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!

Comments

comments

Source: apartmentguide.com

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.

Comments

comments

Source: apartmentguide.com

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!

Comments

comments

Source: apartmentguide.com

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.

[embedded content]

Comments

comments

Source: apartmentguide.com

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.

Comments

comments

Source: apartmentguide.com

How to Make Your Apartment Greener

In honor of Earth Day’s 40th anniversary April 22, Apartment Guide sat down with Ashley Caderet, author of green and frugal living blog “Our Little Apartment,” to get her thoughts on how everyone can live more environmentally friendly in their apartments or homes. Plus, there’s a bonus: In this down economy, anyone can benefit from Ashley’s money-saving, waste-less, live-simply tips.

Since launching her blog in 2007, Ashley’s green-living methods have ranged from the sensible (purchasing local produce from a farmers market) to the more radical (using cloth toilet paper). A few ideas didn’t work out – composting in the backyard created a mice problem – while some became routine favorites, such as using one car. Mike even built a winter-hearty bicycle that he takes to work, even using it in 10-degree weather.

“It just makes sense to try to be greener,” Ashley said. “It makes me feel better and saves money. Once you become aware of the amount you waste, you feel guilty about the environmental impact. You think about carbon footprints. In my day-to-day life, just thinking about how future children and countries will be impacted inspires me to keep being green.”

Read more about going green in your apartment:

To save the most money, Ashley and her husband rent their home near one of their workplaces and only use one car. Now Ashley drives the car on her 35-minute commute and Mike bikes to work, which is only two miles from their home, a duplex in a neighborhood where 100 percent of the streets have sidewalks. In addition to using one car, here are 10 other ways Ashley suggests apartment residents can be more environmentally friendly:

  1. When you’re deciding where to live, choose an apartment that is walkable, meaning you can walk to nearly anything you need. Use WalkScore to determine a neighborhood’s walkable rating.
  2. Choose an apartment that has good insulation so you’re not wasting energy. If you don’t know if it has good insulation, ask before you rent. If you are already renting, improve your insulation with door draft stoppers or by asking your apartment manager to add insulation to your complex.
  3. Avoid disposable things such as tissues, paper towels, disposable dishes, disposable napkins and plastic ware. Use reusable versions of these instead.
  4. Don’t waste food by planning meals in advance.
  5. Eat less meat. Ashley and Mike are both vegetarians, but even eating one meatless meal a week could save your family hundreds of dollars per year.
  6. Shop for secondhand furniture and clothing.
  7. If your apartment doesn’t recycle, ask them to, or take your recyclable goods to a recycling center. Recycling guidelines for most cities are on the city or county website.
  8. Wash almost all of your clothes on the cold cycle.
  9. Try a Community Sponsored Agriculture (CSA) program, which delivers local, seasonal produce to your home or a nearby pickup location. Visit Local Harvest to find a CSA near you.
  10. Don’t buy anything unless you really need or want it. Think hard before you buy.

Comments

comments

Source: apartmentguide.com

5 Ways to Clean Your Stove Grates

Gas stoves are often preferred by culinary enthusiasts, but those grates can get nasty quickly. Over the years, really smart people have figured out easy hacks for cleaning stove grates and stovetops.

Here, we break down some steps and basic materials on how to clean a stovetop to perfection. Just so you can mess it up all over again.

Clean stove grates the easy way

First and foremost, always wait until grates are totally cooled before removing them from the cooktop. There’s no sense in ending up in the ER with major burns.

Clean kitchen. Clean kitchen.

1. Cleaning stove grates with dish soap

This is probably the easiest and most basic method for cleaning stove grates.

Materials: dish soap, water and a soft cloth.

  1. Fill up the sink with hot, soapy water.
  2. Soak the grates for at least 20 minutes (do not do this for un-coated cast iron grates, see another method).
  3. For really gross grates, make a paste using one part water, three parts baking soda. Allow it to sit for 20 minutes.
  4. Using a soft cloth, wipe down the burners (rinse first if you used baking soda paste)
  5. Dry thoroughly, then replace on the cooktop.

Although this method does require some elbow grease, it’s still a fairly low-key way to clean stove grates until they reach sparkling status.

2. Cleaning stove grates with ammonia

If you’re not a fan of strong chemicals like ammonia, keep on reading. If you hate scrubbing, however, this could be just the grate cleaning method for you!

