First Apartment Checklist

Are you sick of first apartment? Well I promise this one will be the last one for awhile. I have lots of fun projects coming up to share with you. Today I’m sharing with you the First Apartment Checklist. It’s a very comprehensive list. It has literally everything you could need. Take a look:

I used this as a guide. First thing I did was go through a figure out what I already had and what other relatives had. That knocked a lot of things off my list. I probably had already 1/3 of the items. another 1/3 of them aren’t really essential. I’d say this is more of an IDEAL first apartment checklist. Salt & pepper set? Get the cheap black and white one at the grocery store. Bed sheets? 2-3 are nice, but you only really need one. Hamper and laundry basket? You only need one. 20 piece dinner set? Pick up some odds and ends. I got a bunch of dishes at a garage sale. Nearly a full set for $10. They were lightly used, but they would do. You can also invest in plastic dishes. Same goes with 20 pieces of flatware. My aunt had a bunch of mismatched silverware. I honestly don’t care if they match. I’m just glad I have something to eat with.

Really, I look at this as more of a list of thing to work to. It’s not everything you need to begin with. You can pick up a lot of things at garage sales, goodwill etc. Don’t pay full price for frames. People are ALWAYS looking to get rid of them.

These are essential items I think you REALLY need:

Bedroom – bed, 1 set of sheets, 1 pillow, comforter

Bathroom – Towels (I’d recommend at least 2-3), shower curtain & liner (or get the combo), shower curtain hooks/rings, wastebasket, handsoap (get a cheap one for $1 at most stores), toilet brush/cleaner.

Kitchen – Can opener, 2 pots, 2 frypans, 1 baking sheet, pizza cutter, microwave, blender/food processor, measuring cups/spoons, spatula, ladle, beer or wine bottle opener, 1 casserole dish, dish soap

Home Decor – Not essential, but hit up goodwill and garage sales for these.

Cleaning – vaccuum OR swiffer OR broom (all depends on your floors), garbage can, iron/ironing board, laundry basket/bag, cleaning products (duster, toilet cleaner, bathroom cleaner)

Closet & Storage – hangers, surge protectors, extension cords, flashlight

Travel – duffle bag and/or suitcase

Dining – at least 4 plates and bowls (can be plastic and mismatched), at least 4 forks/knives/spoons (the more you have the less often you have to clean), cups

Creative tips/replacement items
Chip clips – roll the bag and use a cheap roll of tape.

kitchen timer/clock – most phones have this feature.

toothbrush holder – use a cup.

Pot holders – Use the dish towel when dry.

plates/silverware – You can buy the jumbo plastic silverware and paper plates boxes at costco for cheap. But that will be more expensive in the end.

Salt/Pepper set – Buy the cheap on at any grocery store. Really who cares what these look like so long as they work.

Endtables/tv stand – use crates or pallets to make what you need.

Picture frames – Goodwill and garage sales ALWAYS have these.

Grade: Cost: Time:
Accuracy: A+
Practicality: B
Free N/A
Level of Difficulty:
Easy
What I Would Change:
This is really a GUIDE. An ideal guide. Most of these items you don’t need. In my first week/two of living at my apartment I’ve learned that being innovative on how you use things. Ex: instead of buying end tables, use an egg crate and cover it with a table cloth. Pinterest is full of ideas.
Overall Impression:
It is a nice reference of things to look for in the sales pile, but most of these items are not essential for a first apartment. I’ve learned that creativity is really key.

Repainting Old Furniture

Walking around Goodwill I found these really cool end tables (they’re from 1967. Throwback!). I loved them! I thought “These would look great in a color! And look at all that extra storage space. BONUS!”. It also didn’t hurt that each was only $5.

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I’ve pinned a lot of great tutorials for painting old furniture but turns out these end tables are made of a, well to be honest I forget the official term from it, but it’s more of a plastic wood than a real wood. Therefor most of the things I pinned were essentially useless. I did get to take some tips from it. If you’re about to repaint some furniture I suggest checking them out. How to Paint Furniture: A Beginner’s Guide. Paint Furniture Like a Pro

My inspiration: Emerald Green Decor  Paint Projects Link Party

I love love love the look of painted furniture. It’s both trendy and brings in a pop of color that’s easily changeable. Since these tables are relatively a small project and have a lot of grooves I opted to use spray paint instead of normal paint. The cans came with primer in the paint. At around $3 a can you couldn’t beat it.

Now to begin.

First, I removed the hardware. That includes the hinges and the handles. Once those were safely removed my dad sanded the top. It was his sander so he got to do the honors. We only sanded the top because it was the only part that was real wood.

