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Technology is the way of the future. But for modern renters looking to create a smart living environment, energy-efficient technology is an essential and affordable part of the present.

In recent years, smart technology has become more nuanced and intuitive, all the while becoming more affordable to the average resident on a quest for sustainability and higher energy-efficiency.

Coupling energy-efficient tech solutions with healthy habits, such as lowered water use and proper appliance utilization, can help reduce your bills significantly. This will allow for long-term financial savings, while at the same time aiding the preservation of the environment.

Here's how you and your landlord can achieve maximum energy efficiency with smart home upgrades.

1. Longevity and energy-efficiency with smart lighting

LED light bulbs are extremely popular and for a good reason. However, with sustainable lighting solutions becoming more refined with each passing year, you can now upgrade your light bulbs with smart technology, making them easy to scale and optimize to your liking.

By introducing smart lighting across the board, you will have an easier time controlling energy use and controlling the ambiance in every room.

2. Introducing intuitive thermostats

Thermostats are becoming more self-reliant every year and nowadays, they can help you lower energy bills considerably by optimizing heating and cooling based on a number of factors. Unlike their human counterparts, who can have a difficult time determining the ideal temperature of a room, and oftentimes leave the heating on inadvertently, smart thermostats are constantly working and calculating.

According to the resting temperature and the level occupancy, they can optimize the temperature instantaneously. A smart thermostat can also notify you when to cut back on energy use if you wish to lower energy bills and save money. You can control the thermostat through your smartphone, as well, and adjust the temperature before you come home.

3. Smart appliances for all-around sustainability

One of the most valuable upgrades modern renters want to see in a potential home are smart appliances. From self-regulating fridges to smart cooktops and resource-efficient dishwashers, smart technology can make every kitchen appliance more economical and friendlier towards the environment.

Ask your landlord to optimize every appliance for maximum energy savings, especially the cumbersome ones, such as the freezer that typically consumes vast amounts of energy. If they're unsure what to look for, a freezer buying guide can help find the most eco-friendly units with the highest sustainability rating. Look for appliances that can deliver consistency in all conditions in order to prevent malfunctions.

4. Expense monitoring and real-time optimization

Another amazing benefit of smart, energy-efficient technology is the seamless connectivity between appliances and human residents. Using a dedicated app on your smartphone, you will be able to monitor and control resource use wherever they are. The app gives a comprehensive overview of the current energy expenditure and suggests ways to optimize use for increased savings.

What's more, by adding every appliance to the app through a smart plug, you can easily increase or decrease the settings, while knowing exactly how much energy every outlet is consuming. With this information, you can make more rational decisions and optimize energy use on the go.

5. Smart home security without the middleman

Home security might not be the first thing that comes to mind, but smart technology can serve as a substitute for traditional security plans, while also reducing your energy bill in the process. A smart security system is not only less expensive because there's no middleman, but it's also more efficient and effective.

With a smartphone, you can monitor everything that goes on around the property and notify the authorities with a push of a button. All of this makes for an excellent energy-efficient solution that modern tenants love.

Ask your landlord before making any changes

While you can make small changes yourself, any electrical or appliance updates would require permission from your landlord. Make sure you get written approval before you do anything!

The post Achieving Maximum Energy Efficiency with Smart Home Upgrades appeared first on Apartment Living Tips - Apartment Tips from ApartmentGuide.com.

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While not having a steady source of income can put some limits on everyday living, it doesn't mean you can't rent an apartment and have a comfortable place to live.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 4 percent of the country was unemployed in January 2019. This equals about 6.5 million people out of work across the country who still need somewhere to live.

These strategies can help you while on the apartment hunt in this particular situation.

No proof, no problem

Not all apartment rentals require you to show proof of income. While not necessarily the norm, this situation may potentially occur when a unit is for rent by owner primarily because you're able to talk directly with the landlord about your situation.

You may not have proof of income, but you can thoroughly explain how you'll still be able to pay rent on time. Your time apartment searching will be better focused on apartments rented by owner since units available through rental agencies and management companies are typically less flexible when it comes to proof of income.

Show off your other qualifications

Income isn't everything when completing a rental application. If you're currently without any incoming money, focus on the other qualities that make you a good applicant for an apartment.

