Can’t get out and enjoy nature right now? Bring nature in your home. You may not own your dwelling, but you can still find ways to bring the outdoors inside. Whether your space is large or small, gardening enhances both your health and happiness.
Living in the middle of a city, disconnected from nature, makes it all the more important to add some green in your life. You’ll find yourself feeling better and thinking more clearly. Here, we’ll go through the main benefits and the basics of incorporating more green space into your home.
Plants Add Humidity
Apartment plants are desirable because they add a bit of humidity to the air through transpiration, releasing moisture through small pores in their leaves. Lack of humidity usually leaves you with dry skin, and dry air can cause lung irritation and dry mouth.Recent studies suggest that increasing the humidity can also lower the odds of getting a cold or sore throat. Group a few of the right plants together in a couple of rooms, and you should see an increase in humidity. Some of the best plants for adding moisture to the air include:
Plants Clean The Air
Taking deep, cleansing breaths is great for your health and you want to take in the purest air possible. Houseplants help with that. The NASA Clean Air Study (1989) started out as research on ways to clean the air in the Space Station. It found that certain plants filtered pollutants — including benzene, formaldehyde and trichloroethylene — out of the air. While more recent research shows plants may not work as well outside of a controlled environment, scientists agree that they are removing harmful chemicals. Here are a few of the plants recommended for scrubbing the air.
Elephant ear philodendron
Plants Boost Mental Health
Houseplants may have an even bigger impact on our mental health. Working near greenery helps with concentration and memory. Flowers can boost the feeling of happiness through their appearance and scent. Keeping them in your home makes you less stressed and more relaxed. And whether you’re growing your plants out on a balcony or indoors, they need sunlight. As the plants are exposed, so are you. Sunlight increases our brain’s release of serotonin, the hormone responsible for boosting good moods and helping you feel calm and focused.
All plants in your apartment garden have the power to positively impact your mental health, but you may want to give careful consideration to a money tree plant. While money doesn’t grow on trees, legend has it that carefully tending to this particular green pal brings positive energy, good luck and prosperity! It’s a great way to spruce up your apartment.
Now that you know the why, let’s talk about the how. Apartment living often comes without a yard or a large space to turn into a garden. However, you can still get your hands in the dirt by bringing nature inside.
Use Native Plants
Even if you don’t have a green thumb, growing plants and flowers in pots is simple. Turn them into conversation pieces by choosing native plants. These flowers and shrubs have adapted to your area’s climate over many thousands of years. They typically require less water and fertilizer. Choosing native plants celebrates the heritage of the region. Not sure where to start? The National Wildlife Federation has an easy-to-use website where you simply type in your ZIP code and suggestions pop up, along with pictures. Find out which natives are best for apartment gardening from your local garden center.
Plant an Indoor Herb Garden
Limited indoor space practically screams for an herb garden. It’s a bit more challenging than growing potted plants, but extremely satisfying. You can grow herbs indoors year-round or put them on your terrace or patio during the warmer months. Perennial herbs, such as mint, thyme and sage, flourish when you’re able to set them outside. Growing herbs in your apartment has many benefits, among which theirhomey fragrance andaesthetically pleasingappearance, as well as a constant supply of herbs to season your meals. The herbs that grow best in an apartment garden include:
Create Living Wall Art
A distinctive way to Incorporate nature into your apartment is by adding living wall art. Also known as a vertical garden, this assembly of wall-mounted plants is a perfect trend for smaller apartments, with plants that grow up instead of spreading out. Think “Jack and the Beanstalk,” only classier. To create your living wall, you’ll need a support structure like a trellis, chicken wire or planters secured to the wall. Vertical gardens can get heavy, so make sure your wall has enough support. Be sure to build this green wall somewhere where it can get direct sunlight.
There’s another aspect you need to consider: how you’re going to get water and nutrients to the plants. Living wall art can be made of greenery such as ivy and pothos, flowers including roses, wisteria and morning glory, and edible plants like kiwi, peas and tomatoes.
Use a Jungle Theme
Elvis Presley knew what he was doing when he created the Jungle Room at Graceland, back in the mid ’60s. That trend is still en vogue, and it’s a great way to bring nature into your apartment if plants aren’t an option. Most people don’t decorate their entire apartment in this theme but, rather, choose a room or two. Maybe a bedroom or a hallway.
You still have the option of adding a few plants, but the right patterns and materials can create the same jungle effect. Think bamboo furniture, woven floor mats and colorful jungle wallpaper,or even a painted mural on one wall. Mix and match green with more subdued tones of tan and brown. Throw in animal ceramics like giraffes, apes or lions. Creating a jungle-themed room is different for everyone. You can go as big or as toned-down as you like. It’s a great way to bring nature into your apartment if you don’t have the time or the desire to have an apartment garden.
About the author: Jayce Lambert is a graduate student in Texas who loves traveling, camping, hiking, and cycling. Her love of the outdoors is apparent in her dorm room, which she adorns with hanging plants and ferns.
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For many, de-stressing at the end of the day goes hand in hand with a long binge session of your favorite series and a nice glass of wine. But, nowadays, as we spend more time indoors away from hectic commutes and long office hours, the days tend to blend. What’s more, because we’re at home most of the time anyway, we might feel like there’s no particular need to put an emphasis on relaxing.
However, in times like these, when the world is challenging for all of us, mental well-being should be prioritized. And, there’s no better place to begin than with a clear mind and a positive attitude. So, we compiled a list of apps available on Android and iOS to help you de-stress and reset. From games to quick yoga and meditation sessions, check out these seven apps to help you clear your mind.
Headspace tends to top many lists of mindfulness apps, and for good reason. The free basic package is enough to give you an idea of what Headspace wants and can do for you. Get your very own guide to mindfulness and meditation tips, plus learn more about your sleeping pattern and how to improve it. Most important, the app is designed to help you relieve stress, reduce anxiety and learn how to relax, in general. It also claims to be able to increase your happiness level by 16%. With all that’s going on in the world right now, we’ll take it!
It’s in the name. The people behind the Calm app believe calmness to be the foundation of our wellbeing, and we can only agree. The first thing you do in Calm is tell it why you need it in the first place, which personalizes the content and caters it specifically to your needs. Like most mindfulness apps, you can sign up for content on how to reduce stress and anxiety, but Calm knows our happiness often lies in the little things. So, the app goes a bit further and offers to teach you how to build self-esteem, improve your performance and develop a sense of gratitude in your everyday life.
3. Stop, Breathe & Think
Admit it. You’d rather be doing anything else than meditating for an hour at home, even if you have nothing better to do. That’s why if there were an app to help you rewire your brain and find peace and quiet in five minutes, you’d use it. Well, Stop, Breathe & Think promises to do just that. The strategy is simple: you just have to stop and analyze yourself, breathe and understand yourself, and then think about how to better yourself. Furthermore, the app offers sessions and exercises to help you along the way while keeping track of your progress. All you have to do is stop and download the app, breathe as you choose what to start with, and think no more about postponing your well-being.
4. Insight Timer
Insight Timer prides itself in being the largest free library of guided meditations, while also providing you with a cool collection of meditation music to accompany the sessions. Choose what suits you best from hundreds of titles that teach you how to manage anxiety, improve your sleep and cope with stress. The one feature that might just win you over is the meditation corner for kids. Because it’s never too early to start understanding and taking care of yourself, the app offers nearly 500 meditations to teach our children how to cultivate peace, explore and understand emotions, and so much more. If you’re still on the fence, check out the Insight Timer blog for interesting and soul-searching reads before making a decision.
At first glance, Sworkit looks like your typical workout app — until you realize it’s made the lists of best science-backed fitness apps for years, competing with the best in the business. So, what keeps Sworkit on top? For starters, it promises to get you in shape and keep you that way, no matter your level of commitment. And, it does this even if you have no time, no gym access and no personal fitness equipment. You choose the length of a session, and the app provides you a customized workout plan to give you the best results within that timeframe. Then, just select your goal (weight loss or maintenance, increased flexibility or endurance, muscle gain or toning) and how to get there (cardio, yoga, stretching or strength). There’s even a kids version!
6. Two Dots
Reducing stress through workouts and meditation is great, but nothing beats a good old game to keep you alert while also taking your mind off everyday hardships. The calming power of Two Dots lies in its simplicity. All a player has to do is connect at least two dots, make moves and advance to the next level. The app has been updated numerous times to add more attractive graphics, music, side quests and new levels, but the principle of it hasn’t changed much. If you need a dose of serotonin at your fingertips, this is the game for you.
7. The Unic
There are plenty of relaxing games out there, but another excellent choice to help you unwind and keep the stress at bay is The Unic. This one is special because it boosts not only your serotonin levels, but also your creativity. An observation game, it requires the player’s attention to distinguish between duplicate patterns and identify the one that’s unique. Pretty simple, right? This free game just might become your greatest ally in tuning out the real world for a few minutes. Plus, the results are actually more satisfying than a quick review could reveal.
As COVID-19 demands more and more of our attention, we all need a little downtime and break from the news. We hope some of these apps will help you enjoy a bit of peace and quiet.
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We are made of tough stuff. Now more than ever before, we need to know that we will make it through this unprecedented COVID-19 global health emergency. As an industry multifamily will remain a strong player in the US economy. But what will be the impact of this national health crisis for apartment housing?