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After we sanded the top, we brushed off the excess dust and began to spray paint. We started with the door because that was going to be the hardest. The color came out better than i could have imagined! It took two coats of paint on each table. I only needed 2 cans of spray paint instead of the 4 I initially bought. Another win!

Next we get to restoring the handles. We thought that soaking them in ammonia like we do the stove grates may restore them. It got off a lot of dirt but ended up completely taking the finish off one of the handles. I read online that the best way to restore them is in ketchup. I soaked the three remaining handles in ketchup for 1 hour and it really brought back the shine. Unfortunately the damage was already done on the last one. We had leftover black spray paint so we just used that for the handles. It actually ties in the black from our tv and futon.

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Grade: Cost: Time:
A+ $15 total Active: 30 minutes total
Dry time: I gave it almost a day.
Level of Difficulty:
Easy
What I Would Change:
Read the other pins. If you’re doing bigger furniture with real wood make sure it’s primed! You don’t want the paint peeling.
Overall Impression:
The spray paint I chose works well on plastic. We asked the guy at the home depot and he said it would adhere just fine. So far there has been no peeling and I couldn’t be happier with it!

33 Moving Tips That Will Make Your Life So Much Easier

I have some great news to share with you. I moved last weekend! It goes without saying that moving is a b****. To top it off, the place I chose had no elevator and we were on the third floor. It has many other perks though I assure you. The last time I moved I was coming home from College. This was going to be different because I’d have furniture as well. I wanted to find tips to make the move go as easily as possible. Hence this pin: 33 Moving Tips.

I read this, and reread this. I almost studied it to make sure I had everything right. (Sounds a little obsessive but I have a lot of stuff)

Below are the tips: (I’ve included my own comments in italics)

1. Pack an Overnight bag with the essentials. (toothbrush, toothpaste, hairbrush, pjs – just one set you might be too exhausted to unpack your clothes the same day, contacts/glasses, phone charger, etc)

2. Pack Items you need first in a clear plastic bin. (Power cables, ethernet cable, toilet paper, tools – ex: screwdriver,  trash bags, etc)

3. Wrap breakables in clothing to save on bubble wrap. (Also can wrap in towels, drapes, rags, etc).

4. For extra padding, pack your glasses and stemware in clean socks. (stick the socks on the inside of the glass. It will help with the padding, then you can use other towels in between the restof them.)

5. In addition to labeling what’s in your boxes, add what room they’ll be going into, as well. (Good tip if you have a lot of stuff. Lable if it’s for kitchen, bathroom, kids rooms, etc)

6. If you can, show up to your new home before the move and pre-clean the bathroom and kitchen. (Don’t trust that they cleaned it for you. The previous owners may have had different hygene standards)

7. Place an extra cotton pad or ball into your powder cosmetics to keep them from breaking. (a ripped up piece of paper towel or napkin also works)

8. Cover the openings of your toiletries with saran wrap, then put the tops back on. (Why didn’t I know about this before!?! Goodbye leaks)

9. Pack plates vertically, like records. They’ll be less likely to break.

10. Keep drawers intact by covering them with Press’n Seal.

11. Press’n Seal is also great for keeping jewelry displays intact.

12. Buy a roll of stretch wrap. (You can get these at home improvement stores like Lowes or the Home Depot. Wrap this around anything with drawers. It will keep them together and it’s pretty cheap to get a roll)

13. Keep sandwich bags handy for holding any small parts of things you have to take apart, like curtain rods or mounted flat-screen TVs. (Also LABEL what the parts are for!)

14. Beer boxes are the best for books because they have handles on the sides. (I don’t care what they say, books are always going to be heavy. Your best bet is to break it up, put a few books in each box. It’ll add to the weight of those boxes but if you judge it right it wont be that bad)

15. Take a photo of how your electronics are connected so you can remember how and where all the wires go. (Or when you take it apart use those tags that come on a sandwhich bag. Wrap it around the wire with a label where it goes)

16. Cut down on boxes by making all of your baskets, laundry bins, hampers, and suitcases work for you. (I brought up most of my shoes in the garbage can. I didn’t have to worry about heels tearing through the garbage bags. This was my proudest moment)

17. The fastest way to pack a closet: Wrap a bag around the clothes while they’re still hanging. (Keep the hangers on! It will eliminate the time to take them off the hangers only to rehang them all. Just make sure you don’t overstuff. You can accidentally poke a hole in the bag.

18. Vacuum seal your out-of-season clothing. (it cuts down the space the sweaters are taking up. Personally, I just spacked them in a bag and brought it up normally)

19. Along with food and alcohol, give your friends who help you move first dibs on anything you originally planned to sell or donate.