Credit score

According to Experian, most credit scores fall between 600 and 750. A score of 700 or above is considered good and anything 800 and above is excellent. If your credit score falls into this range, show it off. Just because you don't currently have an income doesn't mean you aren't good at managing your finances. The higher the score, the more confident people will feel in your ability to pay your bills and cover your debts.

Savings

You can still be financially comfortable and able to handle the monthly costs of renting an apartment without an income. If you've saved up enough to not work, or built up a cushion while you look for work, supply proof of funds by sharing a bank statement when you're filling out a rental application. Having proof that you're financially able to cover rent, no matter the source, helps convince a landlord you're able to rent.

Upfront payment

If you're able, even without a current income, offer to pay more upfront than just first month, last month and the security deposit. Adding in a few additional months of rent when you sign the lease can demonstrate that you're financially able to cover the cost of living in your apartment.

You may even want to consider creating a renter's resume, which not only highlights these qualifications, but also can include references from previous landlords or employers. This additional documentation demonstrates why you're an all-around good candidate to rent that apartment.

Don't go at this alone

There's no rule saying you have to rent alone, no matter your situation. If you're in need of extra help while you work toward establishing your finances, consider getting a co-signer on an apartment loan. This person serves as a backup payment source if you're unable to pay.

Think of it as a lease guarantor. Their financial background will balance out yours on a rental application. Just make sure whoever you ask, friend or family, understands their responsibilities if for some reason you're unable to pay rent. Whoever you ask should have good credit and steady income.

Another route to get a break on rent costs is to consider living with a roommate. A lot of the time people already in a unit with an extra bedroom are looking for someone they can easily share space with and will focus on whether your personality meshes with theirs over whether or not you have a steady income.

Now that you know it's possible to find an apartment to rent without income, it's time to compile your apartment hunting checklist. Make sure you set realistic expectations for the type of apartment most likely available to you and happy hunting.

This content is for educational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.

The post Can You Rent with No Income? appeared first on Apartment Living Tips - Apartment Tips from ApartmentGuide.com.

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St. Patrick's Day is right around the corner, which means more fun decor!

Don't drop all of your hard-earned savings on pricey decorations, though. Try some of these DIY ideas to make sure your apartment is ready for a St. Patty's potluck party!

1. Moss shamrock wreath

Photo courtesy of makingtheworldcuter.com

This is a super quick and easy project, but looks so unique wherever you put it.

  • Cut out a shamrock shape into cardboard (or you can find a pre-cut shape at most craft stores)
  • Get a sheet of adhesive moss (also sold at most craft stores) and lay it face-down on a flat surface
  • Place your shamrock on the moss and trace around the edges
  • Cut the moss along your traced lines, then just peel the protective sheet off the back and stick it to your cardboard shape

Either let this stand against a wall or hot-glue a loop to the back and hang it from your door. You can also add a fun wooden monogram or St. Patty's word like "lucky" by hot-gluing it straight onto the moss.

2. Lucky penny art

Photo courtesy of wrightingitdown.com

This fun art is the best way to get rid of all those pennies in your car's cupholder! And it's appropriate for more than St. Patrick's Day – you can leave it up all year long!

  • On a mounted canvas (you choose the size), lay out your pennies in the shapes of letters
  • Make sure you like the size and shape before you do anything else
  • Once you're satisfied with how it looks, use a hot glue gun to secure all of the pennies in place

To add some extra charm, you can substitute the letter "U" with a horseshoe (which you can find at craft stores or online at Amazon.com or Etsy).

And that's it, you're done!

3. Green garland

Photo courtesy of etsy.com

Break out the felt! Here's another piece of decor you can make in no time.

  • Cut out some two-to-three-inch felt shamrocks
  • Use all one shade or switch it up and use a few different shades of green
  • Thread a large needle with white or green embroidery floss
  • Simply thread it through a pattern of felt balls (you can buy these or make your own with regular felt) and shamrocks, spacing them out however you like

If you don't like the idea of felt balls, you can substitute them for pompoms or make the entire garland out of shamrocks alone.

4. No-sew table runner

Photo courtesy of ribbonsandglue.com
  • Using 8×11-inch sheets of green felt, trace and cut out shamrock shapes
  • You can even cut out cute designs in the center to give it a little more life
  • Cut a small 1/4-inch slit on both the left and right sides of each shamrock
  • Tie them together with green or white ribbon

Yes, it really is that easy!

5. Lucky shadow box Photo courtesy of taunieverett.com

This project can be done in 15 minutes, so it's great if you're short on time (or you want to spend more time watching Netflix instead of crafting).

