fish in fishbowl

Alternative Pets for Apartment Living

Alternative Pets

If you’re a dog lover, it might be hard living in an apartment. If you live in an apartment where the landlord doesn’t allow dogs it can be frustrating to not have a furry companion. There are alternatives, however. There are many types of pets that can be quite apartment friendly and companions for you to bond with.


While they may not be particularly cuddly, fish are a great companion that leaves no mess in your unit. They are quiet, so they don’t bother your neighbors and they don’t take up a lot of space. They are also pretty easy to care for. As long as you follow the instructions for your particular species of fish these make a fine pet.


Looking for a companion for life? Some birds can live up to 60 years. They can be communicative and faithful companions for many, many years with proper care. Beware of messes, however. Birds are not domesticated animals, so you will have to clean up their droppings even if they are in a cage.


While some people consider them to be exotic companions, reptiles like snakes and iguanas can be great apartment pets if they match your style. Snakes are surprisingly low-maintenance animals, but they are not for the squeamish. You may have to feed them live mice, which is not for everyone.


Small, cute, and cuddly, hamsters are great pets for small apartments and they allow you to be creative with their environments. You can get any number of pieces of exercise equipment for them from balls that let them roam free to complex tunnels. Just be careful because they bite!


Rabbits make wonderful pets because they are intelligent and enjoy social interaction. They can be difficult to clean up after, however. Some rabbits poop as many as 300 pellets per day. As long as you’re willing to clean up after them they are great pets.

As you can see, just because you can’t have a dog doesn’t mean you can’t have a pet. If you’re willing to adapt and care for a different type of animal you can have a great companion for many years.

security deposit graphic

Security Deposits: What Takes Away From Them

Security Deposits

A security deposit is just part of life when it comes to renting. It is a way to make sure that the apartment building or landlord has funds set aside for necessary maintenance and repairs once a tenant moves out. Some landlords are generous with them and will let things slide for long time tenants, while others can be strict. There is no universal list of what can go against a security deposit and what does not, but speaking with your leasing agent during the process will help give you a better idea. What follows is some of the more common things that can go against a security deposit.

Legally, What can be Deducted

AS mentioned above, there is no definitive list on what can be taken from a security deposit and what can’t. Most landlords want to refund a full deposit because it means there is no damage or extra cleaning. Fixing up an apartment after a tenant leaves not only costs money, it takes time. That time lost is time that the landlord does not have someone renting the space, so it is money lost for them. As long as you leave the apartment in good condition when you leave most landlords will return your full deposit. They understand that general wear and tear is just part of the process.

Renters are responsible for any damage that is out of the ordinary. You can’t leave cigarette burns in the carpet or huge holes in the wall. If you have a pet stained rugs will often mean part of the security deposit won’t be returned. There are often local statutes on what constitutes normal wear and tear, so check your local regulations.

Follow the Lease

You may have to go digging through all of the legalese, but more of the time terms for the security deposit will be included in the lease itself. Property managers will state their exact terms and expectations within the lease. That is part of their job. They can charge for any work that is needed to make the property look exactly as it was before you moved in. A common area here is painting. Some landlords won’t let you paint at all. Others might let you paint as long as you restore it to the previous color before leaving.

What to Do When Moving Out

There are a few things you can do to help the process of returning your deposit when you move out. First, give plenty of notice. Generally, you should give 30-60 days, which gives the landlord plenty of time to prepare the unit and get it back on the market. You can have them do a pre-move out inspection so they can identify areas that you can take care of yourself before they have to. Finally, make sure you give the unit a good cleaning.

Landlords definitely want to work with you even as you are leaving. If you return a unit in good condition it gets it back on the market faster for them. With a little work your separation can be mutual.

Handling Apartment Drain Clogs Yourself

Handling Apartment Drain Clogs Yourself

One of the benefits of apartment living is that you have maintenance on hand to take care of large problems. If your heat goes out or you develop a leak it is often the landlord that is responsible for taking care of it. This is why they have maintenance staffs, and many apartment buildings have staff on site at least part of the day. One of the things you can take care of yourself is apartment drain clogs, however.

You don’t always need to call maintenance, however. There are some problems you can handle for yourself with just a little knowledge. A clogged drain is one of them. If your shower or bathroom sink is backing up you can often just take care of it yourself. Just make sure you don’t damage the fixtures.

Here are some tips on how to take care of drain clogs in your apartment.

Clean With Baking Soda

One of the best ways to take care of clogs is to prevent them in the first place. Cleaning with baking soda can do this. By pouring about half a cup of baking soda down the drain and waiting for it to bubble up it can both help clean and naturally deodorize drains. After letting it sit for 10 minutes pour hot water down the drain to clear it out. If you have a very tricky clog try adding a half cup of vinegar to the baking soda and letting it sit before running the hot water.


Plungers aren’t just for toilets. They can be quite effective on clogged drains as well. Apply a small amount of petroleum jelly to the rim of the plunger to help form a tight seal and place the rubber ball directly over the drain. Use quick and deliberate thrusts and it should help force the clog out.

Wire Hangers

Many times clogs in sink or bath drains are caused by a backup of hair. Fortunately, you don’t need a pipe snake or auger to clear it out. A simple wire hanger will often do. Use a screwdriver to remove the drain cover and straighten out a wire hanger. Leave a hook at the end and feed the wire to fish out any hair that you can. Pull out as much as possible before running hot water down the drain and replacing the cover.

These are just a few ways to take care of a clog yourself. There are other cleaners out there like Enzyme cleaners and power augers, but they run the risk of causing damage to the fixtures that your landlord might now appreciate. If the above methods don’t work it is probably time to call your maintenance staff. The good news is that they are effective and can often take care of the problem before calling anyone else.

bedroom space

Maximize Bedroom Space in Your Apartment

bedroom space

Maximize Bedroom Space in Your Apartment

If you have lived in an apartment for a while you know that maximizing space is important for comfortable living. Each apartment only has a finite amount of space, and unfortunately, some items are only needed part of the time. You may need extra blankets on the bed in winter, but they still need to be stored in summer. These are some ideas that can help you maximize your bedroom space while still having everything you need.

Get a Mattress Topper

No one enjoy mattress shopping. There are so many options and picking the right one can be tricky even before delivery. Maybe you already had enough trouble getting your mattress in the door when you moved in. There is a solution, however: get a memory foam mattress topper. This is a great way to find the right mix of firmness and softness without breaking the bank. It takes up less room than a thicker mattress on a traditional box spring as well. It can even help in the winter, as some mattress pads can be plugged in and heated, helping you save storage space on extra blankets.

Seek Storage Solutions

A great place to look for storage solutions is a place like IKEA, which has plenty of idea on how to maximize space when it is limited. Don’t have an IKEA near you? Stores like Target, Wal-Mart, and others have plenty of storage bins and do-it-yourself cabinets that can help you keep things stashed away, but still at the ready when you need them.

Don’t Forget the Décor

Manage storage solutions can also be functional as décor. A book shelf offers practical storage, but also acts as shelving for your personal effects and shows off your own personal tastes in books. It is also important to make sure the room doesn’t remind you of your daily stressors. The important thing is to make sure it is your own, personal bedroom space.

The key is to be creative. A simple chest at the foot of your bed can double as both storage space and be decorated to make your place your own. With a little imagination you can maximize every square foot of your apartment and truly make it yours.