How to Organize a Refrigerator: 15 Secret Tips Everyone Should Know

Your refrigerator is arguably one of the most important items in your kitchen. The fridge keeps your food cold, preserving it for future use and maintaining a fresh taste. We use it so often that it’s bound to get a little messy. And while you should always do routine cleaning, it’s still important to keep it as clean and organized as possible between cleanings.

Whether you’ve got a commercial-sized fridge or a mini one, here’s how to organize a refrigerator so it stays clean for longer and you can easily find whatever you need whenever you need it.

1. Separate your fruits and vegetables

Fruits and vegetables in a refrigerator.

Fruits and vegetables in a refrigerator.

There’s a reason your refrigerator has separate drawers for fruits and vegetables. While many of us disregard them and throw whatever we want in the different drawers, using them properly helps to keep your fruits and vegetables fresh for longer.

Fruit does better in low humidity and will last longer when there’s less moisture, so its drawer will keep things dry. On the other hand, vegetables thrive in humidity, so its drawer allows more moisture.

2. Wait to cut your produce

Cutting your fruits and vegetables before storing them makes them go bad faster. And, once they’ve been cut, you need to put them into a separate container, so they’ll take up more room in the refrigerator.

Wait to cut your fruits and vegetables until you’re ready to eat or use them. Doing so will also help save space and keep items good for longer.

3. Fill your fridge

Your fridge runs most efficiently and keeps food the freshest when it’s between 60 percent and 70 percent full. If it’s too full, your refrigerator has to work extra hard to keep things cold and not all of the food will receive proper airflow, so it will go bad faster. And if it’s too empty, it has only air to keep cool, and air doesn’t retain the cold as well as actual food and drink items.

If your refrigerator has too much inside, it’s time to clean it out. And if you need to fill it up, you can add a few jugs of water to help retain the cool temperature.

4. Put non-perishables in the door

The door is the warmest part of your fridge, so it’s best to keep non-perishables on the shelves in the door. Things like condiments, butter and margarine, cheeses and eggs won’t go bad quickly, so they’re perfect for the door.

Avoid putting things like milk and meats in the door, since they’ll rot quickly if it’s too warm.

5. Place perishables near the front

Not sure how to organize a refrigerator best for perishable items? While you don’t want perishables in the door where it’s warmest, you don’t want to tuck them in the back. Keep your meats, fish and milk near the front where you see them frequently — reminding you to use them before they go bad.

6. Store meats and seafood on the bottom

Meats and seafood in a refrigerator.

Meats and seafood in a refrigerator.

Items like meat, fish and crustaceans have fluid in them that, when uncooked, can contaminate other foods. To reduce the risk of these liquids dripping down onto other things in the fridge, store your meats and seafood on the bottom shelf. You should also keep them in containers with high edges so fluids won’t spill if the items get bumped on accident.

7. Line your shelves

To make cleaning quick and easy, line your shelves. You can either buy plastic or silicone shelf liners or use plastic wrap. If something spills or your refrigerator simply needs cleaning, you only need to remove the liner and replace it — no scrubbing required!

8. Remove odors with activated carbon

Many people use baking soda to soak up unfavorable scents in the fridge, but activated carbon actually works better for getting rid of odors. Typically used for pet containers, activated carbon is found at pet stores.

You’ll use it in basically the same way as baking soda. Set the container inside the refrigerator where it can absorb the scent.

9. Organize condiments

Condiments in a refrigerator.

Condiments in a refrigerator.

Figuring out how to organize a refrigerator condiment shelf can become a mess very quickly. Keeping bottles upright without them falling over makes it hard to keep track of which bottles are full and which are almost empty. To help them stand up and stay in place, place an egg carton in the bottom and put the top ends of condiment bottles in each indentation.

This also makes it nice when you use the condiments because you don’t need to shake the bottles to get to what’s inside — it’s already at the top!

10. Add a Lazy Susan

If you’re constantly reaching over food to get to the back of the shelf in the fridge, try using a Lazy Susan. This will make it easier to reach things and keep food from being forgotten in the back.

11. Leverage magnets

Magnets aren’t limited to the outside of the fridge! Use small magnetic containers for inside the fridge, where you can store small items you want to keep fresh, like pomegranate seeds and other seeds or nuts.

This will allow you to put them on the sides of the refrigerator, leaving shelf space for other food items. There are also magnetic bottle holders that will store your metal-top bottles on the ceiling of the fridge, so you don’t need to reach between things to grab yourself a cold beverage.

12. Hang resealable bags

Storing things in resealable bags is practical, but storing them is a different story. They’re hard to stack and are easily forgotten if other containers are in front of them.

To keep them in easy reach, you can buy a Ziploc bag holder that will hold your bags in an organized fashion or you can use binder clips to keep them together and clip them to the edge of a shelf.

13. Refrigerate only what needs it

There are some food items that we refrigerate, but don’t actually need to keep chilled. Putting only items that need refrigerating in the refrigerator will leave more room for the items that do need it.

If you’ve got potatoes, tomatoes, onions or watermelon (to name a few), you only need to refrigerate them after they’ve been cut open. So keep that whole watermelon off the shelf and store it on the counter!

14. Label with a marker

Labels can help you organize a refrigerator and help you find items more easily. Use a dry erase, wet erase or chalk marker to write labels on shelves or even the walls, then wipe them away when it’s time to change!

15. Wrap cheese in wax paper

Cheese wrapped in wax paper.

Cheese wrapped in wax paper.

Blocks of cheese often come in plastic and it’s tempting to store them in a resealable bag once you’ve opened the original packaging. However, cheese keeps for longer and tastes better when it’s wrapped in wax paper.

Plus, plastic bags can look messy, especially if they’re much larger than the cheese they’re holding, and wrapping it in wax makes it look cleaner in the fridge.

Refrigerator organization helps keep things clean

The key to keeping your refrigerator clean is keeping it organized! Like with an organized pantry, your food will stay fresh for longer, you won’t forget about the items you put in your fridge and you’ll be able to quickly find everything you need.

Use the refrigerator organization tips above to organize your own fridge and keep it clean and tidy!




10 Tips for Washing Your Car at Your Apartment Community

Don’t let random passersby deface your ride with “Wash Me” scrawled in windshield dirt. Instead, avoid the old “drive of shame” and give it a good old-fashioned scrub down with an apartment car wash.

Even if your apartment doesn’t have a car wash station on its list of amenities, that doesn’t mean you can’t still DIY this wet and wild chore. It just takes a few supplies and a little bit of strategy to get the job done.

A dirty car with someone writing

A dirty car with someone writing

How do I wash my car if I live in an apartment?