  • Get yourself a shadow box (available at most craft stores or online)
  • Cut out a bunch of shamrocks on deep green card stock, then fold each of them in fourths and quickly unfold (this will give them dimension)
  • Fit a sheet of light green card stock into the back of the shadow box and trim as needed
  • Cut out the word "lucky" in gold card stock and glue it across the sheet of light green card stock, then glue the entire sheet into the back of the box
  • Fill it up with your little shamrocks and set it out!

The post 5 St. Patrick’s Day DIY Projects to Add Luck to Your Apartment appeared first on Apartment Living Tips - Apartment Tips from ApartmentGuide.com.

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Pet insurance was first issued in 1982, and the famous TV collie Lassie was the first recipient. Today, a famous pet isn't required for eligibility – it's for anyone concerned about the cost of caring for a pet.

Curious about what pet insurance is really all about? We've got you covered.

Pet insurance by the numbers

Less than 1 percent of the estimated 179 million pets in North America have pet insurance according to the North American Pet Health Insurance Association. This amount is tiny considering the potential out-of-pocket expense a pet emergency could require the pet owner to pay.

While nearly 70 percent of U.S. homes have a pet, only about half keep enough in savings to cover a pet emergency more than $1,000, and costs add up quickly when your pet needs medical attention.

What pet insurance actually covers

Unlike medical insurance for humans, pet insurance is pretty straightforward in coverage. It's also universal, so you can go to the veterinarian of your choice without having to worry about being in or out of the insurance network.

Coverage typically focuses on pet illness or accidents rather than routine care and shots. It also primarily covers dogs or cats, although exotic pet coverage exists.

There are four common types of pet insurance plans.

  • Accident-only: A pretty straightforward plan, it covers typical accidents your pet may experience, such as swallowing a foreign object or getting injured by a motor vehicle.
  • Accident and illness: The most popular option for pet owners, this plan has the same accident coverage as the one above, but also includes illnesses such as those related to digestive problems, allergies, infections and even cancer. While nobody likes to think of needing insurance for pet cancer, it's important to note that an estimated six million dogs and almost the same number of cats will receive a cancer diagnosis this year. This risk increases once your pet turns 10. This costly, but often treatable illness can make purchasing an insurance policy highly beneficial.
  • Insurance with embedded wellness: This plan gives you the largest variety of coverage with accidents, illnesses and certain maintenance treatments included. Things like heartworm prevention, annual vaccinations, flea and tick medications and dental care can be covered under this type of plan, among other items.
  • Endorsements: Not an actual plan, this type of insurance includes any add-on items you purchase in addition to your pet insurance policy. These can include wellness treatments or even coverage for a specific illness.

While you can insure your pet at any age, the monthly premium is typically higher for older pets. Additionally, an older pet has time to develop a pre-existing condition should they get sick before you decide to take out a policy.

It's not common for coverage to exclude treatment for a medical condition your pet already has or shows signs of developing. This caveat includes the waiting period after you've taken out the policy, too, so it's advantageous to get pet insurance as early as possible if it's something you're considering.

Filing a claim

There are certain vets who are able to bill your pet insurance provider directly, yet it's still more common for you to pay the bill out-of-pocket and then file a claim yourself. Your pet insurance provider will then reimburse you directly for qualified expenses. This can present a challenge of having to pay the bill yourself upfront, but at the very least, you'll know that money is coming back to you.

What it really costs

Crunching the numbers between paying for pet insurance and your average annual pet care costs may tip the scale toward it being cheaper to just pay for everything yourself. However, maintenance care of your pet doesn't account for emergencies, which is where the largest pet expenses occur. Surprise injuries, ailments and diseases are really what insurance helps you avoid paying for, so your finances don't take a hit.

The average monthly costs for pet insurance is around $45 for dogs and $28 for cats if you opt for the most popular coverage of accident and illness. That comes to $540 or $336 per year, respectively, which is way less than the possible thousands of dollars a single pet emergency could end up costing.

You also often have the option of deciding how to make your premium payments – monthly, quarterly, semi-annually or annually – in order to align the cost with your budget. You may even qualify for a multi-pet discount if insuring more than one furry friend.

Deductibles and copays vary by provider, so comparison shop before purchasing a policy. There's no reason you can't get the best value for exactly what you need for your pet.