As we look for answers in the short term, one thing is clear, no one really knows what may and can happen. This is the time to pull together as a country and help our residents the best way we know. First and foremost, communication will be crucial. Some apartment communities have a broadcast text or email system to keep their residents well informed in real time. Message Assist from @CallAssist247 is a simple easy way to message your residents via phone, text or email. Remote messaging is the best way to continue to maintain physical distancing. We need to be social as isolation can lead to depression and sadness for many.
In the short term, The National Apartment Association has given guidelines for their members and has been key in trying to keep pace with an event that changes hour by hour. As rents are at an all-time high and the typical renter is spending close to half of their income on rent, April 1st there will be delinquency. NAA suggests that there is no easy cookie cutter approach for how to handle default rent, but to take each situation on a case by case scenario. Perhaps partial payments? There will be many residents who have never missed a rent payment and may need to choose between food and rent. Local governments may offer some solutions. You can be helpful and keep abreast of these local resources to help your residents. Are there local food banks or state agencies that can offer some financial assistance?
What can we expect moving forward for our industry? Again no one has a crystal ball. Shelter is a basic need. Possible recession is a distinct possibility. Historically the apartment sector overall is likely to weather a recession well. We may see mobility slow as eviction and foreclosure processes evolve. The shortage of work force housing will be exacerbated by job losses from the service sector. And perhaps as more of us are working from home, the demand for commercial real estate will lessen. (Source: Apartmentlist.com)
We survived the subprime mortgage crisis in 2008, Black Monday in 1987 and recession in 1975. Often our greatest opportunity lies in our biggest challenges. With the strength of our nation, we will make it through this unprecedented global health crisis. As we pulled together as a country during 9/11, we will make it through Covid-19 as we are made of tough stuff!
Over the past two weeks, the COVID-19 pandemic has at least temporarily shuttered a wide variety of small businesses, especially those in the restaurant, nightlife, hospitality, beauty, and entertainment industries. In turn, millions of people have been left with no source of income, and if you’re one of these people, you might be struggling to afford typical monthly expenses such as your rent or mortgage. The idea of not having a roof over your head might be scary, but there are steps you can take if you can’t pay your rent or mortgage due to the coronavirus – here’s what to do.
Don’t panic – you may be safe (for now)
If you can’t pay your rent or mortgage due to coronavirus, you may have at least temporary relief. Last week, President Trump said that the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) will ban evictions and foreclosures through the end of April. In the event your landlord threatens to evict you or the bank threatens to foreclose on your apartment, you can attempt to contact HUD and have the department interfere on your behalf. It remains unclear whether HUD will require tenants and homeowners to eventually make postponed payments.
What to do if you own your apartment
If you own your apartment, begin by contacting your loan servicer. You may qualify for a special COVID-19 waiver. Once you get in touch, if your lender fails to cooperate with you and disobeys any obligations outlined in your mortgage contract, you can report your lender to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and your state attorney general’s office.
Next, reach out to your bank. Many leading banks have introduced programs to address their customers’ COVID-19 needs. As you contact your bank, keep in mind that, just as with lenders, these organizations may eventually require you to pay your mortgage even if you’re granted temporary payment delays.
As an absolute resort, you can put your loan in forbearance. However, the immediate relief this option provides may not be worth the long-term interest that still builds on your loan. If you do pursue forbearance, no two forbearance options have the exact same terms, so ask your lender for details first before committing.
What to do if you rent your apartment
If you rent your apartment, contact your landlord as soon as possible to discuss your situation. Some landlords will be sympathetic to your situation – for example, a landlord in Maine went viral on social media for pledging not to collect rent in April. If you’re lucky, your landlord may take the same step, especially if you have a good relationship with them.
If your landlord sympathizes with your situation but still needs to collect some amount of rent, you can try to discuss a reduced payment plan. For example, if your rent is $800, you can ask your landlord whether you can pay just $400 this month (or however much you can afford). If you worry that you can’t afford any rent, discuss a repayment plan instead. In this setup, you could take the $800 you owe for April and pay $100 more on eight future months of rent, whether those eight months begin in May or some other time after the pandemic passes.
If you’re exhausted all these options and your landlord still demands that you pay your full amount of rent, you can contact your bank for financial assistance. You can also call 211 to be connected with services that can potentially help you pay. You should also be sure to research new regulations that your municipality or state has enacted in the wake of the pandemic, as rules regarding rent payment during the pandemic may differ by region. You may even be able to find relief funds for workers that the pandemic has displaced from your industry.
Do you know of any additional resources for people who can’t pay rent or mortgage due to coronavirus? If so, please leave them in the comments for other readers to find. What you share may prove the make-or-break factor for many people facing immense obstacles that could completely alter their quality of life.
It’s one thing to get your spring cleaning done, but a sparkling, dust-free apartment isn’t necessarily a home with character. That’s where spring decor comes in. As you open your windows for the first time in months and the sun starts to shine in for more hours per day, the environment in your apartment will change, and there’s no better time to start putting up new decor. Here are four fresh spring decor ideas for your apartment.
Brightness, though, is key for your fresh spring decor. If you don’t care for yellow, you can opt for other bright colors including baby blue, orange, or even a lighter shade of green. Fruits including oranges and limes and flowers including blue roses and purple tulips can help you to achieve a bright decor palette without relying on yellow.
2. Taste the rainbow
They say April showers bring May flowers, but what they often forget to mention is that April showers often bring rainbows, too. Prepare your apartment for the upcoming months with rainbow decor, but be sure to do so in ways that are charming and relaxing rather than tacky. Instead of putting up a rainbow print or decal (with the exception of an often-welcome Pride flag), buy related decor items in the colors of the rainbow and arrange them appropriately. This example using glassware is a great reference point, and you can also emulate it with multi-color cutlery, dishware, and silverware sets. String lights can also help you out on this one.
3. Let your blankets and tablecloths bloom
Winter can be a good time for plain, dark colors in your apartment. Your throw blankets and pillows might be black or an inviting shade of grey in the winter, just as your tablecloth on your kitchen table or dining room table might also be a deeper, less bright hue than you’re looking for now. Swap out your winter tablecloths for not just brighter colors, but flowery patterns that can last you all the way through the end of the summer. Tablecloths, blankets, and throw pillows (or pillowcases) with floral patterns are usually easy to find at any department store or home improvement store.
4. Houseplants galore
Houseplants are among the most popular apartment decorations, and spring is the perfect time to get more of them. As more (and warmer) sunlight comes through your west-facing windows, your houseplants will have more than enough sun to thrive. If you’re a hands-off person, you can count on succulents to survive no matter your apartment’s light and temperature conditions, but you have plenty of other options for introducing new houseplants to your apartment for the spring.What are your spring decor ideas for this year? Sound off in the comments!
My daughter sat down next to me and looked like she had something serious to say. “Mom you don’t look as old as grandma did to me when she was your age.” At first, I thought that this was a compliment, but after a moment of reflection, I wasn’t sure if it was a compliment, or more of a statement of fact. So I said “what makes you think that I look younger”? She said that my clothes were trendy, and I have a lot going on in my life. My new position as the National Sales Manager for @Callassist24/7 has been an exciting challenge. I have always been passionate about the multifamily industry and about helping people find solutions to make their lives easier. Call Assist 24/7 has a simple solution for call management that makes communication with apartment residents seamless by using the native tools in our cell phones to text.
We are in a unique time in the multifamily industry history where we are experiencing a strong period of high occupancy. As the Baby Boomers look to downsize as they retire, they are moving into apartments in unprecedented numbers. (Source: Housepedia) Strapped by huge student loan debt, the Millennials find that renting an apartment suits their needs financially. They want the flexibility that home ownership cannot provide. How will these two groups relate to one another co-habituating in the same apartment community?
One group likes to read print and the other group prefers to tweet, post, like and share their communication. Central Media Solution has the perfect answer with their print for both generations. @ApartmentMagz is a targeted apartment publication that gives you the option to hold and read a magazine or the ability to see it on a mobile device. Both generations are seeing the same content, but in a manner that makes them both feel comfortable. In addition, a vanity URL in the ads will offer both groups the option to go directly to the website of the apartment community to see more information.
If my daughter doesn’t view me as “old”, then I won’t view her as an internet obsessed young’un. As age and circumstances have brought these two groups together, all for one and one for all, they can help each other. Boomers have much to learn from Millennials about technology and creating sustainable environments. We raised these young adults to make the best decisions that they can by sharing our failures and successes. Age diversity makes for a strong sense of community. When we have communities, neighborhoods will grow strong and we will be better for it.
There’s no shortage of reasons why someone would want to move to Portland, Oregon. The metro area is well-known for its relaxed, unassuming lifestyle, closeness to nature and great education opportunities – in other words, it’s a place that provides a generally good quality of life, and people are drawn to it.
Portland is definitely not an inexpensive place – the average monthly rent for an apartment was $1,538 this January, according to RENTCafe, above the national average of $1,463. Still, Portland remains a lot more affordable compared to other fast-growing metro areas, such as Seattle, with an average monthly rent of $2,139, or San Francisco, with a whopping rent of $3,700 per month. The street rate for a self storage unit in Portland is $137 for a standard, 10X10 one, according to Yardi Matrix.
