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Apartment Living

How to Reheat Steak Like a Master Chef

How to Reheat Steak Like a Master Chef

We’ve all been there: You wake up the day after an amazing night out or a well-executed dinner party, thinking longing thoughts about the leftover steak in the fridge.

But how does one go about restoring the tantalizing tenderloin to its former glory without inadvertently turning it into a disappointing and rubbery throw-away? The answer is that there isn’t just one way. Depending on what equipment and time you have at your disposal, there are several ways to achieve a satisfying and restorative effect.

The best methods for reheating steak

Before jumping in to reheating steak, it’s important to consider what different cooking methods do to your food.

The oven, for instance, leverages dry, hot, moving air to heat your food from the outside in. This, of course, runs the risk of dehydrating the food in the process.

The microwave, by contrast, uses radiation to heat your food from the inside out by exciting the water molecules that keep your food moist to begin with. This, too, comes with the risk of irreparably altering the texture of your meal.

Finally, contact heating, as in a pan, uses a single, hot surface to heat your food quickly from the outside in. But the single surface often lends itself to uneven heating. This should not discourage but inform your process. It’s far simpler than it seems to work with these particularities to achieve a truly optimal and delicious effect.

How to reheat steak in the oven

reheating steak in oven

Again, remember that the oven tends to dehydrate easily. Thus, it’s important to use a “low and slow” approach. Reheat the steak at a lower temperature for a longer period of time. This will ensure moisture retention and even heating.

  1. Preheat your oven to a low temperature like 250 to 275 degrees
  2. Place your steak on an elevated rack inside of a baking sheet to allow the air to move around all sides of the steak
  3. Place the tray in the oven and let the steak warm until it reaches an internal temperature of 110 to 130 degrees, about 20 to 30 minutes
  4. This should be perfect, but if you want the crust to feel crispy again, feel free to quickly sear the steak in a grill pan over high heat for about 30 seconds per side

How to reheat steak in a frying pan

reheating steak in frying fan

Pans are great at heating food one side at a time. But if you’re trying to get ready for your lunch break in a hurry, you don’t have time to flip and wait.

  1. Start by using a large pan with enough room to add your steak with plenty of real estate to spare
  2. Scoot the steak over so that it’s touching the wall of the pan, then scoot the pan over so that the part of its bottom that the steak is sitting on is not directly under the burner. This will make sense soon.
  3. Add about one-quarter cup water to the opposite side of the pan, the side over the burner, making sure not to let water pool under the steak
  4. Crank the stovetop up to medium, cover the pan and let the steak cook for about 10 minutes, flipping once
  5. This will avoid heating one side of the steak and will instead encourage a gentle heating of all surfaces of the steak
  6. If you desire a crispier surface, feel free to quick sear the steak afterwards using the same method as is listed above

How to reheat steak in an air fryer

reheating steak in air fryer

With the advent of new kitchen tech comes new means by which to cook and re-cook everything under the sun. An air fryer, for instance, uses the same basic premise as a convection oven (hot, moving air) to cook your food in a manner that produces a similarly crispy texture to frying but without all that oil.

  1. Since we’re talking hot, fast air, cooking quickly to avoid dehydration is a must
  2. Pop your steak in the frying tray, and set the fryer to 370 degrees
  3. “Fry” your steak at that temperature in three-minute sprints until the internal temperature of the steak reads 110 to 130. This will ensure food safety and a nice medium-rare to medium doneness.
  4. No re-searing necessary

How to reheat steak in the microwave

reheating steak in microwave

We would be remiss if we did not note that cooking steak in the microwave, even the second time around, is truly sacrilege. But if you insist, just know that you’ll likely sacrifice a little bit of tenderness in the service of convenience.

  1. Start by slicing your steak into uniform slices or portions to ensure even heating
  2. Place your steak on a microwave-safe dish, and sprinkle a little bit of water on the plate
  3. Cover the plate with plastic wrap
  4. Set the microwave to medium power. This will ensure the steak doesn’t turn to jerky on the outside before the inside is even warm.
  5. Medium power will require a slightly longer cook time so nuke it in minute-long sprints until the internal temperature of the steak reads 110 to 130 degrees.
  6. Feel free to re-sear for texture

Select your method and dig in!

Ultimately, there’s no such thing as a truly bad steak. No matter how you choose to reheat steak, take into consideration what your cooking method means for the heat and texture of your finished product. Otherwise, you can’t go wrong. Warm up some mashed potatoes as a side and dig in!

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Published at Mon, 26 Oct 2020 13:00:48 +0000

9 Things to Know About Living in New York

There’s a lot to love about living in New York.

There’s art and culture. There’s the allure of making your way in a city of 8 million. There are the bagels, pizza, calzones, pastries — basically, if you eat carbs, New York is a city for you.

Don’t worry. You’ll get all the exercise you need walking the streets of the largest metropolis in the country.

It’s a city with almost as many clichés as people. But this isn’t a town for the faint of heart. It takes a special kind of person to make a life for themselves in a city like New York. It takes an understanding of how to navigate the city, figuratively and literally.

1. It’s more expensive than you think…way more expensive

You already knew this when you clicked on the article. You can build a happy and deeply satisfying life for yourself in New York City, but you need money to do it. On average, the cost of living here is about 145 percent higher than the national average.

That includes groceries, which are 44 percent higher. And housing is almost five times the average rent for the rest of the country. So, unless you’re making a comfortable salary with multiple commas, you should probably start looking for roommates before you start loading up the moving van.

new york in spring

2. It’s a city with four distinct seasons, and one can be brutal

There are few things greater than spring in New York, except maybe autumn in New York. Summers in the city can be pretty great, too (especially when everyone leaves for the Hamptons or the Jersey Shore).

But winters in New York can be especially difficult. Depending on the year, you can experience Chicago-level wind chill, the snowfall totals of Boston and the snowplow response times of Atlanta. In short, winters in New York are notoriously difficult, especially when you don’t have the amenities you’d have living in other cities.

Odds are, you won’t have a car and you’ll rely on public transportation. That means the money you’d otherwise spend on gas for your truck will instead go towards gloves, scarves, heavy coats, thermal underwear and anything else you’ll need to brave the elements to get to your bus stop or subway station.

And if you like to spend so much time outdoors, as in you like to think of yourself as “solar-powered,” you’ll also need to stock up on smart light bulbs and Vitamin D supplements. The greatest city in the world is also one of the grayest cities in the world, averaging only about 107 days of sunshine a year.

3. You have plenty of top-notch sports options…and the Jets

You may pay a premium for living here, but if you’re a sports fan, this city is second to none. The Mets and Yankees, The Giants and Jets, The Knicks and the Nets, Rangers and Islanders, the Red Bulls and the New York City Football Club are all a train ride away. If you live for the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat, you’ll never be bored living in New York.

And each team’s home has a different appeal to fans of all stripes. Yankee Stadium in the Bronx is a monument to history, while CitiField in Queens has a more neighborhood ballpark feel to it. The legendary Madison Square Garden is home to the New York Knicks and the Rangers, but head down to the LIRR terminal and you can hop on a train to Nassau Coliseum to catch an Islanders game (until their new Belmont Park digs opens in 2021-2022) or head across the river to Brooklyn to catch the Nets.

But while there’s no greater city (and no greater fans) for sports in The Big Apple, you may want to sit in the cheap seats. Because if you enjoy a tall frosty beverage while you root root root for the home team, expect to spend more than you would elsewhere. A 12-ounce beer at Barclay’s Arena, home of the Brooklyn Nets, live music and more will set you back 10 bucks.

4. You can feel crowded and isolated at the same time

It sounds weird to say that the largest city in America can start to feel small, but it’s the truth. If you’re living here, odds are you’ll have roommates. And if you’re lucky enough to live alone, your apartment will be a little cramped. And outside your apartment, the constant crush of people everywhere can not only lose its luster rather quickly, but it can start to feel claustrophobic.

It can also be isolating for the same reasons. It sounds counterintuitive to say you can feel lonely when you’re surrounded by people every hour of every day.

Luckily, the answer to both concerns is one and the same. Think about the things you enjoy and actively seek them out. Do you like playing pickup basketball on the weekends? Maybe you’re more into museum tours? Stand up or improv comedy? One of the greatest things about New York is that there’s something to appeal to everyone.

Friends are the family we choose, so find your New York family and start feeling at home. Long-term happiness is as much about finding a good support system as it is about your career or financial security or any of the other things that concern us when we’re first starting out.

subway in new york city

5. No car? No problem

You’ll never need a car living in New York City. In fact, after just a couple of weeks here, you’ll question whether you’ll ever want a car again. Either above ground or below ground, uptown or down, there will always be a bus or train or cab or rideshare heading in your direction.

And if there isn’t, you can rent a Citibike almost anywhere in the city to help get you where you need to go. But once you get your Metrocard and get comfortable navigating the subways, you’ll be unstoppable — unless your train stops randomly in the tunnel. That can happen sometimes.

Important things to remember: download the MTA app on your phone, so you’ll always know how far away you are from your stop and how long you’ll have to wait for your train to arrive. Once you’re on the train, don’t be afraid to look at the maps. You won’t look like an out-of-towner. Everyone uses them. It’s what they’re there for.

If you’re in Manhattan, don’t try to hail a green taxi if you’re staying on the island. Green taxis are exclusively to bring riders from Manhattan to the outer boroughs. If you’re staying in Manhattan, get a yellow cab. You don’t need cash to take a cab now, as all TLC taxis are now outfitted with credit card readers, as well as digital NFC payment like Apple and Google Pay.

And depending on the time of day and where you’re headed, taking the bus will save you steps, but not necessarily time. Remember, busses have their own lanes, but can still get stuck in the same traffic as everyone else. And if you do decide to get a Citibike to get to your destination, remember to wear a helmet!

6. You’ll never go hungry

It’s almost irrelevant what you’re in the mood for. Far and away the best thing about New York is the food. Your favorite food. Your new favorite food. Every kind of food, from every ethnicity, from almost every country on the planet.

As the first American city for millions of immigrants from every corner of the world for hundreds of years, this city will never lack options. In fact, there are so many restaurants in New York you could eat out once a day, every day for 22 years and never eat at the same spot twice.

Spend more than a week here and it’ll only be a matter of time before you too develop your own VERY strong opinions about where to find the best bagel in the city, or the best pizza in Bensonhurst, the best bahn mi in Queens, or the only place to go in The Bronx if you’re in the mood for a chopped cheese. Don’t know what a chopped cheese is? You will.

7. You’ll quickly find your favorite neighborhood

One thing you’ll learn to love about the city (that’s what we call it, just “the city”) is how you’ll stumble upon these fun little neighborhoods and parts of town you never knew existed. It’s more than areas with good restaurants. You won’t have trouble finding those, remember?

Get out of your apartment often enough and you’ll find yourself in parts of the city you don’t normally go to. Maybe you’ll find a coffee shop or a small indie record store. These places and the memories of discovering them will make your time starting here much more pleasant. And it will take a lot of the pressure and stress out of your early years here.

So, go ahead. Savor the moment. You may never find yourself in that part of town again. Seriously.

times square

8. Live music! Live comedy! Live everything!

One of the greatest and most famous symphony orchestras in the world. Ballet. Rock clubs. Dance clubs. Jazz clubs. Comedy clubs. Talk shows. And of course, Broadway. No, not everything you’ll see onstage here is “Hamilton.” But with ticket prices like those, maybe that isn’t such a bad thing.

New York is a premier destination for comedians and bands and anyone else you’ve ever wanted to see live. But limiting yourself to the marquee names will severely limit the fun you’ll have at indie band shows or open mics. It’s a big city with a ton of talent if you’re willing to go out and look for it. And the best part is you won’t have to look that hard.

9. It’s OK to leave

They say absence makes the heart grow fonder. And that’s also true of life in The Big Apple. So, as much as you’ll enjoy living in New York, remember the world doesn’t begin at the West Side Highway and end at FDR Drive. We have two airports. One of them is pretty good. The other is LaGuardia. Either one will get you to different places across the country or on the other side of the world.

Yes, New York is special. But at the end of the day, it’s a city like any other. And if your life here is no longer serving you, you have the option to leave and go somewhere else. It doesn’t mean you’re a failure or you couldn’t hack it.

If you have the chance to get ahead in life, but it means getting away from New York, that’s OK. But don’t stay here just because you think you have to in order to be happy or feel fulfilled. Allow yourself to be open to different paths. If one of them leads you to New York, follow it. And if another path offers you something more, take that one.