Is it even worth it?

Understanding how pet insurance works may lead you to wonder whether it's really worth it to have. That decision can only be made by you based on your budget and your pet, but there are definite benefits to consider.

Not only will pet emergencies not break the bank, but you may be able to extend or even save the life of your pet through access to medical treatments that would otherwise be unaffordable. Should your pet experience an unexpected injury or illness, you won't have to worry about cost when deciding on the necessary treatments to help them heal.

Most pet owners would do anything for their fur babies, regardless of cost. With pet insurance, you don't have to worry about putting yourself into financial hardship to keep your dog or cat as healthy as possible.

The post Pet Insurance 101: Everything You Need to Know appeared first on Apartment Living Tips - Apartment Tips from ApartmentGuide.com.

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No matter how organized you are, everyone has a junk drawer. While junk drawers can be useful and hold helpful odds and ends, they can easily spiral out of control and end up becoming a dumping ground. Listed below are 10 things you should never keep in your junk drawer.

1. Important papers

Important papers like manuals, pay stubs or insurance documents need their own safe space. These items are not something you want to lose in your junk drawer or get damaged so they're unusable.

2. Take out menus

In theory, it sounds like a great idea to keep take out menus from your favorite restaurants on hand to browse when you want to order in, but how often do you actually look at those menus?

With hundreds of mobile ordering apps and easy to use sites, you can find everything you need online. No need to take up precious real estate with hard copy take out menus.

3. Take out sauce packets

Are you saving the hot sauce, ketchup or soy sauce packets just in case you need them to add to your lunch bag or pack for camping? Ditch the sauce packets! You likely have all of these sauces in your fridge and you can simply add a bit to a reusable Tupperware container when you need to take it with you on the go.

4. Expired coupons

Sure, you may have intended to use that coupon but as soon as it was tossed in the junk drawer you likely forgot all about it. Toss the expired coupons the second you notice you have them. It's 2019, after all!

5. Coupons

The fact that there are expired coupons in your junk drawers suggests you really shouldn't keep coupons in there at all. If you intend to use a coupon, place it in a visible space like your fridge or a bulletin board. Or better yet, keep it in your wallet so you have it on hand when it's time to use it.

6. Mail

Sort your mail and recycle flyers, pay your bills and post that important wedding invitation on your fridge right away. Don't sift through it and add it to your junk drawer to deal with later. That's one habit you don't want to create.

7. Coins

Coins belong in your wallet or piggy bank. If you find change in your pocket or around the house, place it in their rightful spot instead of throwing it in the junk drawer. This just creates more clutter you don't need.

8. Bobby pins

Bobby pins are mind-boggling. You start off with a hundred or so in a pack and somehow they seem to magically disappear. Putting loose bobby pins in your junk drawer is a sure fire way to continue this magic trick. Take them to the bathroom where they belong so you can find them easily.

9. Pens that don't work

We're all guilty of reaching for a pen and scrawling a line, only to find out it no longer works. But instead of throwing it in the garbage, we end up tossing it back in the drawer. Take the extra few steps to the garbage to get rid of those pens that don't work.

If you have duplicate pens in your junk drawer, find a new home for those, too. It's all about streamlining and you really only need one functioning blue or black pen in there at a time.

10. Push pins

Push pins belong in the office, or on a bulletin board. In addition to adding clutter to your junk drawer, having sharp objects in there is dangerous since you're likely to prick yourself when you're rummaging through.

Keeping these items out of your junk drawer will help to keep it organized and full of useful pieces. Take the junk out of junk drawer and get it organized today!

Photo by Ashim D'Silva on Unsplash

The post 10 Things to Never Keep in Your Junk Drawer appeared first on Apartment Living Tips - Apartment Tips from ApartmentGuide.com.

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Most people end up throwing everything in their junk drawers. Before you know it, it's filled with a bunch of clutter and take out menus you never used or needed in the first place.

But there are a few staples that you should keep in your organized "junk" drawer at all times.

1. Spare keys

How many times have you misplaced your car keys and you're rushing to get out the door in the morning? Keeping a spare set of car keys in your junk drawer is a lifesaver for times you just can't seem to find your keys and don't have the time to keep looking.

2. Measuring tape

Will that bed frame on Offer Up fit through the doorway? How tall is the new plant you just bought from HomeGoods? It's essential to keep a measuring tape in your junk drawer so you can figure out the answer to these questions in no time. Playing the guessing game is never helpful.

