Making the most out of your apartment (size)

It’s no shock to anyone, inside or outside of Manhattan, that New Yorkers pay tons of money for teeny, not-so-homey homes. But, Michael Bloomberg (New York City Mayor) is on to something: cheaper, sustainably-sized apartments. In fact — under his New Housing Marketplace Plan — the City recently held a design competition to create 55 “micro-apartments” to be built by 2015.

Photo from archdaily.com

The winning team (composed of Monadnock Development, Actors Fund Housing Development Corporation and Brooklyn’s nARCHITECTS) designed apartments ranging from 250-350 square feet. Sounds small? Well, it is. But with the right eye and the right design it’s completely habitable, and — judging from the models — much chicer than most other affordable housing options in the boroughs.

But what does this have to do with you? Everything. Because we could all learn a thing or two about how to make the most out of the space we’re given. So lets take some tips from New York and Bloomberg and start working with what we’ve got.

Read on for ideas, tips, or just plain old inspiration.

Lack an entry-way in your new place? Frustrating, but you probably have a bookshelf (or can find one at a thrift store, or Ikea). Take out the top several shelves, drill in a few hooks, and suddenly you have a well-contained coat rack. Plus, you can use the remaining shelves for shoes.

Need more storage in your bedroom (or living-room)? Buy a chest instead of a coffee table. Holds sheets, towels, winter clothes, rain gear, the list goes on.

Apartment Therapy recommends having a space for everything because – to be frank – if something doesn’t belong anywhere, it ends up on the floor. Clutter begins here, and clutter makes apartments feel small (and claustrophobic).

For those of you with a lot of jewelry, stop trying to hide it. It’s actually a space saver if you leave it out. You wear it to decorate your person, so decorate your walls with it as well.

Tiny kitchens? Invest in a dining table on wheels. That way you can move around at your will, and store to the side, as needed.

What do YOU do to make your FreshRent Apartment feel homey and clutter-free? Tell us on Facebook- We’re listening.

On Breaking Winter Boredom

So it’s the middle of winter. It feels like the sun hasn’t shown its face in weeks. No, months. And the inside of your beautiful apartment is suddenly starting to feel like a jail cell.

YOU NEED TO GET OUT!

But how? Where? To do what?

How about ice-skating? If there’s one way to enjoy the winter weather outdoors it’s ice-skating! Too far south for snow? Plagued with rain instead? Head to an indoor ice rink, or better yet, bust out the old rollerskates for an acceptable southern alternative. Now call up a friend (or make one at the rink) and channel your childhood memories. Or—if you’re one of those people who never skated as kid—make new memories. Whether your fall on your butt or land a triple axle you’ll find yourself laughing and sweating. Winter boredom: be gone!

Looking for a way to be out and about without the joys of a red, runny nose, or soggy shoes? Save up some gas money, get in the car and make a day of road-tripping. You don’t have to go far to see something new, and it’ll make you feel like you got to take an adventure without spending or doing a lot. Get old school- burn a mix CD, pack some snacks and hit the road. Maybe even dust off that old Atlas of yours and navigate as you go.  Don’t have a car? Have no fears—ZipCar is in nearly every city, offers affordable rates, and allows non-car owners to get out and drive when they want.

Photo from DJRay.com

Or, you can always bring the party and the people to you. The next couple of months are packed with TV events that 20somethings just love to use as excuses to throw a party. Football fan? This year’s Super Bowl Sunday falls on February 3. Make some 7-layer dip (check out this awesome/easy recipe), order a bucket (or several) of wings, get some beer and have your friends come root for their team of choice. Added bonus- maybe Beyonce will actually perform an interesting halftime show. Not into keeping score? There’s always The Oscars (on February 24). The recipe is pretty much the same, maybe some hummus and mini quiches go better with Best Movie nominees, but then maybe not. Music’s big night is also quickly approaching. The Grammys are February 10. Either way they’re fun excuses to have a get together.

And don’t forget – you can always host a movie night at your apartment too. Redbox that dramadey/horror/film you’ve been dying to see for the last year but somehow never had time to watch, get some people together, pop some popcorn, call it BYOMD (bring your own Milk Duds), and make a night out of it.

Other ideas:

  • Craft nights at your FreshRent-found apartment- tell your friends to bring supplies and start crafting!
  • A bundled-up scavenger hunt- brainstorm a list, put out a Facebook event, and have the losing team(s) by the winners dinner or drinks at the bar you’ve been wanting to check out.
  • Restaurant hop- make a list of the best appetizer, dinners, and desserts in your city and make a night out of being a foodie!

FreshRent. Here to help you with all your apartment hunting needs, and sometimes even more. And remember, spring is only 60ish days away!

