Thursday, December 11, 2014

Life Hacks: Apartment Style

Since moving to the Midwest I've lived in three different apartments in the last three and a half years, here are the best apartment life hacks that I use to keep stuff organized, space minimized and time maximized.

Laundry Pile Problem

Sure piling up dirty clothes is one way to go, we've all been there. But it takes up space, precious floor space and honestly it looks horrible. If we're going to stay productive and motivated the space we live in needs to be livable, not lived in.

Mounting shelf braces to the wall above the laundry machines, in this case under existing shelving, preserves the precious floor space that a hamper would take up and keeps the above shelf clear for storage.

Here we use four 12" shelf brackets from Home Depot and twelve 1.5" screws to create sturdy wall mounts for our Walmart square laundry baskets. The baskets sit right on the shelf brackets and slide on and off smoothly, letting us dump each basket into the machines as they fill up. Quick, neat, DIY solution to the pile of dirty clothing on the floor and you can separate workout clothes from business attire, or whites from darks super simply.

The trick to this hack is getting the brackets spaced correctly so the basket sits level.
Pint Sized Christmas Tree

A real, live, fresh cut tree smells like Christmas! But apartment living calls for a smaller tree...with a smaller trunk... that doesn't quite fit in the stand...ever. Even if your don't celebrate you probably know someone with this problem.

Wrap the trunk in duct tape? Doesn't work well - waste of good tape. Buy a new stand? Are you kidding - I can't afford that, my parents gave me this one.

How do we get the stand to fit the tree and make it so we don't have to spend all day cranking down on the little finger-numbing handles that tighten the screws? Replace them! Any self respecting hardware store carries hex-head threaded bolts of varying sizes that easily replace the hand-cranked bolts the stand comes with.

Here we use 1/4" diameter hex-head bolts that our drill connects right to that reach all the way to our tiny tree's trunk for a snug fit that is power tool driven. No falling over tree, no aching hands!

Even Ninja won't be able to knock this tree over

Jewelry Box Jumble 

We're all guilty of it: get new a new necklace, put it in the jewelry box never to be worn again. Why? Its so hard to untangle all those necklaces from the earrings and we just don't have time to untie the jumbled beads and chains.
The solution? A man's tie rack: simple, inexpensive and quick to hang up. Home Depot has this model (screws included) that makes organizing necklaces, dangly earrings and even a few skinny belts a breeze. Everything is visible and easy to access making us much more likely to wear the stuff we buy too!