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Apartment Friendly Holiday Entertaining Tips

November 7, 2017 5:58 am

When you share space with your neighbors, it is important to remember to be courteous to others in your building. As the holiday season approaches, we thought we would share our tips for apartment friendly entertaining!

  1. Keep your party inside your apartment. Everyone has been to a party that was so crowded that guests started spilling out into the hallway. This causes problems for neighbors as they come and go as well as it infringes on the common areas. When inviting people to your party, please keep in mind the number of people that can easily fit into your own apartment – unless you have booked a common room for that purpose.
  2. Don’t test your neighbors’ patience with excessive noise. Neighbors are more likely to complain or be irritated if you push the boundaries of noise and crowds too far. Noise travels through apartment walls, ceilings, and floors. Be conscious of how much noise can be absorbed without giving the building a headache. Also remember that others in the building may have different work hours or days – so make sure  it’s not keeping them up late into the night.
  3. Don’t let neighbors’ complaints escalate. If your neighbors complain about your party, they are in all likelihood looking for a resolution to their problem. Always hear them out — You may be surprised to find yourself agreeing with your neighbor that what they’re asking is reasonable.
  4. Consider inviting your neighbors. This can be a sensible option if you’re throwing a general type of party. They might drop by just to make an appearance or not even come at all. But your neighbors will appreciate the gesture, and if they don’t come, they’ll be less likely to complain about a party that they had been invited to by you.

 

Make Your Halloween Party Shine!

October 25, 2017 2:17 pm

Halloween is one of our favorite holidays! So why not throw a fun, elegant and spooky party for your closest friends? Of course, you’ll need to stock up on supplies for just the right look and bit of a scare.

There are some great ideas for how to turn your party into a wow occasion and suggestions for how to make it a night to remember.

Check out the full list of tips here!

It’s Halloween Decorating Time!

October 5, 2017 5:00 am

When it comes to getting ready for the Halloween holiday, sometimes apartment residents don’t think they have enough space to be creative.  This great video of a TINY apartment shows that no matter the size of your home, you can really have a lot of impact with a little creativity!

How To Make Your Bedroom Feel More Spacious

August 30, 2017 2:37 pm

You spend about one-third of your life sleeping, so you want to feel comfy and cozy in your bedroom. However, a small bedroom can feel oppressive and claustrophobic, and not at all a fun place to spend time. Never fear! There are decorating tricks you can deploy to make your room look and feel bigger.

 

Go Monochrome

At first thought, painting walls white would seem like a good choice — brighten the room and open it up! White can be dull, however, and even make space feel no less confined. A better choice is to paint the walls a soft, restful color like light blue or green. But don’t stop there — paint woodwork, and even ceilings the same color or shades that are close in tone, which will blur the edges of the room and enlarge the space. Hang curtains at the windows that are close in color to the walls, and longer than windows to add vertical lines that draw the eye upward.

 

Reconsider Bed Placement

 

The bed is usually positioned at the center of a wall with space on both sides, but this can take up nearly all the usable space in a small room. Consider pushing the bed up against one wall to open up more space. If you are sleeping solo, go for a full-size bed rather than queen, or even a single or day bed. Arrange to throw pillows along the wall to make the bed look more like a seating area. Wheels or sliders under the bed frame will make it more convenient to make the bed.

 

Choose Subdued Colors for Decor

 

Avoid wild prints or cluttered florals for your bedclothes. Opt for solids in a soothing, tone-on-tone palette, and use the texture for contrast rather than color. For example, try an upholstered or metallic headboard, or a chunky throw at the end of the bed. Add a throw pillow or two in an unusual shape or with fun details like pleats or ruching. Decorator Nate Berkus says that adding some shimmer such as a metallic lamp or a mirrored tray on the nightstand will help bounce light around the room, making it feel bigger and brighter.

 

Declutter Surfaces

 

Don’t cover nightstands, bureaus, or chests with trinkets or even essentials. Store hair accessories, jewelry and such in drawers, or in decorative boxes. You can even use walls for hanging storage for necklaces, scarves, or hair ties, or use a pocket shoe organizer on the back of the bedroom door. Clean surfaces on furniture open up the space. You can also get lighting off the nightstand by hanging a reading lamp on the wall over the bed.

