Living in a space less than 1,200 square feet would be unfathomable to some people, but to you it means that you’ve chosen to reside in one of the greatest cities in the country. The Overlook is a modern and upscale apartment community centralized in the dynamic area of Camp Hill and Harrisburg, where everything you could possibly need or want is right outside your door. But the law of supply & demand dictates this location comes at a cost of vast living quarters. Luckily, we’ve listed tips on ways to maximize the space you do have and continue to enjoy living in your apartment.
1. Storage is the key to happiness
As much as possible, keep items concealed and out of view for an uncluttered look.Closet storage is best. To maximize it, be careful of closet organizers. These can actually take up more space if not planned properly. Regular shoeboxes, meanwhile, take up a minimal amount in a closet and can be stacked tighter for better use of space. Consolidate all of your travel items into your suitcase and store in there — this makes packing faster and easier when you are ready for a quick getaway (see Tip 10).
Use tote bags, which hold tons of stuff and can be monogrammed or labeled for easy identification. These are also easy to move for cleaning, and since they’re made of fabric, they give more flexibility in tighter space. This is a great way to store magazines or books.
When you don’t cook, use your stove as a storage area – it has adjustable shelves and can provide much-needed space (just remember to take your stuff out again before preheating!).
2. Adopt a chic, clean & stylish design
Be sure that your apartment has an aesthetic. Play with color and accessories; don’t be afraid to use them. Design elements aren’t just for mansions. If you’re lacking closets or cabinets, create a storage/display making your space both decorative and functional. So many couture items such as vintage handbags, shoes, ties, and scarves are actually pieces of usable art. A smaller space can be a more opulent space.
3. Buy multifunctional furniture
Use a bed that has storage drawers underneath. Some have found that the drawers on the bottom actually had more space than a dresser, and free up a ton of floor space.
Ottomans and stools can convert from storage cubes to tables to additional seating.
4. Forget about room dividers, go for artwork instead
Use art to section off areas of the room instead of room dividers. These dividers often make the room look much more cramped and disrupt the flow of good energy through the apartment. Using art to differentiate spaces makes your apartment feel bigger and more open.
5. Be obsessively organized
When closets and cabinets are overflowing, it’s time to clean and reorganize. In a small apartment, you often find that you don’t have that catchall space that you do with a larger apartment. Mail must be sorted each day and laundry must be done on a regular basis. Once a routine is established, you’ll find that — just like your space — your time becomes more efficient.
6. Buy only what you love and purge often
After living for a few years with less space, you tend to buy only what you really need or really love, eliminating trends or donating them when the trend is over. Buying quality instead of quantity makes your dollar stretch further in the long run. And being on your fashion game in one of the most stylish cities in the world is a bonus. Owning one pair of great shoes is better than owning twelve pairs of mediocre ones.
7. Use every square inch
It’s not the amount of space, but how the space functions that matters. Make use of every square inch.
Many people have a guest room and they use it once a year when that friend comes to town. In fact, most people actually use only 20% of their house. But not you. You’re utilizing every last bit. Live simpler.
8. Do cost comparisons
When you start to get apartment envy and consider moving to a larger space, talk to your friends with bigger apartments and you’ll quickly realize their rent and utility bills are much higher than yours. Living in a smaller space, the costs are lower.
9. Travel as often as your schedule and budget permits
Go out of town at least five times per year, or as often as your schedule permits. This is a nice break and change of scenery. Friends will love to visit you, because you’re in one of the best cities on Earth. People in other parts of the country have 2-3 guest rooms, and no one ever goes to visit. It’s a good reminder that your piece of heaven is a sanctuary no matter the size.
Thinking about adopting a dog? If you didn’t already know, we are a pet friendly community; in fact, we LOVE our furry residents. We have a few restricted breeds, however, so be sure to check with us before bringing home Fido. While almost any dog can potentially make a great apartment dog, we’ve narrowed down the breeds that, based on generalized demeanor, will be the best fit for your apartment.
