How to Fit Everything You Own Into One Storage Closet

One of the biggest shortcomings of many small apartments is the amount of storage space they offer. Or rather, the lack of storage space. In fact, in many cases, it’s not uncommon for small apartments to have a single storage closet for everything from clothes to shoes, cleaning supplies, luggage and more– especially in single-room studios.

How to Fit Everything You Own Into One Storage Closet

For people with numerous belongings, small storage makes for a big problem. However, if you’re planning on moving into a place with a single closet, there are a few practical ways to handle the matter. Here’s how to fit everything you own into a single storage closet:

Organize, Organize, Organize

Even in apartments with multiple closets, organization is the key to maximizing your storage. This means you should do two things: downsize and consolidate. Start by getting rid of stuff you don’t need anymore or items you’re simply hanging onto because you’ve had them forever (you know, like the CDs from your favorite band in middle school or your class notebooks from college).

How to Fit Everything You Own Into One Storage Closet - Organize, Organize, Organize

Then, with the items you have left, categorize them and decide the best way to store each group. Use similar containers when you can to eliminate as much dead space as possible– rectangular containers will stack together better than a mixture of square and round boxes and baskets.

Find Storage Elsewhere

Remember that even if you have one storage closet, it’s not the only place in your apartment where you can tuck extra stuff out of sight. Utilize other storage options to make more room in the closet. Try under-the-bed containers or drawers, for instance. You can even place bed risers underneath the legs of your bed to give yourself more room for bins and drawers.

How to Fit Everything You Own Into One Storage Closet - Find Storge Elsewhere

Or, buy double-duty furniture, like an ottoman with built-in storage or a dresser you can use as a TV stand. And don’t forget to use your bathroom and kitchen cabinets for as many items as you can– the more you use these other storage spots, the less you’ll have to worry about fitting into your closet.

Use Every Inch

Make practical use of the top shelves as much as you can by keeping items you don’t need very often on them. Opt for tall containers that will fit plenty of your things and maximize that often unused space at the very top (you may need to keep a step ladder on hand to get to these items).

How to Fit Everything You Own Into One Storage Closet - Use Every Inch

If you can, utilize floor and wall space, too. Hanging hooks and baskets on the back of the door or on the wall will provide an extra place for stuff that doesn’t fit anywhere else.

Store By Ease of Access

The best way to organize your belongings in a stuffed storage closet (or anywhere in your apartment) is by how often you’ll need them. Keep little-used items in places you can’t access as easily, like on the top shelf, in the back of your bathroom cabinet or under the bed.

How to Fit Everything You Own Into One Storage Closet - Sort By Ease of Access

You don’t want to have to move around piles of boxes to get to items you’ll need regularly! Stuff you’ll need to access daily should be in drawers, shelves, or hanging in spots where you’ll be able to access them as easily as possible.

Vacuum Seal

If you’ve ever watched late-night infomercials, you’ve likely seen those vacuum-sealed bags that claim to turn stuffed and untidy closets into amazingly organized spaces that even have plenty of extra room for storage.

How to Fit Everything You Own Into One Storage Closet - Vacuum Seal

These vacuum-sealed bags really do work to consolidate soft items like linens and out-of-season clothes you won’t need for awhile. They’re certainly worth a try– you may find yourself with more storage than you anticipated!

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How to Fit Everything You Own Into One Storage Closet

How to Fix Common Damage Issues Before Moving Out

Moving out of your apartment can be bittersweet. You pack up all of your things, begin moving furniture, start taking down wall art– and, lo and behold, there’s that golf ball-sized hole in the wall you accidentally made one night, then covered with art.

How to Fix Common Damage Issues Before Moving Out

After living in an apartment for at least a year, there’s bound to be some small damage here and there. While some wear and tear is normal and should be built into your lease, fixing minor damage before moving out will ensure you get your full security deposit back. Plus, you’ll stay on good terms with your landlord, who you may need for references down the road.

To make sure you leave your apartment in good condition before moving out, take a look at these normal damage issues and their fixes:

Small Holes

After taking down the photos from your gallery wall, you probably noticed the many small holes left by nails that were used to hang the frames. Patching small holes left by nails, tacks and screws is simple and will leave the walls looking great again.