Because if you can make it here…

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Published at Fri, 23 Oct 2020 13:00:18 +0000

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Apartment Living

7 Insanely Clever Homeschool Organization Ideas for Small Spaces

7 Insanely Clever Homeschool Organization Ideas for Small Spaces

We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission.

Homeschooling is a big undertaking no matter what kind of home you live in. If you’re tight on space, though, it can be frustrating at best and downright chaotic at worst.

Like anything else when it comes to sending kids to school, the most important thing to remember for homeschooling is organization, organization, and more organization. Sure, if you are dealing with a cramped apartment or small home, you might have to get a little more organized than someone with an endless amount of rooms. But, hey, a little creativity only helps kids, right?

If you’re looking for some quick and easy ideas for homeschooling in small spaces, here are seven that will have you rethinking your at-home setup for the school year. 

Transform a closet (or kitchen cabinet)

We all have one closet that is filled with… well, who knows what it’s filled with? That’s the point. Take that closet in your house and transform it into a homeschooling closet. This is where each and every homeschool supply will live. Even if you don’t do anything else when it comes to organization, having one area for storing homeschooling items will make cleanup that much easier.

Don’t have a free closet? Clean out a kitchen cabinet or drawer, and keep things in there. Not only will it force you to get rid of the kitchen items you never, ever use, but you’ll be really thankful to have a space to keep supplies that isn’t the kitchen table or couch.

A great solution for those who are tight on space is to use rolling carts as much as possible. This way, the kids can use the different compartments to store specific school supplies. Plus, you can roll the cart into another room or behind a curtain at the end of the day. You can even get multiple carts in different colors and designate certain colored carts for certain kids or school subjects. 

Take advantage of the wall 

No matter what, everyone has wall space. There are different school wall organizers available that strike a balance between functionality and style. If you don’t want to look at the organizer when school isn’t in session, keep it hidden behind a curtain. 

And if you (or your kids) can’t seem to keep the school schedule straight, invest in a giant wall calendar that’s as cool-looking as it is helpful. If you go with a minimalist calendar like this, you could even consider purchasing tiny, colored sticker dots to indicate different assignments or tasks on different days. This way, things look neat and everyone is on the same page about scheduling.

Try a portable file folder 

A system for paper clutter, like a portable file folder, is also important, says Anne Gopman, a professional organizer and owner of Organized by Anne. “Kids’ papers can be everywhere as they hop from Zoom meeting to Zoom meeting,” she says. “Swap out this year’s backpack for a file folder. Creating specific tabs for each class allows kids to pull out their papers as needed for each class—without taking up too much space.”

While you’re tackling paper clutter, consider laminating paper products to make them last as long as possible, as Larissa Krutewicz, the blogger behind Living in Color, demonstrates. This means no juice-stained papers and no crumpled or torn lessons that you’ll have to print more than once. It also makes cleanup a million times easier, plus allows you to disinfect pieces of paper or booklets. 

Go vertical with storage, too 

Another option for using wall space is to use a wall file folder. “Desk space can be a hot commodity. Don’t be afraid to go vertical to get a bit more storage and create a hub for all the kids’ needs,” Gopman says. This vertical file folder will allow you to keep supplies and papers handy without losing any real estate on your student’s desk.

Use a wall mount folding desk

This concept is simple, but incredibly effective. Get a desk that folds down from the wall, meaning it doesn’t take up any floor space when not in use. Place some plants (fake or otherwise) on the top of the desk station, and it’ll create an efficient and pleasant-looking space both when in use and when stowed away. 

Published at Thu, 22 Oct 2020 17:00:06 +0000

Macy’s Lowest Prices of the Season Sale Is Bursting with Deals on Vitamix, Cuisinart, and Le Creuset

We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission.

We’ll get right to the point: Macy’s Lowest Prices of the Season Sale is on and the prices are ridiculously good on everything from “forever” basics to items that have earned top spots on our Best Lists. So whether you’re prepping for holiday cooking or gift shopping for the fellow foodies in your life, this is the perfect opportunity to scoop up deals on must-have appliances and kitchen essentials from top brands for (way!) less. Prices range from 40 to 60 percent off, with an additional 15 percent off select items during checkout (no code needed!). We rounded up all of our favorite picks from the sale — check them out below!

Published at Thu, 22 Oct 2020 16:17:04 +0000

Categories
Apartment Living

Rodent Crisis is Getting Worse in Major U.S. Cities

Rodent Crisis is Getting Worse in Major U.S. Cities

Have you ever come across rats carrying bits and pieces of leftover food? Or maybe you’ve seen them in your kitchen and gone completely wild trying to kill them? It is known that rats are rampant in the city and live among us, taking refuge and shelter on the streets, and even sometimes in our homes. What’s worse is that rodents are a major public health problem, and more and more resources are invested in rodent inspection and prevention.

Each year, we at RentHop examine the data from major U.S. cities, hoping to help renters and homeowners make an informed decision when it comes to housing. This year, we again reviewed the rat sightings data, and what we discovered isn’t great. Our study this year includes Boston, Chicago, and Washington D.C., and unfortunately, all three cities saw a drastic increase in the number of rodent complaints.

Figure 1 below illustrates the number of rodent complaints from January through August in the past five years. In Boston, the number went up 33.5% to 3.42 rodent complaints/1,000 population. In D.C., the number is slightly worse. As of August 31, 2020, DC 311 has received 5,848 rodent complaints, or 8.29 complaints/1,000 population. This number is 30.7% higher than in 2019.

Chicago, a.k.a. the rat capital, not surprisingly, has had the greatest number of rat sightings/1,000 population among the cities included. The number reached its lowest in 2018 but has since been rising significantly. From January 2019 through August 2019, the city’s 311 reporting system received 28,249 rodent complaints or 10.5/1,000 population. This number since jumped to 34,501, or 12.8/1,000 population in 2020, a 22.1% increase.

Select one of the cities below to learn more:


Rodent complaints rose 33.5% in Boston

Founded in 1630 by the Puritans, Boston is one of the oldest cities in the United States and played a crucial part in our history. As we all know, old infrastructure often makes perfect habitats for rats. Rodents thrive in outdated subway systems, sewers, parks, and in foundations of old homes and buildings, and pose a threat to humans.

And this summer, Boston has to deal with a serious rodent crisis.

As of August 31, Boston 311 has received 2,368 rodent complaints in 2020, which translates to 3.4 complaints per 1,000 population. Now, while it might seem very few compared to Chicago or DC, this number, however, is 33.5% higher than the same period in 2019.

The CDC attributed such an increase to the coronavirus lockdown. The agency warned that a possible increase in rodent sightings as restaurants and other sources of food shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic. It is worth noting, however, that the number had been increasing since January 2020, way before the first confirmed COVID-19 case and lockdown were announced in Boston. The rats were particularly active this past summer. August 2020 marked the worst month in the past five years, with a total of 530 rodent complaints filed to the city’s 311 reporting system. Could it be the warm weather? After all, winter 2019-2020 ended over 2°F above the twentieth-century average, making it one of the warmest winters on record.

Which neighborhoods are run by rats this year?

According to the city’s Inspectional Services Department, it is launching a campaign to reduce the rodent population that has been running wild around neighborhoods. Do you know if your neighborhood will be one of the firsts visited by the agency? Well, let’s find out!

The interactive map below indicates the concentration of rodent complaints in Boston. Neighborhoods in darker shades have a higher concentration of rodent complaints in 2020. It is highly possible that larger neighborhoods receive more complaints than smaller neighborhoods, and so we normalized the number of rodent complaints by land size. You can click on the polygons to learn more about each neighborhood.

The ISD will most likely show up in these neighborhoods
  • Downtown – 312 complaints in 2020, 502.3 complaints/sq mi
  • North End – 55 complaints in 2020, 277.4 complaints /sq mi
  • South End – 153 complaints in 2020, 207.6 complaints /sq mi
  • Beacon Hill – 56 complaints in 2020, 179 complaints /sq mi
  • Back Bay – 107 complaints in 2020, 171.5 complaints /sq mi
Rodent complaints spiked in these neighborhoods
  • South Boston Waterfront – 1 complaints in 2019, 7 in 2020 (+600%)
  • Allston – 75 complaints in 2019, 189 in 2020 (+152%)
  • Brighton – 99 complaints in 2019, 213 in 2020 (+115.2%)
  • Back Bay – 55 complaints in 2019, 107 in 2020 (+94.5%)
  • Mattapan – 23 complaints in 2019, 41 in 2020 (+78.3%)
Rodent complaints dropped in these neighborhoods
  • Longwood – 2 complaints in 2019, 0 in 2020
  • Chinatown – 29 complaints in 2019, 10 in 2020 (-65.5%)
  • Leather District – 8 complaints in 2019, 4 in 2020 (-50%)
  • Mission Hill – 40 complaints in 2019, 20 in 2020 (-50%)
  • West End – 3 complaints in 2019, 2 in 2020 (-33.3%)

Chicago wins the title of “Rat Capital”, yet again.

In our study from last year, Chicago ranked #1 as the “rat capital” in the country. The abundance of garbage and buildings in the Windy City makes it a great location for rats to seek shelter and food for survival. In 2019, Chicago 311 received in total 42,864 rodent complaints, or 15.9 per 1,000 Chicagoans, 10.2% more than in 2018.

And this year, rodents are once again on the rise.

As of August 2020, the Windy City has scored 34,501 rat sighting reports, 22.1% more than the same period in 2019. Indeed, the uptick in rodent sightings might be related to restaurants and other sources of food shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic. It is worth noting, however, that the number had been increasing since January 2020, way before the food establishments were forced to close their doors.

May 2020 marked the worst month of May in the past five years, with a total of 5,203 rat sightings reported to the city’s 311 system, 131.7% higher than May 2019. The number continued trending upward throughout the summer, with 6,863 rodent complaints logged in July 2020 – that’s over 200 complaints per day!

Which neighborhoods are run by rats this year?

The interactive map below indicates the concentration of rodent complaints in Chicago. Neighborhoods in darker shades have a higher concentration of rodent complaints. It is possible that larger neighborhoods receive more complaints than smaller neighborhoods, and so we normalized the number of rodent complaints by land size. You can click on the polygons to learn more about each neighborhood.

Rats are roaming around in these neighborhoods
  • Grand Boulevard – 257 complaints in 2020, 147.8 complaints/sq mi
  • Printers Row – 5 complaints in 2020, 64.5 complaints/sq mi
  • United Center – 124 complaints in 2020, 106.3 complaints/sq mi
  • Sheffield & DePaul – 99 complaints in 2020, 263.3 complaints/sq mi
  • Humboldt Park – 1039 complaints in 2020, 231.7 complaints/sq mi
Rat sightings spiked in these neighborhoods
  • Greektown – 1 complaints in 2019, 12 in 2020 (1100%)
  • West Pullman – 191 complaints in 2019, 793 in 2020 (315.2%)
  • Gold Coast – 15 complaints in 2019, 47 in 2020 (213.3%)
  • Hegewisch – 10 complaints in 2019, 31 in 2020 (210%)
  • O’Hare – 2 complaints in 2019, 6 in 2020 (200%)
Rats are migrating out from these neighborhoods
  • Jackson Park – 2 complaints in 2019, 0 in 2020
  • Grant Park – 6 complaints in 2019, 1 in 2020 (-83.3%)
  • Printers Row – 17 complaints in 2019, 5 in 2020 (-70.6%)
  • Burnside – 30 complaints in 2019, 14 in 2020 (-53.3%)
  • Millennium Park – 2 complaints in 2019, 1 in 2020 (-50%)

Rodent complaints are up 31% this year in Washington D.C.

Washington D.C. is known for many things. It is the capital of the United States of America; it is a cultural center with many monuments and museums, such as the Smithsonian Institution; and it is a walkable and bike-friendly city with many bike lanes in the downtown area. What you probably don’t know about D.C. is that not only our president and government officials reside there, many, many rats also call it home, and this year, the District has seen a spike in rat complaints.

The number of rodent complaints has been trending upward in D.C. since 2016, but 2020 is by far the worst year. By the end of August 2020, D.C.’s 311 reporting system has received a total of 5,848 rodent complaints, 30.7% more than the same period in 2019.

The past summer was particularly bad for D.C. June 2020 marked the worst month since January 2016, with a total of 985 unique complaints made to D.C. 311 by Washingtonians. 37.2% more than June 2019. Could it be that people are more likely to spot rats when they are working from home? Or maybe as the restaurants closed due to COVID-19, these furry critters are forced to invade people’s homes? No one knows for sure. But what we do know is that some neighborhoods are seeing more rodents than others, and that’s bad news for the residents. Now, check out the map and see if your neighborhood is one of them.

