift store is also great way to go green.
  • If you must buy new furniture, find some that you can assemble yourself (IKEA is a great place to find this). This will make moving in and moving out easier.
  • Make your own throw pillows in the same color scheme as your curtains to pull together the look in your living room and bedroom.
  • Go to the local discount store or dollar store for more basic items like kitchen utensils, trash cans and more.

Duck Spotlight: CommUniversity Assistant Program

The CommUniversity Assistant Program (CAP).
Photo Source: The CommUniversity Assistant Program (CAP) on Facebook.

Living off campus can be an exciting and rewarding time for students where they can experience independence and personal freedom.

But for some students, that increased freedom can come at a cost. It’s confusing and stressful for inexperienced first time renters to learn the ropes, navigate their way through issues with other roommates, neighbors and addressing safety concerns. It’s often hard to know who students can turn to, which is one of the primary reasons why the University of Oregon Office of the Dean of Students launched The CommUniversity Assistant Program (CAP).

CommUniversity Assistants are student leaders (CAPs) hired by the University to live in student-populated neighborhoods and serve as liaisons between students and the greater community. These students know first hand the issues students face and work to create positive off-campus student living where students can study, have fun and thrive.

The organization works to educate students on their rights and responsibilities and the impact of student behavior on residents, business owners, and property owners. They also provide resources to students with scheduled programs throughout the year like the Off-Campus Housing Fair, Move-Out Event, Taking it to the Streets, and Winter Family Weekend. Think of them as the “What To Do and Where To Go” People.

The Goals of CAPs are to:
• To foster positive relationships between edge neighborhoods (residents, business owners, and property owners) and the University (students and employees). Provide value to the University and the community in this relationship.

• To improve quality of life for students who reside off-campus, to advance student learning.

• To increase access to campus and community resources for students who reside off-campus.

To learn more about this program and how it can benefit you, contact the CommUniversity Assistant Program through one of the following channels:

Telephone: 541-346-3216
E-mail: communiversity@uoregon.edu
Facebook: www.facebook.com/UOCommUniversity
Twitter: www.twitter.com/comm_university
Office of the Dean of Students
164 Oregon Hall

Links and Additional Resources:
dailyemerald.com
www.facebook.com/UOCommUniversity

Nine Signs You Are a Bad Roommate

9 Signs You are a Bad Roommate

Are you a bad roommate? Hopefully, you are in a situation where there is mutual respect for boundaries and everyone feels comfortable with each other. But, as we all know, that is not always the case.

After a long day of working or studying, there is nothing worse than coming home to a terrible roommate. Here are 9 signs that you are a less-than-ideal roommate.

1. Your Motto is “My Way or the Highway”. 

Good luck with that! Sharing your space with another person can be challenging, even a close friend. For your living arrangement work, it’s important that both parties compromise and adapt to each others lifestyle and habits. You can help mitigate awkward situations by determining if you are a good match BEFORE you move in.   Click here for tips on finding a the right roommate for you.

2. You are Miss or Mr. Passive Aggressive.

Whether you live with a stranger or a close friend, accept that at some point there is probably going to be conflict. Open communication is absolutely necessary when living in such close living quarters. Even if you avoid conflict at all costs, it will only cause anger an resentment to build up inside you until you are completely unbearable to live with. There is a good chance your roommate has no idea what they did to anger you, so talk about it, come to a agreement and move on!

3.  You honestly believe your roommate doesn’t care if you take or borrow without asking.

So you have a roommate who keeps the fridge stocked, the dishes clean, and plenty of clean laundry around for you to borrow. Why should they mind a T-shirt here, a carton of milk there? It’s communal right? Trust us, they mind. Nobody wants to be stuck with a roommate who takes food without replacing it or who borrows your favorite shoes or shirt without asking!

4. You are consistently late paying your bills or rent.

This is the worst!!! Pay your bills on time. Pay them early if that is an option. If you can’t afford your bills you may need to make different living arrangements or work an extra job. Do not ask your roommate(s) (who are probably also strapped for cash) to cover you! It’s not fair to them, and word will get around that you are a loser.  Who wants that?

5. You act as if your Mom will clean up after you.

Unless you have maid service, which you probably don’t, clean up your own messes! Think it’s ok to clean the dishes in the next couple of days or even next week? It’s not! Nobody wants to live with a messy or disorganized person! Who wants to come home to someones clutter and filth? You don’t have to be a super clean neat freak, but it’s important to be on the same page with your roommate about what’s acceptable and what’s not when it comes to cleanliness. Clean up your own messes, nobody else will.

6.  You ask lots of personal questions.

Your roommate has physical and emotional boundaries. Respect them. Just because you are living in the same space, you do not have the right to pry into their personal business! If your roommate wants to volunteer the information to you, fine. But give your roommate the space they need and respect their privacy.

7.  You frequently bring the party into your living room during the wee hours of the morning.

It’s one thing to be social, but it’s another thing to disregard your roommate(s) need for sleep or quiet study time. You must agree on acceptable noise levels in advance. Besides, you don’t want your neighbor to have report you, you just might receive a noise ordinance!

8. You are addicted to cigarettes.

Cigarette smoking stinks. It’s disgusting. It makes everything else, including your roommate’s stuff, smell like cigarettes. Yuck. Don’t smoke. If you must smoke, do it in a designated area and do your laundry often.

9. You contribute NOTHING.

You need stuff in your apartment: furniture, cookware, dishes, electronics, etc. Don’t be the roommate that contributes nothing. Suddenly you are the guy (or gal) that takes advantage of your roommate’s stuff.

Bottom Line: Be considerate!  Be considerate! Be considerate! And figure out in advance if you are a good match! 

photo credit: foshydog via photopin cc

Your Stuff is Worth More than You Think! Get Renters Insurance!