Sure, you could drive somewhere for a car wash, but where’s the fun in that? Hand-washing a car is a great workout and an even better way to cool down in the summer months. Just follow these easy tips for an apartment car wash and you’ll soon have the ultimate clean car. Bonus points if you detail the inside, too!

1. Use a spigot and hose

The water’s going to have to come from somewhere, right? Even if you know where the spigot is already, it’s probably smart to check with management to make sure you can use it. Who knows? Maybe they’ll even spot you a hose for the job! If not, pick up an expandable hose at the local hardware store. Those are easier to store than the old-school variety.

2. Go waterless

A waterless car wash product is a solid option for cars that aren’t filthy to start off with. So, if you’ve just gone muddin’, skip ahead. These products are not for you. Waterless car wash is available in concentrated form (so you have to dilute it), or ready-to-use. Some even have built-in wax! To use, simply spray the product on and wipe it off with a soft towel. When the towel section gets dirty, use a different part.

3. Use a no-rinse product

Split the difference between waterless and a full wash by using a no-rinse product, like Optimum No Rinse. This three-in-one product functions as a rinseless wash, as well as a detailer and a lubricant. Just add the recommended amount to one or two gallons of water, then apply with a wash mitt or microfiber towel.

Car wheels being washed.

Car wheels being washed.

4. Be wheel wise

The wheels are not the same as the rest of the vehicle, so don’t treat them like they are. Clean them first because they’re the dirtiest parts of the car.

Spray with a good hose to dislodge dirt from crevices. Use a tire-specific cleaner and a towel/mitt to scrub it down. Don’t use that towel on the rest of the car because it’s likely pretty gross.

5. Go with waterless wipes

The waterless car wash product community is booming. There are waterless wipes already primed with cleaners available for purchase. Pick up a pack each for general washing, tire and trim and wax, if you want to go full-out.

Man washing his car.

Man washing his car.

6. Pick up a pump sprayer

Here’s another idea on the waterless front. If you want to avoid the hassle of a spigot and hose (or don’t have access to one), purchase a small pump sprayer. Such a device helps evenly apply a coat of waterless cleaner. Then, you just clean as normal with a mitt or microfiber towel. It can also rinse the car off with plain water (fill it up inside first), but the water pressure isn’t as good as the average hose.

7. Use a duster

If you can’t do a full wash apartment car wash at your complex or just don’t have time, use a California Duster to quickly get rid of dirt and dust and bring back the shine. This tool will buy you more time between washes, and is usable during full washes, as well.

8. Wipe aways bugs with dryer sheets

Sometimes dried up, dead bugs just don’t want to come off. Without the power of a professional car wash it is extra challenging. Before you start washing, use old dryer sheets to wipe bugs off. Then wash as normal.

Toothpaste on car.

Toothpaste on car.

9. Apply toothpaste (no, seriously!)

No need to buy a pricey product to put the finishing touches on your headlights. Squirt some toothpaste on a rag and polish up those headlights until they shine.

10. Create your own all-natural cleaner

For the final, streak-free rinse, opt for a green cleaner. Wash the car as normal. Then rinse the soap residue with a hose. Mix three parts vinegar to one part water in a spray bottle and spray the car. Then wipe down with a newspaper for a shiny, squeaky clean finish.

Hand washing a car.

Hand washing a car.

General apartment car wash tips

Specific techniques aside, there are some general things to consider when doing an apartment car wash. Minding these suggestions make the whole process easier, not to mention more effective and enjoyable.

  • Do a quick once over: Before setting up for the apartment car wash, make sure your car isn’t leaking any fluids or oils. That won’t go over well with management.
  • Steer clear of storm drains. It’s bad for the environment, local wildlife and drinking water if soap from the car wash gets into the storm drain. Do your best to find a spot far away from storm drains to prevent any issues, or use an eco-friendly cleaner that is non-toxic and doesn’t have chlorine, fragrance, phosphates or petroleum-based ingredients.
  • Seek out the shade: It seems counterintuitive, but the sun causes streaks. So for the best finish possible, find a spot in the shade to do your apartment car wash.
  • Get your towels: Grab a few towels or wash mitts to get the job done. Make sure to have one each (at least) for the tires, body wash and for drying.
  • Conserve water: Don’t just leave the hose on indiscriminately. Doing so wastes about 10 gallons per minute! While you’re doing the wash — turn it off whenever you’re not rinsing or filling the bucket. Make it easier on yourself by attaching a nozzle that will automatically shut off the water when not in use.
  • Clean up after the clean-up: Other than waiting for water to dry, no one at your apartment should see any residue from your apartment car wash. Resist the easier, but less responsible urge to dump dirty water in the street. Instead, carry the bucket inside and dispose of it in a sink or toilet.

Other than these tips, use your common sense. If all goes well the first-time management is more likely to let you keep doing car washes from the comfort of your apartment parking lot.

Lather, rinse, repeat

Each and every time you wash your car by hand you’ll come up with ways to make an apartment car wash more efficient and easier. Eventually, you’ll be a well-oiled machine for…well, your well-oiled machine.




How to Get Rid of Pantry Moths Forever | ApartmentSearch

Woman looking inside an open pantry

These days, it seems like every time you reach into the pantry for a bag of chips, you have to swat through a cloud of moths to get it. Pantry moths are no joke, and yet, they’re also pretty common. Tons of people encounter these pests every year but don’t know how to get rid of them for good. Fortunately, our team at ApartmentSearch has compiled some tried-and-true steps to help you knock out this insect infestation once and for all.

What are pantry moths?

A pantry moth is a small, gray or brownish bug that can appear in a kitchen pantry, cabinet, or cupboard. This tiny creature is likely from the Plodia interpunctella species and is also known as the Indianmeal moth, the flour moth, and the grain moth. These pesky creatures are one of several insects known for feeding on stored grains and other dry foods. And their modest size — only about half an inch in length and wingspan — can make them very easy to overlook.

However, if adult moths are present, there’s a good chance your pantry has also become home to eggs, pupae (caterpillars), and pupal shells. And since a single female moth can lay anywhere from 100 to 300 eggs, you probably have a bigger infestation on your hands than you realized. Talk about an unappetizing situation, right?

Where do pantry moths come from?

Pantry moths are found nearly everywhere in the United States and most often feed on grain products, cereals, pasta, and pet food. These insects typically gain entry to your home through dry goods that were contaminated at some point during the production process (i.e., at a food processing facility or packaging plant). While frustrating and unfortunate, this also means pantry moths are in no way an indication of poor hygiene or housekeeping efforts.