3. Scissors

Notably an everyday essential item, scissors are important to keep in your junk drawer. You'll use them weekly, if not daily, and you'll never have to wonder where you put them down.

4. Batteries

You never know when you're going to need batteries and although things are becoming more energy efficient every day, it's still helpful to have them on hand. Throw a few batteries in your junk drawer for desperate time.

5. Stain remover pen

This might seem a little out of the ordinary, but it's a game changer. The Tide to Go instant stain remover pen can save you in times of trouble, such as morning coffee spills. The formula treats spills, splatters and even can remove red wine dribbles in an instant.

6. iPhone charger

Whether you're an Apple or Android user, you can't debate that most people today prefer the iPhone. If you ever host dinners or parties, I'm sure you've heard the infamous question "Do you have a phone charger I could borrow?" You might need an extra one from time-to-time, but guests will appreciate it as well.

7. Pens that actually work

This is a worldwide phenomenon, or so it seems. Keeping pens that don't work in junk drawers is useless, yet we're all guilty of it. Stock your junk drawer up with new pens that actually work so that when you reach to quickly jot something down, you actually can!

8. Screen wipes

Do you ever get the itch to clean your laptop screen or phone screen but don't know what to use? Keep screen wipes in your junk drawer to de-gunk your phone and tablet regularly. Individual packets are perfect for throwing in your junk drawer.

9. Screwdriver

Keep most of your tools in a toolbox out in your garage or storage area, but always have a screwdriver readily on hand in your junk drawer. You use screwdrivers for so many little tasks around the house that it just makes sense to keep one close by.

10. Bandages

Paper cuts and little nicks often happen and then everyone starts searching for Band-Aids. By keeping bandages in your junk drawer, you're eliminating the search process and making it easily accessible should you pick-up a small injury around the house.

The moral of the story is to only include items in your junk drawer that you actually regularly use or need. Take out menus, broken pens and expired coupons have no place in your junk drawer. Eliminate the clutter and keep only essential items in your junk drawer.

The post 10 Must Haves in Every Junk Drawer appeared first on Apartment Living Tips - Apartment Tips from ApartmentGuide.com.

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The centuries-old tradition of feng shui is more than rearranging your furniture around the room. It's about bringing good energy, health and happiness into your home. It's about bringing the five feng shui elements – wood, fire, earth, metal and water – into your space to create balance and bring energy that will help you achieve your goals.

There are two different schools of feng shui – classic or traditional and the western version, but a lot of the concepts overlap or are even identical. Your home has an energy map called the feng shui bagua and as you make additions or changes to the rooms under the feng shui teachings, you're strengthening different areas of your life. Some of the concepts illustrate the use of moving water, mirrors, metal and certain colors in different rooms to attract a specific energy.

In the end, it's about what you want to bring to your space. You don't have to embrace every single detail of the feng shui concept, but it can bring a little bit more order and calmness into your space.

First things first: Declutter

The first thing to tackle? Clutter. A clean, organized room allows for good energy to flow and harmony to enter. If you're a bit lost on what to get rid of or where to start, follow the commands from master organizer Marie Kondo. Hug it! If doesn't bring you joy, throw it in the discard pile or plan to donate it. It's hard, but a good purge does the soul good.

There's no need to dive deep into the complexities of this Chinese-born concept to embrace its benefits in your home. Here are a few easy ways to jump on board with the art of feng shui in three rooms in your apartment. Open up all of the windows and let's get to work.

In your bedroom

You want to create a peaceful environment in your bedroom in order to relax after a long day. Make your bed the focus of the room, not the clutter around it or the laundry stacked up in one corner.

  • Move your bed to a 'command position,' meaning you can see the doorway, but you're not directly across from it. If possible, place it against a wall.
  • Let's talk nightstands. Leave room on either side of the bed, but don't place it against the wall. Add warm lighting to the sides of your bed to create a relaxing mood before going to sleep.
  • If your bed frame is not against the floor and has room for storage, don't add boxes under it. Keep the space under the bed empty and let the air (and energy) flow around the bed.
  • Keep any desks or work-related items outside the bedroom. Your bedroom should be a place to rest and without electronics. Yes, we mean leave your iPhone in the living room and no TV.
  • All doors, including the closet, should be closed before getting into the bed.
  • Avoid having any plants in your bedroom. They're not good feng shui.
  • Add a humidifier or open the windows over the weekend to air out the room and increase air quality.
  • Finally, when purchasing linens and other pieces for your bed, stay within neutral colors. Most experts say to lean toward skin colors – from bright white to rich chocolate brown.
Home office

In feng shui, the north wall of your home is connected to your life and career path. Attract prosperity and success into your career by using the north wall of your office space, plus a few other additions like water and a vision board.