 

Take Advantage of Under Bed Space

 

The bed takes up the most real estate in the bedroom, large or small. In a small room, it is even more crucial to use the under bed space for storage so you can downsize or eliminate chests of drawers or other space-hogging items for holding your stuff. If your bed is at the center of the room, choose a platform bed with drawers underneath on all sides. For a bed against a wall, try setting it up on higher legs, either by selecting a tall bed frame or setting a standard bed frame on risers to create space underneath. Wicker baskets with convenient handles add to the overall look rather than detracting from it.

 

With these smart tricks, even the smallest room can be opened up, making a space that feels cozy rather than confining!

Solar Eclipse Viewing Safety

August 15, 2017 1:07 pm

It has been over 30 years since the last total solar eclipse visible from the United States. On August 21st, you will have a great opportunity to view the partial from right here in Minnesota.

It is also important to protect your eyes and any camera you use to look at or capture the solar eclipse.

 

For more information on solar eclipse safety, you can visit the NASA website or buy glasses/filters from Amazon for viewing.

 

 

Summer Sun Protection

July 21, 2017 5:17 pm

With summer here and kids out of school, everyone wants to be outside doing something. Whether you’re sunbathing, swimming, going to the beach, or barbequing, protection is essential. There is such a thing as too much sun and you can’t protect yourself or your loved ones enough. In the continental United States, exposure to UV rays during peak hours of the day, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., is the most hazardous. Consequences of overexposure or unprotected exposure include sunburns, wrinkling, early aging of the skin, and skin cancer. There are several easy options to protect your skin from the sun, but the CDC recommends: sunscreen, clothing, hats, sunglasses, and shade.

sunscreen

Sunscreen
Sunscreen is available in a variety of sun protective factors (SPFs). It is suggested to use SPF 15, with both UVA and UVB defense, or higher for the best protection. Sunscreen does wear off, requiring reapplication every two hours, after you swim, or after activities that make you sweat. It is also possible for sunscreen to expire. If there is not a date on the sunscreen, assume it has a shelf life of three years. Expired sunscreen does not protect you in the same way that new sunscreen will.

Clothing
Uncovered skin is always at risk for the consequences of exposure. Wearing loose-fitting clothing, long-sleeved shirts and long pants, will offer the best protection from the sun’s UV rays. If this kind of clothing is not practical, at least commit to wearing comfortable summer clothes with other forms of protection, like sunscreen.

Hats
Wearing a hat with a wide brim will shade your face, ears, and back of your neck, protecting those areas from UV rays. If you prefer other hats, make sure the uncovered areas of your neck and head have been applied with sunscreen of at least SPF 15.

Sunglasses
Sunglasses protect your eyes from the bright light of the sun and UV rays. Wearing sunglasses shields your eyes, reducing the risk of cataracts, and the sensitive skin around your eyes from the sun. Most sunglasses sold in the United States block both UVA and UVB rays, regardless of cost or brand.

Shade
Retreating to the shade during midday hours will not only give you a cool place to stand or sit, but you can reduce your exposure to the sun. An umbrella, tree, or other shelter like the shaded side of a building can give you relief from the heat and sun. However, you should still apply sunscreen and/or protective clothing even in the shade.

Getting that perfect summer tan may be your top priority for this summer, but do it safely. For more information about protection from the sun, refer to the CDC website or hotline.

Storage Tips For Apartment Living

June 28, 2017 3:56 pm

You may have less square footage than a house, but these 12 apartment storage ideas will help you to hold on to the things that you love and stay organized.

  1. Take a vertical leap – In a smaller space, you will want to organize your storage on the vertical rather than the horizontal. Use hooks to hang things on walls and inside of closets. Install tall cabinets and bookcases with more shelves.

 

  1. Be a basket case – Baskets are decorative and versatile. You can use them anywhere to store dry items and reduce clutter.