4 steps for how to get rid of pantry moths

Although they’re an undisputed nuisance, pantry moths are relatively harmless compared to other potential pests. With that said, there’s no doubt you’ll want to get rid of pantry bugs as soon as they appear. If you’re currently dealing with a moth problem in your own home, read on for our best tips and tricks to get your kitchen bug-free and back to business as usual.

1. Inspect the situation

The first step in getting rid of pantry pests is to inspect all the food in your cabinets and look for signs of infestation. Carefully check your food packaging, and keep an eye out for larvae or webs near your pasta, cereal, and baking mixes, as well as your nuts and sweets (which moths love). You might also find tiny larvae tucked along the edge of canned foods or spice jars, or hanging around your cat or dog’s food, too.

Toss out any grain or nut products that have been compromised — but be sure to take them to your outdoor trash so the problem doesn’t spread inside your home. If you feel comfortable keeping the affected cans, they can be wiped down with undiluted vinegar to kill the larvae.

2. Do a proper deep clean

After you’ve done a full inspection and thrown away your infested dry goods, it’s time to do a proper deep clean of your kitchen. This means pulling out all your shelf liners and replacing them if they can’t be thoroughly washed. Use your vacuum to clean out tight spaces like cupboard corners, shelf brackets, and hardware components (hinges, knobs, handles, etc.).

In addition, you’re wise to vacuum the walls, floors, doors, and baseboards of your cabinets to help cover all your bases. Do your best to remove the vacuum bag or dump the dust compartment in the outside trash (since you don’t want any larvae to grow in there). Lastly, wipe down each shelf with hot, soapy water or vinegar, and mop the floor with the same solution.

3. Switch up your storage

If space permits, you may want to switch up your kitchen storage and keep all your grain and nuts products permanently in the freezer or refrigerator. Since pantry months require a warm environment to breed and thrive, this strategy tends to be pretty effective. But if cold storage isn’t an option, you can also store your new groceries away from other pantry items. This might be a temporary move, too, just until you’re sure the problem has been eliminated.

What’s more, you can transfer your dry goods to mason jars or similarly tight-sealing containers. In doing so, even if you accidentally bring home something that’s been contaminated, the larvae can’t escape once they hatch (so you’ll reduce the amount you have to throw away).

4. Practice pest prevention

The last step toward ridding your home of pantry moths *forever* is to practice pest prevention.

To avoid infestations in the future, mix up your storage methods. You’ll also want to commit to deep cleaning a few times a year so things don’t get out of hand — and to catch any issues early on before they have a chance to hatch into something bigger.

Another great natural option is to fill some sachets with lavender, cedar, or mint, and hide them in your pantry. These scents are known to repel moths and will make your cabinets smell lovely at the same time! But be sure to replace them every few months so they stay effective.

Look for a bug-free home with ApartmentSearch

If you’ve followed our steps for how to get rid of pantry moths and nothing seems to be helping (not even your landlord), it may be time to look for somewhere else to live. Thankfully, ApartmentSearch can help you find a new home — that fits your budget — in no time at all.

Start exploring all the amazing listings from ApartmentSearch today, and get ready to enjoy a more comfortable and pest-free pad ASAP!


14 Must-Have Items for Your Home Emergency Kit

Emergency preparedness used to be a seasonal thing, and it tended to be focused on specific areas: the hurricane season along the East Coast, for example. Recent years have proven to be a wakeup call that this thinking is flawed. Extreme weather events like 2020’s winter storm in Texas showed disasters can happen virtually anytime, anywhere.

When disaster strikes, it can mean power outages that last hours, days, or even weeks. Taps can run dry. Heat and air conditioning can shut down. Some health-related equipment like CPAP machines are useless without electricity. You and your family need to be prepared to survive on your own if disaster strikes.

Putting together a home emergency kit to cover a wide range of disaster scenarios is no longer something only “preppers” or those who live in traditional high-risk areas do; it’s something everyone needs to do. Think you’re prepared? It’s still a smart idea to have a look through your existing stash to make sure you have all the bases covered and everything is in good working order. In addition, technology has continued to advance, and there are new options now that may be far superior to what you already have.

We’ll leave basics like food, bottled water, medications, and cash to you. Our list covers everything else — the gear that should be in every home emergency kit.

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Photo of face maskPhoto of face mask

We’ve recommended masks as part of a home emergency kit for years, long before they were a pandemic must. The fine dust and smoke that accompany many natural disasters, including brush fires and earthquakes, was the main concern. Our go-to was typically a package of disposable N95 or N100 masks like 3M’s 8293 particulate respirator with Cool Flow™ Valve.

As the gold standard for coronavirus protection, these became scarce during COVID-19 (and those who’d already stockpiled were vindicated). However, N95 masks are readily available once again. If you don’t have N95 or N100 masks in your home emergency kit, or if they have expired (3M says most of its masks have a five-year shelf life), now is the time to add a box.

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Water Filter

Photo of person using waterl filterPhoto of person using waterl filter

Clean, safe water is crucial to human survival, but natural disasters may damage public water or your well supply.

The Department of Homeland Security recommends all homes have enough fresh water on hand to supply one gallon of water per person for three days. And no, soda doesn’t count. Most homes have an emergency water source (whether you realize it or not — remember, you could use the toilet tanks and hot water heater), but to be truly prepared, being able to produce your own clean drinking water can be critical.

A portable water filter (LifeStraw gets excellent ratings from outdoor enthusiasts) is cheap insurance that takes up little space. Stick the LifeStraw personal water filter into any water source, including rain barrels, pools, lakes and rivers. Drink like you would with any straw. The water may not be cool and lemon-flavored, but it will be safe to drink.

LifeStraw’s filtration removes 99.999999% of bacteria (including E. coli), 99.999% of parasites, and 99.999% of micro plastics — because that’s another thing we have to worry about now. It costs $19.95, weighs 2 ounces, has unlimited shelf life, and is rated to treat 1,000 gallons of water.

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First Aid Kit

Photo of first aid kitPhoto of first aid kit

A first aid kit is an absolute must-have for any home. You can put together your own, but there are also many companies and organizations that sell complete kits with almost everything you need. The American Red Cross knows a few things about first aid and their kits are a great starting point.

The Red Cross Deluxe Family First Aid Kit contains 115 items and covers off most common injuries. At $35, it’s priced right and won’t take up much space. However, to make it more appropriate to the COVID-19 era, consider adding a thermometer (a high temperature is often an early warning sign of infection). In addition, a pulse oximeter can give an early warning that someone should seek medical attention due to low blood oxygen levels. They’re available for $50 or less at pharmacies.

To make your first aid kit more disaster-ready, add emergency blankets — these are made of a reflective foil material that folds up in a fist-size pouch and work remarkably well to keep you warm. These are so cheap, light and compact that we recommend buying them in bulk and stashing them in your vehicles, boats, wherever. They can be helpful in staving off shock.