The metro area enjoys a dynamic job market, stimulated by the tech sector, so much so that it started to be known as the Silicon Forest – a play on Silicon Valley and the forests surrounding Portland. Home to tech giants like HP and Intel for decades, and more recently to Google, Portland is also the land of young and hip tech startups, such as Bright MD, Cloudability, Lytics and Torch. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, unemployment in Portland, at 3.7%, is the lowest it has ever been in the area, while the $27 average hourly wage is about 8% higher than the nationwide average.
In terms of population, Metro Portland sees sustained growth – it now comprises almost 2.5 million people, compared to less than 2.2 just a decade ago. Local government agency Oregon Metro projects a population of over 3 million by 2040, and a significant proportion of current and future population growth is due to people moving into the area.
The decision of moving – or not moving – to a certain place is usually not based only on numbers, costs or employment opportunities. You also need to go behind the scenes to get a better sense of what living in that particular place actually entails. That’s why we gathered some little-known, 100% Portlandian facts that will help you decide whether moving to the area is the right decision for you and your family.
1. Portland prides itself on being weird
“Keep Portland Weird” is the metro’s semi-official motto, even if it doesn’t originate here. The slogan was initially used in Austin, as “Keep Austin Weird,” as a way promote local businesses. In 2003, the quirky catchphrase was imported to Portland by Terry Currier, the owner of Music Millennium, an independent record store in the city. The motto fell on far more fertile ground in Portland than in Austin, and was soon being used to describe the individuality, and the less-than-typical ways of Portlanders.
2. Metro Portland sits on a volcano that’s actually a huge park
Portland’s resident volcano, Mount Tabor, is situated within the city’s limits and, fortunately, is dormant. The lava field that Mount Tabor is part of, known as the Boring Lava Field, has been extinct for over 300,000 years, so the sprawling park located on top of it is completely safe – it is also anything but boring.
Mont Tabor Park provides miles of hiking trails of variable difficulty, biking trails and amazing views of the city from above. Metro Portland also has one of the country’s largest forested urban parks, named, quite literally, Forest Park.
3. The smallest park in the world is also here
Not only is Portland home to one of the country’s largest forested parks, but it also contains the world’s smallest park. The Mill Ends Park is just 2 feet in diameter, consists of one tree, and was first granted recognition as the world’s smallest park back in 1971, by the Guinness Book of Records. It also got official city park status in 1976.
The micro-park unintentionally came into existence in 1948, when the spot was prepared for installing a light pole. The light pole failed to materialize, and weeds started growing in the hole. Dick Fagan, a columnist of the now defunct Oregon Journal, wrote a funny a piece about it, saying he caught a leprechaun digging in there, and the leprechaun granted him one wish – a park of his own. Unfortunately, he was not specific about the size of the park, so the leprechaun gave him that very hole. Fagan baptized it Mill Ends Park, after his newspaper column.
4. Portland could have been named Boston
Portland, Oregon, was founded in 1845 by two entrepreneurs and business partners, Francis Pettygrove from Portland, Maine and Asa Lovejoy from Boston, Massachusetts. Both wanted to name the new settlement after their respective cities. The decision was made by tossing a coin, and Pettygrove won two out of three tosses. The coin was later given to the Oregon Historical Society by a descendant of Pettygrove and is now on display in the society’s museum.
5. Stop to smell the roses
Portland’s International Rose Test Garden covers 4.5 acres of land, having been initially set up in 1915. Nowadays, the garden is hosting about 650 different rose varieties and more than 10,000 bushes. About 700,000 people visit the spectacular garden each year, during blooming season, from April through October. You could spend hours walking its grounds, admiring exquisite roses and reading information about each variety.
6. You get to browse through the largest independent bookstore in the world
After walking the grounds of the world’s smallest park, you could also browse through the over one million new and old books contained in the world’s largest independent bookstore, Powell’s City of Books. The bookstore is so large that it occupies an entire city block, offering over 68,000 square feet of book retail space.
7. The city is filled with cute horses
One of the most interesting mass art projects in the area is the Portland Horse Project, which was started by Scott Wayne Indiana, a resident of Portland’s Woodstock neighborhood. Noticing that the road-side horse rings that were used in the 18th and 19th centuries for securing horses and carriages were being removed, Scott decided to preserve this part of the city’s past by tying small toy horses to those rings. Other residents followed suit and, today, there are more than 200 horses hiding in plain sight, throughout the city.
8. Admire Portland’s unique bridges
Two rivers run through Portland, Willamette River and Columbia River – therefore, the city has plenty of bridges, and some of them are truly spectacular. St. Johns Bridge, opened in 1931, is a 2,000-foot steel suspension bridge, strikingly beautiful due to the Gothic-like appearance of its towers. The Steel Bridge, opened in 1912, impresses with its design on multiple levels, ensuring separate ways for trains, cars and pedestrians.
9. You could be fined $500 for pumping your own gas
Oregon is one of the very few US states that are still applying a very antiquated law, preventing drivers from pumping their own gas. The law, which was passed in 1951, banned gasoline self-service because of safety concerns. Recently, the law was amended to allow Oregonians living in rural areas to pump gas by themselves, but only between 6 pm and 6 am. In urban areas, such as Metro Portland, it’s still illegal and you can get a $500 fine for pumping your own gas.
10. Get artsy at the Portland Saturday Market
The Portland Saturday Market is held every weekend, Saturdays and Sundays, from early March through the end of December. It was founded in 1974 and it’s the largest continuously operated market for arts and crafts in the country. Visiting it will get you closer to that Portland-patented creativity and originality and you’ll get to admire and purchase original creations of local artists. There’s also plenty of delicious food and live events.
Do you have any other interesting facts to share about Portland, and about life in this amazing city? Please let us know in the comments.
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In light of recent events concerning COVID-19 (Coronavirus), most organizations around the world are encouraging employees to work from home in order to protect themselves and those around them. While this might be the norm for some, others are new to the whole concept of working from home and might need some tips to help them increase their productivity.
Working from your apartment can be quite difficult, especially if you’re not used to it. You may be easily distracted by dishes that need to be washed, dogs that want to be walked or a neighbor who seems to be building a space rocket in the apartment above you. Either way, work needs to be done and it’s up to you to make sure you stay productive throughout the day and avoid any interferences.
Fortunately, if you plan on working from home for more than a few days, there are ways to deal with the ever-lingering temptation of procrastination. Below is a list of steps you can take to increase your productivity at home.
Set up a work space
First, pick a spot in your apartment to use as an office. It doesn’t even need to be a proper office – a chair and a table work just fine. What’s important, though, is to make the distinction between a work space and the rest of the apartment. Additionally, although the temptation will be strong, avoid working from your couch or bed as these are sure to disrupt your productivity.
Next, focus on making your work space comfortable. Use a chair that’s good for posture and keep your screen at eye level. While you’re at it, add some flowers or colorful sticky notes to boost your creativity while working.
Ditch the pajamas. Feel free to wear cozy clothes, but – whatever you do – avoid staying in the same clothes all day long. Dressing up will put you into work mode, so it’s always a good idea to change your clothes if you plan on working. Then, as soon as you’re done with your tasks for the day, you can change back into your home/leisure outfit.
Make a to-do list
Before you begin your day, make a to-do list. This will help you manage your priorities and stay focused so you don’t alter your plans on the fly. While you can make changes to your list if you really need to, it’s best to stick to it as much as possible. Not only is it highly efficient, but it will also give you that feeling of accomplishment whenever you cross something off your list.
Maintain your daily schedule
Your routine might be dreadful at times, but it’s of utmost importance to stick to it. Habits dictate levels of productivity, and choosing the best routine for you will enable you to be more efficient.
Start by creating a routine for both mornings and evenings. This can include drinking your coffee while reading the news or your emails, making your to-do list, working your way through it and, of course, taking your breaks.
During the evening, do whatever you’d normally do after leaving the office – cook, watch TV and just relax. If your mind happens to wander off to work-related tasks, try not to dwell on them. Don’t bring your work home with you, even though your work is at home. Do your best to leave it in the space you assigned it to.
Working from home, you might feel the need to take more breaks than usual. Although you’ll most likely be in close proximity to the TV or your phone, try to stay away from both of them. Put the phone on silent, close any social media pages you have open and focus on your work.
The purpose of avoiding distractions is not to be isolated from other people. As human beings, we need social interaction, so whenever you take your breaks, go ahead and have a quick chat with your roommate or go online to see what your friends are up to. The idea is just not to overdo it and spend more time being distracted than working. The key to working from home productively is to maintain a good work/life balance, so make sure there’s a clearly defined line between the two.
All in all, remember to keep your attitude in check and take care of yourself. Working from home requires discipline and commitment. And, even though you might find it difficult at first, it will get easier with time.
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Your home is more than just a bunch of rooms under a roof. It’s the space where you watched your daughter take her first steps, hosted Super Bowl parties, and celebrated holidays. Those memories are priceless. But when sell your house, the warm and fuzzies can’t factor into the question: What is the value of my home?
You aren’t selling your memories; you’re selling a house.
This is where an agent can help. You’re the one who will set your listing price, but your agent has the expertise and local knowledge to advise on how to price your house so it doesn’t languish on the market.