Which neighborhoods are run by rats this year?

The interactive map below indicates the concentration of rodent complaints Washington D.C. Neighborhoods in darker shades have a higher concentration of rat sightings. It is possible that larger neighborhoods receive more complaints than smaller neighborhoods, and so we normalized the number of rodent complaints by land size. You can click on the polygons to learn more about each neighborhood.

These neighborhoods are run by rats this year
  • Columbia Heights, Mt. Pleasant, Pleasant Plains, Park View – 691 complaints in 2020, 526.3 complaints/sq mi
  • Shaw, Logan Circle – 213 complaints in 2020, 376.8 complaints/sq mi
  • Brightwood Park, Crestwood, Petworth – 847 complaints in 2020, 337.6 complaints/sq mi
  • Howard University, Le Droit Park, Cardozo/Shaw – 214 complaints in 2020, 297.9 complaints/sq mi
  • Union Station, Stanton Park, Kingman Park – 461 complaints in 2020, 287.7 complaints/sq mi
Rodent complaints surged in these neighborhoods
  • National Mall, Potomac River – 6 complaints in 2019, 35 in 2020 (+483.3%)
  • Woodland/Fort Stanton, Garfield Heights, Knox Hill – 3 complaints in 2019, 10 in 2020 (+233.3%)
  • Fairfax Village, Naylor Gardens, Hillcrest, Summit Park – 3 complaints in 2019, 9 in 2020 (+200%)
  • Cleveland Park, Woodley Park, Massachusetts Avenue Heights, Woodland-Normanstone Terrace – 22 complaints in 2019, 62 in 2020 (+181.8%)
  • Colonial Village, Shepherd Park, North Portal Estates – 4 complaints in 2019, 9 in 2020 (+125%)
Rodent complaints dropped in these neighborhoods
  • North Cleveland Park, Forest Hills, Van Ness – 4 complaints in 2019, 1 in 2020 (-75%)
  • Eastland Gardens, Kenilworth – 3 complaints in 2019, 1 in 2020 (-66.7%)
  • Saint Elizabeths – 10 complaints in 2019, 4 in 2020 (-60%)
  • Downtown, Chinatown, Penn Quarters, Mount Vernon Square, North Capitol Street – 89 complaints in 2019, 50 in 2020 (-43.8%)
  • Douglas, Shipley Terrace – 27 complaints in 2019, 16 in 2020 (-40.7%)

Methodology

This study examines the rodent crisis in major U.S. cities, including Boston, Chicago, and Washington D.C. The rodent complaint data was retrieved from each city’s open data portal, and the population data was collected via U.S. Census Bureau. For this study, we limited the research time frame to January 2016 through August 31, 2020. We then geocoded the complaints using each city’s neighborhood shape file and normalized the complaint count by land size. This allows us to fairly rank each neighborhood and provide better insights.

RentHop is all about data and facts. Our data science team does annual studies on rental data as well as 311 complaints across major U.S. cities. To get to know the city you live in, take a look at our previous studies on rodent complaints, human/animal waste complaints, noise complaints, and more.

Published at Wed, 23 Sep 2020 03:41:24 +0000

People are Moving 14% Less in Boston

If you live in Boston, you are probably no stranger to moving truck permits. Aside from packing everything in boxes and contacting the movers, you also need to apply for a moving truck permit and post the “no-parking” sign so you don’t have to stack up everything on the corner of your street on the moving day.

Moving truck permits in some ways reflect the housing demand in the city of Boston. While the number of issued moving truck permits usually surges each year from August through the first couple of days of September in accordance with the college move-in days, generally speaking, the more moving truck permits issued, the more real estate activity there is.

As one of the major cities hit hard by COVID-19, Boston saw a huge decline in renter demand. In our report this year, we examined how the pandemic has affected the Boston housing market, specifically by looking at the number of moving truck permits issued.

The number of moving truck permits issued by the city is down 14.7% this year

Figure 1 below summarizes the number of issued moving truck permits with an expiration date between January and September, from 2015 to 2020. In total, 11,885 permits have been issued so far in 2020, 14.7% less than the same time period in 2019.

Knowing the totals is not good enough. By comparing the number of moving truck permits issued by month in the past six years, we could better understand the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. Figure 2 below breaks down the number of issued moving truck permits by month, covering the period from January 2015 all the way through September 2020.

The first confirmed case of COVID-19 in the U.S. was reported on January 20, 2020, and on February 1, Boston announced its first confirmed case. As cases soared, the city entered the lockdown in mid-March. Moving came to a halt in April, with the total number of moving truck permits issued fell to 458, the lowest since January 2015 and 47.7% fewer than April 2019. The number continued to stay low through June, putting downward pressure on rents. In Boston, one-bedroom median rent was down in 2.6% year-over-year in June 2020, according to RentHop data.

While August topped all previous months in terms of the number of moving truck permits issued in recent years, mostly because of the college move-ins (for most colleges, the move-ins were twice as long), remember, many students moved into dorms, not rental properties, and the surge might not fully represent the demand in the Boston rental market. Once the move-in madness passed, the rental demand could fall again. Based on the data, it looks like September 2020 is on track to be the worst month of September compared to previous ones. The pandemic has driven down the rental demand across Boston – one-bedroom median rent currently sits at $2,350, 6.0% lower than last year.

West Roxbury, Seaport, and Fenway-Kenmore Experienced Drops in Permits Issued

While overall fewer moving truck permits have been issued so far in 2020, some areas saw more significant drops compared to others. The map below highlights Boston zip codes as well as the number of permits issued in 2020, the year-over-year change, and the difference from the yearly average (2015- 2019). The darker the shades, the fewer permits were issued compared to 2019.

 

Of the 40+ zip codes included in this map, zip code 02132 (West Roxbury) saw the largest drop in the number of issued moving truck permits (22 permits, YoY -53.2%), followed by zip code 02210 (Seaport), which saw a YoY of -46.7%. Table 1 below features the 10 zip codes with the most number of moving truck permits issued so far in 2020. Note how the numbers are all lower compared to the same period in 2019.

Rent Dropped in Some Zip Codes Amid Moving Downtrend

In addition to grouping and analyzing issued moving truck permits by their expiration dates, we also explored the relationship between rental prices and moving truck permits. To assess the correlation between year-over-year median rental price changes and differences from average yearly issued permits, we plotted the two against one another and calculated the correlation coefficient.

We noticed a slight positive correlation (R2 = 11%) between the year-over-year rent change and the difference from the yearly average of permits issued among zip codes, which states that as zip codes experiencing fewer moving activities compared to the yearly average from 2015 to 2019 saw bigger price drops.


Methodology

This report examines how COVID-19 has impacted the Boston rental market, specifically through the number of issued moving truck permits and rental rate changes. The moving truck permit data is made public by Analyze Boston. Median one-bedroom rents and year-over-year median rent growth by zip code were calculated using RentHop’s proprietary listing data. For the regression analysis, we included only zip codes with over 10 moving truck permits issued in 2020.

Our previous Boston Move-In Day studies can be found here:

Published at Wed, 16 Sep 2020 02:57:58 +0000

Categories
Apartment Living

UDR Blog | A Part of Life

UDR Blog | A Part of Life

Apartment living is a lot more fun when you have a furry friend to share the experience with. Dogs can take a decent chunk out of your paycheck, so you need to make sure you budget for everything, including vet costs, food and more, before you bring a new pup home.

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UDR Blog | A Part of Life

Apartment living is a lot more fun when you have a furry friend to share the experience with. Dogs can take a decent chunk out of your paycheck, so you need to make sure you budget for everything, including vet costs, food and more, before you bring a new pup home.

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Apartment Living

10 Delicious Halloween Cupcake Decorations

10 Delicious Halloween Cupcake Decorations

Halloween us coming up fast, which means it’s time to start decorating and getting ready for parties, costumes and decorating pumpkins. And we all know that the most important part of any holiday is the food — and how it looks. Instead of making cupcakes with the same old boring frosting spiderwebs, try some of these Halloween cupcake decorations to spice up your confections!

1. Spidey Oreos

Oreo spider cupcakes Halloween cupcake decorations

Source: Your Cup of Cake

These easy spider cupcakes from Your Cup of Cake will take you only minutes to decorate and anyone can do it! They’re quick to make before a party — or you can let your guests create their own.

What you’ll need:

  • Frosting
  • Oreos
  • Pocky sticks

How it’s done:

  1. Break up the Pocky sticks into one-inch segments
  2. Stick four broken Pocky pieces into each side of an Oreo
  3. Put two dots of white frosting with black food coloring in the center for eyes
  4. Place on top of a cupcake, using frosting to hold it in place

2. Milano cookie tombstone

Milano cookie cupcake

Source: Modern Glam

If you’re in need of fun cupcakes on the fly, nothing is easier than these cute tombstones that we found from Modern Glam. You can dress them up or dress them down — it’s up to you!

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What you’ll need:

  • Frosting
  • Milano cookies

How it’s done:

  1. Cut off the bottom third of the cookie. This should leave you with an arch-shaped cookie.
  2. Using a piping bag with a small hole (or plastic bag with the corner cut off), pipe words and designs onto the front of the cookie
  3. Frost a cupcake and put the flat end of the cookie into the frosting
  4. You can also add additional pieces to the cupcake, such as bone candy

3. Brain

Brain cupcakes

Source: Southern Mom Loves

These Southern Mom Loves cupcakes aren’t for the faint of heart! Their zombie-brain likeness makes them the perfect Halloween cupcake decoration for any horror movie night.

What you’ll need:

  • Frosting
  • Light corn syrup
  • Red food coloring

How it’s done:

  1. Frost the tops of the cupcakes generously, forming a dome on top of each
  2. Using a piping bag, draw a line on one side of the cupcake near the center (without actually covering the center)
  3. Without stopping, draw continuous zig-zags all over that half of the cupcake until it’s completely covered
  4. Repeat that process on the same side of the cupcake near the center, but make the zig-zags smaller so they don’t quite cover the layer underneath. Repeat again if desired.
  5. Do the same thing for the other side of the cupcakes
  6. In a separate bowl, mix 1/4 cup of light corn syrup with a few drops of red food coloring
  7. Drizzle a little bit of the corn syrup mixture over the tops of the frosted cupcakes

4. Gummy Lifesaver eyeball

Lifesaver Eyeball Cupcake Halloween cupcake decorations

Source: Simply Shellie

Keep an eye on your visitors every time they walk into the room with these eerie eyeballs from Simply Shellie!

What you’ll need:

  • Frosting
  • Gummy lifesavers

How it’s done:

  1. Cover the top of each cupcake in white frosting
  2. Place a gummy lifesaver on the top of each frosted cupcake. You can do it in the center or closer to the sides to make it seem like each eye is looking in a different direction.
  3. Fill the center of the lifesaver with black frosting
  4. Using a piping bag with a small opening, pipe small squiggles and zig-zags onto the remaining white space of the cupcake to make it look like veins

5. Chocolate witch hat

Witch hat cupcake

Source: Somewhat Simple

If you’re not into the guts and gore of zombies and horror movies, but you’re a fan of “Hocus Pocus,” then these witch hats will tickle your fancy! And whether you’re making them alone or you’ve got some little helping hands, this recipe from Somewhat Simple is hard to mess up.

What you’ll need:

  • Frosting
  • Chocolate kisses
  • Flat cookies

How it’s done:

  1. Lay a cookie flat and put a small dollop of frosting in the center
  2. Unwrap a chocolate kiss and place the flat side into the frosting
  3. Use frosting to secure the bottom of the “hat” to the cupcake
  4. If you’d like, you can add additional decorations to the hats with colored frosting

6. Cookie bat

Bat cookie cupcake Halloween cupcake decorations

Source: Betty Crocker

Rather than drawing a bat on your cupcake with frosting, you can turn it into a 3-D work of art like in this Betty Crocker recipe. And don’t worry — they won’t fly away!

What you’ll need:

  • Frosting
  • Mini Oreos
  • Flat chocolate cookies (if needed, scrape the frosting from both halves of a regular Oreo)

How it’s done:

  1. Generously frost the tops of the cupcakes, covering them completely
  2. Place a mini Oreo in the center of the frosted cupcake
  3. Using a piping bag, pipe two dots of white frosting into the center of the mini Oreo as eyes, then add small black dots to the centers
  4. Cut a flat cookie in half and place them in the frosting on either side of the mini Oreo with eyes

7. Sugar cone witch hat

Sugar cone witch hat

Source: The Crafting Foodie

If you believe that bigger is better for your Halloween cupcake decorations, here’s another take on a witch hat from The Crafting Foodie. It’s not all chocolate and cookies, but it’s equally as adorable and delicious!