Finally, if anyone in your household takes medication, make sure you have enough to ride out an emergency.

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Photo of bottle of bleachPhoto of bottle of bleach

Chlorine bleach is an inexpensive product with many uses in emergencies. It can be used to purify water, and also to sanitize surfaces after exposure to COVID-19 and other bacteria and viruses. In a pinch, a very-dilute bleach solution can be used to wash your hands. If your home area has suffered flooding and excessive rainfall, a few drops of bleach added to standing water — for example a rain barrel or bird bath — kills mosquito larvae, without harming birds.

One hitch: Bleach has a shelf life. Make sure to rotate out the jug every year to ensure effectiveness. Just use the older bottle for your laundry.

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Hand Sanitizer

Photo of hand sanitizerPhoto of hand sanitizer

Like masks, hand sanitizer got plenty of attention during the coronavirus pandemic. But it remains a key item for any emergency kit.

Of course it’s still key for avoiding transmissible diseases, but hand sanitizer (with at least 60% alcohol) is also useful if soap and water are not available, and your hands have been in untreated water in a flood or you’ve been handling raw meat.

If your local stores are sold out of hand sanitizer, you can make your own using common ingredients including isopropyl alcohol and aloe vera gel (here’s a recipe for DIY hand sanitizer).

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Waterproof Utility Gloves

Photo of Ergodyne glovesPhoto of Ergodyne gloves

Thin, disposable nitrile gloves are usually included as part of a first aid kit. If not, they’re handy to have, take up little space, and are very inexpensive. But you also want something more substantial, like a pair of utility gloves.

A good example are these ProFlex gloves from Ergodyne. They are flexible, insulated, waterproof, and reinforced against cuts and abrasions.

During any natural disaster, utility gloves like these provide invaluable protection if you need to clean up rubble or broken glass (remember that even if you weren’t hurt in any initial event, injuries incurred during recovery might be harder to get treated). They keep your hands dry while offering improved grip if you’re working in pools of water. They can also help to keep your hands warm.

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Bottle-Top Propane Stove

Photo of Coleman propane stovePhoto of Coleman propane stove

Yes, you can live by survival rations (energy bars and the like) alone, but you won’t want to, at least for a prolonged period of time. When you can’t count on having electrical power, the cheapest, most compact — and most effective — way to cook is with a bottle-top propane stove. These simply screw onto the top of a standard standard 16.4 ounce propane cylinder, providing a single gas burner. Even if you have a grill, this is by far the fastest and easiest way to boil water — for coffee, instant foods, even purification. And make sure to keep a 3-pack of cylinders handy.

This version from Coleman goes for under $40, delivers up to 10,000 BTUs of heat, and includes a base that slips over the bottom of the propane bottle to make the stove steadier. Speaking of propane: The tank that lasts a season when used only on weekends will quickly go empty if that grill becomes your temporary kitchen. So make certain you always have a spare propane tank on hand for that as well.

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Duct Tape and Plastic Sheeting

Photo of duct tapePhoto of duct tape

Duct tape and plastic sheeting are invaluable emergency kit items with dozens of uses. The Department of Homeland Security recommends plastic sheeting with a thickness of 4 to 6 mil (0.004 – 0.006 in) or greater — it’s sold in rolls at hardware stores. Duct tape is available from a variety of producers including Duck Brand, and in a range of interesting patterns. Why not add some color to your recovery efforts?

The combination can be used for everything from securing broken windows to fashioning an emergency shelter, patching a leaking roof, or wrapping up garbage for safe disposal. Plastic sheeting and tape can also be used to protect sensitive electronics or valuable documents from water damage or exposure to dust, or even to make containers for water collection or food storage.

If you are in a situation where air may be contaminated, duct tape and plastic sheeting can be used to seal your windows and doors.

Duct tape is also useful to have for all sorts of other emergency repairs. It may not look pretty, but you can mend torn clothing, or a hole in a shoe or glove. It can be used for temporary car repairs such as patching a leaking hose. It can even be used to reinforce a sprained ankle or keep a bandage in place.

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Waterproof E-Reader

Photo of Amazon Kindle Paperwhite e-readerPhoto of Amazon Kindle Paperwhite e-reader

A waterproof e-reader has had a place on our home emergency kit list for a while now. You don’t necessarily need to have an e-reader physically stashed in your kit, but you should have one in the house, fully charged and loaded up with emergency content.

Why an e-reader? These things are literally a library in the palm of your hand. Make sure you pick a waterproof model with a built-in light. The Amazon Kindle Paperwhite is $129.99 and makes a great choice.

Add some emergency-specific content. A first aid guide, survival guides, home repair guides, how-to manuals, recipe books, and road maps. You won’t be scrambling to find books — they’re all in one place — and you don’t need to worry about them getting wet, or torn. Plus, you won’t be relying on internet connectivity, whether through your cable provider or cellular network, either of which could be compromised or overloaded. An e-reader is highly portable, the battery will last for weeks on a charge, and the Kindle Paperwhite has its own light for reading in the dark.

Besides the practical applications, having a library of books on hand comes in handy to fend off boredom. So load up the e-reader with some of your favorite titles. Pair it with Bluetooth headphones to listen to audio books. Remember, if the internet is down, so is Netflix.

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Photo of Leatherman multitoolPhoto of Leatherman multitool

Sure, most people have a tool kit at home, sometimes fairly elaborate ones. But it’s still a good idea to have a multitool stored right in your home emergency kit. That way, critical tools you might need are exactly where you expect them to be, and they’re in a compact form factor that can be slipped in a pocket if you need to go out exploring — or get access to your regular tools.

Multitools can quickly escalate in cost as you add options, but for emergency use you probably don’t need 30 gadgets in the palm of your hand. The Sidekick is a Leatherman bestseller. And it’s a good balance between affordability and capability. It usually runs around $60, and features 14 built-in tools including spring-action pliers, a saw, two knives, screwdrivers, a bottle opener and a can opener.

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Emergency Radio (and Flashlight)

Photo of emergency radioPhoto of emergency radio

Light is a must-have during a power blackout, and radio remains a reliable method of catching up on news and alerts during disasters if cell networks and land lines go down.

A wind-up emergency radio like the ER310 from Midland Radio covers both needs. It picks up AM and FM radio stations, as well as NOAA weather radio (with NOAA extreme weather alerts). The 1400 lux flashlight uses Cree LEDs and lets you adust brightness to conserve battery life.

Powering everything is a 2600 mAh rechargeable Li-Ion battery that’s good for up to 32 hours of use. While you can quickly recharge it through a USB port, you don’t need power, because the unit includes built-in solar panels and a hand crank. You can also tap that battery in an emergency, and top up the battery on your smartphone using the ER310’s USB port.