These adorable little “hot dogs” are expert snugglers who love burrowing beneath blankets and cuddling up to their loved ones. The smallest of the hound breeds, they do enjoy a good run – but the bonus here is that with legs just a few inches long, you can give them all the toy-fetching exercise they need right in the house!
Fluffy, French and altogether fashionable in appearance, Bichons shed very little, though they will need regular grooming to stay kempt. Energetic, loving and bright, the Bichon makes a wonderful companion. While they do enjoy a walk, they’re happy to be little movie-watching couch potatoes, as well.
These interesting-looking little love dogs come in a powderpuff and hairless variety. The hairless are very easy to maintain, as you might imagine – though they can get cold and should own a few sweaters! Weighing up to 12 pounds, they of course need regular walks but don’t require a large amount of exercise and do very well in apartments.
These dogs are like giant Dobermans that have been hit with a shrink ray! Miniature Pinschers (or Min-Pins, as they are often called) have a similar appearance to the Doberman, but are actually a distinct and older breed. Standing roughly 10”-12” tall at the shoulder, these tiny titans average out to about 11 pounds, and make wonderful watchdogs, as they’re alert and suspicious. Also adorable.
Are you an experienced dog owner who loves taking your dog out for exercise? If so, the foxy-looking Shiba, which hails from Japan, often makes one of the best apartment dogs! Shibas have lots of energy, so if running – either in tandem or turning your pup loose at the dog park – on a daily basis sounds like you, this is definitely a breed to consider.
We know. You’re probably thinking, ‘How can these dogs – with their racing backgrounds – be one of the best dog breeds for apartments?!’ But they are! Long, lanky and content to be lazy, the only thing greyhounds may demand of you is more couch space. They actually need very little exercise or grooming, and they’re wonderfully easygoing and quickly trained. What’s more, greyhounds are plentiful in rescues nationwide, and thus affordable to obatin.
Want a true couch potato? These wrinkly little lovers may not look like lap dogs, but as far as they’re concerned, they definitely are. Quiet, friendly and loving, bulldogs enjoy a good romp, but they’re fairly low-energy and very content loafing about with their loved ones . . . and a cozy apartment would suit just fine.
Living with a roommate can be a great experience, but sometimes troubles arise when it’s time to pay the bills. Luckily, there are apps that help make your living situation a little easier. Check out the following apps that will help you and your roommate stay on track for groceries, rent, debt owed, and more:
Splitwise helps to ensure everyone gets paid back and is completely free to use on your computer, iPhone, or Android. It tallies up all your IOUs so you can reimburse in one big payment. This is great when you’re having to pay for rent that isn’t all inclusive. You can also set up reminders to help you keep up with payments by uploading expenses and sharing with your roomies.
Venmo is probably the most popular among the money-sending app variety. You can easily add a bank account or debit card and transfer money between roommates at no extra charge. You can also keep money in your Venmo account to use towards your bills. Venmo is totally free and easy as long as both parties involved have the app. It’s also a great way to send birthday money or split dinner!
IOU is your personal debt manager! You can upload expenses, share them among your housemates and even send each other email reminders about payments. You can add recurring IOUs for monthly bills and create payment plans for bigger purchases. It’s really easy to keep track of everything with a record of your debt history. Avoid confusion and fights about who paid who back, when you can refer back to the app.
Splitrr is extremely easy and convenient to use because there is no login required, it works completely offline and supports all currencies. It will help tell you who is next to pay and who owes whom money. You can generate a PDF to email to your roomies to keep up to date. This app also works wonders for planning weekend trips and vacations!
So what if you and your roomies share groceries? There’s an app for that! With OurGroceries you can easily make and change grocery lists, crossing off items as you purchase them. That way you don’t end up with double duty on shareable items like eggs, milk, and (of course) wine.
With identity thieving at an all-time high, securing your personal information is more important than ever before, and it can start with something as simple as ensuring that your apartment’s wifi password security, as well as your other passwords, are strong enough. But how do you create a secure password?
