How to Never Get Locked Out Again

lost apartment key

You may be Mr. or Ms. Responsible. The idea of getting locked out couldn’t possibly happen to you, could it? That is, until it happens. No problem, though. You know exactly where that spare key is! It’s just a few feet away! Behind that locked door… inside your apartment. You know, the one that’s locked.


Getting locked out of your apartment is a fact of life, and something that your apartment manager and maintenance crew will be all too familiar with. Depending on your lease, there could be a wait for the call out or even a charge to replace your keys or unlock your door. So where did you go wrong? Here’s our guide for keeping you freak-out-free for the next key-loss situation:

Appoint a keymaster.

No, we’re not making a Ghostbuster’s crack. Your keymaster is essentially someone — ideally nearby — that can hold on to a spare copy of your apartment key. Pick someone you trust — a lot. You may even be able to return the favor by holding on to a spare key for them.

Have the knowledge.

There’s nothing worse than not being able to get a hold of who you need during an emergency. If you’re locked out, you’ll want to ensure that you have easy access to important numbers such as your building manager, a local locksmith, the apartment maintenance line and even the non-emergency police line.

Really think about where you were going to hide that key.

Thought about getting one of those clever fake rocks to hide your key outside? How about under the welcome mat? Nobody will ever look there! These are far too predictable. It’s better to have a key in a secure place than attempt to hide it outside somewhere to save a few minutes and/or bucks.

Keep a spare key on you.

Sounds too easy, doesn’t it? However, having a key sewn to the inside of your bag inside a secret pocket or tucked away inside your smartphone’s case (see below) can be a real lifesaver when it looks like you’ve misplaced your full set of keys.

lost apartment key

Read more: 4 Reasons Why It’s Smart to Meet Your Neighbors

Make the locksmith the last resort.

Though calling the locksmith might seem like the quickest solution, it can oftentimes take awhile for them to arrive. Additionally, if it’s after hours you’ll be looking at a premium price. Add that to potential damage that could be caused getting in, and you’re looking at a hefty spend.

Have you ever been locked out? Tell us your horror stories on Facebook!

Photo credit: Flickr creative commons / JustinBaeder

Trick-or-Treating Safety Tips

Kids love Halloween–and why wouldn’t they? They get to dress up as anything they want and end the night with a bag full of candy. As a parent, Halloween can be a bit more stressful: There are people out causing trouble and playing pranks; you’re taking your children to strangers’ homes; and your kids end up with a bag full of candy, which you need to make sure hasn’t been tampered with. Not to mention the sugar rush.

Trick or Treat Safety Tips

Make sure your family stays safe during this ghoulish time of the year with these trick-or-treating safety tips.

Pick the Right Costumes

The best outfits for your little creatures are ones that they enjoy, of course. But for safety’s sake, there are a a few things to consider when choosing your children’s Halloween costumes:

  • The outfit should be flame-resistant. If the costume is a popular classic, you can usually find review of it at online shopping sites like Amazon.
  • Make sure the outfit is short enough to prevent tripping and tight enough to avoid getting tangled.
  • Avoid masks that can make it difficult to see, breathe, or hear.
  • Make sure everyone, including chaperones, wears comfortable shoes.
  • Try to pick outfits that don’t include weapons because these can easily be misinterpreted at night. The only thing that should be in your trick-or-treaters hand is a candy bag and a light. Adding a prop in the other hand may make it difficult for him or her to juggle everything in tiny hands while holding onto you.

Meet the Residents

Before Halloween night, schedule a meeting among interested neighbors to find out who wants to entertain trick-or-treaters that night. By confining the evening’s festivities to your apartment complex, you’ll know everyone on the other side of the door.

In addition, you won’t have far to walk to hit several homes. Plan a route to the participating apartments that confines the kids to well-lit pedestrian pathways and avoids the parking lots and driveways. Set a start time and end time for all the trick or treating, preferably before the sun goes down.

Ask all the participating renters to leave their entry lights on and to put out a Halloween decoration, so the kids will know where to go that night–but warn against using candles or open flames, which can be dangerous. Recommend that they clear their outdoor entry areas so groups of kids can easily gather in front of their doors without hurting themselves or damaging property. Advise the adults to pass out only factory-wrapped candy or small toys.

Accompany the Kids

Even within the relative safety of the complex, a responsible adult should accompany the kids while trick-or-treating. If you have lots of children going, divide them into several groups, with each group headed up by two or three adult chaperones. Older kids may want to wander on their own, so make sure there is at least one fully-charged cell phone with them. They should also remain in a group the entire night.

Stagger group routes among the participating apartments to avoid inundating one place with too many people. As an added safety measure, make sure each kid and adult carries a flashlight, even if the complex is well-lit. There may be patches of dark that make it hard to see who is walking there.