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Explosive Gas Detector

Photo of gas detectorPhoto of gas detector

We trust your home is already equipped with smoke detectors and carbon monoxide (CO) detectors. However, you might want to supplement that safety equipment with an explosive gas detector.

Much of the damage done to homes during earthquakes is caused by fires from ruptured natural gas and propane lines. A standard CO detector won’t catch the build up of these flammable gases, and your smoke detector won’t sound the alarm until the building is actually on fire.

The Kidde Nighthawk KN-COEG-3 includes both CO and explosive gas detection — sounding an 85-decibel alarm so your family can get out of the building in time. It plugs into an AC outlet, and a 9V battery keeps it running during a power outage.

A built-in display shows the current CO levels in the area, and displays GAS if natural gas (methane) or propane are detected.

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Tough Smartphone Case

Photo of phone casePhoto of phone case

Face it, you’d be lost without your smartphone at the best of times. During a natural disaster, it’s probably your single most valuable tool. Communications, news and updates, contact with friends and family, social media, entertainment, a mini flashlight, your GPS, music, a camera — all in a single device. Before the situation gets risky, make sure that phone will be safe.

Most people choose a minimalist case for their smartphone, and some go caseless for a sleeker look. That’s fine for everyday use, but during a disaster, there’s too much riding on your phone for that. Pick up a sturdy case for your phone and stash it in your emergency kit. There are plenty of options to choose from, and they don’t need to be massive, bulky affairs.

For example, Gear 4’s $49.99 Battersea case (available for popular iPhone, Galaxy and Pixel Phone models) is reasonably slim and still supports wireless charging, but offers 16-foot drop protection and an extra-grippy case surface.

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Backup Power

photo of power stationphoto of power station

Blackouts that last for hours at a time are common. All it takes is a thunderstorm, an accident that takes out a utility pole, or construction. These short-term power losses have always been annoying, but with more people adopting a hybrid work or learning schedule, they are disruptive as well.

This is an area where technology has advanced considerably over the past several years. In particular, lithium-ion battery and power management technology has improved. A modest portable power station like Goal Zero’s $299.95 Yeti 200X packs 187Wh of power in a 5lb package. It’s equipped with USB ports for charging devices, but also a 120V AC outlet. Because it’s battery-powered, it’s safe to use indoors. If the power goes out this unit can charge a laptop four times or even power a complete desktop PC for several hours. It can keep a CPAP machine running for up to eight hours.

A short-term power backup solution like this also has long term advantages if your needs are modest. For example, the Yeti 200X can fully charge an average smartphone 16 times.

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Power Backup: Long Term

photo of power station with solar panelsphoto of power station with solar panels

Long-term power backup solutions are where things get interesting. We are seeing more long-lasting power outages than ever. The winter storm that hit Texas in February 2020 resulted in blackouts that lasted several days for some people, plus rolling blackouts that intermittently disrupted power for weeks after.

The classic safeguard for blackouts that could last a day or more is a gas or diesel-powered generator. These are great to have if you live in a single-family home and are able to keep fuel on hand. During the Texas storm, the capabilities of EVs were in the spotlight. Ford dealers loaned out F150 hybrid pickup trucks, with their onboard generators capable of powering home appliances.

Another option is a high-performance battery power station. These can be used indoors, and they are available to everyone, including apartment dwellers. The Jackery 1500 is a prime example of what’s now available. It’s portable, its AC outlets can handle 1800W (3600W peak) so it can even be used to power high-demand devices like heaters, AC units, and microwave ovens. Pair it with a four-pack of solar panels, and the Explorer 1500 can fully charge using solar power in just four hours. It’s not cheap ($2,699 with the solar panels), but this power backup solution could get you through days or weeks of power interruption with pushbutton ease, no pollution, no fuel, no maintenance, and no noise.


Domestic Violence Awareness for Renters: What to Do About an Abusive Neighbor

Hopefully, you’ll never be put in this situation, but it’s important to have domestic violence awareness as a renter.

According to the National Domestic Violence Hotline, “on average, more than 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men in the United States will experience rape, physical violence and/or stalking by an intimate partner.” The coronavirus pandemic only worsened those statistics: CNN reported that incidents of domestic violence in the U.S. increased by 8.1 percent after lockdown orders were in place.

Such high numbers mean that there is a likelihood that someone you know directly or someone you live near might be a victim of domestic violence. How do you deal with this type of situation, if it’s a neighbor in your apartment building?

Here are some ways to educate yourself about the signs of domestic violence and improve your domestic violence awareness.

Domestic violence during Covid-19. Domestic violence during Covid-19.

What are signs a neighbor is experiencing abuse?

The signs of domestic violence may come in the form of mental or physical abuse. You might hear one person threaten another with injury or you might hear someone humiliating their partner. But the cycle of abuse sometimes is quieter, more subtle. Domestic violence often is a private form of control by one person over another.

Here are some of the warning signs of an abuser as determined by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence:

  • Extreme jealousy
  • Possessiveness
  • Unpredictability
  • Bad temper
  • Verbal abuse
  • Extremely controlling behavior
  • Demeaning the victim either privately or publicly
  • Embarrassment or humiliation of the victim in front of others

Of course, not everyone with a bad temper is an abuser. Depending on how friendly you are with your neighbors, you will likely not see many of the more intimate forms of partner abuse. These include sabotaging someone’s birth control method or forcing sex on an unwilling partner.

If you hear verbal abuse and other aggressive sounds (yelling and screaming, plates breaking, doors slamming) through the walls or you see controlling or stressful interactions on the patio — take note.

Should I call the police?

According to the NDV Hotline, if you hear suspicious noises that you believe might be an abusive situation, speak with the survivor as soon as possible.

“Make sure to approach them in a safe, private space, listen to them carefully and believe what they have to say,” reads the NDVH website. If you were to call the police, the victim might experience blame and face terrible consequences.

Say something like this: “Please forgive me for intruding into your life, but I’m hearing it through the walls. I’m worried for your safety. Here’s a number you can call.”

Do call the police if you believe your neighbor’s life or your own is in danger.

NDV suggests doing the following:

  • Give the victim NDV’s number, (800) 799-SAFE (7233) or that of a local crisis hotline.
  • Take notes so that if the victim presses charges you can make a statement.
  • Support the victim as best you can. Let them know that they are not the cause of the abuse.

Am I in danger if I call the police?

First, if you believe that someone is being harmed, you should absolutely call the police. That said, you can tell the police that you are requesting a “wellness check.”

In many municipalities, there are separate domestic violence units — you can request a transfer to speak to someone in that unit. You can also make an anonymous call to 911.