Before you begin, here are some safety items to note. Never let ammonia get in your eyes. Wear gloves to protect your skin. Never ever mix it with bleach or anything that contains bleach. Doing so turns toxic quick!

Materials: ammonia, Ziploc bags large enough to fit your grates, rubber gloves. If you have large grates substitute kitchen trash bags in place of Ziplocs.

  1. Place one dirty grate per bag.
  2. Add one-quarter to one-half of a cup of ammonia to the bag.
  3. Seal the Ziploc bag. Tie the kitchen bag closed. Make sure there’s some air left in the bag because it’s the air that circulates the ammonia and helps it work its magic.
  4. Keep the grates in the bags overnight.
  5. In the morning, open some windows or otherwise make sure you have plenty of ventilation.
  6. Open bags and dump liquid contents into the sink.
  7. Rinse grates under warm, running water.

Now, marvel over how clean they are!

Again, take care to avoid any chemical exposure when cleaning the stove grates this way. Safety first!

Vinegar, water and a sponge. Vinegar, water and a sponge.

3. Cleaning stove grates with vinegar

It’s much easier to avoid a huge mess if it’s handled a little bit every day. To prevent unsightly pileups use a daily vinegar spray to keep stove grates clean. It’s cheap and non-toxic.

Materials: spray bottle, white vinegar, gloves and a clean cloth

  1. Put on the gloves.
  2. Fill the spray bottle with white vinegar.
  3. Spray the grates.
  4. After about 15 minutes, wipe the grates with the cloth. Repeat if necessary.

Doesn’t get much easier than that!

4. Cleaning stove grates with baking soda

Much like white vinegar, baking soda is widely beloved for its cleaning capabilities. Try using a simple baking soda paste to get those grates back to good.

Materials: 3 Tbsp baking soda, 3 Tbsp cold water, gloves, paper towels or a clean cloth and a soft-bristled scrub brush

  1. Mix water and baking soda in a bowl to form a paste.
  2. Apply the baking soda paste to the grates.
  3. Let sit for about 20 minutes, then scrub with the brush.
  4. Using the cloth or towels, wipe the grates clean.

The bonus thing about baking soda is that it is a really great scrubber but won’t damage any surfaces.

Degreaser spray for cleaning stove gratesDegreaser spray for cleaning stove grates

5. Cleaning stove grates with degreaser

It’s not necessary to use homemade cleaners on stove grates. Plenty of commercial products are available that do a bang-up job, as well.

Materials: a non-toxic degreaser

  1. Place the stove grates in the sink.
  2. Spray liberally with a non-toxic degreaser.
  3. Let soak for about 15 or 20 minutes.
  4. Rinse the grates with hot water.
  5. Scrub with a nylon brush and tackle any stubborn stains as needed.

Remember to let the grates dry completely before putting them back on the stove.

how to clean stovetophow to clean stovetop

How to clean the rest of the stovetop

Clearly, a stove is more than just grates. When they get dirty, the rest of the parts tend to, as well. Here are a few steps to getting a fully clean gas stovetop:

  1. Make sure the stove is totally cooled off. Remove the stove grates and set them aside.
  2. Wipe up crumbs or other food particles from the stovetop.
  3. Pull off burner caps and set them aside.
  4. Spray with your cleaning agent of choice. Use a soap/water combo, liquid degreaser or vinegar/water mixture. Let soak in for a few minutes.
  5. Use a soft scouring pad to scrub. Throughout the process, use a clean paper towel to lift out the grime and remove it. Repeat as needed.
  6. If anything refuses to come off, use a nylon scrub brush or toothbrush for a little more oomph.
  7. Wipe off the stove surface with clean paper towels until dry. Then, use glass cleaner to do another once over to bring back the shine and remove degreaser leftovers.
  8. Clean burner caps in warm, soapy water. Once the cooktop is clean, put burner caps and grates back on.

An electric stove top usually needs only some warm, soapy water and a sponge. Use a baking soda paste or commercial cleaner, if necessary, to get rid of stubborn stains.

The cleaner the stove grates, the cleaner the kitchen

Obviously, this process doesn’t need to happen after every single cooking session. But it is a good idea to keep an eye out for stovetop grate buildup to make it a less laborious process.