The Three Essential Rules to Creating a Secure Password
Though passwords may seem like a hassle to remember, they’re a hugely necessary inconvenience. According to cybersecurity company IdentityHawk.com, they’re essential in the fight against someone stealing your data or even your identity. In order to ensure your password security, start by keeping these three rules in mind:
Passwords should be complex and long
While this may make your password more difficult to remember, it also makes it more difficult for a hacker to guess. Aim for a password that’s at least 8 characters long, includes both upper and lowercase letters, numbers and special characters such as %, # or &.
Passwords should not be easy to guess
It’s always tempting to use something simple like “password1” or even “123456,” but that’s one of the worst things you can do. Sequential numbers are actually the worst for hacks, according to SplashData, who collect information on data breaches. In fact, in 2015, “123456” was the most commonly used password found in hacks for the 5th year running.
Use a different password for every account
Using the same password for all of your accounts is just asking for trouble. Oftentimes during major data breaches, hackers will try using acquired passwords on other accounts just to see if they’ll work, meaning they could possibly gain access to your important financial information. If your memory just isn’t built for that kind of thing, try using one of the top password managers to ensure your password security.
How Do I Know If I Have a Bad Password?
Here is SplashData’s top 25 list of most commonly used–bad–passwords. If you are using any of these, change it. Now.
Instead, use these 3 simple tips for a better password:
Use passwords or passphrases of twelve characters or more with mixed types of characters
Avoid using the same password over and over again on different websites
Use a password manager such as TeamsID to oranize and protect passwords, generate random ones, and automatically log into websites
So what’s the best way to choose a secure password?
Choose a phrase with at least 8 words: This is my favorite sandwich in the world
Take the first letter of each word: timfsitw
Switch one (or two) to an uppercase: TimFsitw
Switch one to a number: T1mFsitw
Switch one to a special character: T1mF$itw
Add something unique from each site (i.e. add a “b” for banking, and “f” for Facebook, etc.)
If there’s one meal at which family drama is on full display, it’s Thanksgiving. Expectations and emotions run high, and there are a lot of moving parts to cause friction. Even Anthony Bourdain, who is seemingly immune to the criticism of others, feels the pressure to pull off the most anticipated meal of the year. If you’re hosting (and taking seriously) The Big Meal this year, you’ll need to read this before tackling anything related to it. There’s a lot you’re just plain doing wrong.
Below, a list of exactly what you’re doing wrong, according to Anthony Bourdain:
1. You start cooking on Thanksgiving Day.
Preparing your whole meal in one day— even two—is a recipe for system failure. Order your fancy farmer-raised turkey now. Or, if you are going to buy a more plebian bird from a regular market, get your hands on it no later than the Monday before Thanksgiving.
2. You’re not planning well enough.
Plan for three days—that’s right, three days—of full-on Thanksgiving prep. Make a list of everything that needs to get done and follow it. The Tuesday before Thanksgiving, you should be organizing your supplies and tools, making sure you have enough roasting pans, mixing bowls, and storage containers ,and banging out advance vegetable prep.
3. You’re not giving yourself enough time to thaw everything out.
Do not wait until Thanksgiving to lay out your non-perishables and frozen items. The vast majority of holiday turkeys are sold frozen, and it takes about six hours per pound to defrost in the refrigerator. No amount of prayer, salting, or hastily applied hairdryers can speed up this process if you’ve waited until Wednesday to thaw a 12-pound bird. Your microwave isn’t big enough. You can jolly it along a bit with a cold water bath, which thaws the meat at approximately 30 minutes per pound, but do not float your turkey in your bathtub.