#1 Don’t Go High Out The Gate
You think your house is great. The problem is sellers often think their house is so great that they list at too high of a price and miss the window of sales opportunity that comes with a new listing.
“By listing too high, you lose your most important leverage and timing because it’s new,” says Ali Evans, an agent in Santa Barbara, Calif. “If you overprice it, you miss out on all those buyers.”
The longer your house sits on the market, the less likely you are to get your asking price. Because buyers expect there’s a deal to be made on a house that’s been on the market for months.
“If something doesn’t move in the first 30 days or so, then people start thinking that they’re not going to be paying full price any longer,” Evans says.
Bottom line: Listen to your real estate agent about home value, because she knows how to price your home to sell fast. She’s looking at all of the comp prices and knows what the competition is like in your market.
#2 Don’t Assume Upgrades Will Get You A Higher Price
You renovated your kitchen after you watched too many episodes of Property Brothers. You looooove the way your reno turned out, because your kitchen is now stunningly modern, as kitchens on HGTV are. Everyone else will love it too, right? So you want to push up the listing price.
Don’t be so sure everyone else will pay big bucks for it, Evans says.
“Upgrades that are done in very specific taste can be tricky. Updates that are neutral are going to appeal to a lot of people will see more value,” she says. “But upgrades don’t always equal value.”
In fact, research from the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® shows you might recoup 59% of your costs, based on a national average, on a complete kitchen upgrade.
In other words, just because you put $65,000 into your kitchen renovation doesn’t mean you can list your home for an additional $65,000. Your agent can help you assess the market value of your upgrades and answer the big question, What is the value of my home?
Having an idea of what you want to earn from your house sale is fine, because you’re looking at your home as the giant investment that it is. But pricing your home so that you will make a certain amount of money is the wrong approach.
The number you have in your head may not be in line with the market. This is where doing research on the housing market comes in handy, as well as listening to your agent.
“Make sure you understand the logic behind the price your agent suggests,” Evans says “It’s important to not be frustrated that it’s $20,000 below where you want to price it, and understand the thought process.”
Your agent will research the market to see what other houses in your area are selling for. He also knows the market, the inventory of houses for sale, and how your home compares to others in the area.
If you’ve listed the home too high, and you’re not getting any bites, don’t be afraid to do a price correction, Evans says. Lowering the price shows buyers you’re realistic and motivated. Adjusting the price is a key part of knowing how to price your home.
#4 Don’t Let Emotions Get The Best of You
For most people, selling
a home is emotional. Whether you’ve lived in your house for four years or 40,
you’re attached to it. But it’s
important to not let your emotions drive you to price your house for more than
Listen to your agent on how to price yourhome. His cool-headed knowledge of the market and real estate inventory will be a wiser guide for pricing than your irrational love for the bay window in the living room, the restored hardwood floors, and the way the light shines in your beloved sunroom in the morning.
“Pricing can’t be an emotional thing,” Evans says. “It needs to be based on market analysis, which is why an outside perspective is important.”
When you ask yourself, ‘what is the value of my home,’ think with your head, more so than your heart.
Before you and your partner start sending each other links to the home of your dreams, have a few conversations about the home buying process.
A couple buying a house should talk about money, of course, but also about their expectations for their first home. Talking now will keep you productive, positive, and focused on finding the right house. It will also help you manage buying-a-house stress on your relationship.
OK, we’re about to get a little “Modern Love” here.
No matter how connected you two are, there are still unspoken and undefined expectations between you. Especially when it comes to a couple buying a house. Buying can reveal relationship problems, because it’s the biggest financial transaction you’ll make, and there are a lot of emotions and expectations tied up in the idea of home.
Listen to your partner and commit to the idea that each person has a voice in every issue. “That would be my No. 1 principle,” says Donna R. Baptiste, a licensed marriage and family therapist, and professor at Northwestern University’s Family Institute. “Two people must respect each other’s right to have a say.”
How to start? Ask
Why do you want to buy a house?
What’s the most important thing to consider, in your opinion?
Not every decision will be 50-50. “Equal say is not always the standard,” Baptiste says.
But both of you should be willing to accept no for an answer. This prevents gridlock. And ceding some control makes the decision on which home to buy a shared one.
Consider the situation faced by work-from-home clothing designer Veronica Sheaffer and her husband, teacher Keith Dumbleton. They bought their prewar apartment on Chicago’s far North Side four years ago.
While scrolling through listings, Sheaffer fell for the property’s vintage millwork and spacious layout, but the building was 12 miles from the centrally located neighborhood they’d been living in. Sheaffer accepted the hours the new location would add to Dumbleton’s school commute could be a deal breaker.
“I gave him the power of refusal and prepared myself for losing the place,” she says. Knowing that Sheaffer was conscious of the sacrifices he’d be making, Dumbleton agreed to move forward with making an offer. “Her being open to me saying no allowed me to make that decision, and I don’t regret it.”
#3 Do Scenario Planning
New homes have a way of changing life’s routines.
Does one of you take the dog out? If so, that beautiful sixth-floor walk-up may affect the dog caretaker’s mornings (and moods). Does one of you do most of the outdoor chores? How do you really feel about taking care of a massive lawn? That house that sits on top of a hill is gorgeous, and the views! But will you like hauling bags of groceries up the three flights of stairs to the front door?
“I ask a couple to have it sink in,” says Dan Sullivan, a REALTOR® at Compass in Chicago. “What is it going to physically be like living in that property, day in and day out?”
The more you think it over together, the happier you’ll both be after you move in.
#4 Ask An Expert
As a couple buying a house, you may be in full agreement or you may be at an impasse, but either way talk to a real estate agent and, as Baptiste recommends, “submit to the idea of getting good advice.”
A good agent is like a reference librarian and a personal coach in one. They can help you navigate the home buying process minutiae, like finding a good mortgage broker or dissecting the details of a home inspection.
An agent can give you the knowledge you need to make a wise decision. And she can pump you and your partner back up when your energy has ebbed because you’ve looked at 22 houses and not seen one worthy of an offer. Or you put in an offer and it fell through.
Leaning on a professional to offer perspective and help work through disappointment releases some buying-a-house stress on a relationship. “As much as possible, as early as possible, I try to get [couples] to see the big picture,” Sullivan says.
#5 Recognize You’re a Team
Involving an agent in the home buying process can have another unexpected outcome, says Sheaffer. It brought her and Dumbleton closer together.
Having the agent participate in discussions — and even occasionally disagreeing with her — “helped us [see] that we know each other, we know our lifestyle. Anything that will allow you to bond more with your partner is always positive.”
The agent got them to talk to each other about what they wanted and didn’t want in a house. It helped them hash out their likes and dislikes, constructively.
Instead of letting buying a house lead to relationship problems, turn the experience into a chance to learn and grow together. Talk. Listen. And get good advice from a smart agent. You’ll end up as homeowners — with an even better connection.
When discussing live music, cities like Nashville, Los Angeles and New York are the first ones to come up.
Sure, one is the birthplace of country music and the other two are home to some of the biggest bands in the world.
Austin also hosts emerging and established bands at music and film festival, South by Southwest.
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In our search for the best cities for music, we found that the top 10 looks a little different than we expected. We looked at cities across the country with more than 100,000 people and more than five music venues, and we bet you can’t guess No. 1.
10. Omaha, NE
In the early 2000s, when indie rock bands like Bright Eyes topped the charts, everyone had their eyes on Omaha. Bands continue to play at the city’s many venues, such as The Slowdown, The Sydney, The Barley Street Tavern, O’Leaver’s Pub and Sokol Auditorium. With nearly half a million people, there’s one venue for every 100,000 people.
In between music concerts, check out the Old Market neighborhood, where you can have a good meal, see an art show in one of the many galleries and, if you’re lucky, catch one of the many street performers.
The average one-bedroom apartment in Omaha rents for $937 a month.
9. Portland, OR
Portland is known for its excellent coffee, growing microbrewery scene and ample bicycle paths in and out of the city. One other thing they have going for them? Music venues. The city has given birth to homegrown bands in rock, pop, jazz and folk genres.
Crystal Ballroom, a century-old venue with an original sprung floor, still hosts some of the biggest stars. For smaller shows, The Liquor Store, Valentine’s and the Wonder Ballroom host emerging bands for all music tastes. Currently, there are 1.2 music venues per 100,000 residents. There’s really something for everyone.
Expect to pay $1,923 on average for a one-bedroom apartment in Portland.
8. Denver, CO
Denver, the so-called Mile High City, has seen an explosion as a rising live music spot in the last few years. Red Rocks takes the cake as the most beautiful venue, an open-air amphitheater with a backdrop of sandstone monoliths. But while that live music venue takes the limelight, the city has several other venues to offer. Cervantes’ Masterpiece and The Bluebird Theater are just two other gems.
Denver has more live music venues than Austin — 16 total to be exact. That’s 2.2 venues per capita.
Denver rent comes in at $1,976 a month for an average one-bedroom unit.
7. Scottsdale, AZ
Known for its proximity to spas and golf courses, Scottsdale has more than a bit of rock ‘n’ roll within. The former home of architect Frank Lloyd Wright has more than 10 venues available for its musically-inclined residents.
