Friday, August 29, 2014

Fitting a Home Office into a Living Room

When you live in a small apartment, it may seem impossible to have a home office, but Apartment Therapy has several inventive ways you can fit a home office into your living room.  

You can use your end table as your home office by organizing your office supplies into decorative boxes and then placing them on a shelving unit that you use as a side table.  Make sure to leave some space on the top so you can work on it! 
 Another option is to place your workspace on in a bookcase unit with adjustable shelves.  You can even use curtains or a panel on rails to hide your office when it's not in use.

A table placed behind the couch is another great option for a living room office.  Using a chair or stool that can tuck completely under the desk will maximize your available space.  Want to have your home office "out of sight, out of mind"?  Place a partition such as a screen, shutters or a curtain in front of your desk area.

If you live in a two-story townhome or loft, the area under an open staircase is a perfect spot to tuck a diminutive workspace and some shelves.  Armoires, hutches or secretary desks are perfect for housing a home office that you can close up when it's quitting time.  Lastly, if you have a closet that isn't needed, this can be a great place to tuck a workspace.

Need help finding an apartment with room for a home office?  Give A Plus Apartments a call today at 512-231-1400.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Keep Mosquitoes Away Using Plants

Keeping mosquitoes away using plants is a natural and less smelly alternative to DEET or citronella candles.  Apartment covers five plants that will keep the pesky pests from spoiling your outdoor plans.

Catnip not only attracts cats, but it also repels mosquitoes.  In experiments, researchers found that nepetalactone, the essential oil in catnip that gives the plant its characteristic odor, is about ten times more effective at repelling mosquitos than DEET, the compound used in most commercial insect repellents.  Apparently catnip also repels roaches, so for a pest free, cat filled balcony or yard, plant some catnip!

Rosemary also repels mosquitoes.  Not only does it smell heavenly, taste delicious and look beautiful because of its bright blue flowers, rosemary oil is a natural bug repellent.  You can crush the leaves and rub them all over you to keep the mosquitoes off leave you and smelling a lot better than stinky bug spray.

Marigolds keep those biting bloodsuckers away while their beautiful orange flowers will keep your garden colorful.  If you plant them near vegetables, they also keep away other bugs such as aphids that can ruin your plants.  Mosquito Plants and Citronella Grass are two other options if you would like to plant foliage that will keep the mosquitoes at bay.

Looking for an apartment with a great outdoor space where you can put your mosquito repelling plants?  Give A Plus Apartments a call today at 512-231-1400.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Scanning Important Documents with Your Phone

By scanning photos with your phone, you can get rid of a lot of paper clutter.  Suddenly, there's no need for a filing cabinet and all those piles of paper.  Apartment Therapy shows you how to scan papers with your phone and how to store them.

You can take a picture of anything you need to hold onto such as bills, paystubs, your lease, etc, with your phone and then shred and throw away the paper.  The best thing about using your phone is that it's always with you, as opposed to a scanner that you need to take that extra step of going to to save your papers.  Once you've taken the picture of your important stuff, you need a way to store it.

The best way to store your stuff is "in the cloud" so you can access it wherever you need it.  Dropbox is a great program for organizing and saving stuff on the net.  You simply download the program for free, then you can store all your important files.  Inside your Dropbox folder, make a folder only for important documents.  Then you can make sub-folders for anything that you need to be able to find on a regular basis, such as bills, receipts, work, or however else it makes sense for you to organize them.

Another great tool for scanning and keeping images with your phone is TurboScan.  It's only $1.99 and it takes images you've taken with your iPhone and adjusts the lighting and contrast of the image to make sure the text is completely readable.  It also lets you save files in PDF format, e-mail them or save them to Dropbox.  You can then open your files in any application that will open PDFs, even apps like Dropbox and Evernote.

The most important part of this process is to actually scan all those little pieces of paper you have lying around.  Of course, you may not be able to get through the backlog, but go ahead and scan your most important stuff and anything new that comes through.  Enjoy your new paperless existence!

Need help finding an apartment that fits your new paperless lifestyle?  Give A Plus Apartments a call today at 512-231-1400!

Friday, August 8, 2014

Thaw Frozen Foods Safely

Thawing frozen foods must be done safely, or you can make yourself sick.  While freezing food does put microorganisms that can cause disease in "suspended animation", once food is warmed up to above 40 degrees Fahrenheit, the bacteria can start multiplying.  Apartment Therapy helps you thaw that food without worrying about getting sick.

The simplest way to get that food from frozen solid to ready to eat is to thaw it in the refrigerator.  It does have the longest lead time, however, so you have to plan ahead.  Some of the reasons why this is a great method include the fact that you don't have to actively be involved in the thawing process and the refrigerator makes sure your food remains at a safe temperature.  You can thaw dinner while you're away at work, and if you change your mind about using the food, it can be eaten later or refrozen safely.

Another method is using cold water.  Place the sealed package of food in a bowl, pot or sink and drain and refill the water every half hour until the item is no longer frozen.  Or you can thaw your meat under cold running water.  You can also use the microwave, but this method can cause the food to thaw unevenly, resulting in not very tasty food or even bacteria.  Only use this method if you plan to cook the food, or for frozen fruits that will be served immediately.

You can set out frozen pastries, breads and fruits on the counter and allow them to thaw at room temperature for 2-4 hours.  Never use this method for meat, fish and vegetables, however, to avoid getting sick.

A Plus Apartment Locators can help you find a great apartment to thaw your food in, no matter what your method!  Give us a call today at 512-231-1400.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Protecting Your Eyes at the Computer

Preventing Ey
e Strain from sitting in front of a computer is important because most of us spend eight hours a day or more in front of the bright glare of the screen.  Whether you're working or just surfing the web, Apartment has some tips to keep your eyes healthy and happy. 

Remember when your Moms nagged you not to sit too close to the tv or you'd ruin our eyesight?  The same is true for how close you sit to your computer monitor.  If you sit too close, you may not go blind, but it will discourage you from blinking frequently enough which eventually leads to eye dryness.  Your monitor should be at eye level and you should be seated about 20 to 26 inches away from it.

Another tip for preventing eye dryness is to keep a bottle of eye drops at your desk.  When your eyes start to feel tired or dry, take a quick break and give them a couple of drops of rewetting solution.  Also, pay close attention to the lighting in your office, whether it be at work or in your house or apartment.  Overhead florescents and bright overall light can create glare and make your eyes have trouble focusing.  Instead, use a lamp focused towards the wall beside your work area and switch out bright fluorescent bulbs for ones with a soft and natural glow. 

Finally, if your eyes are still feeling the strain after following all this advice, it might be time to look into computer reading glasses.  These glasses are specially designed to reduce glare and just slightly magnify what you are reading on the screen to give your eyeballs a break.

Need help finding an apartment with room for a home office where you can try out your new eye strain tricks?  Give A Plus Apartments a call today at 512-241-1111!