What you’ll need:

  • Frosting
  • Oreo ice cream cones (or regular sugar cones dipped in chocolate or candy melts)
  • Chocolate wafer cookies

How it’s done:

  1. Frost the tops of each cupcake, covering completely
  2. Place a wafer cookie flat on the top of a cupcake
  3. Using a piping bag, cover the edge of an ice cream cone with frosting and place the cone upside down onto the center of the wafer cookie
  4. Decorate the witch hats as you like

8. Marshmallow Frankenstein

Marshmellow Frankenstein cupcake Halloween cupcake decorations

Source: Mom Foodie

These sweet monsters from Mom Foodie look like they came right out of the movies! And they’re a great way to top cupcakes if you’d rather not have a mound of frosting on the top.

What you’ll need:

  • Frosting
  • Large marshmallows
  • Green candy melts
  • Pretzel sticks
  • Toothpicks

How it’s done:

  1. Heat the candy melts either on the stove in a double boiler until melted or in the microwave, stirring in 30-second increments until melted
  2. Put a marshmallow onto a toothpick and dip it into the melted candy, rolling it until covered completely. Place it in the center of a frosted cupcake using the toothpick to anchor it. Let cool until candy is hardened.
  3. Break off bits of a pretzel stick and put one near the bottom on either side of the marshmallow
  4. Use different colors of frosting in a piping bag to add eyes, a mouth and hair

9. Mummy

Mummy cupcake

Source: Sugar and Charm

You can make waking from the dead look a little bit cuter and a lot less scary with these Sugar and Charm mummy cupcakes!

What you’ll need:

  • Frosting
  • Flat frosting tip

How it’s done:

  1. Pipe two small eyes onto a cupcake with white frosting, then add dots of black into the centers
  2. Using a flat piping tip, add horizontal and diagonal lines going across the cupcake. Make sure you criss-cross and layer the lines without covering up those eyes!

10. Pretzel skeleton

Pretzel skeleton cupcake Halloween cupcake decorations

Source: EazyPeazyMealz

Everyone will be impressed when they see these clever skeletons from Eazy Peazy Mealz. And besides looking great, they add a delicious crunch to your cupcakes!

What you’ll need:

  • Large marshmallows
  • Small marshmallows
  • Yogurt or white chocolate pretzels
  • Lollipop sticks or wooden skewers (6 inches is about the right length)

How it’s done:

  1. Put a lollipop stick or skewer into the center of a cupcake so a few inches are sticking out of the top
  2. Put a mini marshmallow into the stick and push it to the bottom
  3. Add a mini pretzel, putting the lollipop stick through the small hole at the bottom of the pretzel
  4. Stick on another marshmallow, then another pretzel. Repeat the process again so there are three marshmallows and three pretzels alternating. Don’t be afraid to smush the marshmallows if there’s too much space between the pretzels.
  5. Decorate the flat end of a big marshmallow with eyes, a nose and a mouth using an edible marker or frosting
  6. Put one more small marshmallow onto the lollipop stick, then top it off with the big marshmallow so the skeleton face shows

Make scary sweet treats with these Halloween cupcake decorations

No matter which cupcakes you decide to make, all of these will invite the Halloween spirit and taste just as good as they look!

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Published at Tue, 06 Oct 2020 14:51:59 +0000

[Survey] What Do Americans Miss the Most About Life Before the Pandemic?

Remember what life was like before the global pandemic?

We could once walk into the grocery store, hit up the local bar or even plan a weekend getaway without fearing for our lives. Thanks to COVID-19, however, simple activities like this are now distant memories — and who knows if they’ll ever be more than memories again?

We wanted to know what Americans miss most about life since COVID-19 became prevalent in the United States. What we found paints a surprising picture of what we took for granted the most before the pandemic and what we now wish we could have more than anything else.

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COVID-19 is causing the travel bug

We polled over 1,500 Americans to see what COVID-19 has made them miss the most about life. Here’s what they said

Sorry, mom and dad. When we asked respondents what they miss the most about life since COVID-19 started, nearly a quarter said they miss travel more than anything else. In fact, travel beat out visiting family, hanging out with friends and going to restaurants and bars.

In 2019, nearly 38 million Americans traveled internationally. With so many vacationers, it’s no surprise that there are plenty of people who miss having the opportunity to travel.

COVID-19 has certainly put a wrench into the wanderlust lifestyle. According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, the percentage of people staying at home has increased dramatically since the pandemic began –– it jumped from 19.5 percent to 28.1 percent at its peak in April. Since then, it’s leveled off at an average of 24.1 percent of people staying home per month, lining up perfectly with the results of our survey.

With more people opting to avoid travel than ever before, it’s not surprising to see that Americans miss travel. But to miss traveling more than you miss your family? Now that is surprising.

Who wants to travel the most during COVID-19?

Breaking the results down by demographics, it’s clear that some groups miss travel more than others. We found that millennials (adults aged 25 to 34) are the most likely to say they miss traveling more than visiting family, hanging out with friends or going to restaurants and bars. This makes sense when considering that before COVID-19, millennials took more vacation days than any other generation per year. 

Who is traveling during COVID-19?

With so many Americans wanting a vacation during COVID-19, there’s one big question left. Who is acting on the desire to travel?

To answer this question, we looked at the latest available data from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics.

States with the smallest percentage of residents staying home:

  • Mississippi (18.1 percent)
  • Alabama (19.4 percent)
  • Arkansas (19.6 percent)
  • South Carolina (21.0 percent)

It’s interesting to note that all four of these states are in the top 20 states with the fewest COVID-19 restrictions in the country. Perhaps that’s why residents aren’t staying home.

States with the highest percentage of residents staying home: 

  • New York (31.4 percent)
  • Alaska (29.1 percent)
  • California (28.0 percent)  
  • Nevada (28.0 percent)

If you’re one of the many Americans who have the travel bug right now, there are plenty of ways to satisfy your wanderlust cravings while staying safe. Consider taking a weekend camping trip with your family, create a travel-themed bucket list or plan your dream post-COVID-19 getaway! For other stay-at-home ideas, check out this list of things to do while social distancing!

Survey methodology

This study was conducted for Apartment Guide using Google Consumer Surveys. The sample consisted of no less than 1,500 completed responses per question. Post-stratification weighting has been applied to ensure an accurate and reliable representation of the total population. This survey was conducted in August 2020.

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Published at Mon, 05 Oct 2020 13:55:57 +0000

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Apartment Living

7 Places to Get Custom Home Decor That’s Actually Affordable

7 Places to Get Custom Home Decor That’s Actually Affordable

We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission.

Custom home decor sounds like it costs a fortune, but it doesn’t always have to be that way. A crop of new-ish, direct to customer companies have changed the made-just-for-you game for the better. Sure, some of these offerings may still give you sticker shock compared to the cost of mass-produced, big box furnishings. That said, by eliminating the middleman—namely showrooms with “to the trade” models of sale, these brands have brought the cost of custom decor down without compromising on the quality that bespoke products are generally known for.

Most importantly, you get exactly what you want: hand-picked items that fit your aesthetic and the way you live, from fabric and material choice to dimensions and sometimes even cushion fill on upholstered pieces. Custom pieces can also be ideal for when you’re dealing with challenges in your layout or need to eke out extra room or storage in a small space. Whether you’re looking for linens and banquette cushions in special fabrics or sofas and window shades in very specific sizes, you can find something bespoke for less from one or all of the companies on this list.  

Looking to outfit a window seat, bench, or even a breakfast nook? Cushion Source should be your first stop. You can find styles in both indoor and outdoor fabrics in a myriad of colors and patterns, and pieces can be ordered in whatever seat length you need. Coordinating pillows are also available, and the site also sells custom drapes, bedding, table linens, and patio umbrellas. Custom bench seats and seat back cushions rated for indoor applications start in the low hundreds.

Thanks to BenchMade Modern, it’s possible to get a custom sofa in a matter of just four weeks—not four months. With 14 collections and over 100 performance fabric and leather options, you’re bound to find something that’ll suit your tastes. The best part? You can specify sizing in increments of five inches, so you can get as much sofa as you want or need in terms of both length and depth. You’ll even receive a life-sized printout of your design by mail to try on for size before you buy. Ottomans and chairs are available as well. Prices start around $1,500, but keep in mind that these pieces are made by hand in Dallas, Texas, and delivered free of charge right to your door. There’s also a risk-free, 100 day return period.

One thing that really makes a space look pulled together is custom drapery. In the past, however, options for bespoke drapes that didn’t cost a small fortune were limited—unless you sewed your own or brought material to a tailor. Enter Loom Decor. In addition to offering bedding, pillows, and outdoor pieces, this e-tailer sells custom Roman shades and curtain panels in over 400 different fabrics. Prices are reasonable and the lead time is, too. Classic linen drapery panels start at $198, and you can expect your order to ship within less than a month’s time.

This woman-founded company specializes in smaller custom furniture items like ottomans, stool cushions, and headboards alongside standard fare like curtains and pillows. The shaped cushions, including spheres and pyramids, are super stylish standouts. The quality is great—many of Stitchroom’s pieces are installed in restaurants and businesses throughout the country, so items should stand up to heavy use. Pillow pricing starts at $45, and seating starts at $125, while headboards are available for $250 and up. Drapery starts at $175.

This retailer prints fabric, wallpaper, pillows, curtains, table linens, and more on demand using eco-friendly inks and artwork from thousands of different artists. You can even upload your own designs for the ultimate in custom home goods. Two-foot by 12-foot panels of wallpaper start around $72. Spoonflower does charge a little more for rental-friendly peel-and-stick styles.

You already know this artist-forward marketplace for their stationery and wall art, including new framed canvases. Did you know they also offer some custom home decor, too? Check out their Little Mint shop for personalized chairs and pillows for kids. If they don’t offer exactly what you want, you can also order fabric by the yard and DIY whatever you like. Cotton canvas cushions cost $44, while chairs are $148 each.

Over the years Ballard Designs has built up a pretty robust and fairly reasonably-priced custom furnishings collection alongside their catalog business and retail outposts. Shop everything from benches and barstools to sofas and headboards. Ballard also can custom make bed linens, slipcovers, bedskirts, and even vanity stool cushions and covers (all in a variety of sizes and fabrics). A custom x-bench, the perfect solution for that blank spot at the foot of the bed, starts at $349.

13 Decor Trends That Will Rule the Rest of 2020

Danielle Blundell

Home Editor

Danielle Blundell is AT’s Home Director and covers decorating and design. She loves homes, heels, the history of art, and hockey—but not necessarily always in that order.

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Published at Thu, 01 Oct 2020 15:00:07 +0000

2 Full Moons Will Be Rising in the Sky This October, Including a Halloween Blue Moon

Nicoletta Richardson

Senior Associate Editor, News and Culture

In her spare time, Nicoletta loves scrolling through Airbnb, doing at-home workouts, and nurturing her plant babies. Her work has appeared in Women’s Health, AFAR, Tasting Table, and Travel + Leisure, among others. A graduate from Fairfield University, Nicoletta majored in English and minored in Art History and Anthropology, and she not-so-secretly dreams of exploring her family lineage in Greece one day.

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Published at Thu, 01 Oct 2020 14:45:06 +0000

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Apartment Living

Sustainable Living: Why – And How – You Should Compost

Sustainable Living: Why – And How – You Should Compost

The average American generates about four pounds of trash per day and approximately 254 million pounds of trash per year, creating hefty amounts of unnecessary waste in our landfills. Many people compost instead to convert organic waste and divert it away from landfills toward eco-friendly plant use. You too can help the environment and compost your waste easily in the comfort of your apartment. Here’s why and how you should do it.

What is compost?

Compost is decayed organic matter. After mixing a lot of compost waste in a compost pile, organic matter breaks down naturally into a nutrient-rich fertilizer that helps plants grow. Compost can also capture and eliminate more than 99 percent of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from the air.

What foods can be composted?

Almost anything that comes from the ground can be composted. You can compost fruits and vegetable cores, ends, peels, rinds, scraps, and pits. Grains also sprout from the soil, which means you can add bread, pasta, and cereal to your compost heap. 

