Wednesday

10 Handy Must-Haves for Your Apartment When You Have Nothing & a Limited Budget

Whether you are moving to a house or an apartment, there are some handy must-haves that will surely make your living quarters neater and help you maintain your household.  You can find most of these items at local discount and department stores.

1.  Garbage can that keeps odors contained.  Why advertise last night's meal throughout your home from the trash can?  Look for garbage cans that seal odors.

2.  Decorative boxes or bins.  These come in handy when you want to keep papers organized and out of site, clothing, shoes or anything else.  The ordinary plastic bins are helpful when its time to move, one less thing to pack!

3.  Shoe rack.  What to do, what to do with all those shoes?  Nowadays there are shoe benches, shoe cabinets, and other shoe compartments that organize shoes while keeping them hidden.

4.  Drawer organizers.  From utensils to cosmetics, these organizers keep everything neatly arranged and the great thing about them is when it's time to move, you can just take them out and put them in a box without all the fuss, and if something spills you don't have to worry about the bottom of the drawer being forever damaged.

5.  Folding table and chairs (outside or indoor).  Let's say that you just can't transport, afford or fit a large dining table at this time.  Your folding table and chairs will not only help you in the meantime, but you can later use them for the yard sale you might have one day, a party, keep children busy, or for some other good reason.  Always keep these around, you never know.

6.  Air beds.  Whether you need them for a guest or to sleep on for the time being, the air beds are indeed helpful when you temporarily have no bed for yourself or a guest.

7.  Desk lamps with compartments and a writing desk.  Easy to transport, don't take up a lot of space and will remain with you for years.  A desk lamp with an attachment for organizing things will help keep your desk area tidy.  A writing desk can be used for a computer, TV, or some other electronic device when you don't have much money for furniture.  You can also build your own desk too with a number of items.  See YouTube for ideas.

8.  Basic kitchen tools that have dual functions.  You don't need a lot of kitchenware just your essentials.  One frying pan that has some sections in it to cook other things, a pot that can also be used to steam some things, a mixing bowl that has measurements, a soup bowl with a pour spout or dip, plates that are microwaveable, cup or glass that stays cold, and tableware that is rust and stain resistant along with a spatula that not only flips but can also hold on to items, a large spoon for not only dipping but mixing, and of course traditional butter and cutting knives that we have all seen used for a variety of functions.  Buying items with dual functions helps you save money.

9.  Curtains.  If your apartment has blinds you won't need curtains unless you just plan on decorating or energy saving.  Now good energy saving curtains are great if you have the kind of place that has a lot of sun or doesn't tend to stay cool or keep heat well.  The curtains will shade the sun and help you save on your electricity bill by keeping cool or hot air in depending on the season.  Curtains can also be used for walkways that don't have doors, as room dividers and also to cover unsightly walls. 

10. Bathroom.  Your bathroom essentials: a wash cloth, hand towel, bath towel, shower curtain and hooks, along with a great shower organizer is really all you need.  However, the shower organizer will keep your items you use everyday in one place-- not as important as needing soap, but still a good item to have.  But what to do with everything else when space is limited?  How about a bathroom shelf organizer or a small cabinet for storing.  You might also want to keep your bathroom trash out of site, so get a garbage can for the bathroom too that keeps the odors in and trash covered.   

Bonus:  Your bedroom essentials: at least one dresser or a similar organizer for clothes that don't need to be hung.  From plastic and cardboard dressers and bins to wicker baskets, there are so many items that keep clothes organized. 

For your bed, instead of buying a bed in a bag with pillows, shams, bed skirts etc. get a few needed sheet sets and a blanket.  You save money this way.  A storage chest at the foot of the bed helps keep your bedroom tidy.
        
Things like electronic gadgets, decorative picture frames, area rugs, and other items that are typically not used everyday, are usually unnecessary for someone who doesn't have much money, so why not direct your budget toward the things that will help you get organized first.  Need something to hold your cds? Get a shelf unit.  Need a stand for your TV?  Check a thift store. 

If it isn't an item that is going to improve your life in some way, then it isn't helpful or essential when you don't have much money.  Maybe you might need a slow-cooker or a kitchen grill because time is important and you don't want to spend a lot of time in the kitchen, then be sure you put money aside for these things as well. 

You might be someone who collects many things and would like a way to keep them organized and off the floor, then consider investing in some wall shelving units.  Whatever your need, look elsewhere on this site based on it and find more tips.

Nicholl McGuire maintains this site and is a writer.  Feel free to view her work on her personal blog.

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