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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.

Add The Outdoors To Your Apartment With Potted Plants

March 22, 2017 1:02 am

With spring coming on, we all enjoy spending our time outdoors (when it isn’t raining). To bring the outdoors in your apartment all year long, you can add potted plants and trees to make your home a retreat year round.

Choose plants and flowers that thrive well with minimal light and a limited amount of care, like a peace lily, African violet or a Boston fern. You’ll want to make sure that you keep a certain amount of natural light in your apartment to make sure your plants stay healthy and vibrant.

In addition to plants, you can add herbs to your potted plants to keep your kitchen stocked with fresh flavors without the added cost at the market!

Save Money: Grow Your Own Herbs

March 9, 2017 5:15 pm

Fresh herbs give a delicious boost to home-cooked meals, but shop-bought herbs can be expensive and tend not to last long. However, if you love herbs, but your budget is tight, there is good news–you can grow them yourself, indoors or outside. It doesn’t cost much, takes up very little space, and makes few demands on your time. Furthermore, you’ll enjoy a ready supply of your favorite flavors and a wider variety of fresh herbs than many supermarkets offer.

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Dill, parsley, basil, chives, sage, oregano, rosemary, thyme, and mint, among many others, can be grown outdoors in containers. Start these culinary herbs from seed or buy inexpensive young plants from a garden center. If you do decide to grow from seed, start your plants inside in spring using a seed potting compost before planting them out in a potting mix. Feed your herbs with seaweed plant food and water frequently.

Many herbs like sun, but if you have a shaded garden, don’t worry–one of the benefits of growing herbs in tubs, pots, or hanging baskets is that you can move these containers around to take full advantage of the sunniest spots in your outdoor space. If you live in an apartment, make use of a window box.

The herbs already mentioned can be grown inside too, with parsley, dill, and basil being among the easiest to grow. Sow seeds in good seed compost in pots with drainage holes. They will germinate quickly (sometimes parsley takes a couple of weeks) and your herbs will be ready to harvest after a few weeks on a sunny windowsill. You can maintain your supplies throughout the year by sowing more seeds at intervals. Feed your plants every couple of weeks with seaweed extract and water as required. Be careful when watering–herbs don’t like to sit in overly wet growing medium.

Take every opportunity to use your herbs. Harvesting them will encourage new growth and keep your plants healthy. Unless you want to collect seeds, snip developing flowers off your herbs so that the leaves stay lush. If you find yourself with a glut of herbs, there are a variety of ways to preserve them for future use. You can dry them, freeze them, or use them to make herb jellies, oils, and vinegars.

Growing herbs is a very pleasurable pastime. Once you’ve invested in a few pots, compost, seeds, or young plants, growing your own is an inexpensive way to provide a plentiful supply of aromatic plants for your kitchen. Parsley, dill, and basil will need to be replaced or sown afresh each year, but thyme, chives, sage, oregano, rosemary, mint, and other perennials will keep on giving for years. So, if you want to pep up your cooking with fresh herbs don’t want the added expense on your grocery bill, why not grow your own?

Tidy Up Your Apartment In 15 Minutes

February 21, 2017 3:04 pm

Of course everyone wants their home to be clean and tidy all the time, but sometimes that is not realistic. What can you do when your apartment is messy but you need it to look neat quickly? Maybe your parents just called to say they’re dropping by, or you forgot that your friend was stopping by for a glass of wine. You can’t clean everything with such a short deadline, but there are ways to make your apartment look neat and presentable in just 15 minutes.

Get Rid of Trash

If you have trash in your apartment, spend two minutes taking it outside or to the trash room. You don’t have time to inspect your house for every crumpled receipt and empty candy wrapper right now, but getting rid of most of the rubbish will make your kitchen look cleaner and remove any lingering smells that might be hanging around.

Tidy Up Clothing

Pick up all your dirty or discarded clothes and put them in a hamper or laundry basket out of the way of guests. Forget about the mess closet your wardrobe and focus on what people can see. This will create more floor space and less clutter immediately.

Stack It Up

Stack any other random clutter, like books and papers, and put decorous objects on top. This will give the illusion of order and coziness to an otherwise messy space. Simple piles of objects make you look like a person who likes to be surrounded by their belongings rather than someone who just forgot to clean.

Put Away Personal Items

Put anything personal, like medication and your private journal, into a drawer. You don’t need to worry about order right now, you just want to ensure that whoever’s visiting doesn’t get a peek into your private matters. Do a quick scan of each room and gather the items as you go.

Make The Bed

Your bed is the biggest thing in your bedroom, and if you live in a studio apartment, it’s the focal point of the room, so pull the covers over it quickly and straighten up the pillows. This will make everything look immediately more ordered.

Air It Out

A disorganized place can easily turn into one that smells stale, so open up all the windows (even if it’s cold) while you’re doing your quick-fire cleaning. Spray a couple of spritzes of something scented like air freshener, deodorant, aftershave, or perfume in each room, and close the windows before your guests arrive if it’s chilly.