On a seasonal basis, outdoor concerts and live music events pop up in Scottsdale’s parks, including the Desert Botanical Garden. Old Town Tavern, voted best music venue in the city, hosts folk and rock bands live on a weekly basis.
Scottsdale will set you back $1,743 a month for a one-bedroom apartment.
6. Las Vegas, NV
It’s no surprise artists host their residencies in Sin City. Famous for its entertainment and neon lights, Las Vegas is home to some of the biggest stars. Celine Dion, Britney Spears and Jennifer Lopez are just some of the major names to have residencies in Vegas.
On top of that, with bands touring, you get even more options at other venues like the Allegiant Stadium. With 19 venues and more than 640,000 residents (plus visitors!), Las Vegas has close to 3 venues per 100,000 residents.
It’s the perfect place to do dinner and a show — visit one of the best restaurants on the strip and then head to see your favorite rock star.
Find your one-bedroom apartment in Las Vegas for $1,071 on average.
5. Rochester, NY
Every spring, Rochester hosts the Rochester Lilac Festival, a weekend full of regional acts across the musical spectrum. The city certainly has its residents covered — while there’s a smaller population, Rochester has almost three venues per capita.
While Rochester has major venues like the Blue Cross Arena, emerging rock, jazz and punk bands will be found in the smaller bars. Bug Jar, Abilene Bar and Lounge and Flour City Station have live music throughout the week. Maybe you’ll discover a new band or two at any of these venues.
You can call Rochester home for $1,386 on average for a one-bedroom apartment.
4. Fort Lauderdale, FL
Is there anything better than live music by the beach? Fort Lauderdale takes our No. 4 spot for best live music city, thanks to its plethora of venues and, of course, the annual Tortuga Music Festival. With six major venues and a population of around 180,000, Fort Lauderdale has 3.3 venues per capita.
For those into heavy metal, head to the Culture Room, where headbanging is a true hobby. If you’re looking for a more rock ‘n’ roll vibe, Revolution Live has several outdoor and indoor stages with electronic, funk and rock bands playing throughout the week.
All that fun in the sun will cost you — an average one-bedroom apartment in Fort Lauderdale runs about $2,121 a month.
3. Miami, FL
Did you know that the Hard Rock Hotel near Miami is shaped like an actual electric guitar? That’s the music vibe in Miami. With 14 venues and three per capita, it’s hard not to be dancing along to Miami Sound Machine’s “Rhythm is Gonna Get You.”
The city has several festivals lined up throughout the year including the Ultra Music Festival, Calle Ocho Music Festival and all of the musical acts during the annual Wynwood Life Street Festival. Plus, many nightclubs, such as Gramps in Wynwood and Hoy Como Ayer in Little Havana, double as music venues.
Rent is Miami is the most expensive on our top 10 list. You’ll pay more than $2,500 on average for a one-bedroom pad.
2. St. Louis, MO
In St. Louis, blues and jazz are an integral part of the community’s heritage. It even has its own style — it’s more piano-based than other blues music. The Beale on Broadway hosts blues musicians every day, while the Grove neighborhood offers a range of spots to hear live music. There are so many venues that it equals four per capita.
St. Louis also has the second-oldest symphony orchestra in the country, so it’s worth adding it to the bucket list. Don’t miss one of their performances if you visit the Gateway Arch city.
Rent is St. Louis is fairly affordable compared to some of the other cities on this list. You can find a one-bedroom apartment for $1,227 a month.
1. Minneapolis, MN
Prince was born in it, Bob Dylan started his career in it and Minneapolis takes our top spot for the best city to see live music in the country. With 20 music venues, the city has close to five venues per 100,000 residents.
There’s a chance to see live music, no matter your taste, in every corner of the city. Minneapolis’ First Avenue club is an iconic spot for many big-time musicians — Prince tested material for and filmed parts of “Purple Rain” in the space back in 1983.
The average one-bedroom apartment in Minneapolis can be yours for about $1,500 a month.
The top 25 cities for live music
Did your city fail to crack the top 10? Before you start smashing your guitar in frustration, check out these areas that made the top 25 list.
To determine the best cities for live music, we looked at every city in the U.S. with a population of over 100,000 and at least five concert or music venues.
We then ranked each city by the following factors:
Live music venues per capita – 50%
Business density of live music venues – 50%
We then added up the scores for each city based on the rankings for these factors. The city with the lowest overall score was determined to be the best city for live music.
Live music venues per capita
To determine live music venues per capita, we divided the total number of live music establishments by the total population and multiplied that number by 10,000 to determine the number of establishments per 10,000 people.
Business density of live music venues
To determine business density, we divided the number of live music establishments by the total land area in square miles of each individual city to determine the business density. We multiplied this number by 10 to find the number of live music establishments per 10 square miles.
Population is based on 2018 estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau
Land area is based on demographic information from the U.S. Census Bureau
Total live music establishment counts are from a database of 8 million commercially available business listings. These listings may not reflect recent openings or closings.
Rent prices are based on a weighted average from Apartment Guide and Rent.com’s multifamily rental property inventory from March 2020 to March 2019. We use a weighted average formula to more accurately represent price availability for each individual unit type and reduce the influence of seasonality on rent prices.
The rent information included in this article is used for illustrative purposes only. The data contained herein do not constitute financial advice or a pricing guarantee for any apartment.
You may think that apartments aren’t customizable — and for the most part, that’s true. But while you can’t rip out the countertops, you can inject touches of your personal style in several ways.
From temporary wallpaper to window treatments, it’s definitely possible. Take a look at these 10 tips so you can design the perfect home.
1. Include art
Art is a terrific solution to a space that lacks personality. Include paintings, tapestries or smaller trinkets to make the apartment livelier. You can use temporary hooks or strips to adhere these pieces to the walls so you can easily remove them later. This choice adds character and makes a rental feel more like home.
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2. Work with mirrors
Apartments with limited square footage are popular, especially in large cities, because of their affordability. But not everyone likes to live in a space that resembles a closet.
Mirrors are a manageable fix. They create an illusion of depth, which in turn makes the area appear more open. Use sticky tape to hang them on surfaces or lean floor-length mirrors up against walls as a design tactic.
3. Hang curtains
Cover those run-of-the-mill blinds with some tasteful drapes. Window treatments allow you to customize your rental without making massive alterations. They also create a space that looks lived in and comfortable. Most curtains are inexpensive, as well.
4. Use temporary wallpaper
Maybe you can’t paint the walls, but need to update the area. Peel-and-stick wallpaper is the perfect solution. Unlike traditional wallpaper, this version is detachable, so you don’t have to commit to a style. These days, there are tons of designs available. Jazz up the bathroom with a bright color or create an accent wall in your bedroom.
5. Add flowers and plants
Did you know that plants can make you feel happier? Many cause us to feel calm and relaxed, while some remove toxins from the air. Bring in potted flowers and succulents to add a bit of greenery to your rental. You can use artificial plants if you don’t have the time to take care of the real deal.
6. Maximize storage
In rentals strapped for space, try to maximize storage as best you can. Pick up a bed frame with drawers and install shelves on the walls for added appeal and utility. Whenever you can, introduce options that are both attractive and functional. This way, you can make the most of your apartment.
7. Place rugs throughout
A simple solution to that ugly carpet is to use rugs throughout. Look for colorful patterns to brighten up each room. They look fantastic over both wood and tile. Many designers love to play with different textures in a single area, so keep that in mind. As a bonus, thicker carpets act as sound-proof barriers, so they can help drown out those noisy neighbors below.
8. Update hardware
For a cheap and practical fix, switch up the hardware throughout your rental. The handles and pulls on the cabinets in your kitchen and bathroom are incredibly simple to update. Unscrew them and then install the new ones — just remember to keep the originals around for when you move out. The result is an elegantly updated space.
9. Hide unattractive features
Is there a large water stain on the wall or a crack in the foundation? Instead of staring at those unsightly features, cover them. Arrange furniture and art strategically so only the best parts of the rental are shown.
10. Change the light fixtures
Light fixtures that are either too harsh or too dim can negatively affect the feel and functionality of a space. To remedy this, bring in floor and table lamps with a softer glow. LED bulbs can help you do this and save you money, too.
Change out shades for those that match your style. Add white string lights for a cozier feel. No matter what you choose, this is an easy and effective way to transform your rental. Just make sure you get permission from your property manager first!
Make your rental feel like home
Though apartments aren’t usually permanent, you can still decorate them with taste and style. This way, your personality can shine through. With these tips and tricks, your rental will feel like home in no time.
When you apply to rent an apartment, prospective landlords may pull up information on you including your criminal history, renting history, and credit report. Younger and newer renters tend to have lower credit scores than other age groups, so even college graduates earning plenty of money at their first jobs may worry disproportionately, as compared to other factors, about how their credit report affects their apartment application. Making matters worse is that your credit score is determined in part by the number of hard inquiries made into your credit – in other words, every time a prospective landlord pulls up your info, it impacts your credit score. Learn all about how apartment applications affect your credit report below.
The two types of credit inquiries
To understand how your rental applications might affect your credit score, it’s important to distinguish between the two types of credit inquiries. The first type is called a soft inquiry. This term describes an inquiry for which a business checks your credit report without your consent to pre-screen you for special services, offers, or products.