Additionally, you can use non-food items in compost. Compostable items can include grass clippings, dried leaves, hair and fur, clean paper, paper towels, cardboard, shredded newspaper, tea bags, crushed eggshells, nutshells, woodchips, toothpicks, burnt matches, coffee grounds, and lint.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends that people not compost items such as meat, dairy, and oil products that cause odor problems and attract pests. Additionally, coal, ash, plants sprayed with pesticides, and plants with diseases are not suitable for composting because they contain substances harmful to plants and soil. Most composting experts advise a balance of plant waste and waste containing paper, cardboard, and hair or fur.

Sustainable Living Why – And How – You Should Compost

Who can compost?

Anyone can compost. Whether you live in an apartment with or without a yard, there are many ways to compost your waste. After you convert your organic waste to compost, you can use your compost to help your plants grow or give your compost to a community garden.

How can I compost?

Store your compost pile in a container on your kitchen floor, in a kitchen lower cabinet, in your freezer, or in your backyard. There are also indoor composters you can purchase in stores and in online marketplaces. You might worry that converting food scraps to compost in your home would smell bad, but you can avoid the odor by getting a compost bin with a lid. 

If you don’t have a yard or own any plants, and if you want to start composting, you can either:

1. Bring your compost bin to a compost collection site

If you don’t have a garden, community gardens often accept compost from people who live nearby. Additionally, many cities offer compost collection at farmer’s markets and designated drop sites. On collection day, bring your compost to the market and dump it in a communal compost tub. 

2. Sign up for a compost collection service

Some cities collect compost through trash and recycling services, often in a designated bin. You can have your compost picked up from your apartment or house with a low monthly fee. Some private collection services will even provide you with a bucket.

Is composting worth it?

Composting is great for sustainable living, and you can do it easily in your apartment. Based on your preferences and budget, you can drop off your compost bin or use a pickup service. While at first these processes may seem like too much effort, you can really make the switch to being more eco-friendly with just a few simple actions. Instead of throwing your waste in the trash, just add your compostable items to a compost bin. You’ll produce less waste, lower your carbon footprint, and maybe even help some plants grow.

Published at Sun, 27 Sep 2020 20:00:23 +0000

DIY Guide on How to Unclog Drains

Unclogging a toilet is easy, but what about sinks and showers? Sometimes you’ll want a landlord or plumber’s help, but you can also do it yourself with a few inexpensive tricks. Here’s a DIY guide on how to unclog your drains.

Check the garbage disposal

One of the most common causes of a blocked kitchen drain is a clogged garbage disposal if your sink has one. If all you hear is a low humming sound when you turn on on your garbage disposal, it’s most likely jammed. 

To unclog your garbage disposal, first, turn it off and unplug the unit. Next, insert an Allen wrench into the hole located on the bottom of the disposal. If it remains silent after being turned on, a tripped internal breaker might be the cause. Give the unit a minute to cool down, then, press the reset button located on the bottom of the unit. Your disposal should be functioning correctly.

Of course, not every sink has a garbage disposal despite their increasing prevalence, so you can always take the below steps to unclog other sinks.

Don’t use chemical drain cleaners. Their caustic ingredients are not environment friendly. Additionally, plumbers advise against using chemical drain cleaner products found in stores because their strong chemicals can damage your pipes. 

DIY Guide on How to Unclog Drains

Use a homemade drain cleaner

Instead, remove standing water from your sink. Pour about one cup of baking soda into the drain. Next, pour an equal amount of white vinegar or apple cider vinegar. Your homemade drain cleaner will bubble, and then the mixture will subside. Put a drain stopper in the drain and wait about 15 minutes. Lastly, run hot water down the drain so the sink’s blockage clears. Repeat if needed.

Use a sink plunger

In many cases, simply using a small sink plunger is an effective way to unclog a drain. To use a sink plunger, you’ll need to remove your sink stopper. Most stoppers will come out easily when you pull up and turn the stopper to the left. Put the stopper somewhere safe once you remove it.

Add about one inch of water to covers the drain – not nearly enough to be full of water. Place the plunger over the drain and apply force to create a strong seal. Plunge the sink for about 15 seconds. If you’ve done it right, the sink’s blockage should be cleared along with the water. If you want to inspect the drain, use a flashlight to see if a clog is visible. Add your sink stopper when finished. 

Disassemble and clean the drain trap with an auger

For this method, first, place a bucket under your drain trap to catch the water that will come out once the trap is removed. Then, use tongue-and-groove pliers or a pipe wrench to loosen the slip nuts at each end of the trap. Next, remove the slip-nuts and the trap. 

Dump the water in the trap into the bucket. Then, insert an auger cable into the horizontal section of the drainpipe, tighten the setscrew, and crank the cable. If the cable’s end gets stuck at a pipe bend, crank the auger and apply pressure. Work the cable into the drain until you feel you’ve worked through the clog, then remove the cable. Reassemble the drain trap and flush the drain with hot water from the faucet to clear any remaining debris.

Use a drain snake

You can find inexpensive drain snakes at most department stores, so they make for budget-friendly draining options. Push the snake’s end into the drain and turn the handle on the drum that contains the coiled-up snake. Continue to push more of the drain snake into the drain until you feel the clog. Rotate the snake against the sink blockage until you feel less resistance. Run hot water for a few minutes, and the drain should unclog.

Keep your sink unclogged

Maintain unclogged drains with a clean sink and save some money with a few simple steps. For example, use a kitchen sink strainer and drain stopper to prevent debris from entering the drainpipe. When using the kitchen sink, run cold water while the garbage disposal is in use. After using the garbage disposal, leave the water running for a full minute to ensure there are no blockages. Whether you’re using your kitchen sink, bathroom sink, or shower, it’s best practice to run hot water from the tap after using it to help keep the drain clear. 

What tips do you have for unclogging drains without help? Sound off in the comments!

Published at Wed, 23 Sep 2020 21:11:46 +0000

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Apartment Living

What San Francisco Neighborhood is Best for Me? (Quiz)

What San Francisco Neighborhood is Best for Me? (Quiz)

The City by the Bay is mostly known for its hilly streets, trolleys and Victorian-style homes.

Year-round perfect weather, a scenic coastline, nearby mountains for skiing and hiking, and tech — these are all reasons to live and enjoy the neighborhoods in San Francisco.

Tourists visit the usual hot spots — a stroll down Lombard Street, takeout in Chinatown and a walk across the Golden Gate Bridge. But if you’re looking to make a San Francisco neighborhood your new home, there are specific areas with unique characters, flavors and a sense of community.

The most popular San Francisco neighborhoods … and Oakland

You may have already done your research and narrowed down your choices to specific neighborhoods based on family- or pet-friendliness, proximity to parks or greenery, or public transportation. Either way, take our San Francisco neighborhood quiz to find out which suits you best.

Mission Bay

mission bay

Despite the fact that in the 1890s Mission Bay was once called Dumpville due to the garbage that flowed downhill, it has evolved to be one of San Francisco’s most beautiful neighborhoods.

Located adjacent to the downtown SOMA (South of Market) area, it sits right on the water and is bordered by China Basin on the north. It’s close to the action but offers outdoor recreational activities, such as walking along the water and green parks.

Mission Bay, which is home to newer high rises and developments, are great for young families and professionals who may not want to be so centrally located in SF and away from the hustle and bustle.

Expect to spend about $3,900 for an average one-bedroom apartment here.

North Beach

north beach san francisco neighborhoods

North Beach is known as “Little Italy” and is perfect if you enjoy old school, traditional Italian food and cafes. Despite its name, it’s not close to an actual beach. However, it’s a prime location if you want to be close to the pier and near the Embarcadero, which is just a ferry ride away from the East Bay or Sausalito.

North Beach is a walk-friendly neighborhood, close to restaurants, bars and cafes. It’s conveniently located near Fisherman’s Wharf and Chinatown where you can get your pizza, gelato and egg noodle soup!

Nob Hill

nob hill san francisco neighborhoods

Who doesn’t want to live in Nob Hill? It’s one of S.F.’s signature neighborhoods, centrally located in the heart of the city and close to shopping at Union Square, a Trader Joe’s and Grace’s Cathedral. Nob Hill is known for its historic mansions, city landmarks and luxury hotels that border Huntington Park. However, the neighborhood isn’t pretentious and is influenced by the diverse residents and close proximity to the downtown surrounding areas.

Although it’s close to Lombard Street and can get quite hilly, you can always hop on the cable car to get up the hill.

Dogpatch

dogpatch san francisco neighborhoods

Source: Avalon Dogpatch

This oddly-named neighborhood in S.F. consists of mostly single-family homes and duplexes. It’s an area full of designers, artists, creative entrepreneurs and musicians. Dogpatch has evolved over the years with newer developments, art galleries and a mix of trendy restaurants and has a hip, industrial vibe to it.

The main drag, on Third Street, is full of indy boutiques, local artisans, bakeries and cafes. The area, which is located right next to Potrero Hill, is also relatively flat, so it’s great for riding your bike around town. It has a laid back vibe and feels like a small community tucked away in a big city.

A one-bedroom apartment in Dogpatch will cost an average of $3,670 each month.

Rincon Hill

rincon hill san francisco neighborhoods

Rincon Hill is a part of SOMA and is bordered by Folsom Street, the Embarcadero, Bryant Street and Essex Street. If you look up, you’ll see the Bay Bridge, which connects the city to Oakland.

It’s considered one of S.F.’s best places to live, since it’s a part of the downtown area and easily accessible by public transportation. It’s also home to the infamous Salesforce Tower and at one point, had one of the priciest penthouses in the city, at $42 million.

It’s also one of the most expensive neighborhoods for renters. Your average one-bedroom apartment here only costs $5,700 a month.

Parkmerced

parkmerced

If you’re new to S.F., you’ve probably never heard of Parkmerced. It’s the opposite of what the rest of S.F. looks like, with cookie-cutter high-rises and townhomes. The area is also difficult to get around if you don’t have a car.

Tucked away near San Francisco State University, it’s further out and feels more like a real suburb. Parkmerced is centered around Lake Merced, a freshwater lake located in a 614-acre park that’s adjacent to Daly City, close to the ocean and centered around Lake Merced.

The area was originally conceived by MetLife Insurance Company, which purchased a large plot of land to build a “small city” for middle-income families. While you’ll be outside of the hustle and bustle of the city center, Parkmerced is a fine choice if you want to be around peaceful surroundings but still close to the heart of S.F.

A one-bedroom apartment in Parkmerced will cost a little under $3,000 a month on average.

Tenderloin

tenderloin san francisco neighborhoods

Situated between S.F.’s famous Union Square shopping area and Civic Center, the Tenderloin can be viewed as a controversial neighborhood. Some might call it dangerous or problematic because of the homelessness, others say it’s full of character and remains one of the most unchanged parts of S.F., and rich with character.

The neighborhood is thriving and full of artists and activists, as well as immigrants. The rental market in this up-and-coming area may still be affordable, which makes it a viable choice for young professionals who are just starting off in their careers.

Living in Tenderloin will set you about $3,800 a month for an average one-bedroom apartment.

Oakland

oakland

Yes, we know, Oakland isn’t part of San Francisco. But it’s just a few miles away across the Bay Bridge. It’s also the third-largest city in the area and has its own Chinatown, man-made lake (Lake Merritt) and an up-and-coming downtown area.

It’s convenient for folks who want to be close to the city, but also live in a house and have a car. Oakland offers a trendy mix of restaurants, coffee shops, bars and even has its conveniently located Redwood Regional Park for a day hike. Some of the trendier areas in Oakland include Temescal, Rockridge, Piedmont, Grand Lake and Uptown.

Certain neighborhoods in Oakland are more expensive than others, but as a whole, you can expect to pay an average of $3,380 for a one-bedroom apartment in the city.

Find the best San Francisco neighborhood for you

Still undecided about your San Francisco neighborhood? Just answer a few questions and we’ll tell you!

Who’s coming with you?

What do you love most about a big city?

What’s your favorite thing to do on a Saturday?

What’s on your wish list for your next place to live?

How would your friends describe you?

How clean are you?

What are your top priorities right now?

What do you want to see when you first wake up in the morning?

What kind of weather best suits you?

Which San Francisco Neighborhood Should You Call Home?

Mission Bay

Mission Bay

Despite the fact that in the 1890s Mission Bay was once called Dumpville due to the garbage that flowed downhill, it has evolved to be one of San Francisco’s most beautiful neighborhoods.
Located adjacent to the downtown SOMA (South of Market) area, it sits right on the water and is bordered by China Basin on the north. It’s close to the action but offers outdoor recreational activities, such as walking along the water and green parks.
The neighborhood is home to newer high rises and developments and is great for young families and professionals who may want to be away from the hustle and bustle.