Even if your apartment looks disheveled, these tips will have you covered when you need to impress and you don’t have a lot of time to get organized.

It’s Winter Carnival Time!

January 25, 2017 5:22 pm

With the snow falling again today, it makes perfect sense that the Winter Carnival kicks off tomorrow with the opening parade this Saturday! Be sure to visit the Official Winter Carnival website for all the activities.

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Don’t miss out on all the fun and be sure to save with the MTA offer for a free ride to the opening and closing parades!

Holidazzle is Back!

December 3, 2016 6:21 pm

Don’t miss out on all family fun – every Thursday through Saturday – this winter in Loring Park! There are plenty of fun activities for the whole family including carriage rides, ice skating and amazing food & drink!

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Get all the details here!

Snow Emergency Information

November 29, 2016 2:23 pm

It’s that time of year – when the snow starts to fall and snow emergencies happen. Don’t be caught unaware with these links to the rules for snow emergencies in your city.

Get the details here!

A view of snow covered Cherokee Avenue in St. Paul, Wednesday morning, Febrary 29, 2012. (Pioneer Press: Ben Garvin)

A view of snow covered Cherokee Avenue in St. Paul, Wednesday morning, Febrary 29, 2012. (Pioneer Press: Ben Garvin)

 

Sela Investments & Amy Gonyea Honored For Homeless Vets Work

November 23, 2016 4:43 pm

We were incredibly proud to be honored, with our General Manager Amy Gonyea, at the Hopkins VFW on Monday for our work with homeless veterans. The great men and women of our Armed Services deserve to be treated with the honor and respect that they have earned in protecting all of us and our great country.

We are happy to do our part in ensuring that homeless veterans find homes and do our best to help within our communities.

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Read more in the Star Tribune.

Hot Chocolate Time!

November 2, 2016 3:35 pm

As we move out of the season of pumpkin spice, why not whip up a batch of delicious hot chocolate with an Ina Garten twist? The Barefoot Contessa has a great recipe and incorporates peppermint to get yourself into the holiday spirit!

courtesy of the Food Network

courtesy of the Food Network

 

Get the recipe here!

Safer Halloween Costumes: Tips & Advice for Parents

October 19, 2016 2:15 pm

Many parents want their child’s Halloween costume to be as safe as possible. Unfortunately, not all parents know what can be done to make their child’s costume more safe. Below are a series of suggestions that can help parents assemble a safer Halloween costume for their child.

Two young children dressed up in costumes are waiting at a house for candy while Trick-or-Treating on Halloween.

Two young children dressed up in costumes are waiting at a house for candy while Trick-or-Treating on Halloween.

1. Choose easy to see clothing.

Bright colors and reflective materials should be incorporated into your child’s Halloween costume. This will make your child easier to see as the daylight begins to fade, helping both motorists and other trick-or-treaters spot your child. Bringing along a flashlight can also help increase your child’s visibility to others.
2. Purchase a flame resistant costume.

Because candlelit jack-o-lanterns are a popular Halloween tradition, it is important that your child’s costume and accessories be flame resistant. While costume shopping, look for labels that state “flame resistant” and avoid costumes that cannot be easily removed should an emergency situation occur. Keep in mind that flame resistant does not mean fireproof. Remind your child to exercise caution whenever a lit candle is nearby.
3. Dress for the weather.

Depending on the local forecast for your area, your Halloween weather may be hot or cold, with a chance or rain or snow. Be sure to check the weather forecast in advance and dress your child accordingly. In cooler climates, loose costumes should be prepared that allow for layering clothing underneath. In warmer climates, breathable materials are preferred so that your child does not become overheated.
4. Consider using face makeup instead of a mask.

Because masks can interfere with your child’s vision and breathing, you should consider using face makeup instead. Be sure to test any makeup that you will be using on a small patch of your child’s skin prior to Halloween night, as some cosmetic ingredients may irritate your child’s skin. If you do decide to use a mask, be sure that it fits properly without limiting your child’s vision or affecting your child’s ability to breathe normally.
5. Wear sturdy walking shoes.

Trick-or-treaters often walk great distances on Halloween night. During this time, it is best for your child to wear a sturdy pair of walking shoes. Not only will walking shoes be more comfortable on your child’s feet, but they can also help to prevent injuries caused by tripping or falling. Decorative shoes that feel uncomfortable or unfamiliar to your child can spell disaster as the night progresses – especially if the shoes make it difficult for your child to walk normally.
When parents are able to make their child’s costume safer, Halloween becomes a more enjoyable experience for everyone involved. It is as simple as choosing easy to see clothing, purchasing a flame resistant costume, dressing for the weather, considering face makeup instead of a mask, and wearing a pair of sturdy walking shoes. A safer Halloween is a happier Halloween.