4. You’re not saving the stock when it’s all over. It’s liquid gold for cold weather.
Stock is the underrated superhero of the Thanksgiving meal, the product that comes out of nowhere to save almost everything except your pie. You should make stock out of your Thanksgiving turkey carcass—but the use of a good, dark, gelatinous-when-refrigerated stock that you have on hand before the meal is what’s going to upgrade your stuffing and gravy. Buy about five to seven pounds of turkey wings and necks as the base for a deeply-roasted stock, or invest in a couple of quarts of the best-quality turkey stock you can find a few days (or weeks) before the holidays. Use the stock made from your Thanksgiving birds for winter soups and stews.
5. You only make one turkey? That’s cute.
Prepare a stunt turkey and a business turkey. To impress guests, roast and artfully arrange a small turkey, using any and all manner of garnishes and props, including (but not limited to): chop frills, rainbow pinwheels of skewered citrus fruit slices, maraschino cherries, curly kale, lit sparklers, and crisp, new $100 bills and/or gold leaf. While guests admire your artistry (and drink your Burgundy), carve the larger, roasted business turkey in the kitchen. The stunt turkey should be edible, of course. Use it to supplement the meal as needed, or lean on it entirely for care packages and day-after leftovers.
6. You’re throwing away the fat.
Do not discard the copious amounts of grease your bird has generously provided you with; use it to boost flavor. Butter is good, but turkey fat is better for delivering quintessential flavor. Save the grease that runs off the roasted birds and use it for the gravy and as a moistening agent for your stuffing.
7. Don’t try anything crazy. This is not the time for wild experimentation.
Stick with tradition on Thanksgiving. You have 364 days of the year to experiment with the cuisines of the world, your dehydrator, and your sous vide machine. Give the people what they want on Thanksgiving: the likes of buttery mashed potatoes, savory stuffing with mushrooms or chestnuts or oysters, sweet potatoes with marshmallows, cranberry relish, bacon-enhanced Brussels sprouts, creamed onions, pumpkin or apple pie with real whipped cream, and above all, a straight-ahead bronzed turkey, roasted in the oven.
8. You’re giving it all away at the end of the meal.
A good turkey sandwich, enhanced with a layer of stuffing and gravy, eaten in peace after your guests have gone, is the whole point of hosting Thanksgiving in the first place. By all means, send your friends and family home with care packages—but first, make sure you’ve tucked away enough additional stuff for yourself.
Traditional Halloween treats include all oour obvious favorites: Snickers, Reese’s, Twix, Skittles, and the (yummy) list goes on and on. But this year you should stray from tradition and pick up some not-so-typical treats for the youngsters in your building. Trust us, they’ll get plenty of the tooth-rotting goodness, but they’ll welcome the alternative Halloween treats we gathered here. Many of these items can be purchased in bulk for an affordable price at your local dollar store:
Living in an apartment can mean limited décor options. Painting your walls in your favorite shade of green or blue may not always be ideal. In fact, it may go against your lease. And even if you did have the option of painting your walls, losing your deposit is something you would risk. So, how do you add color to your space without going against your lease agreement?
With a quick visit to your local crafts store and a little DIY, you can add color and personality to your apartment in no time with very little impact on your walls – and your wallet. If you’re not sure what color is best suited for your space, check out these tips on using the color wheel for inspiration.
If you have a large empty wall in your living room, consider creating your own piece of art. Have fun and mix and match the colors to go with your space. Next, measure the width of your wall to determine how big your piece of art should be. Then, head out to your local art store and purchase a canvas that will best fit the space, painters’ tape (you can determine how wide the lines should be), acrylic paint and a foam brush.
Create a geometric design on the canvas using the painters’ tape. This is where you can have fun – it doesn’t have to be perfect. Next, cover it with the paint. You can use different colors. Let it dry. Once the paint is dry, carefully remove the tape, and voila – your very own art piece.
Fabric Wrapped Canvas
Similar to the large painting, you can easily use an artist’s canvas to add color to your wall. Head out to your local crafts store and purchase a yard of a fabric that you love. Consider using a fabric that will add that pop of color, as well as one that will add texture to your space, like a textured silk. Wrap the fabric around the canvas – like a present – and use a staple gun to secure the fabric in place. This is great because all you need is one hole, which betters your chance of getting your deposit back in the end.