If the police arrive on the scene, they will not tell the abuser who called them.

Domestic violence situation. Domestic violence situation.

Should I tell the leasing office?

You can make your landlord aware of what you’re hearing or seeing, but it’s a secondhand account. Unless the landlord or property manager witnesses something firsthand it is difficult for them to get involved.

However, if you make your landlord aware of possible domestic violence, at least they can monitor the situation. Keep in mind that many property managers do not live on the premises — so it is tricky for them sometimes to know what is going on at all times.

Can an abuser be evicted?

As much as you’d like this to happen, it’s not your place to initiate an eviction. It’s up to the victim to contact the landlord or property manager. The victim must then provide proof of domestic violence. This often comes in the form of a restraining order, evidence of criminal charges or a letter from a “qualified third party” like a law enforcement officer.

Every state has its own rules regarding how a landlord must respond to instances of domestic abuse. The landlord can let a tenant who is in an abusive situation break their lease without penalty, for example.

As a concerned neighbor, if the noise from next door encroaches on your “right to quiet enjoyment,” you might be able to push for eviction.

Keep in mind that it can take anywhere from two weeks to three or more months for an eviction.

How do I cope with the situation?

Living close to a domestic violence situation is extremely stressful. Verbal and physical disputes can happen at any hour of the day and many tend to occur during evenings, often into early morning hours.

You may find yourself on a work call hoping your colleagues don’t hear the neighbors screaming at each other on your end of the line or you may find yourself awake at 3 a.m. by a fight that eventually ends in a 911 call.

Getting rest could start becoming difficult, and you can also begin to feel like you’re walking on eggshells — basically, you’re living with the ups and downs and unpredictability of abuse by living too close to it.

It’s important to maintain your own self-care.

  • Understand that you are not responsible for your neighbor’s choices to stay in or leave the abusive situation. Seek professional help if you’re having trouble disengaging.
  • You might feel better by being proactive. Join (or start) a Neighborhood Watch group. You will get to know your neighbors, and more people will be aware of what’s happening in the complex.
  • Jog, take walks, do yoga, meditate — whatever you can do for yourself to help you cope. You don’t want the situation to overwhelm you. If you are friendly with the victim, you want to have a healthy headspace to support them.
  • If whatever is happening at your neighbor’s is too stressful, you may choose to break your lease and move.

Domestic violence awareness. Domestic violence awareness.

Be supportive

It’s difficult to end the cycle of domestic violence, but one step on the way to healing is to ask for help. Victims need to reach out to people that they trust, friends, neighbors, clergy or therapists.

If you suspect that a nearby tenant is having trouble, do what you can to make yourself available and supportive. Keep in mind how important it is for you to remain healthy and strong so that you can stay helpful.




Safety Tips When Finding a New Roommate | ApartmentSearch

Two smiling and shoeless women facing each other and sitting on couch comfortably.Moving can be an exciting process! This is especially true if you’re looking forward to meeting new people and making new connections. To ensure a purely positive experience, we suggest erring on the side of safety when choosing a potential cohabitor. Before you split your bills with just anyone, do your due diligence when learning how to find a roommate safely by leveraging these four safety tips.

1. Stay Off the Internet (If You Can)

Are you asking yourself the question, “where can I find a roommate?” If so, your search may be shorter than you think. The safest way to find a new roommate is through a mutual friend or trusted connection. It’s reassuring to know that your roomie is vetted by a reliable source!

If real-world pairings don’t pan out, proceed online — with caution. Craigslist roommate finder is a commonly used tool for meeting your match. However, this method depends solely on surface-level interaction and intuition. Furthermore, scammers love to surf the waters of the World Wide Web, so make sure to never share bank information, passwords, or personal data to an alias on the internet.

2. Implement an Interview Process

If an internet search is your only option, implementing a roommate interview process will help to ease your mind. Before meeting up with a potential cohabitator, take the time to compile a list of thoughtful questions.

These can and should cover a wide range of topics, from practical questions to personal inquiries. The goal is to get a better sense of who your future roomie is as a person, as well as how they interact with other people and exist within their space.

P.S: Don’t forget your manners! To start on an even playing field, invite your interviewee to pose their own questions as well.

3. Hire a Professional

Using a professional service can be another way to ensure roommate safety. Conduct a quick online search, and you’ll find several roommate finder websites and agencies that take the guesswork out of this daunting task.

Some of these services even require background checks and provide matchmakers to facilitate first meetings. The caveat is that the more professional the service, the higher the price tag — a small price to pay for feeling safe in your home!

4. Make Nice Before You Move In

In addition to wondering how to find a good roommate, make sure you’re setting a good example as well! Meeting up before moving in accomplishes two things. One, it will help you and your roomie establish a friendly and respectful relationship before inevitable issues arise. Two, it will give you a last-minute opportunity to feel at peace with your move towards the future! We highly suggest this cautionary step.

ApartmentSearch May Provide an Alternative

You can count on to be a trustworthy companion throughout your moving experience. With its smart searching capabilities, you may even be able to find an affordable studio or one-bedroom that lets you skip a roommate situation altogether!

Get a broader sense of your options by checking out Through browsing all of your new home possibilities, you’ll feel confident in the safety and certainty of your decision.


How To Organize Your Kitchen Cabinets in 11 Easy Steps

Getting your kitchen organized in a way that makes sense for your life will make a big difference in how you use the space and how much time you spend in it. Here’s how to organize your kitchen cabinets so you’ll love being in the kitchen!

1. Remove everything from your kitchen cabinets

To organize your kitchen cabinets, you’ll want to start by taking everything out of the drawers and cupboards — absolutely everything must come out.

You want to start with empty, clean places for everything. Don’t try to shuffle things around between them — this usually results in a bigger mess than when you started.

2. Clean the drawers and surfaces

Wipe down and disinfect all of the drawers, cabinets and shelves in your kitchen. Even a few crumbs in the bottom of a drawer can make it look gross and unorganized, so get everything looking as clean as possible.

how to organize kitchen cabinets with pots and panshow to organize kitchen cabinets with pots and pans

3. Take inventory of everything you have

Get a good idea of what you have. Sort items into categories, such as:

  • Pots and pans
  • Food storage containers
  • Bowls and plates
  • Cups
  • Eating utensils
  • Cooking utensils
  • Baking tools
  • Small appliances (electric mixer, waffle maker, toaster, etc.)
  • Spices
  • Dry foods (cereal, pasta, oatmeal, etc.)
  • Baking ingredients (flour, sugar, chocolate chips, shredded coconut, etc.)

Everything sorted? Now, you can see what all you have and how much of each item you’ll need to store.