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It doesn’t matter where you live, your personal belongings are important and losing them could be devastating. The responsibility for protecting all your belongings is yours — along with the cost of replacing them if disaster strikes.

If you don’t have renters insurance, you are betting against an unforeseen circumstance happening to you: a fire, theft, vandalism, water damage, a natural disaster, or worse. Is that a wager you can afford to lose?

Too many people forgo renters insurance because they think their stuff isn’t worth much. This is not the wisest choice because

a) renters insurance is usually very affordable
b) you stuff is worth a lot more than you might think

According to USAA.com, “the average renter has more than $20,000 in personal belongings. Just think about how much it would cost to replace your clothing, books, furniture, laptop computer, flat-screen TV, bicycle, smartphone and everything else you’ve accumulated over the years.”

Renters insurance differs from company to company, so make sure you compare benefits before buying.  If you already have insurance for your vehicle, start with that company and request information.

Some key features to look for (source: USAA.com):

Replacement cost coverage. This provides enough money to buy a new item to replace the one you’ve lost. That’s better than a policy that only covers an item’s actual cash value. For example, if your 10-year-old TV is destroyed, a replacement cost policy would cover the price of a brand-new set. An actual cash value plan would only give you what the TV was worth at the time it was destroyed.

Protection against severe weather and other events. Make sure your policy not only covers property damaged or destroyed by fire but also by flooding, earthquakes and other natural disasters.

Coverage of items in your car. The policy should pay for personal items if they are stolen from your vehicle.

Living expenses if forced to move. If damage to your apartment or rental property requires you to temporarily live elsewhere, renters insurance will reimburse your living expenses.

Medical expense coverage. This helps reimburse guests for medical expenses related to injuries that happen at your place.

Liability insurance. If an injured guest sues you, liability coverage can help with legal bills and will pay damages if you’re found liable for them.

Visit the U of O’s Off-Campus Student Resources and Programs page for more resources.

photo credit: Sakurako Kitsa via photopin cc

11 Questions to Ask Your Roommate(s) Before You Sign a Lease

medium_3541111970Now that spring is approaching, we will soon be leasing for the upcoming school year!

Have you thought about your roommate situation?

Don’t be so eager to find someone who seems nice or willing to share the costs that you neglect to find out important details about their personality, habits and lifestyle preferences. This can lead to a disaster!

Think about what is important and non-negotiable for you. It is far better to be upfront and honest about your expectations than feeling miserable about your living situation in a few months. Before signing any lease, get to know your potential roommate(s). We highly recommend setting up an interview and ask direct questions.

Here are some important details you will want to pay attention to:

1. Sleeping habits: early risers or night owl? Light sleeper or deep sleeper?

2. Typical work or school schedule? (Will it conflict with yours?)

3. How does this person describe their cleaning habits and expectations and does it match yours?

4. Any allergies? Examples: peanuts, perfume, milk, flowers, mold, smoke).

5. Lifestyle habits: Do they smoke, drink, listen to loud music, stay out late? Are you ok with that?

6. How would the candidate describe their decorating style (if they have one)? Does it match yours?

7. Social habits? Will there be friends over often? If so, will you get along with these friends? Is there a boyfriend or girlfriend in the picture?

8. How will you combine your belongings? Who will provide the living room furniture, pots, dishes, electronics, etc? Can you share these items?

9. Does the potential roommate have a job? What is their basic financial situation? Nobody wants to be stuck with unpaid utility bills or rent!

10. Can you rely on this person to be honest and be courteous to you and other potential roommates?

11. What is their maturity level on a scale to 1-10?

Answers to these questions should help provide you with a sense of whether or not this is the right fit for your lifestyle. Always go with your gut. If you get a weird feeling about a potential roommate, tell them politely that you don’t think it would be a good match and move on.

photo credit: valkyrieh116 via photopin cc

4 Ways to make your Von Klein Property Feel like Home

Apartment Decorating

It’s a new season and you are all moved in into your new home! But something may be missing…..your personal touch.

It’s these personal touches that transforms a rental property to a home. How do you give your rental property look that is uniquely yours (without losing your security deposit)?  Read on for some tips:

1. Don’t like the carpet? Cover it with an area rug!
So you want to bring more color and warmth into your rental? Use an area rug that coordinates with your other décor.

It may surprise you how much it can change the look of a room! Depending on where you shop, area rugs are usually inexpensive, and can be used over neutral carpets. Great deals can be found in stores like Target, TJMaxx and Ikea (if you want to take a road trip to Portland!) or you can look online at sites like Overstock.com.

The best part is, you get to take your beautiful area rug with you whenever you move out!

2. Give your furniture a new hue!
Since you can’t paint the walls in your rental, why not add color to your furniture? Give your couch a new life with a slipcover and/or colorful decorative pillows! Slipcovers are usually inexpensive and can be found in stores like Bed Bath and Beyond, Target, etc.

You can also transform your rental just by painting your furniture (make sure you use a dropcloth from the hardware store to prevent spills on the floor)! Adding a new paint job to a dining room table, or a bookshelf, or an end table, can be just as impactful as new color on the walls.

3. Mirror mirror on the wall….
It’s the oldest design trick in the book, because it works! Mirrors reflect light and make a space feel bigger. Hang a large mirror in your dining space, living room, or bedroom across from a window, so it is in a prime position to receive natural light and reflect it back into the room.

Eugene Apartments

4. Make your windows a work of art with bright colors or patterns.
Install a simple curtain rod 6-10 inches above your window using a damage-free wall hook (Command™ Brand Products are great) to make the room feel larger. Hanging curtains with your your favorite patterns or colors will give a refreshing contrast to the neutral walls in your living space.

area rug photo credit: ooh_food via photopin cc