How to Fix Common Damage Issues Before Moving Out - Small Holes

You’ll need some spackling paste, a putty knife and some sandpaper. Squeeze a small glob of the spackle into each hole, then use the putty knife to spread and blend it over the hole and wall. Once the spackle is dry, use the sandpaper to lightly sand the area, especially around the edges, to leave a smooth, flat wall.

Scuff Marks

Though scuff marks likely aren’t going to cost you any of your security deposit, they make the apartment appear dirtier than it is.

How to Fix Common Damage Issues Before Moving Out - Scuff Marks

Since I seem to make an inordinate amount of scuffs on the walls of my apartments, I typically don’t try to tackle them all– just really noticeable and large ones. A magic eraser works wonders to get rid of them, so pick up a couple and your walls will be white again in no time.

Large Holes

Now it’s time to tackle that large hole you hid under your favorite painting. Mending large holes in drywall isn’t as easy as some of the other fixes, but it will most likely cost you less than if you were to let your landlord handle it and deduct it from your deposit.

How to Fix Common Damage Issues Before Moving Out - Large Holes

Pick up a mesh repair patch at the hardware store to use with your spackle. Then, cut the patch so that it fits over the hole and the surrounding wall. Cover the patch with spackle, and after it dries, sand down the edges so they blend into the wall completely.

Broken Blinds

Another common damage issue I’m guilty of is bending or even breaking some of my window blinds. Before moving out, dust your windows and blinds, and make sure none are bent or cracked. If bent, do your best to straighten them out as much as possible.

How to Fix Common Apartment Damage Issues Before Moving Out - Broken BlindsIf you can’t straighten them, or if one of the blinds is broken, look for blinds of the same size and color at your hardware store. Replace the broken slat with the new one, and your landlord won’t ever know the difference!

Carpet Stains

If you’re a red-wine drinker living in a carpeted apartment, you probably know a thing or two about removing carpet stains. Tackling stains before they get a chance to set will help your carpet look better overall, but before moving out, peruse the carpet for any stains you might have missed.

How to Fix Common Damage Issues Before Moving Out - Carpet Stains

Try using baking soda or carpet cleaner first. If that’s not strong enough to remove the stains, consider renting a carpet cleaner from your hardware or grocery store. They’re easy to use, and your carpets will be unrecognizably clean when you’re done.

Scratches on Hardwood

Renters love apartments with hardwood floors because they’re much easier to clean than carpet, but they do have one common problem with them: Hardwood is easy to scratch. There are a couple of quick fixes for the shallower scrapes, though.

How to Fix Common Damage Issues Before Moving Out- Scratches on Hard WoodMany people swear by the walnut method, which involves rubbing a raw walnut along the scrape until the scratch blends into the rest of the floor. This method works well, just not on deep scratches and darker woods.

For deeper scratches, look for a wood-colored marker or pencil at the hardware store. These products are specifically made for filling in and disguising the scrapes.

General Dirtiness

Deep cleaning your apartment is generally recommended to ensure you get your full deposit back, and to give your landlord less of a headache when he or she is trying to ready the unit for the next renter.

How to Fix Common Damage Issues Before Moving Out - General Dirtiness

Give everything a good wiping, sweeping and dusting, but spend extra time in the kitchen and bathroom. The refrigerator, microwave, oven and stove should all be thoroughly cleaned, along with the toilet, shower, tub and sink.

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How to Fix Common Damage Issues Before Moving Out

Photo Credit: deadmanjonesNic TaylorDan PupiusSean McGrathSalva Barberakaiton

8 Tips to Help You Get Along With Your Landlord

The landlord-renter relationship can be a very tricky line to walk for many reasons. For one thing, renters and landlords are both taking very huge risks when they sign a lease. For another, the document itself makes each person dependent on the other.

When renting out their own private property, landlords are risking a lot financially. If a tenant causes damage, stops paying rent, or any apartment-related issues become litigious, they could be out thousands of dollars or more.

8 Tips to Help You Get Along With Your Landlord

The renter depends greatly on the landlord as well. Uncomfortable, dangerous, dirty, or otherwise unlivable spaces can cause a lot of stress. Not to mention, landlord disputes and evictions can put renters out of a place to live altogether.