  • Moving water and mirrors helps good energy to flow into your career path. Add a cool, round mirror to your office wall and on your desk, add a small fountain. The running water is fantastic for your career bagua area.
  • Add metal accessories to your work area as this also nourishes the water element in your workspace. Add sufficient lighting to the space that fits in with the design of the room.
  • Create a vision board that shows your different goals, from people you admire to places you want to go. Place it above your desk, if possible, on the north wall. It needs to have a commandeering presence over the room.
  • Avoid elements of wood, fire and earth in your workspace, including large plants and the colors green, brown, red and purple.
  • Keep your work area clean and clutter-free, especially bookshelves, to prevent any energy interruption.
Kitchen

The feng shui needed for your kitchen will depend on which way the room is facing, but most kitchens face south. If your kitchen is south-facing, embrace vibrant reds, yellows and oranges. You can introduce wood elements as well – think wood cupboards and cutting boards. This will attract fame and reputation, according to the traditional teachings.

Avoid the color black and blue in your kitchen decor, if possible.

The post Feng Shui 101 for Apartments appeared first on Apartment Living Tips - Apartment Tips from ApartmentGuide.com.

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It's not surprising that there's overlap when it comes to animal and plant lovers – they're people who love sharing their living spaces with other living things! For pet lovers, though, bringing the outside in is risky business.

We've consulted the ASPCA's roster and rounded up five great choices that will brighten your apartment space without endangering any of your furry roommates should they get curious enough to take a taste!

1. American rubber plant

These sturdy and beautiful plants can make a space feel lush – and with the proper container and care can grow to impressive heights as a small indoor tree! Buy small, however, as younger plants will better adapt to indoor life than their more mature counterparts. And if you want to keep it on the petite side, leave it in a smaller container.

Important to note – rubber plants like well-drained soil, so avoid overwatering and while they love bright light, direct sunlight is a no-no. If it starts losing leaves, it needs a brighter spot. Misting in the summertime will impart moisture and keep it healthy.

2. Basil

Interested in an indoor herb garden? Basil, which is easy to grow and regrow right from the seeds in containers, is fragrant and delicious for humans – and safe around both dogs and cats.

Basil will thrive in a sunny window, or even out on the balcony. Simply harvest the leaves for use and be sure to pinch the stems now and again to encourage more leaves to grow.

3. Boston fern

These frizzy ferns make exceptionally pretty hanging plants, creating wonderful silhouettes with a cheery, wild-child vibe. And if a few leaves drop? No worries for pups or kitties. It has the ASPCA stamp of pet-safe plant approval.

Boston ferns like indirect light, a cool clime and high humidity, much like its relatives that cover lush forest floors. A spray bottle can take care of the latter, of course, so mist it lightly once or twice a week – perhaps more if you're running the heat or AC regularly.

4. Orchids

Were you hoping for something with show-stopping blooms? You could do worse than an orchid, the vast varieties of which are exotic and colorful and artful enough for museums and five-star luxury resorts – imagine what they can do for your studio!

More than a few are safe for both dogs and cats, including the fiery reed orchid, moth orchid and Florida butterfly orchid. Be sure to double-check pet safety on other varieties. Orchids, in general, love tightly confined roots and bright, indirect light.

5. Christmas cactus

For folks who love plants, but rarely bother with them due to black thumbs or busy lifestyles, succulents get high marks for low maintenance – and will often reward you with truly breathtaking blooms.

The Christmas cactus is a less prickly variety, with the hardiness of a succulent, and gorgeous flowers that time their blooming right around the holidays, hence the name. This one thrives with regular watering but you can leave it for a while once doused until the top part of the soil dries out quite a bit.

Banner Photo by Sneaky Elbow on Unsplash

The post 5 Common Plants that are Safe for Pets appeared first on Apartment Living Tips - Apartment Tips from ApartmentGuide.com.