New Year, New City, New Apartment

So you’ve moved to a new city and survived your first holiday season in your new place. Congratulations!

But now, as the confetti is getting swept up and the festive decorations are coming down, life returns to it’s normal ebb and flow. Except, you’re in a new place and have yet to fully find your niche.

It’s time to make a resolution or two. Now, New Year’s Resolutions can feel a bit…trite, but in your situation they might actually be useful. Take the typical January 1st proclamation: “I Will Work Out More.” This year going to the gym will not only get you in better shape, it’s also a great place to meet some locals. This could be the best of both worlds: new friends, and a gym buddy will probably keep you motivated to work out all the way through 2013.

And we’ve all experienced the post-Holiday cleanup high that often leads to the self-affirmation “This year I’m going to be neater.” This usually lasts for a few weeks before the clothes are back on the floor, and the sink is overflowing. But this year you’re trying to meet people, and having a place where your not embarrassed to bring people to is always helpful. It might just be the inspiration to keep your new FreshRent apartment clean. Because—let’s be real here—no one wants to bring a new-city-date home to a messy house.

But resolutions aren’t just about getting your life into shape; they’re also about giving yourself room to reinvent who you are. Relocating makes that even easier. In 2013 get over your shyness, or your stage fright. Finally carve out some time in your life to learn guitar, take a dance class, or go to that open mic you heard about. It’s a great way to meet other cool, like-minded people, and the adrenaline rush will keep you talking well past the “nice to meet yous.”

Make the most of 2013, shake up your routine, and get yourself out there. And remember, FreshRent is here to help with all your apartment hunting, and living needs!

Apartment Hunting: How-To

So it’s really that time, you’re officially contemplating a change in scenery? In other words- you’re ready to move. But where do you go from here? What neighborhood fits? Are there roommates involved? Can you afford it?

Here are a few tips, brought to you by FreshRent, on starting your hunt for a new home.

Roommates: To have or have not? This is a big question, and one that involves a few factors:

  1. Can you afford to live alone?
  2. Will you enjoy the solitude or end up being that crazy person who talks to their plants?
  3. If roommates are the answer- are you looking for friends, acquaintances or straight up strangers?

Living alone can be nice, especially if you choose to be in a trendy (i.e. 20-something filled) neighborhood where your friends and possible future friends are likely to hang out. However, if a more quiet, family-friendly neighborhood is better suited for you, roommates might just be the answer. You can travel out to the busy parts of town when you want to or have a quiet night at home- but not alone- if desired.

Living alone can be costly- there’s no one helping with rent, electricity, internet, and you really weren’t ready to give up cable. Roommates can help that.  And they’ll probably keep you from talking to your plants, but then you need to decide if you want to take the Craig’s List approach:

Benefits:

  1. You don’t owe them much—had a bad day at work and don’t want to hang out? Escaping to your room with no more than a simple “hey” is acceptable.
  2. Their allergies will stop you from getting that dog/cat/ferret you don’t actually need.
  3.  No risk of destroying a friendship—you weren’t friends to start with, so a fight over who didn’t do what dishes won’t turn into an argument about how you’ve NEVER been a supportive friend.
  4.  You might actually make new friends.

Negatives:

  1. Your roomie-to-be might be a bit more Type A than they let on in the interview and suddenly they’re yelling at you for not keeping the DVDs alphabetized.
  2. There could be a Significant Other in the picture that ends up being the third (non-rent paying) roommate …warning: this can happen with friends too.
  3. Are you vegan? Random-Roommate is not, and just cooked a juicy burger in your cast iron frying pan.

Honesty is always the best policy when picking roommates. If you know doing the dishes in a timely manner isn’t your thing-SAY IT. Maybe add in that you find vacuuming to be stress relieving, but say it. If you’re a night person you probably don’t want to live with a morning person. Making note of these things, prior to signing a lease, can be a lifesaver.

Now that you have all that sorted let FreshRent do the rest!

Prepping Your Place For Summer

Atlanta’s warming up so before summer officially hits make sure your fabulous DDA apartment is summer equipped, and we’re not just talking air conditioned.

First thing’s first: hide any and all winter clothes. You’re sick of looking at them. You even more sick of wearing them. Pack them up, shove them under your bed and be done with them ’til Thanksgiving rolls back around.

Invest in a new (cheap) pair of shades, Urban Outfitters always has some fantastic options. The brighter the better. Keep them, along with a tube of your preferred sunscreen, by the front door at all times. That way you can grab and go.

You’re livin it up in Atlanta now, better follow through in true Southern form: sweet tea and lemonade should be on constant refill in your fridge.

If you haven’t already, get a window box, and plant stuff in it. Tomatoes and basil both love the sun. Or, if you want to be really adventurous, try planting a watermelon. It probably wont work, but who knows, and how cool would it be if you had a watermelon growing from your third floor kitchen window?

