Happy Friday, Berger Blog readers! We’ve been delighting your olfactory senses with some sweet-smelling solutions to the cooking stenches that tend to overstay their welcome in your apartment.
We saved the most extreme fragrance fix for last. While it’s not necessarily a unique or unheard of idea, it’ll surely shake off any lingering cooking stench.
What You’ll Need:
- Citrus peels
- Large shallow pan
- Degreasing dish soap
- Soft cloths or sponges
[And most importantly,]
That’s right -- the best way to truly stave off a stench is to scrub it out. Put a little elbow grease into it to get the smell out.
CLEAN: Clean away all grease splatters and food remnants. Use the degreasing detergent to scrub the area around the stove. This is especially important if fried food was involved -- if the grease splatters stick around, so will the stench. Clean all dirty dishes and take out the trash. Wipe down the cabinets, stovetop and floor to remove all cooking residue. And don’t forget the vents above the stove! These collect grease and bits of food that emit those long-lasting, lingering odors.
OPEN: After the extreme clean, open all your windows and get the air circulating through your entire apartment. Consider placing a fan in the window to either pull fresh outside air in or push out the odorous indoor air.
SIMMER: Fill the shallow pan with one part vinegar and one part water. Add citrus peels or lemon juice and simmer for a few hours. The vinegar vapors neutralize the odors, while the citrus scents finish off the job and give your apartment a fresh and invigorating scent. Replace the water and vinegar as needed.
SET: After you’re finished simmering, allow the vinegar and water to set in the pan for the rest of the day to really get the job done and absorb any remaining odors.
Now that’s the sweet-smelling apartment you know and love!
Welcome back to the Berger Blog, where we’re staving off unwanted cooking scents with sweet-smelling solutions.
In a previous post, we suggested that you simmer potpourri as a space-saving alternative to a humidifier in your apartment. Well, the powers of potpourri don’t max out at moisture.
Make a simmering potpourri for an easy, homemade air freshener. The best part about this sweet-smelling solution is that you can customize it to your olfactory and optical desires!
There are three basic components of potpourri:
- Fixative: This is the fragrance absorber, like oak moss and orrisroot*, that preserves the potpourri’s scent. The fixative is your base. It shouldn’t have a strong scent of its own so it won’t compete or interfere with the fragrance and filler.
- Fragrance: This is the essential oil that allows the fixatives to retain the fragrance for a longer period of time. Add about six drops of your favorite fragrance oil to your filler after drying, if you decide to do so. And when your potpourri starts losing potency, juice it up with a few more drops of fragrance.
- Filler: This is the “meat” of the potpourri. Use dried flowers, citrus peels, wood shavings and chips, herbs, leaves and/or spices -- both fragrant and non-fragrant -- to give your potpourri the rustic, colorful, woodsy or natural look of your choice.
Note: If you decide to use fresh items that need to be dried first, buy four times the amount that you want in your finished potpourri product. For example, if you want one cup of potpourri, prepare four cups of fresh items to account for the shrinkage that takes place during drying.
*Orrisroot is made from the dried root of any of three European irises (Florentina, Germanica or Pallida).
After making your potpourri, place it in a shallow pan of water and simmer on low heat. Then, all you have to do is enjoy the wafting aroma and refill the water when necessary.
Need some scent suggestions? The following potpourri from Pioneer Thinking is perfect for a scent that both staves off cooking stenches and calms your mind with its lavender aroma.
- 1 cup dried lavender (Lavandula officinalis, purple)
- 7-8 drops lavender essential/fragrance oil
- 2 tablespoons dried orrisroot
- 1/2 cup pink carnation flower heads (Dianthus caryophyllus)
- 1/2 cup lemon marigold flower heads (Tagetes tenifolia, bright yellow)
- 1/4 cup lamb's ears leaves (Stachys byzantine, pale green)
The Pioneer Thinking website has other ideas for potpourri scents -- like “Citrus Delight” and “American Dream” -- plus more detailed instruction on making your own and drying your filler.
But what if you don’t feel like making your own? No problem! Bed Bath & Beyond has a great selection of potpourri bags with scents that range from cinnamon apple and frosted pine to bergamot orchid and seashore!
Do you have a cooking stench that you simply can’t seem to stifle? Check back soon or subscribe for the most potent potion for your smelly situation.
You know when you eat something that hits you with awesome flavor at first, but leaves you with a bad taste in your mouth for the rest of the day? (Think garlic.) This is similar to the effect of preparing scrumptious food in your kitchen, only to be left with an apartment that reeks of cooking odors. (Think onions and fish.)
Most people are aware of how to take care of the first situation -- chew gum, brush your teeth or avoid food with garlic and onions -- but do you know how to stave off undesirable cooking stenches? This is something that everyone, but especially apartment dwellers, should know.