Our 24-hour Fitness Center is a great perk of apartment living, adding to your quality of life in more than one way. But your gym etiquette (or lack thereof) could make the wrong impression, turning off neighbors, potential friends and even management. Here are some tips so you make a good impression in your apartment community’s fitness center.
Workout clothes should be worn, not flip-flops or bathing suits. You never know who you’ll meet in your gym—a potential employer, a future date, or simply a new friend. It’s always beneficial to make a good impression, even when working out. Ripped or dirty clothes tell something about you, as does wearing something too revealing, provocative or downright offensive.
Leave Work Behind
You’ll want to be friendly at the gym, but the less you talk about work at the gym, the better. Most people go to the gym with one of two things in mind: getting a good workout, or decompressing from a stressful day. You certainly don’t want to be the one to wreck someone’s fitness regime or their chance at a little peace of mind.
Be Mindful of Conversation
If someone approaches you and starts a conversation, you may certainly oblige them. But if you’re short on time, do be honest and let them know. Tell them you’d love to talk more, and suggest another time. A nice, short friendly conversation is appropriate: just be sure to follow up.
The same goes if you don’t want to connect with a neighbor in the gym. Good etiquette includes being courteous and respectful. Perhaps you should bring your earplugs and iPod. It’s an easy signal that you want to work out without talking.
Great Gym Etiquette Guidelines
Follow these basic gym rules to avoid irritating anyone:
return free weights where they belong
don’t hog the cardio machines
(typically most machines have a 30 minute limit unless the room is empty)
turn off lights, fans and TVs when not in use
wipe off equipment after use
Besides boosting your health, the Fitness Center is a good place to meet your neighbors . . . so you’ll want to ensure you’re on your best behavior as you’re trying to get in your “best” shape. When you work on your manners and leave a good impression at the gym, it could pay off in more ways than just your physique.
When it comes to apartment hunting, you might think you want the highest floor and the best view, or to be away from the noise of residents coming and going or talking outside. You may also estimate that you’ll be safer from the risk of theft.
For these reasons, first-floor apartments tend to get a bad reputation. But is it really justified? There are actually many benefits to renting a ground floor apartment!
Moving in is much easier
Avoiding the stairs makes moving in so much easier. Trying to lug heavy furniture up narrow stairwells is a hassle, even for pros. It’s not much better trying to cram your belongings into an elevator. First floors do away with all these challenges.
Getting in and out is easier/more convenient
Not having to deal with stairs and elevators is always appealing to the senior population. If you’re shopping for an apartment for a parent or elderly friend, the first floor deserves a serious look. Apartments for disabled renters are typically on the first floor, too, to be near the parking.
Heat rises: you’ll be cooler in the summer
If you live in a southern state, you know how brutal the summer months can be. Living on an upper floor can be tough. Your cooling bill is higher just trying to keep the place comfortable. You don’t have that problem to the same degree in a ground floor apartment.
There’s no denying it: many people prefer an upper-level apartment for security reasons. Choosing the first-floor apartment, then, can mean paying less in rent each month.
Because heat rises (see above) you could also have a lower utility bill. A westward-facing window could offset this, however.
You don’t have neighbors below you
When you live in an upper floor unit, you have neighbors below you, hearing your every move. However, when you’re on the first floor, you don’t have to worry about how walking about in shoes, moving furniture or letting your kids or dog run around a bit affects the neighbors. This is especially true if you have small children. With today’s trend toward hardwood floors, this is more of an issue than ever.
Courtyards and gardens
Living on the ground floor allows you easy access to the courtyards, gardens and green space of your apartment community. It’s like having an extended patio.
Proximity to your car or bike
Not having to climb stairs or wait for an elevator is a real blessing, especially when you’ve worked a long day or come home with lots of groceries. And if you forget something in your car or apartment, it’s only seconds instead of minutes to retrieve it.