4. Get rid of the items you don’t need

More isn’t always better, especially when you’re working with a finite amount of kitchen storage space. With everything sorted and you know exactly how much of everything you’ve got, decide what you need and what you don’t need.

Over time, you may have collected various kitchen items and you may not realize just how much you actually have. While it’s nice to have lots of pots and pans for cooking dinner for a group, you may find that you have three pots all the same size when, realistically, you only need one. The same thing goes for everything else — you may have accumulated 12 wooden spoons and you only need to have two. And that turkey baster collection? One will do — you get rid of the other two.

Get rid of things you haven’t used or have too many of — so fitting everything in your kitchen cabinets won’t give a game of Tetris a run for its money.

5. Group similar items together

Now that you’ve gotten rid of the extra stuff, you’ve got less stuff to fit into your kitchen. Woohoo!

Start by keeping similar items together and match them up with cabinets and drawers relative to their size and quantity. Pots and pans are bulky, so they’ll probably need a bigger cabinet. Spice jars are small, so they can go in a smaller cabinet.

Keep similar items together in the same place so they’re easy to find and you won’t end up opening every single cabinet and drawer in the kitchen each time you need something.

6. Put open items in bins and containers

When you’re limited on drawer space, using bins to store things can make it much easier to find what you need and keep things from falling out of cabinets when you open them.

Clear bins are best since you can see exactly what’s inside of them. You can store all of your baking ingredients in them — creating one for your sugars (regular sugar, brown sugar, powdered sugar, etc.) and one for chocolate chips (semi-sweet chocolate chips, milk chocolate, white chocolate, etc.).

Don’t forget to dedicate a bin or two for your snacks (granola bars, fruit snacks, etc.). Make bins for any items that make sense to keep together.

how to organize kitchen cabinets with clear storagehow to organize kitchen cabinets with clear storage

You can also store dry food items in clear, airtight containers. This allows you to see how much of everything you have, plus containers are stackable, resealable and won’t get smashed or lost easily in your pantry. Even Marie Kondo supports putting food into matching containers for organization!

7. Use drawer organizers for utensils

Kitchen drawers. Kitchen drawers.

Putting dividers and organizers in drawers will help keep things sorted out and easy to find. Rather than a jumbled mess where it takes forever to dig up what you need, sort your regular utensils — forks, knives and spoons, as well as bigger cooking utensils like ladles, cooking spoons and spatulas.

8. Match up your food storage containers

how to organize kitchen cabinets with Food storage containershow to organize kitchen cabinets with Food storage containers

It’s easy to throw all of the food storage containers and lids into a cabinet once they’re clean, but tale as old as time — when you need it, you end up having to dig through everything just to find a matching lid.

Put the lids on your food storage containers before putting them in the cabinet so you’re guaranteed to find a container and a matching lid each time you need it. You can nest them to save cabinet space while still keeping matches together.

No more digging through and trying to fit 12 lids on the same container before you find a match!

9. Keep frequently used items within easy reach

Put all of the items you use frequently in the easiest to reach and access places and keep the seldom-used items in harder-to-access places.

It doesn’t make sense to keep the drinking glasses you use every day on a high shelf that’s difficult to reach, nor it makes zero sense to store the electric mixer you use once a month in an eye-level cabinet right by the sink.

Your kitchen’s organization should make sense for your life and what you use often.

10. Store items in places that make sense

Store things in the most practical of places! Keep your cooking oil and spices near the stovetop, since that’s where you will use them the most. Put your eating utensils near the plates and bowls since they go together like peas in a pod. Put pots and pans near the stove because they’re always used on it.

11. Eliminate a junk drawer

Junk drawer. Junk drawer.

Many people have a drawer for the miscellaneous items in their kitchen, often dubbed the “random” or “junk” drawer. It turns into a black hole where you end up placing small items you’re too lazy to find the correct spot for and once you need that item, you can’t remember where you put it.

This drawer defeats the purpose of organizing your kitchen— you should find everything quickly and easily without having to dig through a bunch of random stuff in a drawer. Don’t leave room for a junk drawer in your kitchen at all!

Other kitchen cabinet organization tips

Here are a few additional tips and ideas for organizing your kitchen cabinets.

  • Use hooks on the inside of cabinet doors to hang things like scrub brushes, pot lids and large spoons
  • Use shelf risers to give yourself extra stacking space in cabinets
  • Most cabinets have movable shelves, change the shelf placement to accommodate the items you’re putting into each cabinet
  • Add a magnetic knife strip to the wall above where you normally chop fruits and vegetables so you can keep your favorite knives at the ready without taking up drawer space
  • Store your cutting boards and baking sheets vertically instead of horizontally —that way, you can simply slide which sheet you want out on its side
  • Label containers and bins, especially if they’re opaque and not clear so that you know what’s stored inside of them without having to check
  • Add a lazy Susan to awkward corner cabinets with a small opening, so you can store things like spices and oils without needing to reach far into the cabinet and you can see everything easily
  • Limit your kitchen gadgets — yes, the banana slicer looks cool and helps you cut a banana in five seconds rather than 30, but do you really need it? Sparingly purchase gadgets to prevent clutter.

These aren’t necessary for keeping your kitchen cabinets organized, but they can certainly help make your kitchen all the more functional.

Staying organized requires discipline

Once you figure out how to organize your kitchen cabinets, your work isn’t completely done — you need to make sure they STAY organized. That means putting everything back into its proper place whenever you’re through using it. It’s easy to slip out of that habit, but once you do, your kitchen cabinets and drawers may end up a mess again.

Put forth a special effort to keep things where they belong!




How to Tell if You Have Hard Water in Your New Apartment

Person filling up a water bottle with kitchen faucet

You’re all moved into your new apartment. The layout is excellent, the work commute is a breeze, and the kitchen is impressive. But after taking your first shower in your new home, you notice that your skin and hair feel drier than ever! And why did your dishwasher leave a cloudy residue on all your glassware?

If these things sound familiar, your new apartment may have hard water. Learn what “hard water” is, how it stacks up against softer water, and tips for dealing with it in your new space.

What is Hard Water

Hard water is merely a form of H2O with a higher than average mineral content — typically, a larger calcium and magnesium concentration.

Before our drinking water ever makes it to the tap, it comes from lakes, rivers, and other waterways. As it flows, it picks up additional minerals from rocks and soil, and if too much is collected, hard water can form. Although you may want supplemental magnesium and calcium in your overall diet, hard water can cause some complications in your home.

Hard vs. Soft Water

Hard Water

Minerals found in hard water are natural and generally safe to consume. However, there are a few negative concerns associated with hard water in an apartment, too.