Inspect the Goods

Tell your kids not to eat anything until you’ve had a chance to check it out. They may have gathered their bounty not only from the complex, but from school or from any business that might have been visited that day. Eliminate anything that is not in an original factory wrapper, such as baked goods, or in a wrapper that may have been tampered with. You’ll also want to watch how much candy your kids eat, or there may be some tummy aches in the morning.

Sponsor an After-Party

Ask your apartment property manager if you can throw a post-trick-or-treating party either in the community room or in an outdoor common area. Make the gathering a potluck and ask those who would have given home-cooked goods to trick-or-treaters to bring the edibles to the party instead. You can even have a costume parade and offer prizes to those wearing the most interesting costumes.

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Trick-or-Treating Safety Tips

Photo Credit: Dave Malkoff

5 Ways to Baby-Proof and Puppy-Proof at the Same Time

Babies and puppies have more in common than you might think. Both are curious, can get into trouble very quickly, and need a safe environment to play and grow. When you baby-proof and puppy-proof your apartment, you’ll need to think about the endless curiosity both babies and puppies have, and strive to stay one step ahead of those little feet, hands and paws.

5 Ways to Baby-Proof and Puppy-Proof

Here are five tips you can use to baby-proof and puppy-proof your apartment to provide a safe environment for all of the little ones in your life:

1. Use Barricades

Puppies and babies find lots of things that might hurt them—like garbage cans, cabinet doors, dishes, food, pots/pans and shoes. Although some of those items might seem harmless, other items, such as household chemicals, cleaners and some houseplants, are harmful or even fatal to puppies and babies if swallowed.

Barricading some parts of your apartment is a crucial step that will keep a baby or puppy from wandering into a dangerous area. A childproof gate can be attached to any doorway or hallway to keep the baby and the puppy out of a room that contains harmful substances.

A baby gate will also effectively cut off access to stairways. Like babies, puppies are also still developing good motor ans can inadvertently take a spill down an open stairway, which could prove dangerous or fatal. Fortunately, gates and barriers are sold at baby department and pet supply stores.

Remember to get your landlord’s approval before attaching anything with screws to the doorframe of your apartment. Some apartment complexes have rules and regulations that govern what you can do to the walls and doorways of your home, and not following the rules could mean losing your security deposit.

2. Provide a Safe Play Area

Containment is an excellent way to baby-proof and puppy-proof your rental without having to worry about putting screws in the apartment’s walls. You can put your puppy into a dog crate or a dog exercise pen with a few dog and chew toys. Of course, you would never place your baby in a dog crate, but a baby playpen provides a safe place for your baby to play with his/her favorite toys.

3. Make Bathroom Safety a Priority

A puppy or baby can easily fall into in a toilet bowl or bathtub. Attaching a child latch to the lid of the toilet will keep not only your baby out of the toilet bowl; it will also keep your puppy out of the dirty water. Standing water in sinks or tubs can pose a danger to both puppies and babies. Always make sure you drain the bathtub so neither your puppy nor baby can inadvertently fall into it. If the bathtub or sink drains slowly, call your apartment complex’s maintenance department and ask them to check for a possible clog in the pipes.

4. Secure Cabinets and Windows

Childproof locks should be installed on all cabinets within baby or puppy reach. Some childproof locks require screws, but others attach with double-stick tape. Puppies can easily get into kitchen cabinets that may contain food or other desirable treats.

Apartments that are located on the second, third, or higher floors are extremely dangerous for both puppies and babies. An open window—even one with a screen—is attractive to puppies and babies alike. These young ones can push the screen out of the window and lose their balance. Affixing window barriers or window locks to the window itself will protect both your baby and your pet from a possibly fatal fall.

5. Cover Electrical Outlets

Electrical outlets that are usually located close to the floor pose a serious danger to crawling babies and puppies. If your loved one sticks a tongue, finger, or toe into an electrical outlet, he or she could receive a strong electrical shock. Covering outlets will protect the baby and also the inquisitive puppy. Most of the covers simply pop on over the outlets for quick and convenient installation.

Here is a quick checklist to help you remember what to baby-proof and puppy-proof in your apartment rental:

  • Harmful chemicals
  • Water that poses a drowning hazard
  • Open stairwells
  • Open windows
  • Electrical outlets

If you have any more ideas about how to baby-proof and puppy-proof an apartment, we would love to hear from you @AptGuide.


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5 Ways to Baby-Proof and Puppy-Proof at the Same Time


Photo Credit: Lance McCord

Protecting Your Apartment Wi-Fi: The Ultimate Cheat Sheet

neighbors stealing wifi

Wireless internet service has become quite a luxury. Long gone are the days when you had to make tough choices that pit a tedious dial-up connection against using your home’s landline.