If this sounds fishy, know that it’s relatively impactless – in fact, it’s how banks decide whether to send you those frequent unsolicited letters offering you deals on loans, new credit cards, and more. In other words, any time a bank extends you an unsolicited offer, it means a soft inquiry into your credit report has been made, and due in part to the frequency of these inquiries, they don’t affect your credit report. Soft inquiries additionally include any time you request a copy of your credit report or give a potential employer your consent to view your credit report.
The second type of credit inquiry is called a hard inquiry or hard check. This is the category of concern as you apply for apartments. Hard inquiries describe credit checks conducted after you apply for any form of credit.
Is a credit check with a landlord a hard check on your credit report?
Yes, a credit check with a landlord is a hard check on your credit report. When a landlord looks into your credit score, it counts as a hard inquiry because when you rent an apartment, you set up a legal arrangement to borrow a piece of property from someone – an arrangement analogous to having a certain amount of money available to use at your leisure on a credit card or in the form of a business or personal loan.
How do landlord hard inquiries affect my credit score?
Hard inquiries can comprise as much as 10 percent of your credit score. This means that with every apartment for which you apply – and, therefore, with every landlord who checks your credit score – you put your credit score at risk of decreasing by a few points. A negligible change in your credit score isn’t in and of itself a cause for concern, but if too many hard inquiries appear on your credit score in a short timeframe, your credit report may deter potential lenders – landlords included – from working with you. An excess of hard inquiries may suggest that you’re seeking out loans left and right because you have no money.
What can I do to avoid this problem?
In some cases, credit bureaus will consolidate hard inquiries that come from similar institutions or people into one inquiry, a move that will certainly benefit your credit score. Since this isn’t always the case, if you’re worried about your credit report, then an especially easy way to avoid this issue is to only apply for apartments you’re certain are right for you. Narrow down your list of 10 potential new apartments to just three or four, and you should be fine. If considering your credit score causes you to be more specific about your apartment hunt, then that can only be a good thing.
If there’s one thing that most people living in rental apartments can agree on, it’s that the monthly rent tends to feel like a hefty financial burden. Starting your lease at certain times of the year is one way to help lower your rent, but some renters can use their rent payments to save money in other ways. It’s possible that you qualify to write off your rent when you file your taxes, and if you do, that means you’ll be taxed on less of your annual income than you would otherwise, potentially resulting in long-term savings. Here’s how to know when your rent is a tax write-off that can keep your bank account way more flush.
Is your rent usually a tax write-off?
The simple answer is no: Your rent is not usually a tax write-off. If you, like many renters, use your apartment simply as a home – a place to store your belongings, make your own, and sleep safely and soundly every night – your rent is not a tax write-off. But that doesn’t mean your rent is never a write-off.
When is your rent a tax write-off?
Your rent may qualify as a tax write-off if you use part or all of your home for trade or business. In less jargon-heavy terms, this statement means that if you work from home and are self-employed, then whatever space you use within your apartment for your work may be counted towards your home office deduction on your tax return. This space could be as small as a desk in your bedroom or as large as an entire room that you use solely as an office or workspace and – this is key – never for recreational or non-business purposes.
How does using your rent as a tax deduction work?
According to guidelines from the IRS (Internal Revenue Service, the federal agency that oversees tax collection), you must be able to prove that you conduct business primarily from your apartment. This means that you use your apartment as a home office where you meet with your patients, clients, or customers. You must also be able to prove that whatever portion of your apartment you use as your home office is used solely for business.
Can you always write off your rent if you work from home?
Formerly, employees of a business who worked from home could write off their rent on their taxes. This is no longer the case – due to recent tax reforms, only self-employed individuals who work from a home office and plan to file a Schedule C tax form can write off their rent on their taxes.
Can you write off all your rent on your taxes?
The home office deduction does not quantify the entirety of your rent as a tax deduction. Instead, you’ll claim merely a portion of your rent as a deduction. There are two ways to determine the proper amount that you can write off.
What else should I know about writing off my rent on my taxes?
To properly write off your rent on your taxes, you’ll need to file Schedule C on the IRS Form 1040. You’ll also complete and submit Form 8829. If you’re confused or worried about properly writing off your taxes (or worse, getting audited by the IRS), many experts recommend hiring an accountant instead of doing it yourself with tax preparation software. No matter which route you go, be honest about your expenses and home office size – that’s the fastest way to avoid an audit.
Have you ever forgotten to take the trash out before vacation? You come home to a house ridden with a very unappealing smell. Even when the garbage is disposed of, the odor can linger for days.
While it can be tempting to spray down the home with a store-bought air freshener, these contain chemicals that are harmful to human health. Over 20 percent of the general U.S. population have reported having adverse health effects from air fresheners.
To help you get rid of common household smells in a safe way, we’ve created a guide on how to deodorize a room. It includes a natural DIY room deodorizer recipe and 7 hacks for getting rid of specific home odors. Read through to find what household items you can use to rid these unwanted smells.
How to make a basic DIY room deodorizer
To create a natural air freshener that isn’t harmful to your health, you only need four items. Make this spray and use it when an unwanted smell comes into your apartment.
1 ½ tablespoons baking soda
3 cups water
30-40 drops of essential oil
Misting spray bottle
Step 1: Add 30-40 drops of your preferred essential oil with the baking soda. Stir until it’s completely mixed together.
Step 2: Pour this baking soda and essential oil combination in a spray bottle.
Step 3: Add the three cups of water to the bottle. Shake to mix.
Step 4: Spray the area on the light misting setting.
This natural DIY home deodorizer can be personalized with any scent. Each essential oil has its own unique properties, so be sure to pick one that fits the space you are using the cleaner in. For example, a scent that promotes slumber is better for the bedroom than the kitchen.
Why does baking soda work to deodorize a room?
Many room deodorizing recipes, including the one above, call for baking soda. Why is this? Baking soda or sodium bicarbonate has a low pH level. Most bad odors have a high pH level, meaning they are acidic. By adding baking soda to the environment, you are neutralizing the area, causing the odor to fade.
Essential oils to add to each room
When making this DIY room deodorizer, you can choose your preferred natural scent to use. If you aren’t sure what will smell best, here are some essential oil suggestions for each room.
The living room is an area you’ll be hosting people as well as relaxing. Depending on the tone you are trying to set, vanilla or cinnamon essential oil could be a good fit. Vanilla is known to improve relaxation and create a tranquil environment. If you want to relax after a long day in your sparkling-clean living room, vanilla is the right choice for you. For those who are having friends over for a book club or social event, cinnamon might be a better fit. The scent of cinnamon boosts memory and increases alertness.
Make the kitchen a productive place by using a citrus or peppermint essential oil when scenting your DIY deodorizer. If you have a long afternoon of meal prepping ahead, citrus is known to boost energy and improve your mood. For the non-chefs who can get frustrated in the kitchen, a peppermint scent will alleviate stress and reduce irritability.
A restful space, the bedroom can benefit from lavender or chamomile essential oils. These calming scents both reduce anxiety. Lavender also promotes relaxation which can help you fall asleep. Chamomile can improve your mood, great for those who wake up on the wrong side of the bed.
If you have a laundry room, playroom or any other room that needs to be deodorized, you might consider tea tree or eucalyptus oils. These natural smells each have their own unique properties. Tea tree oil has antifungal benefits and is an immune booster. Eucalyptus essential oil is cleansing and known to lift moods. Both will help keep your space clean.
7 common household smells and how to rid them
Whether your home is new to you or you’ve lived in it for multiple years, you’ve probably come across one of these common household smells. We explain why they happen and how to rid them from your home. In addition, we suggest an essential oil that you can use to keep the space smelling fresh.
1. Stale air
Stale air is a smell that’s hard to describe, but easy to identify. It’s usually caused when the indoor air begins to feel stuffy or humid due to a lack of fresh air. If the weather is nice, you can rid this smell by opening the windows and letting fresh air in. However, if it’s too hot or too cold out, this might not be an option.
In that case, you can create your own stale air deodorizer by cutting lemons in half and placing them throughout the home. Another quick solution is to rub a little vanilla essential oil on the outside of your light bulbs. Be sure to do this when the light is off. Once you turn the light on, it will heat up and start smelling sweet.
2. Carpet smells
Whether you are moving into a new apartment with carpet or you spilled something on your rug that has caused a stench, this absorbent flooring is prone to smell.
To get rid of carpet smells, baking soda is your friend. Sprinkle baking soda on the entire carpet and let it sit for a few hours. Then vacuum it up. The baking soda should soak up any bad smells. It’s best to do this when you are out of the house for a period of time. The baking soda doesn’t have any chemicals, but it can leave a mess if people in your house walk through it.
3. Fridge odors
Does your fridge smell even after you clean out your leftovers? This is because the plastic in the refrigerator absorbs odors. Even if you’ve scrubbed out every crumb and spill, the plastic might still stink.
To prevent or mute this odor, try putting a box of baking soda in the fridge. Baking soda will absorb these smells and leave your fridge smelling clean after just a couple of days. Another alternative to this is leaving coffee grounds in a container in your fridge. Similar to baking soda, coffee grounds can absorb odors and leave your fridge smelling like a freshly brewed cup of joe.
4. Garbage disposal stink
If you go to wash dishes and notice there is an odor coming from your drain, it could be your garbage disposal. It’s easy for food to get caught in hard-to-reach places, preventing it from being washed down the drain.