Spend less time cleaning stove grates and more time eating and enjoying the fruits of your labors!

Comments

comments

Source: apartmentguide.com

How to Organize Your Bathroom

How to Organize Your BathroomHow to Organize Your Bathroom
Eleve Apartments in Glendale, CA

Your bathroom is one of the smaller spaces in your apartment, but it also is home to many items. From toiletries to shower supplies to cleaning supplies and medicine, your bathroom holds it all. A bathroom can become disorganized quickly, but with a few steps, you can get your bathroom organized in no time. Here’s how.

Start with your drawers. Take everything out of your drawers. Separate the items you want to keep from the items you want to toss. If some of the items have been collecting dust, it’s time to throw those items away. Use a cosmetic organizer or small boxes for your cosmetics. Place the organizer or boxes into your drawers.

Next, check your cabinets. Similar to the last step, take everything out from under your bathroom sinks. Throw away anything you do not use. Add storage shelves to this area of your bathroom to maximize the space. Use this for small items such as soaps, perfume/cologne, shampoos, etc. Add hooks to this to hang brushes, sponges or towels. If you have a hairdryer that seems to get in the way, use an over-the-door cabinet organizer to organize your styling tools and products. Another idea for this space is to add a lazy Susan under the sink for easy access to your products.

Shower/tub. There are several options to organize your shower. There are shower caddies that fit over the door of your shower or ones that fit over the shower head. Place items such as shampoo, wash cloths and body wash on the caddy. This will clear up shower space and give off the appearance of organization.

Another option to organize your shower/tub is to use a shower dispenser. This will remove the clutter of your shampoo, conditioner and body wash bottles. It fits flat on the wall and it dispenses your shampoo with a push of a button.

More on organizing your apartment:
How to Organize Your Pantry5 Creative Home Storage IdeasOrganize Your Kitchen Cabinets

Add extra shelving for more space. Often times, the space over your toilet is wasted space. Adding a shelving unit or shelves on the walls will add much needed additional storage space in your bathroom. If towel space is needed in your bathroom, install a two-tier shelf with towel bars. It has shelves for extra towels for your guests, and it has a shelf for miscellaneous products such as cotton swabs, cotton balls, lotions, hair brushes, etc. There is also an extra towel rack.

Countertops. Now that you’re done organizing the rest of your bathroom, it’s time to focus on your counters. When possible, keep your counters clear to reduce the potential for clutter. Use this 5-in-1 toothbrush holder for your toothbrush, toothpaste and hand soap/lotion. If you keep your jewelry on your counter, use a clear organizer tower to jeep your jewelry organized and in one place.

Miscellaneous. Keep your cotton swabs together with a holder. For your rolls of toilet paper, use a hanging over-the-toilet tank holder. Be sure to keep extra basic toiletries such as soap, shampoo, lotion, toothbrushes, toothpaste, etc. for your guests. Keep these items in a clear, plastic storage bin for easy access. This can be placed in your cabinet or in a drawer. Use plastic hooks in your bathroom for bath robes, towels, etc.

A simple task to keep your bathroom organized and clean is to clean up and pick up after yourself daily. This will prevent clutter from forming and will be less stressful for you.

Comments

comments

Source: apartmentguide.com

6 Best Kitchen Gadgets for Small Kitchens

best kitchen toolsbest kitchen tools

As an apartment renter, it’s highly likely that you are in a tight space and on a tight budget. So when it comes to building your kitchen gadget collection, the latest 12-piece stainless steel cookware set by Martha Stewart won’t be on your wish list.

But don’t let your small space or limited budget stop you from bringing out your inner gourmet chef. Instead, embrace a few must-have gadgets that let your culinary skills shine. Check out our suggestions for the six best kitchen gadgets for small kitchens.