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Moving into a new apartment is always so much fun – that is, until the moving actually starts. No matter how excited you are about your new place, there's nothing worse than moving furniture up a tight, complicated staircase. We've all seen the iconic couch scene from Friends.

Source: Giphy

And, in the end, when moving furniture upstairs, you can even damage your furniture. Follow our tips for moving furniture upstairs without scratching and you'll have no problem moving into your new place.

1. Don't go it alone

Obviously, you won't be moving a bulky couch up several flights of stairs on your own. But, what you may not have considered is that the more people you have to help, the easier it will be to avoid damaging your furniture.

If you're moving furniture upstairs – especially if the staircase is compact or steep – gather as many friends and family members as you can manage. Having more hands will lend to more stability. This applies to moving the furniture out of your old place and into your new pad.

2. Protect your furniture

One way to avoid scratches is to avoid bumping into things in the first place. Since no one does that on purpose, use the other preventative measure you can take is to protect the furniture.

There are a number of ways to wrap furniture to protect it including blankets, plastic wrap, pillows, bubble wrap or some combination of these. Every piece of furniture will need to be wrapped up differently but, if done correctly, this can save the finish or fragile edges of your favorite pieces.

3. Disassemble some things

Moving furniture up and down stairs comes with some challenges – especially for bulky pieces. If necessary, you may consider disassembling some large pieces. For example, backs can be removed from recliners, feet can be removed from sofas and you can even cut and fold a box spring in half to make it easier to move.

4. Try the high and low technique

There are actually specific ways that you can move furniture to give you more control and ultimately keep your furniture safer.

One of these techniques is called the high and low technique. This method requires two people. With the furniture sitting upright, begin tilting it back onto the first mover. This person will hold the furniture from the top while the second person "catches" the bottom and lifts from there. This makes the move easier, more stable and more conducive to going through tight spaces or staircases.

5. Use some assistance

When it comes to moving heavy furniture, a tool that you're likely familiar with is the furniture dolly. Unfortunately, the dolly is basically useless for moving furniture upstairs since it uses wheels. Luckily, there are a number of other tools that can be extremely helpful in navigating stairs.

Tools like moving straps can help you lift heavy or awkwardly-shaped items easier by taking the strain off of your back and using stronger muscle groups. Ultimately, this will increase the chances of moving furniture upstairs without bumping into something and damaging your pieces.

The post How to Move Furniture Up Stairs Without Scratching appeared first on Apartment Living Tips - Apartment Tips from ApartmentGuide.com.

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Apartment dwelling dog lovers need not fret for lack of yard space. Many cities have incredible outdoor spaces that are not only wonderful places for dogs to get to know their neighbors while they exercise, their owners benefit just as much from the fresh air and social time!

Check out these cities (in no particular order) with the great dog parks.

1. Chicago: Montrose Dog Beach

Coastal dwellers may argue whether a Midwestern lake (even a massive one!) constitutes a beach, but the dogs of Chicago couldn't care less. Folks in this city love their time by the water and that might even go double for its four-legged residents.

Montrose Dog Beach was the city's first legal off-leash dog beach (the other is Belmont Harbor) and gives pups and their owners plenty of space to run, dig, swim, fetch and get gloriously sandy with no fear of bringing that sand back to their respective apartments (well, not the pups, at least).

Dedicated dog-washing stations ensure that visitors can bathe their best friends before heading out to explore other fun parts of the Windy City. Most love to camp out and stay awhile – particularly when the weather is agreeable – so feel free to bring a beach or camping chair and your pup's favorite waterproof fetch toy (as long as he or she doesn't mind sharing!).

2. Nampa, ID: Amity Dog Park

Six rolling acres make for loads of nature-infused fun at this Nampa haven for Idahoan pet owners, especially those with older dogs. Amity Dog Park's small-dog area also welcomes senior pups who may find the rough play of the young guns a bit much for their weary bones. They're welcome to watch the whippersnappers through the fence and remember their salad days with no fear of getting sucked into the otherwise-fun fray.

Fully fenced and loaded with expansive field-like areas, walking trails, access to drinking water and even a swimming pond, pups here love to interact with other dogs and humans, but even those who prefer space can find it. The park is so big that even when “crowded," it never feels that way.

3. Honolulu: Hawaii Kai Dog Park

Welcome to Hawaii, our nation's only rabies-free state and home of the Honolulu's Hawaii Kai Dog Park, where mountain views, ocean views, bright sun and a few shady benches are enjoyed by all who come.