Find Apartments in Mission Bay

North Beach

North Beach is known as “Little Italy” and is perfect if you enjoy old school, traditional Italian food and cafes. Despite its name, it’s not close to an actual beach. However, it’s a prime location if you want to be close to the pier and near the Embarcadero, which is just a ferry ride away from the East Bay or Sausalito.
North Beach is a walk-friendly neighborhood, close to restaurants, bars and cafes. It’s conveniently located near Fisherman’s Wharf and Chinatown where you can get your pizza, gelato and egg noodle soup!

Find Apartments in North Beach

Nob Hill

Nob Hill

Who doesn’t want to live in Nob Hill? It’s one of S.F.’s signature neighborhoods, centrally located in the heart of the city and close to shopping at Union Square. Nob Hill is known for its historic mansions, city landmarks and luxury hotels that border Huntington Park. However, the neighborhood isn’t pretentious and is influenced by the diverse residents and close proximity to the downtown surrounding areas.
Although it’s close to Lombard Street and can get quite hilly, you can always hop on the cable car to get up the hill.

Find Apartments in Nob Hill

Dogpatch

Dogpatch

This oddly-named neighborhood in S.F. consists of mostly single-family homes and duplexes. It’s an area full of designers, artists, creative entrepreneurs and musicians. Dogpatch has evolved over the years with newer developments, art galleries and a mix of trendy restaurants and has a hip, industrial vibe to it.
The main drag, on Third Street, is full of indie boutiques and local artisan and bakeries and cafes. The area is also relatively flat, so it’s great for riding your bike around town. It has a laid back vibe and feels like a small community tucked away in a big city.

Find Apartments in Dogpatch

Rincon Hill

Rincon HIll

Rincon Hill, which is now called the East Cut, is a part of SOMA and is bordered by Folsom Street, the Embarcadero, Bryant Street and Essex Street. If you look up, you’ll see the Bay Bridge, which connects the city to Oakland.
It’s considered one of S.F.’s best places to live, since it’s a part of the downtown area and easily accessible by public transportation. It’s also home to the infamous Salesforce Tower and at one point, had one of the priciest penthouses in the city, at $42 million.

Find Apartments in Rincon Hill

Parkmerced

Park Merced

Tucked away near San Francisco State University, this neighborhood is further out and feels more like a real suburb. Parkmerced is centered around Lake Merced, a freshwater lake located in a 614-acre park that’s adjacent to Daly City, close to the ocean and centered around Lake Merced.
The area was originally conceived by MetLife Insurance Company, which purchased a large plot of land to build a “small city” for middle income families. While you’ll be outside of the hustle and bustle of the city center, Parkmerced is a fine choice if you want to be around peaceful surroundings but still close to the heart of S.F.

Find Apartments in Parkmerced

Tenderloin

Situated between S.F.’s famous Union Square shopping area and Civic Center, the Tenderloin can be viewed as a controversial neighborhood. Some might call it dangerous or problematic because of the homelessness, others say it’s full of character and remains one of the most unchanged parts of S.F., and rich with character.
The neighborhood is thriving and full of artists and activists, as well as immigrants. The rental market in this up-and-coming area may still be affordable, which makes it a viable choice for young professionals who are just starting off in their careers.

Find Apartments in the Tenderloin

Oakland

Oakland, a large port city in the East Bay, is just a few miles away from S.F., just across the Bay Bridge. It’s the third largest city and has its own Chinatown, man-made lake (Lake Merritt) and an up-and-coming downtown area.
It’s convenient for folks who want to be close to the city, but also live in a house and have a car. Oakland offers a trendy mix of restaurants, coffee shops, bars and even has its conveniently located Redwood Regional Park for a day hike. Some of the trendier areas in Oakland include Temescal, Rockridge, Piedmont, Grand Lake and Uptown.

Find Apartments in Oakland

Rent prices are based on a rolling weighted average from Apartment Guide and Rent.com’s multifamily rental property inventory of one-bedroom apartments. Data was pulled in September 2020 and goes back for one year. We use a weighted average formula that more accurately represents price availability for each individual unit type and reduces the influence of seasonality on rent prices in specific markets.
The rent information included in this article is used for illustrative purposes only. The data contained herein do not constitute financial advice or a pricing guarantee for any apartment.

Published at Tue, 22 Sep 2020 13:00:20 +0000

166 Cities Where You Can’t Afford to Live on the Median Income

City living can be fun, but it can also be expensive.

Although living in a city can provide you unbeatable work opportunities and professional connections, being able to live close to those opportunities is becoming more and more difficult to afford. Incomes have stagnated while rent and general cost of living has increased, which is creating a less than favorable rent-to-income ratio in many areas.

So, if you’re considering a move to a new city, it’s important to know if you’ll be able to afford to live there comfortably. From coast to coast and everywhere in between, here are 166 cities where you can’t afford to live comfortably on the median income, as well as a closer look at the top 25 cities for income to rent disparities.

What percentage of my income should go towards rent?

When apartment-hunting, it’s important to know your budget and stick to it. It’s easy to be led astray by the perfect apartment that ticks all your boxes, causing you to justify going over your limit because you just have to have that breakfast nook or park-view windows. But you also have other essential expenses to consider like utilities, food, transport, entertainment and savings. That’s why there’s a general rule you should follow to make sure you’re setting yourself up for financial success as a renter.

Overall, the rule of thumb when considering the rent-to-income ratio is that you should only spend 30 percent of your gross monthly income on your rent. If you follow this rule, you should be able to budget for all your other necessary expenditures, including accounting for income taxes. But there are many cities where only spending 30 percent on rent is easier said than done.

The 25 most expensive U.S. cities by rent-to-income ratio

It probably won’t be a surprise to see that many of the most expensive cities in the U.S. are located on the coasts. These coastal cities have long been some of the country’s top centers of culture and commerce. But there are still a few that you probably wouldn’t have expected to see on this list, where the rent-to-income ratio has been inching up over the years.

25. Kissimmee, FL

Kissimmee, FL rent to income ratio

  • Median income: $35,574
  • Average rent: $1,424 (monthly), $17,088 (yearly)
  • Rent to income ratio: 48.0 percent

Residents of this central Florida city spend nearly half of their income on rent, which is a real surprise considering Kissimmee is located just south of Orlando. But therein lies its appeal. Kissimmee offers fast and easy access to the area’s many top amusement parks like Disney World, as well as outdoor recreation at local lakes and wilderness areas.

24. New Orleans, LA

New Orleans, LA

  • Median income: $38,423
  • Average rent: $1,544 (monthly), $18,528 (yearly)
  • Rent to income ratio: 48.2 percent

Living in the Big Easy isn’t so easy these days for renters, with almost half of the monthly checks going to rent. But it’s easy to see why people are still drawn to New Orleans, even with the steep cost of living. The city’s vibrant cultural life, diverse history, enthralling music, delicious food, party scene (including the famous Mardi Gras) and sense of community is second to none.

23. Yonkers, NY

Yonkers, NY

  • Median income: $60,436
  • Average rent: $2,439 (monthly), $29,268 (yearly)
  • Rent to income ratio: 48.4 percent

Can’t afford New York City prices? Decamp about half an hour up the Hudson to Yonkers. This Westchester County city is popular for its many historical attractions and green areas, as well as being easy commuting distance to N.Y.C. You’re still paying “close to New York City prices” when it comes to rent, but it’s still more affordable than the city itself or closer spots like the next city of the list.

22. Jersey City, NJ

Jersey City, NJ

  • Median income: $72,561
  • Average rent: $2,997 (monthly), $35,964 (yearly)
  • Rent to income ratio: 49.6 percent

Expect to shell out nearly three grand per month for a one-bedroom in New Jersey’s second-largest city, which faces the island of Manhattan from the west over the Hudson River. But living in Jersey City gives you near-instant access to N.Y.C., as well as plenty of local attractions like the Liberty State Park, great museums like the Ellis Island Museum and dining to rival the food scene across the river.

21. Deerfield Beach, FL

Deerfield Beach, FL rent to income ratio

  • Median income: $45,172
  • Average rent: $1,870 (monthly), $22,440 (yearly)
  • Rent to income ratio: 49.7 percent

It’s a surprise that this neighbor to high-profile South Florida enclaves like Boca Raton and Palm Beach is even more expensive, taking a hefty chunk of change out of your pocket each month for rent. But for those craving the charms of Florida without the crowds that flock to neighboring cities and beaches, Deerfield Beach delivers with its under-the-radar amenities like pristine beaches, lush parks and urban green areas, numerous outdoor activities like golf and cable skiing, laid-back vibes and access to nearby Miami’s cosmopolitan thrills.

20. Chicago, IL

Chicago, IL

  • Median income: $57,238
  • Average rent: $2,395 (monthly), $28,740 (yearly)
  • Rent to income ratio: 50.2 percent

Chicago blows half of your monthly take-home out of your wallet each month to cover rent, but if you can take the high costs and blustery gales that earned this city its nickname, you’ll be rewarded. Sitting on the edge of Lake Michigan, Illinois’ largest city is home to one of the most happening performing arts scenes in the U.S., fantastic museums and cultural institutions, art-filled outdoor spaces like Millennium Park, diverse architecture and great food — you’ll quickly pick a side in the best deep-dish pizza wars.

19. Rochester, NY

Rochester, NY rent to income ratio

  • Median income: $35,403
  • Average rent: $1,484 (monthly), $17,808 (yearly)
  • Rent to income ratio: 50.3 percent

Sitting on the shores of Lake Ontario with Canada just across the border, the city of Rochester may not immediately come to mind as being so expensive, but its world-renowned universities and institutes and tech industry keep it a bustling place to live. Locals get to enjoy a fantastic music scene, intriguing museums and abundant green spaces and easy access to wilderness areas and activities close by.

18. Miami Beach, FL

Miami Beach, FL

  • Median income: $55,058
  • Average rent: $2,356 (monthly), $28,272 (yearly)
  • Rent to income ratio: 51.3 percent

Connected to mainland Miami by bridges, the island paradise of Miami Beach costs a pretty penny for renters. Under the fierce Florida sun, the past and the present swirl together, with sleek, ocean-view high-rises setting up shop next to historic Art Deco buildings. Living here, it’s all about the good life, whether that’s chilling at the beach, going to parties and nightclubs, partaking of multicultural cuisine or shopping ’til you drop.

17. Oakland, CA

Oakland, CA

  • Median income: $76,469
  • Average rent: $3,371 (monthly), $40,452 (yearly)
  • Rent to income ratio: 52.9 percent

As the cost of living in San Francisco soars, many Bay Area residents and new arrivals are heading across the waters to Oakland, where you can expect more than half of your monthly income to go to rent. But Oakland is a thriving, enthralling city in its own right, with a flourishing food scene, beautiful architecture, innovative art, ample parks and green areas and an entire lake near downtown.

16. Boulder, CO

Boulder, CO rent to income ratio

  • Median income: $62,207
  • Average rent: $2,747 (monthly), $32,964 (yearly)
  • Rent to income ratio: 53.0 percent

Nestled among the foothills of the Rockies, Boulder is one of Colorado’s fastest-growing cities, as outdoor recreation and nature lovers ditch Denver to live right next door to their beloved hiking and mountain-biking trails, and entrepreneurs come for the start-up culture. You can go rock climbing, hiking or cycling among the mountains in no time, then head back into town for craft brews, hearty eats and robust entertainment and fun thanks to a thriving arts scene.

15. Cleveland, OH

Cleveland, OH

  • Median income: $29,953
  • Average rent: $1,342 (monthly), $16,104 (yearly)
  • Rent to income ratio: 53.8 percent

Home to renowned museums and cultural institutions like the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, a network of protected nature reserves that offers easy access to outdoor fun and more, Cleveland finds the perfect balance between urban and natural fun. While more affordable than other East Coast metropolitan areas, you’re still looking at using mroe than half your monthly income for rent.

14. Hartford, CT

Hartford, CT

  • Median income: $30,444
  • Average rent: $1,410 (monthly), $16,920 (yearly)
  • Rent to income ratio: 55.6 percent

Picturesque and rife with history, Hartford was a center for the abolitionist movement of the 19th century and home to legendary writers like Harriet Beecher Stowe and Mark Twain. Its rich past still shows through its architecture, monuments and museums. Sitting side by side with all that history are bustling modern industries like insurance and education, and plenty in the way of entertainment, dining and fun to keep locals happy.