Some people put citrus peels down their garbage disposal to mask this odor, but this doesn’t clean the food that is causing this smell. To clean, place a handful of ice in your sink drain. Then pour a cup of salt on top. Run the water and turn on the garbage disposal. The ice and salt will slowly drain into the garbage disposal, cleaning it and sharpening the blades.
5. Mold or mildew
Mold and mildew can leave a musty smell in your home. If you have a serious mold issue, it’s important to have a professional take care of it. Mold is known to cause many respiratory issues.
If the smell of mold persists, you can use an odor absorber to dull the scent. Baking soda, charcoal and kitty litter are all items that can soak up any moisture in the air and get rid of the smell. Place one of these in a bowl near the musty smell. Be sure it’s out of reach of small children or pets.
6. Washing machine smells
Your washing machine is meant to make your clothes fresh and clean, but what do you do when it begins to have a mildewy or sour scent? Washers are prone to a build-up of soap, dirt or hair. Over time, this can lead to an unnatural moldy stink.
To clean, begin by getting rid of any debris that’s caught in the gasket, or rubber liner, of your machine. Wipe this rim down with a mixture of vinegar and tea tree essential oil. This is an antifungal formula that will clean off any leftover dirt. Then use this same mixture, measuring two cups of white vinegar and 20 drops of tea tree essential oil into the liquid tray. Run on a hot cycle or cleaning cycle. When done, wipe the interior with a microfiber cloth.
You can prevent some of this build-up by leaving the lid open after each wash cycle. This will allow your washer to dry out completely. It’s also helpful to use the correct amount of detergent. Creating too many suds can leave a leftover residue that dirt clings to.
7. Skunk stench
If your clothes or your pet has been skunked, the attacker will leave a pungent smell that can last for weeks. This stink can easily be transferred to the house.
For houses that smell like skunk inside (but not outside), open the windows and turn on the fan. Heat up a tray of vinegar on the stove on low heat. This should overpower the skunk smell.
If the smell is on your pet, The Humane Society suggests mixing together a quart of 3 percent hydrogen peroxide, a quarter cup of baking soda and a teaspoon of dish soap. Use a pair of gloves and wash your pet with this mixture. Be sure to avoid their eyes and don’t store this mixture, it has the potential to explode in a bottle.
Keep your apartment fresh
Regular cleaning will keep your home clean and free of these unwanted smells. For more home hacks like these, check out our cleaning and maintenance advice page.
Hot air balloons take off into deep blue skies as the sun climbs over mountain tops.
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People move about their day among indigenous art and modern shops and businesses.
With a hearty mix of Native American influence and scenic views you can’t see anywhere else, there are many areas of Phoenix worth checking out. Here are five fun facts about a few of the most popular neighborhoods within the Phoenix city limits.
As an up-and-coming shopping and dining district, Arcadia has a great mix of boutique shops, bars and restaurants. It’s also an attractive neighborhood for those who enjoy an active, outdoor lifestyle. With access to Camelback Mountain and the Arizona Canal Trail, it’s a great place for hikers, walkers, runners and cyclists.
Arcadia didn’t become a part of Phoenix until the mid-1950s when rapid city growth reached the borders of the neighborhood. Even today, there’s still a bit of Arcadia that’s technically a part of Scottsdale. With natural boundaries from the Arizona Canal and Camelback Mountain, Arcadia is a quiet neighborhood.
Five fun facts about Arcadia
The word Arcadia comes from the Greek word Arcas, the home of the god Pan. It also refers to the unspoiled, harmonious wilderness.
Fruit trees dot the local landscape, which was also home to the first citrus grove in Phoenix, planted in 1899
Camelback Mountain gets its name from its two summits. They resemble the hump and head of a camel kneeling. It’s a difficult mountain to climb but has the highest peak in Phoenix.
In the 1920s, to properly irrigate the citrus groves throughout Arcadia, 15 miles of underground pipe was laid to create an underground irrigation system.
The Arizona Canal Trail is almost 12 miles long and meanders alongside a river, perfect for walking, running and biking. Dogs can also venture out on the trail.
2. Camelback East
Alongside Arcadia sits Camelback East. Situated between Piestewa Peak and Camelback Mountain, the area offers an urban-suburban mix. Listed as the most popular neighborhood in Phoenix in early 2018, the big draw to the area is the Arizona Biltmore Hotel, with its five pools and two championship golf courses.
There’s never a shortage of stuff to do in Camelback East. The neighborhood is home to the Phoenix Zoo and the Desert Botanical Garden, which has more than 50 acres of desert plants. A short drive into the neighborhood next door brings you to Old Town Scottsdale. There you can find an assortment of shops and restaurants cloaked in Old West flair.
Five fun facts about Camelback East
Frank Lloyd Wright served as the consulting architect on the construction of the Arizona Biltmore Hotel. Open since 1929, the hotel has hosted famous guests like Fred Astaire, Marilyn Monroe and Bob Hope.
An Arizona staple, the Sonoran hot dog is a must-have, but you can’t find it just anywhere. Nogales Hot Dogs only serves them from 7 p.m. to midnight. If you’re in Camelback East, make time to grab this bacon-wrapped hot dog covered in pinto beans, onions, tomatoes and mayo. You can pile on cheese, guacamole or salsa too without getting dirty looks from locals.
Phoenix Mountains Park is actually a system of parks formed in the early 1970s. Its creation ensured the preservation of the area even as the development in Phoenix continued expanding.
Piestewa Peak is the second-highest point in the Phoenix Mountains Preserve. It got the name in 2008 to commemorate Lori Ann Piestewa, the first Native American woman to die in combat on behalf of the U.S. military.
The Phoenix Zoo, located in Papago Park in Camelback East, opened in 1962. It’s the largest, privately-owned, non-profit zoo in the United States. The grandson of the founder of the Maytag appliance company built it along with a small group of friends.
3. Deer Valley
In the northwest part of Phoenix sits Deer Valley, a unique combination of modern, residential clusters and Native American history. West of the center of the neighborhood, the Deer Valley Petroglyph Preserve contains more than 1,500 carvings made directly into the rock. Other outdoor attractions around this village include Deem Hills, Cave Buttes and the Adobe Dam Regional Park.
As much as there is to see outdoors, Deer Valley has a dense suburban feel that attracts families and young professionals. With the Phoenix Deer Valley Airport close by, this area is also where a lot of businesses have their corporate offices.
Five fun facts about Deer Valley
Built as a private airfield in 1960, Deer Valley Airport began with one runway. Today, it’s a little bigger. It now has two runways, a pilot shop and a restaurant on site.
Deem Hills is a recreation area in Deer Valley known for its unique basalt volcanic rock formations
Cave Buttes is another outdoor recreational area, also offering a field where people can fly model airplanes. It also features an earthen dam that keeps North Phoenix from flooding.
Adobe Dam is more than just a place that holds back water to prevent flooding. The park is also home to paintball, kart racing, an 18-hole golf course and a water park. There’s no shortage of activities here.
Also within the Adobe Dam area is the Adobe Mountain Desert Railroad Park. Unlike anything you’ll find elsewhere in Arizona, the park is typically only open to the public between September and May. Visitors can take a train ride through the park and check out a variety of model railroads.
4. Downtown Phoenix
Comprising the urban center of Phoenix, the downtown area is a neighborhood within a neighborhood. It’s actually located within the village of Central City, another well-known area with much the same character as downtown.
Phoenix itself is the fifth-largest city in the U.S. It’s also the city with the most sunshine. You can catch some rays during 85 percent of the city’s daylight hours. Downtown, you can find an amazing children’s museum with an indoor treehouse taking up the entire first floor. The neighborhood is also home to an impressive international auto show that takes place each year around Thanksgiving.
Five fun facts about Downtown Phoenix
Phoenix is also known as the Valley of the Sun and is part of the Salt River Valley
An underground bowling alley once hid beneath the surface of Downtown Phoenix. It was open from 1939 to 1959. Glass blocks within the sidewalk are the only remnants. They served as the bowling alley’s skylights.
Downtown Phoenix was in the opening scene of Alfred Hitchcock’s movie “Psycho.” The camera pans across the city as Marion Crane and Sam Loomis talk about their future.
The shape of the Grand Canyon inspired the design of downtown’s Phoenix Convention Center
Streets running east-west in Downtown Phoenix are named for U.S. Presidents
5. North Mountain
A quieter neighborhood, North Mountain has access to hiking trails, parks and preserves. An upscale golf club complements the variety of pubs, sports bars and casual restaurants in the area. If you’re looking for a dense concentration of coffee shops and breakfast joints, this is the neighborhood for you.
Five fun facts about North Mountain
The actual North Mountain stands more than 2,100 feet and offers a variety of hiking trails with one of the best summit climbs in Phoenix. While exploring the area you may stumble upon abandoned copper mining shafts.
Watch out while on the trail. North Mountain is home to many of the indigenous animals, including javelinas, jackrabbits, roadrunners and cactus wrens.
Castles N’ Coasters, North Mountain’s own amusement park, includes the Desert Storm Roller Coaster, complete with drops, spins and flips. Not for the faint of heart.