Separate sections for large and small dogs (small is defined as 18 pounds and under) help to keep the play safe for everyone and those with long-legged runners will absolutely love the wide-open space for their best friends to burn off pent-up energy.

Lots of parking means no circling for a spot and there's lots of fresh water to cool off play-spent pups after time in the sun.

4. Johns Creek, GA: Newtown Dream Dog Park

It's right in the name. Beneful dog food sponsored a Great Dane of a makeover for this Atlanta-area dog park and now the one-acre property is one of the prettiest and most fantastical in the nation.

You'll find Instagram-worthy photo ops as your dog crosses the bone bridge or runs through the fire hydrant-shaped sprinkler. They'll be running around on wonderfully sanitary dog-friendly turf, as well, with loads of agility-building obstacles to navigate. If you're in the Atlanta-area, it's worth taking the trip with your furry friends up to Johns Creek for this dog park.

5. New Orleans: NOLA City Bark

Think the humans are the only folks who laissez les bon temps rouler in New Orleans? Hardly! And the dogs at NOLA City Bark don't even need a ball to do it.

This 4.6-acre park is a haven for canines in need of social time and exercise with lots of room to roam. Lots of fresh water and washing stations to get Rover clean before packing him into the car make this expansive space a favorite for Crescent City dog lovers, who also love to socialize while keeping one eye on their pets for safety.

6. Cincinnati: Washington Park Dog Park

The creek at this expansive dog park within a park allows for water play without getting too messy and boulders amid the landscaping are fun for hiding treats and make for interesting maneuvering.

Meanwhile, the whole park is lined with benches, so Cincinnati dog owners can keep good watch while dogs get their networking done.

Bonus: Synthetic turf helps keep this 12,000-square-foot park super clean (responsible owners, of course, are expected to do their part, as well!)

7. Dunedin, FL: Honeymoon Island Dog Beach

Honeymoon Island State Park is a favorite for residents of the westernmost Tampa Bay area (Clearwater, in particular) and one of the relatively few dog-friendly beaches in the Sunshine State.

While most of the park and its sugary beaches are off-limits for pets, one strand has been given over to canines and their sun- and surf-loving humans. This is NOT an off-leash park – dogs need to stay tethered but are free to enjoy the water and sand.

There's plenty of room to walk and dog-waste stations on the dune trail out to the beach. Watch for sand spurs, however, as you make your way out! A dog-wash location at the entrance and exit means you don't have to take the entire beach home with you after your visit.

8. Houston: Johnny Steele Dog Park

Located inside Buffalo Bayou Park, this two-acre playground for pups is super popular with Houston residents and it's easy to see why. A pond, drinking fountains (for dogs and people), a dog-washing station and shady areas to rest after time in the hot, Texas sun are phenomenal amenities for urban dogs on the go.

Post-Hurricane Harvey improvements here (will) include a new entry for small dogs, a new pond retaining wall with seating and more!

9. Troutdale, OR: Sandy River Delta

Locals love taking their pups to the Sandy River Delta's “1,000-acre Dog Park," which isn't off-leash everywhere but has loads of space where you can let your dog run to his or her heart's content. Take care to note which areas are designated leash-optional and please, for the love of all things, pick up after your pup!

There are miles of off-leash trails to explore, even some right along the beautiful Columbia River, that dogs here love to enjoy. There are no fences, so if you're confident your dog will stick close as you wander, this Troutdale gem is a magnificent option for true outdoor exploration with your furry best friend.

10. Omaha, NE: Nebraska Canine Commons

Planning is now underway for what its proponents say will be one of the world's largest indoor dog parks. With a price tag of $16 million, Nebraska Canine Commons will be an indoor, off-leash complex with an exterior mezzanine of dog-friendly space to total some 70,000+ square feet! That's roaming space equivalent to 1.2 NFL football fields!

Plans include a dedicated staff to help keep watch over the action and ensure fun and safety for all, space for all kinds of training and more. If planners are able to get funding – this membership-based, nonprofit facility has plans for a 2019 groundbreaking and 2020 opening.

Keep your eye on it, Omaha dog lovers!

Banner Photo by Ben Konfrst on Unsplash

The post 10 Cities with Amazing Dog Parks appeared first on Apartment Living Tips - Apartment Tips from ApartmentGuide.com.

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