For these reasons, it’s very important – even crucial – to foster a good relationship with your landlord as soon as possible. While a bad situation can be traumatic for both parties involved, the opposite is also true. A positive relationship with your landlord will keep both of you sane, safe, and happy.

Check out these eight guidelines to help you get along with your landlord:

1. Be Honest

It’s almost impossible to get along with your landlord after starting off on the wrong foot, so start making an effort to build a good relationship on day one.

8 Tips to Help You Get Along With Your Landlord - Be Honest

Little fibs, like hiding Fido or having an extra roommate, can create instant distrust and tension if (and when) your landlord finds out. From the day you sign the lease and step into the apartment, make sure you’re being completely honest.

2. Pay Your Rent

There is nothing worse for the landlord-renter relationship than a tenant who doesn’t pay rent on time or in full. Even if they give you a 2-5 day cushion before the rent is officially deemed late, it’s better to get it in early or on time.

Rent issues don’t just affect the landlord or your relationship, though. If you pay late often enough, your credit will take a hit, and your landlord will likely mention it if called for a reference in the future. If you don’t think you’ll be able to pay rent on time, get in touch with your landlord right away, and make sure not to let it happen again.

3. Say Hi

If your landlord is actually the guy who lives down the hall, make sure you say hello when passing in the lobby or laundry room.

8 Tips to Help You Get Along With Your Landlord - Say Hi

Being friendly and likable will build trust, and it will also make your landlord more likely to give you some leeway or quick maintenance help if problems arise down the road.

4. Mind Your Lease

Respect the rules they’ve taken the time to lay out in the lease. Remember: The lease is there to protect both of you, and violating it will could create both a personal and legal issue.

If you signed on the dotted line and promised you wouldn’t paint the walls, bring home an adopted puppy, or sublet the place without permission, then don’t do so without asking first. Make sure you treat their property with care and respect.

5. Ask For Help

Make sure to notify your landlord as soon as possible with any maintenance requests or damage reports. The only way they’ll know about issues is if you tell them, and they’ll likely want to take care of anything as quickly as possible.

8 Tips to Help You Get Along With Your Landlord - Ask for Help

They want the apartment to be in good working order for you, but maintenance issues that go unfixed for a long time could actually become more expensive for them down the line.

6. Mind Your Attitude

After asking for help, remember to be patient if they don’t respond right away. Many landlords have other full-time jobs or properties that keep them busy, so as long as your landlord is normally dependable, it’s unlikely they’re ignoring or disregarding your needs.

Keep second and third notices polite, even if the tone becomes more adamant. If your landlord has shown a pattern of ignoring requests, it could legally be termed neglect, depending on the repairs needed.

7. Get Everything in Writing (or e-mail)

Since both of you are taking risks and depending on each other, try to put every apartment-related conversation and request into writing.

8 Tips to Help You Get Along With Your Landlord - Get Everything in Writing

Correspond by email rather than on the phone or in person. This will protect both of you and hopefully make the relationship a little less stressful overall.

8. Know Your Rights

While there are many things you can do to promote a positive relationship with your landlord, you aren’t the only person responsible if something goes wrong. All 50 states and many cities have legislation in place to protect tenants from discrimination, negligence and other issues that could potentially come up when renting an apartment.

Know your rights when you enter into a contract with your landlord so that you’re fully prepared just in case.

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8 Tips to Help You Get Along With Your Landlord

Photo Credit: Bradley GordonReganSimon ThulbournJeffrey PottSimplificamos Su Trabajo

The Rental Application Process

After hours of looking at apartments online and in person, you’ve finally found the one. It’s exactly what you’re looking for in terms of price, size, amenities and location, and you want to fill out the application so you can get approved immediately.

The Rental Application Process

If it’s your first time renting an apartment, though, the rental application process may be a little different than you imagined. Applying for the apartment is a lengthy procedure with several steps that both you and your potential landlord will need to take. For first-time renters, here’s what you can expect the rental application process to look like:

Filling Out the Application

The first step, of course, is filling out the rental application. In more urban areas, it’s usually a good idea to do this as soon as possible after finding your desired apartment, since landlords will continue showing it until someone has officially applied.