If you enjoy cycling, it’s great to step outside and jump on your bike. And if you have to store your bike inside your unit, think of the hassle you save by being at ground level. You might even find that easy proximity to the great outdoors serves as a catalyst for all sorts of outdoor activities, from swimming to walking.
Pets can manage stairs, but they don’t necessarily love them. And other residents don’t necessarily love sharing an elevator with animals. Being on the ground level solves all the above, plus gives you quick and easy access for early morning or late-night dog walks. A fenced patio at ground level is a huge bonus for you both to step outside
Proximity to the mailboxes
Your mail comes nearly every day. It’s pretty nice to quickly step out and grab it.
There’s a lot to be said for ground floor apartments. If you’re on a tight budget, first-floor apartments can give you a good bang for your buck. A landlord’s first priority is to occupy all the units, and that can be a good bargaining chip for you regarding price on a first-floor unit. There are many beautiful and affordable first floor units out there; it just takes a little searching to find the one you love.
Though it sounds crazy, your dishwasher is capable of washing so much more than just your dishes. Learn how this cleaning powerhouse can sanitize, clean, protect and extend the life of things other than dishes!
Like our title says, you can put the sneakers in the dishwasher. (Just don’t combine them with your dishes). Shoes get a lot of wear and get dirty very quickly. If you have little kids running around who like to get their feet dirty, this is a tip you’ll definitely want to use.
Before putting a pair of shoes in the dishwasher to be cleaned, give them a once-over to look for any extremely dirty spots that may need scraped or scrubbed off before going in the wash. Make sure the open part of the shoe is over the rungs of your bottom dishwasher rack and that the bottom part of the shoe is facing up. After that, run the dishwasher with your normal dishwasher detergent. Remember to turn off the “heat dry” option or you might end up with a shrunken pair of shoes. Remove them from the dishwasher once the cycle is finished. Let your clean shoes dry overnight.
FUN FACT: You can also clean your flip flops on the top shelf of the dishwasher.
Think about it – your keys go wherever you go and can get touched by a lot of hands. Your keys are probably covered in germs.
It’s not recommended to put key fobs in the dishwasher, but simple metal keys can be put in your silverware holder for a wash cycle. They’ll come out shiny and sanitized.
Dogs love their toys. They love them so much that they’ll claw and drool all over them. Needless to say, they need a little extra cleaning from time to time.
Most of your dog’s supplies can be run through the dishwasher. Skip the detergent and just use a little vinegar instead. Soaps often contain chemicals that are harmful to pets, but vinegar works as a disinfectant. Their dishes, plastic toys, collars and leashes (not made of leather), can all be cleaned in the dishwasher without the “heat dry” setting.
These brushes pick up a lot of gunk after each use. Then, they get used again each day without a thought. A quick cycle in the dishwasher gets them clean and extends their lifespan.
Makeup brushes can go in the silverware holder to be cleaned and sanitized. Once a month is usually enough for this thorough cleaning. Ensure that the brushes are completely dry after you clean them.
Garden Tools and Hand Tools
It’s pretty obvious that your garden tools can pick up some dirt after each use. Other metal and hand tools with plastic handles can also be cleaned in the dishwasher.
After the dishwasher cleans off the grit and grime, do not use the “heat dry” option and remove the tools immediately to dry by hand. Drying by hand lowers the chance of rust forming on the tools.
Plastic Children’s Toys
It’s no wonder that your child’s toys might need a quick wash to get rid of all the germs they pick up: those toys get around.
Plastic kids toys of all kinds can be placed in the dishwasher for an easy sanitation. If you have a bunch of small plastic toys (legos, small game pieces, blocks, etc.), they can be put in a mesh bag so they don’t get lost and fall through the racks.
Important: Turn off the “heat dry” option to avoid any melted toys.
As you can see, your dishwasher works to clean more than just your dishes. Save a few minutes and use it to clean and sanitize other items around your house, you’ll be glad you did!