  1. Can opener – The tip here isn’t so much to have a can opener, but to have a good quality one. I can’t tell you how frustrating it is to buy a brand new opener only to have it fall to pieces after one or two uses. Avoid cheap, dollar store buys. A good quality can opener will generally cost over $5.00.
  2. Knife set – If you do a lot of chopping, slicing and dicing, a great cutlery set is a must. Sorry to break it to you, but you shouldn’t be using one single knife for cutting meat, vegetables, cheese and everything else under the sun. A decent cutlery set will have knives of different lengths and edging for various types of use.
  3. Corkscrew – The last thing you want in life is a struggle to get your bottle of vino opened quickly and easily. This is another item on which you won’t want to penny pinch. A good quality corkscrew will be pricey, but it’ll open your bottle with ease.
  4. Slow cooker – Back in the day, my mom used her Crock Pot a lot. She’d set it on low in the morning and by the time we returned from work and school that evening, dinner would be ready. I actually refuse to leave my slow cooker on while I’m not home. So instead, I let my meals simmer overnight. It’s hard to ignore the yummy aroma at 7 a.m. as I’m getting ready for work, but it’s such a time saver not having to come home and prepare a meal from scratch.
  5. Electric hand mixer – Are you into baking and trying new recipes? Then you may have to do a lot of mixing. If you’re lazy like me, you refuse to do any hand stirring with a large spoon. A small hand mixer is a steal. I got mine for about $7.00 and it’s lasted at least two years.
  6. Griddle – What I like about having a griddle is that you can prepare a fairly large amount of food at one time – more than a standard size frying pan will hold. I use mine for making pancakes, frying turkey bacon at the same time. It’s also great for grilling chicken and fish Tip: be sure to invest in a griddle that has a non-stick surface.

What kitchen gadget is an absolute must-have for you?

Make the most of your kitchen space:
How to Create a Retro KitchenSingle Serving: Tips on Cooking Smart for OneHow to Clean Your Kitchen Appliances

Comments

comments

Source: apartmentguide.com

Get Your Space Cleaned Up in a Hurry

[find-an-apartment]Quick! You’ve got a houseguest arriving or a dinner party in an hour. How can you tackle a desperate speed clean in time? Don’t panic! Here are some cleaning tips to get your place looking perfectly presentable — in a hurry.

Declutter
Here’s where you get rid of any piles of stuff littering your living space–the things you’ve wanted to sort properly, but haven’t found the time to get around to. Hey, now your time is really up! An empty bin that you can fill and stow away will come in handy – just make sure you separate any really important items, like bills, in a place where you can locate them later.

Read more: Tips to Clean Your Cluttered Room of Shame

Quick dust
You don’t have to wipe down every square-inch of space and each knick-knack in your apartment. The goal is a fast cleaning of any long expanses of table-tops, shelves and other surfaces where dust really shows up. Locations over your guests’ heads and in nooks where they just can’t see may be left for a more leisurely dusting later.

Surgical floor cleaning
Save the under-the-bed and behind-the-sofa vacuuming for another day. This effort is to get the drips of coffee off the kitchen floor and suck up the balls of cat fur on the living room carpet. Be strategic, be surgical and try to get all the spots you feel are reasonably visible. A little bit of dust in the far corners of a room will be forgiven by any but the most fastidious visitor.

Target the bathroom
If you have a guest bathroom, do the best quick cleaning job there, as it will probably get more attention than any other room. Sweep the floor and then do a fast wet mop, using a Swiffer or other disposable pad system. Pour a little bleach into the toilet bowl and scrub the inside with a toilet brush to get it clean in a hurry. Flushable cleaning cloths, such as Method wipes, are a quick and easy way to deal with icky residue. Do a quick scrub of the tub or shower, rinsing away hair, mildew and soap scum, and pull the shower curtain or door shut.

Read more: How to Organize Your Bathroom

Quick final touches
Well, you may not have time to go out and buy fresh flowers, but there are things you can do for a last-minute finale. A clean tablecloth can instantly add an elegant finish to your dining room. Top it with a bright bowl filled with fruit and you’ll look like you’ve had all day to get ready. Do you have a few candles in a cupboard? Fresh sticks in candle holders or tea candles on pretty saucers can instantly dress up a sideboard.

To add a fresh smell to your kitchen, take a page out of the book of real estate tricks and sprinkle a spoonful of cinnamon on a small square of tin foil. Turn the oven on at low heat and let the aroma do the rest.

You don’t have to spend hours scrubbing to get your space clean enough for casual company. Keep these simple cleaning tips in mind, and you’ll be ready for a crowd at a moment’s notice!

Photo credit: Shutterstock / mmphotographie.de

Comments

comments

Source: apartmentguide.com