I’ve had more than one apartment swept out from under me within one day of seeing the place for the first time! On the application you should expect to include all of your personal information, including either a social security or driver’s license number, along with employment information and references.

Application Fee

Applying for an apartment also generally comes along with a few different fees, some refundable and some not.

Depending on the landlord and building, you’ll have to pay an application fee, a processing fee and sometimes a security deposit. Expect to pay as much as $100 or more per person just to apply for an apartment in some areas.

Proof of Income

Most landlords include an area on the application for your monthly income, and they will almost always require you to provide proof.

The Rental Application Process - Proof of IncomeIt’s a good idea to bring two or three recent pay stubs along when looking at or applying for apartments so you have that proof on hand. Some will accept a W​-2 form as proof instead of pay stubs as long as you’ve held the job for more than a year.

Most landlords and building managers also call your employer for proof of employment, and may ask questions about you personally and your salary. Many companies don’t answer those questions for legal reasons, but it’s a possibility.

Credit Check

When applying for the apartment, you’ll also have to give the landlord permission to check your credit. The credit check is really important for landlords because it gives them an idea of how financially responsible you are.

If you don’t have credit or have really new credit, it’s a lot harder for them to get a feel for your dependability, so it’s a good idea to talk to them about it at the time of application. They may ask you to provide a co-signer or depend solely on your roommate’s credit.

Background Check

The criminal background check is another thing that your landlord will need your authorization for. Landlords check your criminal history and will show your landlords your criminal history, again to get an idea of your personality and dependability.

The Rental Application Process - Background Check

There is also usually a spot on the application to explain any felonies on your record, so make sure to fill that section out in your own words if you have any.

Landlord References

Most landlords and building managers will do an extensive check on your rental history by speaking to your past landlords. If this is your first time renting, you won’t have any past landlords and they’ll have to rely only on your personal references.

Provide references outside of your family, like college professors and employers, so that they’ll be able to give the landlord an idea of your work ethic, responsibility and other important character traits.

Co-signer Application

Co-signers or guarantors are people who sign the lease with you, saying they take legal responsibility for covering your rent if you can’t. Providing a co-signer is a good idea if you’re a first-time renter for a lot of reasons.

For one, if you don’t have a rental history, landlords won’t have any information about how dependable you are with rent or if you’ve caused damage before.

Landlords may also request a co-signer if you have poor credit or if your income isn’t more than three times the cost of the rent – that’s a pretty typical income rule that landlords use.

Lease

If your rental application gets approved, you’ll then be able to sign the lease!

Everyone living in the apartment will have to be present to sign the lease, and the co-signer will need to sign their own agreement as well. The lease covers expectations for the term (typically apartments are rented out for 12 months at a time), rent, pets, maintenance, subleasing and a variety of other aspects of renting.

Expect the lease​-signing process to take awhile, since you’ll be covering so much ground. You’ll also most likely have to pay the first month’s rent and any move-in fees or security deposits required by your landlord and the building.

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The Rental Application Process - Things You Need to Know

Photo Credit: 401(K) 2012Brian Turner

How to Stay Organized During Your Apartment Search

Let’s face it: Apartment hunting is stressful! From finding listings that match your criteria and making appointments for viewings to taking tours and choosing the best fit, there are a lot of details to keep track of.

How to Stay Organized During Your Apartment Search

Luckily, your friends at Apartment Guide are here to help. Here’s how to stay organized during your hunt for a new home:

Take Lots of Notes

Did the one bedroom on First Avenue have laundry in the unit, or was that the studio downtown? If you see numerous rentals during your apartment search, the details about one apartment start to become muddled with the amenities of the next.

Take copious notes while you tour apartments so you can keep the rental properties straight in your mind. Label the top of each set of notes with the address of the apartment and the name of the complex, when applicable. You might feel like you’re back in school, but taking notes now can spare yourself a lot of confusion later.

Create a Detailed Online Calendar

Rather than relying on a system of Post-It notes that could be destroyed by a strong breeze or overzealous housekeeper, put your faith in an online tracking system. Let your Google Calendar (or similar) be your best friend during an apartment search.