 

  1. Bring down the curtain – Traditional doors use up floor space to open and close. Hang a curtain to cover a closet or small room. It will slide rather than swing to allow access.

 

  1. Embrace your inner furniture – Many furniture items have storage options. Ottomans, coffee tables, and benches often have space for storage inside or underneath.

 

  1. Mix and match – Over the door closet organizers such as those used for shoes can store any item that fits the pocket. Use your imagination.

 

  1. Sweep it under the bed – If your bed is resting on legs, you may have unused space under there. Bed risers boost the height of your bed for additional space. There is a variety of under the bed storage containers on the market.

 

  1. Take a shower – There are many kinds of shower caddies available that serve as storage for bottles, razors, and sponges. Some shower curtains also have mesh pockets. If you are crafty, you can add some.

 

  1. Book it – If you love your books, you will know the challenge of where to keep them. Fortunately, books look nice, so use them to decorate. When stacked next to a chair, larger books make a convenient side table.

 

  1. Create some tension – Tension rods come in different lengths and can increase hanging potential in any cupboard or closet. You can also use them to hang curtains to partition a space.

 

  1. Peg it – You can use pegboard in any room to convert a blank wall into storage space. It can be purchased or cut to fit and has a variety of purposes.

 

  1. Make an entrance – Provide hooks, shelves, and storage at the entrance to reduce clutter. If things like hats, jackets, and purses have an assigned place in the entry, they are less likely to creep into your living space.

 

  1. Do your homework – There is an abundance of storage solutions on the market today. Spend some time researching new gadgets to fight the clutter. It may also spark some DIY ideas that can save you cash.

 

 

Try these 12 apartment storage ideas to make the most of your space and reflect your style. You do not need a huge amount of square footage to relax and appreciate your living space.

Fire Safety Tips

June 18, 2017 6:48 am

You can protect your apartment from house fires with some easy to follow fire safety tips. Fire protection safety tips include simple things to do that keep a home safe throughout the year, including identifying fire escape routes and general fire protection safety.

Best Fire Safety Tips

  • Don’t leave items in the stove or on the range unattended while cooking to prevent house fires. Keep flammable items including cleaners, solvents and paper or fabric away from the stove at all times.
  • One of the best fire safety tips includes extinguishing candles when leaving the room. Don’t leave them burning, even if occupants will be gone “for just a minute.” Make sure candles are completely out when retiring for the evening.
  • Prevent house fires by ensuring smokers exercise some caution. Never smoke in bed and be wary of vintage bedspreads, linens and carpets, which are often flammable. Don’t leave the room when a cigarette is burning and prevent smoldering embers in ashtrays from setting fire to the garbage by running water in the ashtray before throwing away the ashes.

Summer Fire Safety Tips Help Prevent House Fires

  • Be aware of fire prevention rules when using fireworks outside the house. Keep a bucket of water and a hose at the ready in case they are needed and stay away from patches of dry grass. Exercise caution when lighting fireworks and make sure friends and family only watch the display from afar.
  • Summer fire safety tips include keeping a careful watch on the barbecue. The National Fire Data Center estimates grills are the cause of more than 6,000 fires every year. Douse coals after use and don’t overdo it with the lighter fluid; sometimes barbecue fires can be hard to start, but they will flame up hours later. Don’t overfill propane tanks and ensure that the fuel line connection is solid before using a gas grill. Keep all grills in open areas to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.

Using the Best Fire Protection Systems

  • Identify all of the fire escape routes in a home. Determine whether the home needs additional fire escapes or portable fire ladders added to any room in the house.
  • Plan escape routes in case of a fire; it’s one of the best fire protection systems available for a house. Make sure everyone knows what to do in case of a fire, and consider doing some practice fire drills in the home, too.
  • Smoke detectors and home fire alarms can help prevent injuries in case of a fire. Smoke detectors are inexpensive and sometimes available for free from the local fire department, and they are still one of the best fire protection systems available.
  • Test smoke detectors and home fire alarms when changing the clocks in the spring and fall; it’s an easy way to remember that “it’s time” to keep a house safe.