  • White residue on dishes, shower walls, coffee makers, and other surfaces
  • Limescale buildup
  • Reduced efficiency of household appliances, plumbing systems, and water heaters
  • Lower water pressure
  • Damaged and quickly worn clothing due to the harshness of hard water
  • Poor soap performance
  • Skin irritation from soap scum that can become trapped in your pores
  • Drier skin and hair after showering

Due to many of these issues, your utility bills can increase from excess water used to rewash dishes, clothes, and other items, along with buildup in your plumbing systems.

Soft Water

After the long list of issues caused by hard water, it may seem that soft water is the better option. With its better soap performance, contribution to longer-lasting clothing, optimal water pressure, and other benefits, it still has a few faults of its own.

Soft water may have higher sodium levels, leading to a slightly salty taste.
It’s more corrosive and can slowly deteriorate your plumbing system’s useful life, which can cause high lead and copper levels in your drinking water.

How to Tell if You Have Hard Water

If you notice any of the issues listed above for hard water, you may want to test it in other ways as well. Here are a few methods for evaluating the quality of the water in your home:

DIY Soap Test

Test for hard water with a bar of soap and a bowl of water from the tap. Rub the soap between your hands in the bowl. If it lathers quickly, you likely have softer water. If getting a few suds to form proves challenging and the water becomes cloudy, hard water may be the culprit.

Perform a Wet-Strip Test

You can purchase these from many home improvement stores, but make sure the one you buy also tests for hard water. Fill a container from the tap and immerse the paper test strip in the water. Then, compare the strip’s final color with the kit’s chart.

Tips for Dealing With Hard Water

Since you likely won’t have the same access to your overall plumbing system as you would in a house, it may take a little craftiness to deal with the hard water in your home. Try these tips:

  • Soften your water by boiling it to remove and evaporate some of the minerals. (Note: This will usually work on temporary hard water only. Permanent hard water has a slightly different chemical makeup).
  • Remove hard water stains and limescale with white distilled vinegar. You can also use vinegar as a rinse agent in your dishwasher.
  • Get rid of soap scum with commercial products such as Kaboom or a homemade mixture of water, dish soap, and vinegar.
  • Install a home water softening system for your faucet. If you have a health condition in which higher sodium levels could prove harmful, try salt-free alternatives.

Whether it’s the water quality or the noisy upstairs neighbors, there are plenty of reasons to want to move on to the next place. Find an apartment that fits your needs and budget with ApartmentSearch, where you can filter available rental properties by price, layout, amenities, and more!


Saving Money on Utilities

When it comes to monthly expenses, there are some costs you don’t think can get lower, like a utility bill.

But with some awareness, a bit of effort and a few phone calls, you might be surprised at how much you can knock down utility costs that once seemed set in stone.

Shop for the best rate

Though you may not have a choice in who handles your water or electricity, some apartment communities will give you a choice in which gas company you can use. Gas companies are always competing for your business, trying to undercut the other’s per-therm price. Many carriers even offer cash incentives for switching over and/or programs that let you lock in a per-therm rate.

For phone and cable, there are also savings to be had. Take a look at your bill and examine all the features that come with your service. If you have channels you don’t watch or phone features you don’t need, call your service provider and see if you can go with a simpler plan at a cheaper rate. Or investigate other providers to see if changing companies will drive down the price.

Look for bundled deals in which your phone, cable, and DSL are handled by a single company and you could significantly cut your bill. Another option is to do away with your land-line entirely and use your cell phone instead. Don’t forget to shop for the best cell phone plan as well.

Waste not, pay not

The most important thing to keep in mind is that there are always ways to use less everything. Energy Star appliances, low-flow toilets, and water-wise showerheads are just a few things you can install to cut water use. Collect water in rain barrels and buckets in the shower and use that to water your plants. Wash larger loads of clothes and use cold water instead of warm, saving you energy and water! Minimize the settings on your dishwasher;  do you really need to use the heated drying, extra rinse, and tough scrub cycles?

We are accustomed to having computers, lights, televisions and stereos on even when we don’t need them. Turn things off when you’re not in front of them and turn out the lights in the rooms you’re not using. You’ll be amazed at the satisfaction, savings and welcome silence these simple efforts provide.

It’s really not hard to cut utility costs, even those you assumed couldn’t budge. With some awareness and effort, your consumption and monthly bills will begin to drop.

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Give Your Apartment Medicine Cabinet a Check-Up

Colds and the flu usually strike at the end of winter or beginning of spring. Are you and your medicine cabinet prepared to handle another cold, allergy and cough season?

In addition to readying you for spring, cleaning out your medicine cabinet also ensures you get rid of dangerous or outdated medicines. First, know what to get rid of. Throw out expired and old medicines and consolidate nearly empty bottles and duplicates to get rid of clutter. Don’t leave old pills lying out in open trash cans and available to the curious hands and noses of young children and pets; dispose of them securely

Next, inventory what you have and learn what to add, especially if you’re living in cold-prone, windy areas. Make sure you have the following items in your medicine cabinet:

Acetaminophen (Tylenol): Primarily known as a pain reliever, acetaminophen is also a fever-reducer.

Aloe vera: This soothing, oft-green gel treats burns.

Antihistamine (Benadryl): This over-the-counter medication calms allergy symptoms such as nasal inflammation, sneezing, runny noses and eye irritation. It’s also a lifesaver for allergic reactions and bug bites.

Antiseptics: Hydrogen peroxide and alcohol clean cuts and scrapes to help prevent infection.

Antiseptic creams or ointments (Neosporin): These prevent infection in cuts and scrapes and reduce scarring.

Bandages: Stock up on bandages in various sizes so you can cover and protect any wound.

Cold, cough and flu medicines: So you’re not treating symptoms you don’t have, purchase different over-the-counter cold, cough and flu medications, such as decongestants (for coughs), expectorants and cough suppressants, depending on the symptoms you typically have.

Read more of our health-related posts:

Cortisone cream: This topical ointment reduces inflammation and calms itchy insect bites and rashes.

Gauze bandages and adhesive tape: These two items are crucial for covering larger wounds.

Heating and cooling packs: Ice reduces fevers and swelling, while heat eases cramps and stomach aches.

Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin): This pain reliever also reduces inflammation and swelling.

Medicine dropper or medicine cup: You need some accurate medical-use measure for dispensing liquid medications.

Nose spray: Decongestant nasal sprays quickly open up nasal passages by constricting blood vessels in the lining of the nose. Saline sprays help moisturize dry or irritated nostrils.

Thermometer: Purchase a digital or chemical-dot thermometer for checking temperatures, and know which temperatures are too high for all ages.

Tweezers: Find good tweezers with more pointy ends for removing splinters or ticks.