Make a calendar event for each open house, private rental viewing and rental application deadline. Also create a calendar alert for when each unit is becoming available. Update the calendar with the notes you take at a rental viewing so you can track the highlights or downsides of each apartment in one place. If you’re online calendar has an app, download it to that you can update it at any time to ensure that everything is up to date.

Have a Filing System

Even though most of your apartment search appointments can be stored in an online calendar, you may still walk away with some paperwork after a viewing. Rental applications, credit check forms and apartment complex brochures all need to be kept in one place.

Create a filing system using a filing cabinet or folders placed in a designated drawer. Put all paperwork for each property into a separate file. Always remember to organize your paperwork as soon as you get home from viewing an apartment that is going on your short list.

Take Pictures

Creating a mental picture of a rental is great, but even with detailed notes you may forget how big the closet really was in a particular apartment. Ask the property manager if you can take a few snapshots with your camera.

Even just a few shots of the living space and bedroom will help jog your memory when you try to remember important details about the layout. Label all pictures appropriately as soon as possible so you remember which apartment listing they belong to.

Start Eliminating Apartments Early

Keeping a long list of possible apartment rentals will only complicate matters, so it’s best to start eliminating apartments early on in your search process. Rather than maintaining a list of every unit you see, set aside or throw away the rental applications or photos of units that you already know you’re not interested in.

Work toward creating and maintaining a short list of possible new homes. As you add a new apartment to this list, make yourself eliminate one to prevent the list from getting out of hand. Remembering the details of just a few units allows you to remain organized and not become overwhelmed with information.

Searching for a new home involves a lot of planning and plenty of paperwork. To ensure that you don’t miss out on a great property due to a lost application or a missed deadline, learning how to stay organized is absolutely vital. The best units in your city will have you competing with other renters, and staying organized is your secret weapon for getting the best apartment on the block.

How do you stay organized during an apartment search? Tell us about it on Twitter!

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How to Stay Organized During Your Apartment Search

Photo Credit: Chung Ho Leung

Mid-year Rent Check: What’s the Going Rate for Apartment Rentals in Metros Nationwide?

It’s the middle of the year: do you know who’s paying more in rent, right now?

Here at Apartment Guide, we thought we’d take a look at our data about apartment rentals and determine just that.

Using information provided by the apartment communities which advertise with us, in July 2014, Apartment Guide calculated the median price for an entry-level apartment unit in about 250 metros areas (CBSAs) nationwide.

Check the interactive map above for the results.

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10 Cool Apartment Amenities You’re Missing Out On

When you were hunting for an apartment, you probably zoned in on just a few must haves – an affordable price in a convenient location that allows pets. You’re not hard to please, right?

Depending on your specific community, there could be a whole world of cool amenities and features right outside your front door that you’re missing out on. And guess what? You’re paying for these amenities every month!

unique apartment amenities

Take my advice: don’t fall into the trap of not taking advantage of what’s available to you. I’ll admit that I’m totally guilty of this myself. I lived in a community in Duluth, GA that had not one but two swimming pools, a workout facility, tennis court, soccer field and a car wash all on-site. Did I ever partake in these convenient amenities? I used the pool and the car wash once over a four year period.

If you like the convenience of having everything you need at your fingertips, then an apartment with lots of amenities is right up your alley. Not only will you be able to have a good time without going far, but partaking in what your community offers is the best opportunity to meet your neighbors. So get out there, mix and mingle!

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10 Post-Move Mistakes Renters Make

Renting an apartment is a great way to save money, especially if your living arrangements are not permanent. Many people stress the importance of finding a good landlord, but you often don’t realize until you move in that it’s just as important to be a responsible tenant.

So once you’ve found the perfect apartment, completed your walkthrough and moved those boxes, how do you make sure that you’re getting the best renting experience? You can start by avoiding these common mistakes.

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Top Cities for College Grads

Click the image to view the full infographic!

Click the image to view the full infographic!

For college seniors, the spring season means looking forward to graduation – and life beyond the college campus.

To help college graduates as they look both for work and a new place to live, Apartment Guide consulted with Indeed, the number one job site worldwide, to bring together information to match the perfect apartment with the right job.

Together, Indeed and Apartment Guide have researched the top cities with the most entry-level job openings, along with average rents for one and two bedroom apartments in these cities.

Here’s the list.

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