13. Lawrence, MA

Lawrence, MA rent to income ratio

  • Median income: $41,356
  • Average rent: $1,919 (monthly), $23,028 (yearly)
  • Rent to income ratio: 55.7 percent

This diverse, multicultural city full of nature and history is just a short drive from Boston, making it an ideal option for commuters who don’t mind the drive. If you’re looking to avoid the prices in the Boston area, Lawrence is much more affordable but still on the higher end of the scale, with the average rent-to-income ratio being more than 50 percent.

12. Philadelphia, PA

philadelphia

  • Median income: $46,116
  • Average rent: $2,146 (monthly), $25,752 (yearly)
  • Rent to income ratio: 55.8 percent

Pennsylvania’s largest city is also one of the most important in early American history. It was in Philadelphia that the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution were signed at Independence Hall, as well as being the home of the Liberty Bell. History buffs will always have a field day here, but there’s plenty else to enjoy, including sports (the city is home to the Eagles, Phillies, Flyers and the 76ers for football, baseball, hockey and basketball, respectively) and noshing on famous local foods like hoagies and Philly cheesesteaks.

11. New Haven, CT

New Haven, CT

  • Median income: $41,950
  • Average rent: $2,058 (monthly), $24,696 (yearly)
  • Rent to income ratio: 58.9 percent

New Haven is the archetypal image of a quaint New England town, full of historic buildings, leafy trees and sprawling green parks. With history stretching back to the 1600s, it’s best known for being the home of Yale University. As a college town, you’ll find plenty of academic diversions, such as elegant libraries and museums, and the natural beauties of New England’s forests and waterways offer plenty of outdoor activities. But to live in such rarified air doesn’t come cheap, at a rent-to-income ratio of nearly 60 percent.

10. Providence, RI

Providence, RI rent to income ratio

  • Median income: $42,347
  • Average rent: $2,129 (monthly), $25,548 (yearly)
  • Rent to income ratio: 60.3 percent

Providence‘s past glory as a center of manufacturing has evolved into a sterling reputation for higher education, thanks for local Ivy League member Brown University and the Rhode Island School for Design, one of the nation’s top art schools. Outside of education, healthcare is also a major player. All this demand for top talent and the transitory nature of college towns keeps rents up.

9. Detroit, MI

Detroit, MI

  • Median income: $31,283
  • Average rent: $1,591 (monthly), $19,092 (yearly)
  • Rent to income ratio: 61.0 percent

Although Detroit fell from the lofty heights of being the home of the U.S. auto industry and birthing Motown, through hard work and dedication, it’s slowly starting to rebound, with new industries taking hold, urban revitalization and the renewal and preservation of some of the city’s architectural treasures. With a storied past as a center for music, art and culture, the city is rediscovering its roots and rising from the ashes. But there’s still a long way to go, so even with new jobs and opportunities popping up, the cost of rent is still high compared to income.

8. Los Angeles, CA

Los Angeles, CA

  • Median income: $62,474
  • Average rent: $3,200 (monthly), $38,400 (yearly)
  • Rent to income ratio: 61.5 percent

The scenic California coast. Good weather year-round. The one and only Hollywood. Los Angeles needs no introduction. Everyone with a dream of making it big in the movies comes here, and many come here anyway just for the fine weather, endless art and entertainment and diverse food. But even this sprawling city is packed to bursting, and the average rent prices prove it. Be prepared to pony up over 60 percent of that paycheck for those silver screen dreams.

7. Boston, MA

Boston, MA rent to income ratio

  • Median income: $71,834
  • Average rent: $3,757 (monthly), $45,084 (yearly)
  • Rent to income ratio: 62.8 percent

Another giant of education, history and culture, Boston’s prowess in higher education, booming start-up market, thriving industries like finance and IT and world-class arts and culture scenes have kept this legendary city among the top East Coast metro areas since its founding. But it’s also one of the most expensive cities in the U.S., and although median incomes are high, so is the rent.

6. Santa Monica, CA

Santa Monica, CA

  • Median income: $96,138
  • Average rent: $5,066 (monthly), $60,792 (yearly)
  • Rent to income ratio: 63.2 percent

For a one-bedroom apartment in Santa Monica, you’ll be looking at a sticker-shock price of more than five grand. But for all that, you get to live close to some of California’s most scenic beaches, enjoy famous attractions like the Santa Monica Pier and Third Street Promenade, treat yourself to cutting-edge cuisine, max out your credit cards at some of the best shopping anywhere in the world and soak up that SoCal beach lifestyle.

5. Camden, NJ

Camden, NJ

  • Median income: $25,928
  • Average rent: $1,496 (monthly), $17,952 (yearly)
  • Rent to income ratio: 69.2 percent

One would assume that Camden — located just across the Delaware River from Philadelphia — would be more affordable than its big-city neighbor but not so. The median income is low, and the rents are high, taking nearly 70 percent of monthly income. However, it’s easy to commute back and forth from Philly for work, you can live close to a major cosmopolitan center, and Camden has plenty of undercover charms, like cool museums and lush parks.

4. Newark, NJ

Newark, NJ rent to income ratio

  • Median income: $37,642
  • Average rent: $2,181 (monthly), $26,172 (yearly)
  • Rent to income ratio: 69.5 percent

New Jersey’s largest city is also its most expensive in rent-to-income ratio, with one-bedroom apartments taking nearly 70 percent of your monthly earnings. Compared to N.Y.C., which isn’t far away, it’s still a steal, though. In Newark, you’ll find some lovely parks, interesting art and history museums and the famous Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart.

3. Alhambra, CA

Alhambra, CA

  • Median income: $57,432
  • Average rent: $3,439 (monthly), $41,268 (yearly)
  • Rent to income ratio: 71.9 percent

A short drive from downtown L.A., the city of Alhambra probably won’t immediately ring a bell like other more famous parts of Los Angeles County. Flying under the radar has allowed this city to develop a charming small-town atmosphere while being almost in the heart of L.A., with quaint homes and apartments, great eats and a laid-back vibe. But it doesn’t come cheap, at more than 70 percent rent-to-income ratio.

2. Miami, FL

Miami, FL

  • Median income: $41,818
  • Average rent: $2,535 (monthly), $30,420 (yearly)
  • Rent to income ratio: 72.7 percent

As Florida’s most happening city for art, culture, entertainment and commerce, Miami holds great appeal. From its famous beaches to vibrant party life, there’s never a dull moment. But it’s not all fun and games when it comes to being able to live in this balmy seafront paradise, as, on average, more than 70 percent of your monthly take-home goes to rent.

1. New York, NY

New York, NY rent to income ratio

  • Median income: $63,799
  • Average rent: $4,333 (monthly), $51,996 (yearly)
  • Rent to income ratio: 81.5 percent

It should come as no surprise that New York itself is the least affordable city for rent-to-income ratio, as residents pay a whopping 81.5 percent of their gross monthly income to cover the rent. But ask any New Yorker, and they’ll swear up and down it’s worth it. They’re at the center of the universe, as many like to call N.Y.C., living in a global epicenter for commerce, art, food and culture.

The 166 most expensive cities in the U.S.

In addition to the top 25 cities we just covered, here’s the full list of the 166 cities around the U.S., where rent will eat up the most of your monthly income.

The key to city living is balance, affordability

Living in an urban environment is always exciting, no matter what city you’re in. But if the income to rent ratio is too high, you won’t have the money to enjoy all the unique activities your city has to offer, as well as to live comfortably and to put away savings. So, it’s important to find a city that allows you to live within your budget, follow the 30 percent rule and still be able to go out and have fun.

Rent prices are based on a rolling weighted average from Apartment Guide and Rent.com’s multifamily rental property inventory of one-bedroom apartments. Data was pulled in August 2020 and goes back for one year. We use a weighted average formula that more accurately represents price availability for each individual unit type and reduces the influence of seasonality on rent prices in specific markets.
Income data comes from the U.S. Census Bureau.
The rent information included in this article is used for illustrative purposes only. The data contained herein do not constitute financial advice or a pricing guarantee for any apartment.

Published at Mon, 21 Sep 2020 13:00:40 +0000

Categories
Apartment Living

Why I Love Wide Plank Hardwood Flooring and Why You Should Too

Why I Love Wide Plank Hardwood Flooring and Why You Should Too

Why I Love Wide Plank Hardwood Flooring and Why You Should Too on Apt34

I’ve long had a love affair with wide plank hardwood flooring. I can’t actually pinpoint when the look seeped into my consciousness. I suspect it started when I began voraciously collecting European design magazines, as wide plank hardwood flooring is a mainstay of European and specifically Scandinavian design. Yet for so long wide plank floors were only used in “rustic” design in the United States. But I am the first to say that wide plank hardwood flooring is not only modern but timeless. I so firmly believe this, I made the decision from day one that I would put a wider plank hardwood throughout my own house!

Five years later, I only wish I’d know about Carlisle Wide Plank Floors when we were in the middle of our renovations. Going with a company like Carlisle Wide Plank Floors would have made my life so much simpler. They literally are your one-stop-shop for wide plank hardwood flooring – offering different wood species, various stains, and the ability to customize just about everything – you can find virtually any look you’re going for.

Why I Love Wide Plank Hardwood Flooring and Why You Should Too on Apt34

I’m particularly smitten with white oak. White oak wears incredibly well, can take a variety of stains and will blend seamlessly with the look of any home. The typically lighter hue helps make spaces feel open, brighter and bigger. And while you think light floors would show dirt, dust, dander, pet hair and scratches, that all shows much more on dark floors. Trust me, I’ve had dark floors and it was not so fun.

A wonderful example of white oak wide plank flooring is in the stunning modern kitchen and dining space pictured above. I am obsessed with the idea of a floating kitchen – one that simply exists in the space – rather than being a room unto itself. The wide plank floors from Carlisle offer beautiful sweeping movement across the room without feeling busy or distracting.

I’m also often asked if you can/should mix wood tones in your home. The answer is a resounding yes and that kitchen is another excellent example of why multiple wood tones work so well together. The darker woods used for the cabinetry and storage area add more warmth that plays off the white oak floor while the black accents throughout – chair backs, counters, light fixture, and the stove hood – serve to anchor everything.

Why I Love Wide Plank Hardwood Flooring and Why You Should Too on Apt34

In contrast, the wide plank floor used in this kitchen offers a more casual feel to what would otherwise be a very classic all-white kitchen. The floors selected here are quartersawn, meaning they’re cut to enhance the natural grain and showcase the knots and texture found in the wood. A minimal, matte stain was used, giving the wood a natural look. The wide plank floor is the perfect complement to the modern stools, stretches of classic marble and brass hardware used in the space.

Why I Love Wide Plank Hardwood Flooring and Why You Should Too on Apt34 Why I Love Wide Plank Hardwood Flooring and Why You Should Too on Apt34

If you’re looking to make an update to your home and want an elegant, timeless yet decidedly modern style, I strongly suggest considering wide plank hardwood flooring. I know I’ll put wide plank flooring in any home I do in the future (can you tell I’m itching for a new project!).

This post is in partnership with Carlisle Wide Plank Floors. Thanks for supporting posts that have kept Apartment 34’s doors open. If you’re interested in collaborating with us, please CLICK HERE.

photography courtesy of Carlisle Wide Plank Floors and by Seth Smoot for Apartment 34

Published at Wed, 05 Aug 2020 18:58:28 +0000

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Your Guide to the Best Omaha Neighborhoods

Your Guide to the Best Omaha Neighborhoods

With former towns and areas creating nearly 100 Omaha, NE, neighborhoods, the city is a hodgepodge of history and culture. From the early days of Omaha’s downtown near the current Old Market to Elkhorn on the western edge of the city, the neighborhoods in the nation’s 40th-largest city have unique stories to share. From street days celebrations to music festivals, as Omaha continues to grow, new neighborhoods help create smaller communities, each with their own unique personalities.

Getting to know Omaha’s best neighborhoods

Cities like Florence, Millard and South Omaha were founded during the mid-1800s, when Omaha itself was a small city, with little to no plans for the growth it would experience over the next several decades. Florence, north of downtown Omaha, was home to the winter headquarters for Mormon pioneers on their trek from Nauvoo, IL, to Salt Lake City, UT. Florence was annexed by Omaha in 1917. It’s currently home to the Mormon Trails Center and the Florence Mill, which was founded by a Mormon family. Today, you can enjoy breakfast at Harold’s Koffeehouse or dinner at OJ’s Café or Finicky Frank’s.