Welcome to the 21st century, where checking for a good hotspot has become second nature. From quick trips to the grocery store to a weekend stay at a friend’s house, you only care about one thing: where’s the Wi-Fi?

To keep others from connecting on the sly, here are some things you can do to keep your wireless network secure.

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8 Simple Pool Rules for a Fun and Safe Summer

swimming pool rules for apartments

Summer is still officially one month away, but swimming pools everywhere will be opening this Memorial Day weekend. Sure, the summer is beach season, but at your apartment community pool, there’s no risk of painful jellyfish stings and hidden dangers lurking in the sand.

So to prepare you for the months ahead, here are eight pieces of advice to help you make the most of pool season before it’s too late!

As cliche as it may sound, we must remind you to keep safety first. Every pool has its own set of rules that need to be followed. They should be clearly posted in the pool area. You, your children and guests should become familiar with the rules to avoid being banned for silly things like splashing, diving or excessive cannonballing. Most importantly, never leave children in the pool unattended – not even for a quick run to the bathroom. Stay in the shallow end of the pool if you have to.

Read more: Practice Proper Pool Etiquette

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Fire Prevention Tips: 14 Ways to Avoid Setting Your Apartment on Fire

apartment fire safety

Winter may be halfway over, but much of the U.S. is still experiencing some of the most extreme weather on record. Need we remind you? Messy mixtures of snow and ice paired with below freezing temperatures have made it necessary to crank up the heat at home. Staying warm and toasty during the frigid winter months is no doubt a basic human necessity. But as renters get resourceful with their techniques, the risk of disaster lurks.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, how we heat our living spaces is largely to blame for the many fires that take place each year. In 2012 there were reportedly 97,000 apartment structure fires resulting in 380 deaths. If there’s any silver lining to highlight, it’s that, possibly due to increased awareness or prevention methods, the number of fire-related apartment deaths has fallen by over 62 percent since 1980.

Heating your small space is a must, but the right safety precautions have to be in place to avoid a potential life-threatening catastrophe. Below, we outline some of the main causes of apartment fires and how you can prevent one from setting your humble abode ablaze.

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Dollar Store Haul: Create a $10 Emergency Car Kit

It was just two weeks ago when the heart of Atlanta was paralyzed by what’s been dubbed many things – “Snowmageddon”, “Snowpocalypse”, “Snow Jam” and “South Parked”. Well played, late night comedians. In fact, there are still dozens of horror stories being recounted around the water cooler right here at Apartment Guide’s metro Atlanta headquarters.

snowpocalypse Atlanta

Well, here we go again. A severe winter weather alert has already been issued across the South as far west as Houston, TX and stretching past Atlanta up into northeastern Virginia. A healthy mix of rain, sleet, snow and ice are to be expected. And apparently it’s going to be even more of a whammy than last time.

Read more: Identify Safe Locations in Your Apartment Building for Sitting Out Bad Weather

We cannot control dear old Mother Nature, but we can prepare for her wrath. Thousands of drivers were stuck in their cars for hours on end without the essentials that would have made the ordeal a tiny bit less exasperating. Let’s be honest – an emergency car kit isn’t something you really think about until after you need it. And, as we vividly recall here in Atlanta, even the trusty roadside assistance service you pay for might not always be able to swoop in and save the snow-filled day.

So to help you get ready for another roadside mishap, we took a trip to the dollar store and gathered some potentially life-saving items that will come in handy if you ever find yourself stuck in your car for an extended period of time.

Reminder: Each item pictured here cost just $1.00!

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Renters Insurance: What You Need to Know

Insurance for your rental apartment can do a lot -- and really add to your peace of mind!

Insurance for your rental apartment can do a lot — and really add to your peace of mind!

You might think you can get away without buying renter’s insurance — and you may have plenty of excuses for why you don’t need it:

  • Your landlord already has insurance.

  • You don’t want another monthly expense.
  • You’re not required to carry it.

Sound familiar?

But we’re betting you’d throw those excuses right out the window if you truly understood the kind of protection that renter’s insurance offers.

If you have an apartment and you don’t have this protection, there are a few things you really should know about the benefits of carrying renter’s insurance. Read on!

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Protect Your Holiday Gifts with a Home Inventory

Planning on racking up the gifts this holiday season? In case of emergency, inventory them and the rest of your belongings with an app on your phone.

Will you be receiving new electronics, jewelry or other big-ticket items as gifts this holiday season? And (hint, hint), will you also be getting the receipts?

The holidays are an ideal time to take a home inventory and make sure all your pricey new gifts will be protected in the event of a loss: a fire, a burst pipe due to freezing, a natural disaster or even theft.

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