What To Look For In A Rental Insurance Policy

June 17, 2017 5:16 am

If you rent your home or apartment, you need renter’s insurance to protect yourself and your possessions. Many renters wrongly assume that their landlords carry insurance that will replace the items in the home or apartment in the event of a disaster, but for the most part this is not the case.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While landlords do indeed carry insurance on the properties they own, that insurance covers the physical structure itself, not the items contained within each individual apartment. If the apartment building burns down, suffers flooding or falls victim to some other natural disaster, you will not be able to rely on the landlord’s insurance to protect your belongings.

 

Renter’s insurance is designed to fill in the gap between the coverage the landlord has for the building and your own individual needs. Renter’s insurance is generally very inexpensive, so there is no excuse for not carrying it.

 

Do Your Homework

If you are in the market for renter’s insurance, you need to make sure you are getting the best deal for your money and that you have the coverage you think you do. As with any type of insurance purchase, you need to do your own due diligence and research your coverage options carefully.

 

One of the most important things to look at when choosing a policy is the extent of your coverage. Some policies will pay the actual cost of items that are damaged or stolen, while others provide full replacement cost.

 

That distinction can be very important, especially if you own a lot of electronics and computer equipment. Items like televisions, laptops and tablets can depreciate quite rapidly, and that $1,000 flat-screen TV you bought a few years ago might only fetch $200 in today’s market. If you opt for actual value coverage, you could be out $800 when it comes time to replace a lost television.

 

Living Expenses

Renter’s insurance pays for more than just the items inside your apartment. If you are displaced due to a fire or other natural disaster, your renter’s insurance policy may pay part or all of your living expenses.

 

The policy may reimburse you for the cost of a hotel room or pay for the cost of moving to another apartment. It is important to read the policy carefully and understand exactly which living expenses are, and are not, covered.

 

Liability Coverage

In addition to paying for living expenses and reimbursing you for lost items, your renter’s insurance policy has another important feature. Renter’s insurance also provides liability insurance if someone is injured on your property. This liability insurance is similar to the coverage provided under homeowners’ insurance policies.

 

As with property reimbursement and living expenses, it is important to understand the limitations of your liability coverage. You need to know how much coverage the policy provides and under what circumstances you will be covered. If the policy does not provide enough protection, you may be able to increase your liability limits to get the protection you need.

 

Renter’s insurance is an important purchase, and not one to be taken lightly. Taking the time to understand your coverage and read the fine print carefully is the best way to make sure you have the protection you need.

5 Energy Saving Tips for Apartment Living

June 13, 2017 3:40 pm

Simple changes can make a big dent in your monthly expenses. Just use these simple tips to get started and see your energy consumption and bills go down!

 

#1 – Replace Your Light Bulbs

Take a tour through your apartment and make a list of all your light bulbs and their wattages. Then go shopping for new compact florescent or LED bulbs. You can save a lot of money simply by replacing those old light bulbs with newer more energy efficient versions.

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You can save even more money by looking for sales and stocking up on light bulbs at reduced prices. Compact florescent and LED light bulbs last longer than traditional models, but it never hurts to have a few spares on hand.

 

#2 – Insulate Your Window Air Conditioner

If you use a window air conditioner to cool your apartment, be sure it is well insulated. Check for gaps around the unit that could let cool air out and cost you extra money. Use foam insulation to seal those gaps and keep the cold air in your home.

 

If you must leave the window unit in over the winter, use a tight-fitting air conditioner cover. Better yet, find a spot to store the unit for the winter.

 

#3 – Use Your Electronic Devices Efficiently

Electronic devices like computers, televisions and gaming consoles play an increasingly large role in monthly energy bills these days. You can trim those expenses by watching how you use those devices. Use a power strip for devices that require frequent charging – things like cell phones and tablets. Turning the power strip off when charging is complete can save you money without sacrificing convenience.

 

You can save even more by shutting down your computer when you will not be needing it for a few hours. Shutting down your PC will not harm the components, but it will save you money.

 

#4 – Keep the Registers Clear

Whether you use baseboards or registers for heat, make sure the surrounding areas are kept clear. Stacking furniture up against baseboards and placing clothes over registers creates a fire hazard — and wastes electricity.