The first people to populate the area were the Hohokam Native Americans. Arriving around 300 A.D., the modern town didn’t begin to take shape until the 1800s.
Tapping into the craft beer craze, North Mountain Brewing offers its own handcrafted beer alongside a decent menu. Inspiration for the brewpub comes from the public houses of Colonial America.
6. North Phoenix
What exactly makes up North Phoenix may vary from local to local, but they all agree that there’s gray space. Even if your mailing address doesn’t say Phoenix, if you’re within the actual northern city limits, you’re living in North Phoenix. This may mean your address says Glendale or Scottsdale. It’s confusing.
Originally slated to be another center for agriculture, attempts to irrigate the area were less than successful. This left the space as mostly desert until housing developments began popping up in the mid-1900s.
Five fun facts about North Phoenix
The North Phoenix Airport was a military airfield the U.S. Air Force established between 1945 and 1948. It stayed in use until after the 1960s.
Arizona Christian University came into being on land donated by Ida Clouse. She specified it to be used for a Christian college. It operated under two different names before becoming Arizona Christian University in 2011.
While all of Phoenix is growing pretty rapidly, North Phoenix is growing the fastest according to the Chamber of Commerce
The average rainfall in North Phoenix is more than 12 inches. Flash floods can occur in the area during the summer months, also known as monsoon season.
In 2016, Michael Bay and Mark Wahlberg could be found on Loop 303 in North Phoenix shooting scenes for the fifth installment of “Transformers.”
7. Paradise Valley
Heading to Paradise Valley can make for a confusing trip since Phoenix has two choices. Paradise Valley is an incorporated town and the wealthiest suburb of Phoenix. It formed in 1961 after a few locals became concerned that they’d lose the essence of their community as Scottsdale and Phoenix proper grew.
The other Paradise Valley is an actual village in northeast Phoenix known as Paradise Valley Village. This area is known for its golf courses and laid-back social scene. Part of the City of Phoenix Mountain Preserve system, the area also has a lot of space for outdoor activities like biking, hiking and horseback riding.
Five fun facts about Paradise Valley
Located in the heart of Paradise Valley Village is Chompie’s, a Phoenix institution. This New York-style deli boasts family recipes from Polish and Russian Jewish grandmothers. Its signature item is the Original Jewish slider with brisket, Monterey Jack cheese and a mini potato pancake stacked within a mini challah roll.
Home to many celebrities, you may spot Charles Barkley or Michael Phelps out and about in Paradise Valley
The Scottsdale Greenbelt, which runs through Paradise Valley Village, contains a network of parks, gardens, art installations and lakes. It also helps control local flooding and erosion issues.
Another famous Paradise Valley resident, Alice Cooper, gives back through his non-profit, Solid Rock. This organization helps inner-city Arizona teens.
At the center of Paradise Valley Village sits the Paradise Valley Mall. It has a little of everything from shopping to eating to family-friendly entertainment.
Located near Downtown Phoenix, Roosevelt was the first area designated as a historic neighborhood in the city. One of the fundamental neighborhoods to signal Phoenix’s northward development, the main attractor to this area was its proximity to Central Avenue. In the late 19th and early 20th century, this was the main north-south road through town.
Developing into an area that’s architecturally diverse, Roosevelt became a preferred spot for many of the wealthy and elite of Phoenix. Mayors, city commissioners and even Supreme Court justices have all called this area home. Today, it’s known as an attractive place for artists.
Five fun facts about Roosevelt
The Roosevelt Neighborhood got a boost in development after the Salt River flood in 1891, sending families from the lower Valley up to higher ground
Gold Spot Marketing Center, one of the first shopping centers in Phoenix built to serve a specific, residential area was constructed in the Roosevelt Neighborhood
The Westward Ho Hotel opened in 1928 in Roosevelt and is still considered a landmark building today, although it’s now apartments. The hotel shot to fame after President John F. Kennedy gave a speech on its steps.
Roosevelt Row is a hub for arts and culture in Phoenix. See it for yourself every First Friday from 6 to 11 p.m. at one of the largest self-guided art walks in the country. Free shuttles can help you get around.
Roosevelt is also the site for Phoenix’s open-air market, which takes place Saturday mornings year-round. You can shop for produce and also find prepared food from vendors.
9. South Mountain
Home to the Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport, the South Mountain village of Phoenix also contains South Mountain Park. This is the fourth-largest municipal park in the country with more than 16,000 acres within the city limits of Phoenix alone. A popular place for hiking, there are also some amazing desert views.
The area was initially established in 1989 but expanded its borders in 2001. Today, it’s a combination of historical sites and natural points-of-interest.
Five fun facts about South Mountain
The Maricopa County Sheriff, Noah Matthew Broadway, bought the first piece of land in South Mountain in 1871, transforming it into Broadway Ranch. The rest of the population in the area at the time were grain farmers.
Mystery Castle, located within the foothills of South Mountain Park, was a gift from father to daughter. After spending a lot of time together making sandcastles at the beach, she asked for a castle that wouldn’t wash away.
The hike up to Dobbins Lookout is laced with history, from Precambrian rocks that predate all life on Earth to Hohokam petroglyphs
Built in 1940 by migrant Francisco Vasquez, the San Francisco Xavier Mission is a miniature church full of statues where people visiting South Mountain can still go to worship today
Sky Harbor Airport was originally nicknamed “The Farm” because of its isolated, rural location. This was back in 1935. Today the airport is right in the middle of the bustling city of Phoenix.
Priding itself on the small-town feel and distinct cultural identity, Sunnyslope stands out amid the busy Phoenix area. It’s considered one of the most diverse socioeconomic neighborhoods in Phoenix.
A popular location for creatives, Sunnyslope boasts a collection of record labels and studios that work with local and national musicians and bands. It’s also well-known for its Oaxacan cuisine.
Five fun facts about Sunnyslope
Sunnyslope failed to incorporate as a city four times before its annexation into Phoenix in 1959
The name Sunnyslope was written out as two words until World War II ended, it was then combined into one
Dr. Kenneth E. Hall named himself the “King of Sunnyslope.” He operated the North Mountain Hospital but had his medical license revoked in 1971 for performing unsanctioned medical operations. He also entered a guilty plea for funneling Medicare dollars into a side construction project — a bowling alley that only stayed open for a year.
The Smithsonian American Art Museum took a special interest in the Sunnyslope Rock Garden. The individual pieces, created by Grover Cleveland Thompson, were documented and cataloged.
Sunnyslope or “S” Mountain is one of the most visible landmarks in the area. Since the early 1950s, the freshman class at Sunnyslope High School repaints a large, upper-case “S” into the nearly symmetrical hill.
When you live with roommates, you have to put in a bit of work to maintain your privacy. In apartments with thin walls, shared bathrooms and other common spaces, and frequent guest visits, it can be challenging to carve out a sacred space where you can feel totally, blissfully alone. You can become so focused on achieving this privacy that you might forget that your roommates are likely working toward the same goal for themselves – and a surefire way to have your privacy respected is to do the same for your roommates. Here are three ways to make space for your roommates’ privacy.
1. Respect obvious boundaries
Respecting obvious boundaries that your roommates set may seem like basic tact, but when sharing the limited space of an apartment, it can go a shockingly long distance. For example, see that closed bedroom door? Don’t just open it as though you’re automatically welcome in your roommate’s room just because you share an apartment. Knock first, and only enter if they say you can – if you hear nothing, turn around and wait until later. Likewise, repeatedly knocking on a locked bathroom door while your roommate uses it comes off intrusive without actually speeding up your roommate’s bathroom use.
In the modern era, you can go the extra mile in respecting obvious privacy boundaries thanks to texting. To make space for your roommates’ privacy, text them about minor things – alerting them you’re low on shared supplies, inviting them to share some snacks you’ve brought home, giving them a heads up that a friend or two are coming over – so that they can see and respond to your message on their own time. There’s no better way to make space for your roommates’ privacy than by giving them control over when they see whatever info you’re sharing and when they respond to it. Although texting people who live in the same apartment as you is pretty common these days, you should still handle sensitive, urgent matters in person.
2. Ask first
Across the board, a crucial way to make space for your roommate’s privacy is to ask first. This can be in regards to having guests over, using potentially shareable items they keep in your bathroom or kitchen such as hair dryers or cookware, and borrowing things they usually store in their room. If you don’t ask your roommate first before you have a bunch of friends over, claim the hair dryer during your morning rush, use the slow cooker for a whole afternoon, or step into their room while they’re absent to borrow that comfy sweater of theirs, you’ll have shown disregard for their privacy – and they’re not going to be happy to have to confront your annoying roommate habits.
3. Listen and commit to change when confronted
When you’re living with roommates, it can be easy to feel personally attacked when you’re told that you’ve invaded their privacy. You might think that your roommate feeling angry about the three guests you had over on a work night is an overreaction, but getting defensive and disregarding your roommate’s feelings about their privacy is the exact opposite of making space for their privacy. Be sure to listen to your roommate when they confront you about your invasions of their privacy and commit to not repeating the same mistakes in the future. Chances are that your roommate isn’t trying to punish you or tell you that they don’t like you – if anything, they’re giving you a chance to improve since they think you’re capable of redeeming yourself. Make good on that promise to ensure good roommate relations.
How do you make space for your roommates’ privacy? Share your tips in the comments!