Learn how to make the perfect Mojito. Or better yet, watermelon mojitos!

If you’re on the sunburning side of life, invest in an aloe plant. Learn to love it. Help it grow. Apply liberally to burning, blistered skin. You can thank me later.

Always-seriously, ALWAYS- keep some kind of fun popsicle that’ll dye your tongue weird colors in your freezer. It’s a guaranteed friend pleaser and childhood-memory restorer.

Simply remember: brighter is always better. Pillows, curtains, new sheets, table-clothes, cheap plastic cups (for the mojitos).

Finally, stock up on some trashy summer reading- (think John Saul, Danielle Steele, Jennifer Weiner) for the beach, for lounging in front of your air conditioner, or, because you used DDA, your awesome apartment building’s pool. Just don’t be that person who decides to make a splash by jumping from their balcony to said pool.

And now, just sit, sip, and wait for summer in 5…4…3…2…

Makin a Friend or Two in Hotlanta, Roller Skates Optional

One of the two most complicated things about moving to a new city is finding a new crew. (The other is finding a new place but thanks to DDA you’ve already gotten that part out of the way!) But everyone wants friends, so stop being shy and get out there.

Except where exactly is there?

Thanks to modern technology this question is relatively easy to answer. Everyone—and their mother—is on Facebook and Twitter. And befriending people via social media sometimes saves you from that mildly awkward first conversation. Start by finding an interesting event happening in your new city and stalk the guest list until you see someone who looks “cool” (you have to define that for yourself). Then do a bit more investigation of their profile—do you have any similar interests? Do they look they like to put on a hockey mask and reenact horror movies (the answer should be NO if you choose to message them). But if they seem like someone you might possibly get along with, send them a message asking if you can get drinks at said event. Worst case scenario they say no or don’t write back, best case scenario you meet someone for drinks –giving your outing more purpose— and maybe you made a friend…with someone who most likely has other friends.

Not a fan of social network stalking? Don’t worry, that new job of yours comes fully stocked with co-workers. Hopefully a ton of fun, like-minded, 20-something coworkers, but if not tons there’s probably still one or two. If you’re feeling bold wait until Friday afternoon to ask them what they’ve got planned for the weekend. If they don’t invite you outwardly, ask if you could grab drinks or coffee sometime during the next few days. Remind them you’re new to town, if nothing else they’ll feel bad or relate to a year ago when they moved to the city.

Finally, if you’re still feeling doubtful, join something. GoKickball has leagues throughout the country and the one in Atlanta is especially popular. It even has it’s own “league bars” throughout the city for post game refreshments (hence you have to be 21 to play with these kids). Summer registration starts on April 26.

Or really branch out, bust out your roller skates and try out for Dirty South Derby with the Atlanta Rollergirls. They’re currently recruiting with workshops and tryouts starting early this summer. This way you can work out and instead of one new friend you get a whole team’s worth.

So now you’re ready to go make some friends, and because you checked out DDA, you already know where you’re crashing tonight.

Need a Spring Fever cure? Atlanta is loaded with eggcellent Easter action.

Spring is in the air and Easter is only a bunny hop-skip-and-jump away. Quite possibly this is your first holiday in your new apartment, and maybe you’re feeling a little unsure of what to do with yourself.

Well, Atlanta is overflowing with seasonal events—with everything from art festivals to Easter Egg Hunts. So get out of your house, grab a new friend, a co-worker, or the person who shares a wall with you and check out some of the spring activities! This gets you new friends—bonding over a silly outing is a great way to build nostalgia. Also going on a silly outing is the best way to get to know (and fall in love with) your new home.

If you love Easter check out the Kirkwood Easter Egg Hunton April 7. Maybe you’re too old to participate in the search for2000 eggs, but nothing else will get you in the holiday spirit like this. Then you can go home, make some mimosas and dye your own eggs. A make-shift chosen-family Easter.

Still looking for the perfect coffee table or nightstand? Check out Salvage on April 14, at Ambient Plus Studios. There’ll be everything from clothes to retro finds to books, and even a mason jar design contest. For the hipster in all of us.

Just want to get outside and enjoy the blossoms? Piedmont Park is hosting the 76th Annual Atlanta Dogwood Festival (76 years means it has to be good right?). For three days the park will be the site of live music (four stages if you’re counting the kids stage), and hundreds of artists from all over the country. Not to mention—funnel cake.

If you consider yourself a foodie, save up for the annual Atlanta Food & Wine Festival, May 10–May 13 in Midtown. This year they’re celebrating southern cooking, with food, drink and some interesting background on the southern culinary traditions. Besides, how often can you afford to splurge on a good meal? This way you can try several!