 

Those registers and baseboards need free air flow to work efficiently. Move furniture as far away as possible and make sure curtains do not hang near the heat. Be sure to vacuum those registers and baseboard units often to keep them free of dust. An accumulation of dust and debris can reduce the amount of heat that makes it into the room.

 

#5 – Save Money on Laundry Day

You can save money on laundry day by washing only full loads. Buying a drying rack for your apartment and consider using the dryers only for heavy items when necessary.

Beat The Summer Heat!

June 6, 2017 5:53 am

With the temperature going up again in Minneapolis, we have a few tips from our friends at Apartment Therapy to help you keep the heat at bay!

  1. Keep the curtains or the shutters closed: Keeping the sun from streaming directly in helps keep your place a little cooler.
  2. Hang a wet sheet in front of the window: when the air passes through the damp cloth, the moisture cools it off.
  3. In the same vein, try a bowl of ice in front of a fan: Let the cool air blow over you.
  4. Turn your fan around to face out: And blow the hot air out of the house. If you have a ceiling fan, turn it so it spins in the opposite direction and blows the hot air up and out.
  5. Arm yourself with a spray bottle filled with chilled water: Douse yourself liberally. As the water evaporates, it cools you down. You can also try plunging your hands into a bowl of ice water.

 

For more tips, visit Apartment Therapy!

Looking for U of M Living Options?

May 17, 2017 3:34 pm

At Sela, we have multiple living options available for students – from efficiency units for those living alone to larger apartments meant to share with roommates.

Check out our properties and availability for this summer and fall!

 

 

Apartment Living: Create A Bedroom Oasis

April 26, 2017 4:46 pm

One of the truest luxuries is creating the bedroom of your dreams. Even with minimal space & a limited budget, you can easily make this one a reality.

A few easy and inexpensive suggestions to get you started:

Add a bench to the end of your bed! 

 

There are some great low cost options.

Refresh your linen and bedding!

Get some luxe tips here.

Add flowers for both fragrance and beauty!

Get tips from none other than Martha Stewart on the art of arranging flowers.

Most of all enjoy the season with your windows open and enjoy the fresh air to celebrate summer!

 

 

Fabric Pots: Exciting Possibilities for Your Container Garden

April 12, 2017 4:06 pm

Pots made of breathable fabric are an exciting new development in container gardening. They offer several advantages over conventional plastic or terracotta pots. If you are planning to grow plants on your balcony or patio this year, here’s what you need to know.

Fabric pots are shaped like a traditional flowerpot, but they’re sewn from a sturdy non-woven material similar to landscaping cloth. Companies such as Smart Pots and Root Pouch manufacture them from BPA-free plastics. Some styles include handles for ease of rearranging your garden. The pots are available in a variety of colors, in sizes ranging from 1 gallon to 200 gallons. They are typically reusable for two or more seasons, and can easily be collapsed for storage.

One benefit of fabric pots is their influence on root development. While a conventional hard-sided pot causes roots to circle the perimeter and become root-bound, a fabric pot has the effect of air pruning. When roots encounter the porous material, the root tips are pinched off so that they stop growing laterally. Instead, they begin to produce masses of fibrous smaller roots, which enable the plant to more efficiently absorb water and nutrients from the soil.

Fabric pots also allow for better airflow and drainage so that roots don’t become waterlogged. A 2005 study conducted by Texas A&M University found that plants in fabric pots did not require more water than plants in plastic pots, and yet the soil in fabric pots was comparatively more cool and moist. This means that fabric pots can protect your plants from shock due to roots getting overheated in direct sunlight. The same study also found that rose bushes grown in fabric pots produced larger flowers than their plastic-potted counterparts.

Whether you grow your garden in permanent containers or start seeds indoors for spring transplanting, fabric pots can benefit your plants. They are versatile for use in a hydroponics setup, a patio garden, or even in your living room with waterproof saucers underneath. The many benefits of fabric pots make them an exciting new option for container-gardening enthusiasts.