20. Make sure everything is completely packed before your friends show up to help you move.

21. Enlist the color-coding system. (ex: pink for bathroom, red for kitchen, blue for bedroom, etc. You can get different colored duct tape for this)

22. It doesn’t hurt to number your boxes.

23. If you have a lot of fragile valuables, hiring movers as opposed to asking friends can end up paying for itself.

24. If you do hire movers, be sure to read the fine print and find out if they have any weird rules. (They may not carry bags, or large items like a piano.)

25. If you’re renting, take photos of your cleaned-out old home and your new home before moving in. (It will help you document any damage that may have been there before)

26. Fill the nail holes in your previous home with a bar of soap. (Toothpaste also works)

27. If you’re doing a cross-country move and you don’t need your stuff immediately, consider shipping via Greyhound.

28. Change your address at least two weeks prior to moving.

29. If you own items that you want to get rid of but are too valuable to just give away, start selling on eBay, Etsy, or Craigslist at least 6 weeks before moving.(Or have a garage sale)

30. Arrange for a charity organization to come pick up the items you don’t want at least a week or two before moving.

31. Make your last grocery trip two weeks prior to moving. (Last thing you want is throwing out food cause you didn’t have time to eat it. Eat all the perishables first (milk, eggs, cheese, meat)

32. For same-city moves, hire a sitter for the children and pets.

33. Remember to defrost your refrigerator at least a day before moving and wipe up any liquid.

Grade: Cost: Time:
A+ Free Ongoing
Level of Difficulty:
Easy
What I Would Change:
N/A
Overall Impression:
I loved this list. It made moving so much easier. The #1 thing I took away from it was packing the clothes. That was a breeze! I was exhausted after the move and the last thing you want to do is have to put all your clothes away. Using saran wrap on my liquids (shampoo, shower gel, dishsoap) was also a great idea. Overall this list gives you a very complete guide on how to simplify your move in process. I took advantage of most of these tips and got most of my unpacking done in a day.

Think Before You Eat

We have a big event coming up next month for work. When I say big, I mean big. (Think tens of thousands of people getting together). That means long hours and extremely high stress. That also means stress eating. I’m trying to stay healthy and in shape for a wedding I’ll be in but it’s hard. I love food.

To quit back the snacking I’ve printed out this “Think before you eat” guide.

Think before you eat guide. What I like about this: it breaks it down to how much work you really need to burn calories. Sure you could easily burn 242 calories if you do a light run but are you really going to do 88 minutes of crunches to work it off? Didn’t think so.

That mentality is what I was banking on when I printed it off. I wrote next to the times how long it takes in minutes. 2 hours and 2 minutes of running to burn off a chicken burrito is a lot more frightening than 122 minutes. Something about adding to that “hour” makes it worse.

Things I didn’t like: It’s not really realistic. Who is going to do 72 minutes of jumping rope to burn off a milkshake. If you want to burn it off you are going to run.

My intention of this was to trick myself to not snacking. It wasn’t for the actual numbers of what will burn what. It’s a general idea with a lot of foods I like (pepperoni pizza? ugh. I want it now).

So far this has been great. I put the list to my left so when I’m swinging around towards my lunchbox I see it and opt against snacking. Most days its really helped. Other days it’s helped me choose a healthier option. Instead of that sprinkled donut I wanted I’ll get a piece of toast with peanut butter or nutella. Side note: I just tried Nutella for the first time about a week ago. Now I understand the obsession with it. I want MORE.

My custom printout:
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Grade: Cost: Time:
B+ Free 5 minutes to break it down into hours if you want.
Level of Difficulty:
Easy
What I Would Change:
Nothing I really can change. I like it for what it is and what I’ve purposed it as.
Overall Impression:
Nice list. It’s been up for about 2 weeks now and has been pretty successful. I’ve had some cheat days in there. Overall it’s nice to put things into perspective.

Apartment Hunting Checklist

You may have noticed my posts have been lacking lately… that’s because…. I’m looking for an apartment! Yes! So, prepare for a score of moving, packing, and general apartment tips coming. That is hoping I find a place.

I’ve been looking for awhile. Months actually. I never realized how hard it actually is to find the right place or the hidden costs associated with apartment ownership. Being a first time renter I had a pretty naive idea of what I wanted. Requirements were: Closer to work and had to have a washer dryer in unit. You may be thinking “that’s it? What about apartment size, parking, a pool, central air, utilities included?” Laugh at me all you want, I had no idea what I was getting into.

Ok, I might have had some. My boyfriend has been renting a place for awhile. I saw through his experience some other things I did and didn’t want.

#1 parking is VERY important.

#2 it’s better to be on an upper floor. Ground floors = more bugs. (Waterbugs?? NO THANK YOU!!)

#3 Windows that work. Are they easy to break in to? Are there holes in the screen?