Founded in 1870, Millard enjoyed its sovereignty for nearly a century before Omaha annexed it in 1971, following a lengthy court battle against annexation. South Omaha, the city’s melting pot for immigrants through the years, was founded in 1884. “The Magic City,” as it was nicknamed, was home to packing houses that relied on immigrant workers.

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Annexed by Omaha in 1917, South Omaha was once home to the world’s largest stockyards, before they moved away from the area. You can still get a delicious steak at Johnny’s Café, one of Omaha’s oldest restaurants.

Omaha neighborhoods invite you to explore and learn their history. Whether you prefer classic neighborhoods, with their history and charm, or newer districts, created for development and convenience, Omaha has the perfect neighborhood for families, young professionals and singles.

Best neighborhoods in Omaha for families

Good schools, access to parks and plenty of activities help set apart these neighborhoods for families.

Aksarben/Elmwood Park

Aksarben/Elmwood Park

Source: ZAG Apartments

Once home to the Aksarben horse track, the Aksarben/Elmwood Park neighborhood is a mix of classic homes, apartments and condos. Aksarben got its start in 1895 when community organizers sought to create an area to share history and culture. Coining the name Aksarben — Nebraska backwards — it grew into a civic organization that included the race track and an entertainment coliseum.

Today, the race complex has been replaced by Aksarben Village, a mix of business, retail, dining and entertainment options. With the spacious Elmwood Park and University of Nebraska at Omaha north campus on its northside, Aksarben has become one of the best Omaha neighborhoods with its festivals, such as Earth Day, community concerts at Stinson Park and Shakespeare on the Green at UNO.

It hosts a weekend farmers market from April through October, as well being home to a variety of restaurants and bars. The UNO athletic teams, including hockey, volleyball and basketball, play at Baxter Arena — also site to major concerts — on the south side of the neighborhood.

Dundee/Memorial Park/Happy Hollow

Dundee/Memorial Park/Happy Hollow

How would you like to call one of the world’s richest men a neighbor? Living in the same house he purchased after college, billionaire Warren Buffett lives in the Happy Hollow area of Omaha. Although he has made a few modifications to the home over the years, Buffett still comes across as the nice guy Omahans believe him to be.

Designed as Omaha’s original suburb, Dundee is home to vintage houses and a unique downtown featuring classic restaurants and e-Creamery, one of the best ice cream parlors you’ll ever visit. And you may meet a celebrity or two while visiting, as some locals did when Buffett and Sir Paul McCartney enjoyed an ice cream treat near a street corner.

As you stroll along Underwood Avenue, look for the historical marker highlighting the time a Japanese balloon bomb exploded over the area during World War II. Dundee is home to great food, such as Cajun extraordinaire Acadian Grille or great pizza at Pitch Pizzeria. The Dundee area has excellent public parks, including Memorial Park, home to the annual Independence Day weekend concert and fireworks show.

Elkhorn

Elkhorn

Source: Broadmoor Hills

Founded in 1865 and named after the nearby Elkhorn River, Elkhorn grew from a village to a small city of about 6,000 before being annexed by Omaha in 2005. With a classic small-town business district, you’ll find unique shops and restaurants, along with a good park system.

Contemporary businesses and eateries can be found along Maple Street that connects the newer neighborhood to the rest of Omaha. With classic and new houses, as well as apartment and condo communities, Elkhorn is Omaha’s western border.

With its own school district, Elkhorn public schools have grown from one high school to three. The city hosts Elkhorn Days each summer, as well as a renaissance festival. The area’s Indian Creek golf course hosts the Korn Ferry pro golf tournament each summer. While it may be one the newer areas, Elkhorn is considered one of the best Omaha neighborhoods for families.

Best neighborhoods in Omaha for young professionals

These neighborhoods are popular with young professionals for their vibrant mix of restaurants, coffee shops and nightlife.

Midtown Crossing

Midtown Crossing

Located west of downtown Omaha, Midtown Crossing has become one of the best Omaha neighborhoods for young professionals. A retail and entertainment district, Midtown Crossing features a mix of new and vintage housing options.

For young professionals, there are outdoor concerts, including the annual Jazz on the Green, as well as a unique movie theater, and Spielbound, a combination coffeehouse/board game café. With a variety of restaurants, including vegan, farm-to-table and a Buffalo wing sports bar, Midtown Crossing caters to almost any dining preference.

Old Market

Old Market

Omaha’s original downtown is also a perfect area for young professionals to call home. With older buildings converted into homes, as well as condos along the Missouri Riverfront, you’re only minutes away from many of the city’s key employers, such as Union Pacific.

With your choice of restaurants, clubs and bars, Old Market is perfect if you prefer to be in the middle of the action in the heart of the city. It’s a great walking area and pet friendly. The original farmers market takes place on Saturdays from April to October, and then the Old Market transforms into holiday haven with thousands of white lights shining brightly. Carriage rides, outdoor dining and street musicians highlight a day or evening out in the Old Market.

Highlander

Highlander Neighborhood

Source: 1009 N 29th St

Once considered a sketchy area, the 30th and Parker streets area has been transformed into Highlander, a mixed-use neighborhood of new housing, along with older, renovated apartments.

The area along 30th Street is anchored by the Highlander Accelerator, with Hardy Coffee and Big Mama’s soul food restaurant as its best-known residents. Hardy Coffee moved its corporate operations from the Old Market to Highlander, including its coffee roasting and bakery. The expanded coffeehouse is perfect for work and hosting meetings.

Big Mama’s new location offers easier access to one of Omaha’s favorite restaurants. A few blocks to the north is Time Out chicken, considered the best takeout chicken in Omaha. Highlander’s plan is to host outdoor concerts, as well as offering additional restaurants.

Best neighborhoods in Omaha for singles

Singles flock to these neighborhoods, which buzz with activity 24/7.

Blackstone

Blackstone

Source: The Blackstone Apartments

Blackstone is one of Omaha’s newest districts and has quickly become one of the best Omaha neighborhoods for singles with a bevy of dining options. Once one of the city’s richest areas, with mansions lining Farnam Street, the area fell into disrepair after the stock market crash in 1929.

As residents were unable to maintain their homes, many of the mansions became boarding houses and funeral homes. Former mansions that once lined the Gold Coast sat empty and were demolished. The ones that survived became apartment buildings.

Today, those apartments and other mansions surround the Blackstone District, home to about a dozen restaurants offering everything from gourmet meatballs to farm-to-table entrees, as well as an ice cream parlor with homemade treats also caters to vegans.

With several lounges and Farnam House Brewing Company in the district, which runs west of Midtown Crossing to the University of Nebraska Medical Center campus, you can relax with a quality whiskey or enjoy a nice glass of pinot. An artisan coffeehouse, Archetype, serves as a gathering spot for people at all times of the day.

Little Bohemia

Little Bohemia

Source: Facebook/LittleBoNC

With its name derived from Czech immigrants settling the area along 13th Street in the late 1800s, Little Bohemia for years was anchored by the Bohemian Café. Known for its authentic Eastern European dinners, the restaurant was a favorite for family get-togethers. However, after more than 90 years, the restaurant closed in 2016. That move gave way to creating Omaha’s newest district, Little Bohemia.

Quickly establishing itself as a popular area for singles and young couples, Little Bohemia is home to a mix of bars and retail outlets. Infusion Brewery took over the Bohemian Café spot to open its third location Omaha. Beercade 2 is a spinoff of Benson’s Beercade, featuring classic arcade games and beer — the perfect combination for a great time. Along with boutiques and other shops, Little Bohemia’s rise as one of the best Omaha neighborhoods is accentuated by a second Archetype coffee location.

Benson

Benson

Source: Benson Lights Apartments

Founded as its own city, Benson has long been considered among the popular Omaha neighborhoods. Home to art galleries, vintage and antique stores and great restaurants, Benson is a fantastic area to call home. With street festivals, Benson Days and food truck rodeos, the neighborhood is almost non-stop entertainment.

Each October, zombies invade Benson during the annual Zombie Walk to help celebrate the Halloween season. You’ll find national music acts performing intimate shows at the Waiting Room. The neighborhood is home to two craft breweries — Benson Brewery and Infusion Brewing Company. The original Beercade calls Benson home, with a massive array of vintage pinball games and lots of drink options.

Head to Benson’s alleyways and check out the alley art. Make reservations for an upscale dinner at Au Courant or pull up a chair for barbecue at Hartland BBQ. Benson’s First Fridays are a must on the first Friday of each month, as galleries and stores stay open late for visitors, along with some impressive dining options.

Omaha is for everyone

The challenge for anyone moving to a new city is finding the perfect fit for yourself or your family. Interests, as well as needs, such as education, play a key role in deciding where to call home.

With almost 100 neighborhoods in Omaha to choose from, look for the common denominator in what drives your main interest for selecting a new home. Whether it’s a house, apartment or condo village, Omaha has the right place for you to call home.

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Published at Tue, 01 Sep 2020 13:34:09 +0000

How to Remove Wall Decals

Is there a child in America who hasn’t put a sticker on a piece of furniture despite being advised not to? There’s something about those colorful, tacky little pieces of paper just asking to be settled on a chair arm or desk. As grown-ups, it’s no wonder we still get the sticker bug, and in recent years, there’s been a resurgence of wallpapers and fun decals to deploy on the walls — inspirational quotes, life-sized sports figures, flowers and birds.

Some decals are labeled “repositionable” or “removable” and easily come off when peeled without damaging the wall. Yay! Lucky you. But other decals, particularly older ones, may not give it up so easily. When it’s time for a change, how do you remove wall decals

Decal, sticker, what’s the diff?

First off, the word “decal” has a fancy pedigree, derived as it was from the French décalcomanie (Latin calcare, meaning “to tread on, press”).

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A decal has three parts — a backing paper, the actual sticker art and a transfer surface layer. A sticker, on the other hand, is just an adhesive design that you peel off the backing paper and adhere to a surface. With their three parts, decal designs can be really intricate because the transfer layer allows you to put the sticker on a wall with the same spacing as the original design.

Stickers and decals are usually made from PVC-vinyl for its elasticity. Some eco-conscious companies like Made for Sundays, make stickers from paper with PVC-free backing and decals made of recyclable polyester vinyl.

removing wall decals

Easy ways to remove wall decals

Here are the tools you’ll need to remove decals from your walls:

  • Hairdryer
  • Tweezer
  • Warm, soapy water
  • A residue remover of choice (see below)
  • Patience

Step 1: Use a hairdryer to heat up the decal

Hold the hairdryer about six inches from the decal and blow warm air over it for a minute or two. If it’s a large decal do one area at a time.

Step 2: Using a tweezer, slowly pull away from the wall

Channel your long-lost skills from The Operation game and do this gently. Don’t tug the decal at a 90-degree angle, sort of roll it away. This will keep you from tearing the decal and leaving residue or possibly peeling away paint.

Step 3: Remove leftover residue

Any residue left on the wall should come off with warm soapy water. If that won’t cut it, try Goo Gone, Krud Kutter, WD-40, rubbing alcohol or even nail polish remover — but you might want to test a small area first, like in the back of a closet to make sure your remover of choice doesn’t ruin the paint.

glow in the dark stars

Removing glow-in-the-dark stars

Yes, the constellations were amazing at night as you gazed up at your ceiling from your bed. But now they’ve got to go. You’ll need more than a hairdryer to get rid of these suckers. Aside from a ladder and possibly a friend to hand you materials while you’re trying not to get a crick in your neck, gather the following: cotton balls, white vinegar, a cleaner like Goo Gone or Krud Kutter, nail polish remover, WD-40, rag, dish soap, warm water, scraper (old credit card will do) and possibly an ice cube.

Once you’ve assembled your arsenal, choose one of your liquid attackers, and using a cotton ball, dampen the edges of the star stickers. Wait two to three minutes and test to see if you chose correctly and can peel away the star sticker with your finger.

If not, try another liquid. Hit up the edges with WD-40 for good measure. If you can’t peel the star sticker away with your fingers, scrape it off with the old credit card. Eventually, the stars will come off the ceiling.

Some stars have a kind of putty-like adhesive. Try putting an ice cube to it and then use the credit card to scrape it from the ceiling.

Once the stars have been removed, you’ll likely have to tackle the residue. This should come off with a little scrubbing with your rag dipped in soapy water. Don’t oversaturate the ceiling and scrub so hard that you weaken the drywall.

Decals gone, walls might need some TLC

With the star stickers, in particular, you’ve likely scored yourself a new project — painting. Just make sure the walls or ceiling are dry before you begin and you’ll be able to restore your apartment to its original blank canvas status.

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Published at Mon, 31 Aug 2020 19:20:13 +0000