And remember, if you’re hunting for the perfect new apartment at a better price, checking out DDA is easier than biting the ears off a chocolate bunny!

Will You Unpack Already? Five Ways to Make Your New Place Feel Like Home, Fast!

So you’ve finally moved into your new place (which you probably found on DDA). Boxes are overflowing with your half unpacked life, the refrigerator still smells like cleaning supplies and the walls are so bare they resemble the inside of an eggshell.

What can you do to make it feel more like home? (Besides the obvious unpacking, grocery shopping, and decorating that all spells WORK).

Here’s five ways to kill two birds at once: procrastination and nesting.

  • Take a long—like actually long—walk around the neighborhood. It’s the best way to run into your abutting neighbors, and you’re going to want to know what their about. Are they nosey or noise sensitive? Do they throw massive parties? Could you borrow a cup of sugar from them? Plus, you’ll get to see the other colorful characters of the area, and you’ll find the closet coffee shop for the next morning.
  • Pull out your laptop and do some online shopping—this is a great way to put off late night unpacking AND you can find cool house stuff online. Best of all: there’s ALWAYS a sale online. If you wanna get a hipster look for your home look into Urban Outfitters and Anthropology’s house-wares. For the fancier type try out West Elm. For everyday stuff Bed, Bath and Beyond works.
  • Go on a public transportation adventure, because—let’s face it—if you’re new to an area its almost a guarantee you’ll get lost. Try to do this before you’re first day of work. This will save you from becoming known as the girl or guy who was Late On Their First Day. Embarrassment Life Saver.
  • Check out a neighborhood thrift store (or find one during your metro adventure) and pick up some funky looking records. Even if you don’t have a record player they make fantastic—and cheap—wall décor. It’s a great way to add a touch of new to you, and naked walls.
  • During your neighborhood stroll you probably discovered the local liquor store—or two—buy some mid grade alcohol, a few limes, a couple of mixers, and a bag of Doritos and invite your friends over for an unpacking/sitting on the floor party. You might not have food in your fridge but you can have fun mixed drinks and nothing says adult life like a cocktail party.

But first, you’re going to need that apartment. So visit DDA and start looking for
your new home today
!

Top Ten Signs You Have a Roommate From Hell

Apartment living can be a truly easygoing lifestyle. Leaky sink? Call the super. Too noisy next door? A polite tap on the wall usually gets it done. And you never have to wake up on a Saturday to tackle yard work. At best, you tend to your window boxes or a couple potted plants on the balcony.

When you move to a new city, such as our beloved Atlanta, for instance, especially when you’re showing up for school, a new job, or just to shake things up, connecting with others in a similar situation is a smart move. Finding a roommate can be a smart move. Using online connection services, adds in the free local arts weeklies or Craigslist can put you in touch with well-intentioned folks with the same needs as you.

But occasionally, it turns out that you draw interest from someone who doesn’t have both oars in the water. You may be desperate for someone to help share the rent, but it’s worth taking a minute or two to make sure your potential roomie isn’t bat-guano crazy.

How can you tell before you both start sharing floorspace? We reached out to our trusted panel of Atlanta apartment-dwelling veterans, who helped us compile this list of characteristics that they agree would be less than desirable. If you’re prospective roommate shows any of these attributes, we suggest moving on before you move in:

1. Sets up his personal tanning bed and then tells you he wants to split utilities.

2. Has a personal tanning bed.

3. Too busy catching up on Jersey Shore to TiVo Downton Abbey — or vice versa.

4. Tells you his Turkish Oil Wrestling club will meet at your place only like once a month.

5. Keeps asking you to join his Turkish Oil Wrestling Club.

6. Crochets matching “Best Roomies” cup holders for you . . . and her cats.

7. Leaves the toilet seat up because they insist it’s more comfortable.

8. Informs you that she’s writing a “Cooking With Skunk Cabbage” cookbook, and nominates you official taste tester.

9. Labels everything of yours in the refrigerator. Your nickname is Honey Badger.

10. Wants to take just a few minutes of your time to talk about tremendous investment opportunities courtesy of Nigerian wealth management services.

If you happen to find a roommate who doesn’t display these questionable qualities, check out DDA for a great deal on a great place you can both agree on.

 

Last Chance to Sign up for the March 3 “Run For Your Lives” today!

Fan of the Atlanta-based “The Walking Dead”? Love to run and like the idea of being chased by zombies? Then hurry up and register for Run For Your Lives, a “zombie-infested 5K obstacle course race”.

Hop over pools of blood, side-step puddles of brain — all while dodging a legion of drooling zombies. Fun, right?

Atlanta registration ends today!

And for a deal on a new apartment that won’t freak you out, just click over to DDA!