#4 noise around the apartment. You don’t realize how annoying a train is until you’re trying to watch a movie with the windows open during rush hour. Just forget it.

#5. KITCHEN! Galley kitchens are terrible…. If you like to cook (like I do) then you need space (specifically counter and cabinet space.

As I’ve been going through this process I’ve been fortunate to have some Pinterest friends going through the same ordeals. They’ve been pinning moving posts, and I’ve been repinning them. One of the things I repinned was this apartment hunting checklist.

Like I said, I had no idea what I was getting into. This checklist gave me a nice idea of other things I should be looking for “parking fee”. WOAH! Called one place only to find out that EACH parking space would be an additional $100 a month. They’re crazy…. I wanted to say “Oh, so that great deal of a rent you have going is only for people who don’t own cars….

One of the really nice things about this list is that it gives you space to mark off approximately how much each utility would cost. So that apartment that’s advertised as $900 a month may really be closer to $1200 after ulilities, parking fees, rental fees, and other various costs….

It’s a very thorough list but not complete. I wish it had a check mark for central vs window unit AC and coin laundry vs “free” laundry. Most of the list can be filled out ahead of time depending on the ad or the information on the apartment website, but some places show outdated photos and the information isn’t always recent either.

Here’s to hoping I find the right place soon so I can get back to the really fun projects.

Grade: Cost: Time:
B+ Free 10 min to fill out for each apt.
Level of Difficulty:
Easy
What I Would Change:
Be more specific. What kind of A/C and heat? When were things last replaced? Is the laundry “free” or coin operated?
Overall Impression:
Nice list. More experienced renters and owners could add 50 more things to this list, but for someone new to the ballgame this was a nice list to have.

 

DIY Mason Jar Luminaries

DIY Mason Jar Luminaries with instructions on Pintertesting.com

Pretty right? That’s what I thought too! We were planning an end of summer pool party and I thought these would be perfect for lighting up the steps after dark. The original project comes from MomSpark.com

What you need:

  • Mason Jars
  • Glass beads
  • Hot glue gun
  • Battery operated candles

The project is simple after that, just start gluing the stone around the outside of the mason jar. (I started near the lid and worked my way down. I continued my beads up onto the bottom of the jar and then turned them upside down so the lid was on the ground. I thought this would disperse the light better in the area.

Unfortunately, our pool party was rained out so I never got to check how it worked at night. I had tested it in our bathroom with the lights off and door closed and it really shone bright!

Now for the downside…. The beads kept falling off! Not all of them, but just enough to be annoying. I think I just didn’t use enough hot glue (even though I used a LOT!). Quite a number of stones fell off just after a good rainstorm.
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I think this could be great if

A. You use a lot more glue or a stronger glue that attaches to glass.

B. Nobody ever touches or moves these.

Grade: Cost: Time:
B+ $15 for 5 jars and the beads  10 Minutes each jar
Level of Difficulty:
Easy
What I Would Change:
Use a stronger glue. The beads kept falling off in spots I didn’t use enough glue. Even the rain was enough to knock some off.
Overall Impression:
Really easy and cute. Great for outdoor parties. Using a stronger glue is my only real recommendation.

 

 

Dandelion Artwork

Last year I made a new picture for our bathroom out of scrapbook paper.

It was perfect for the time but out color scheme started to move away from the pinks towards the teals and browns.

Since quotes are all the rage right now, we wanted to have something short and sweet put into the frame. I searched my quotes board and we agreed upon this one:

“When you look into a field of dandelions, you can either see a hundred weeds or a hundred wishes”.

The quote was on a piece of artwork that someone had created. It’d be easy enough to recreate but we didn’t have a canvas, and printing this out would look silly.

Time to get creative…. I googled images of dandelions. Originally I thought a simple artistic dandelion would do. Then I was leaning towards black and white images of real dandelions. I’m glad I didn’t choose that. Since my frame was brown it’d just look silly. That’s when I found this image on Google. It was perfect. I cropped it to the inside dimension of the frame (7.5 X 9.5) using photoshop. There are plenty of free websites you can use if you don’t have that.

Next was placement of the text. I tried a variety of fonts but finally settled on using Zippity Do which I used on my Porch Rules sign. I think it’s actually becoming my new favorite font. Strawberry Limeade came in a very VERY close second but we agreed it wasn’t as readable.

The final piece:

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Grade: Cost: Time:
A+ Free 10 -20 Minutes
Level of Difficulty:
Easy
What I Would Change:
Customizable. I love this as is.
Overall Impression:
No joke, this took maybe 20 minutes from start to finish. Once we had the quote picked, everything else pretty much fell together. I think I actually like this better than the scrapbook flower I had originally.
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