In apartment communities, odors have no borders.
As an apartment dweller, you know that a bad smell in the kitchen usually means a bad smell in your entire living space. And if a stench is strong enough, it permeates the hallways outside of your apartment. Don’t offend your neighbors with cooking odors!
Coax them with coffee instead!
Grind some coffee beans or brew a pot of coffee for a quick and easy way to fill your apartment with that pleasant mocha aroma. Add a dash of cinnamon, nutmeg or other spice for an additional depth of flavor.
There may be an added bonus to filling your apartment with the smell of coffee. Research suggests that smelling coffee affects genes and proteins in the brain. Some studies have proposed that it has a calming effect on the brain -- reducing stress induced by sleep deprivation. Others report that merely the smell of coffee perks you up and could even make a dull day at work seem less drawn out.
Perhaps that old saying, “Wake up to the smell of coffee,” holds more truth than we thought!
But that mocha aroma isn’t for everyone. In fact, it makes some people sick. Don’t worry: if you disapprove of the mocha brew, there are other ways to stave off lingering kitchen smells. Check back soon or subscribe for a simmering solution to cooking stench!
It’s Friday, which means many lucky individuals are leaving work early to kick-start the weekend -- perhaps beating the traffic to drive down the shore or setting up to host an apartment party.
But wait, you forgot about that load of laundry you wanted to do! No worries. As you may know, this week’s theme on the Berger Blog is doing your laundry in a flash. And this post is all about drying on the double.
- Sort: This is the second sorting segment of your laundry process. Separate any items of clothing that are especially slow to dry, like coats, jeans and other heavy garments. These moisture-holders hinder drying efficiency for the rest of the loads, so it’s best to air-dry them on hangers or chairs.
- Filter: Before you load your clothes in the dryer, check the filter. Clean out the lint to improve the dryer’s efficiency. A lint-filled filter may leave you with a not-so-dry, right-out-of-the-dryer situation -- this wastes time with a second round in the dryer.
- Sensor: Does the dryer have a moisture sensor? This automatically shuts off the machine when your clothes are dry. Not only does this save time and energy, but it also cuts down on wear and tear due to over-drying.
- Shake: Unbundled, free-to-move clothes dry faster. Take a few moments to shake out each item of clothing to remove any twisting and bunching from the washer’s spin cycle.
- Fold: Yes, folding can be a time-sucking burden -- especially for those who aren’t skilled in the art of folding. But if you fold now, you’ll avoid washing or ironing out wrinkles later! Check out this short YouTube video on how to fold a shirt with 10-second, crease-free efficiency!
There you have it -- laundry done right and quickly. Check back soon or subscribe for more apartment dwelling advice … this time, we're ushering in the sweet scents and fending off foul food fetors in your kitchen and apartment!
Welcome back to the Berger Blog! This week’s posts are all about getting your laundry done fast in your apartment. But this specific post has an added, eco-friendly bonus -- when you save time doing your laundry, you can save energy, too!
Imprudent washing practices not only waste time, but they also waste energy. Here are five tips to wash wisely.
- Load: Fill ’er up! Make it a habit of only washing full loads. This saves water, time -- by doing lots of little loads, you’ll lag in the long run -- and energy.
NOTE: This tidbit also applies to the dishwasher!
- Level: If the option is available, set the washer’s water level to the lowest practical setting.
- Cycle: If your clothes aren’t heavily soiled, choose the shortest wash cycle available.
- Temperature: Water heating consumes about 90% of the energy it takes to operate the entire washer! So scouring your clothes in scalding water is a huge energy suck -- on some machines, this is called the “sanitary cycle.” If your clothes aren’t excessively grimy or sullied with oily stains, wash them in cool or even cold water. Even switching from hot to warm water can cut energy use in half!
PLUS: Washing in cold water also minimizes the running of colors, so this is convenient if you’ve skimped on sorting your laundry or haven’t purchased one of the laundry sorters we mentioned in our last post.
- Spin: If your clothes washer has spin options, choose “high spin speed” or “extended spin” to cut down on surplus moisture. This reduces the amount of time it takes to dry your clothes.
Speaking of drying, that’s your next step! Check back soon or subscribe for the details on drying on the double.
This week on the Berger Blog, it’s all about squeaky-clean clothes and breakneck speed. In other words, we’re going to give you the down and dirty tips on doing your laundry fast -- without compromising the quality of cleanliness, of course.
SPEED STARTS WITH SORTING
A Helpful Hamper Does The Heavy Lifting
There are hampers that do your sorting for you! Check out Organize.com, which offers a wealth of hampers and sorters that make your laundry less listless. Save time and energy by easily sorting your whites from lights and darks or your delicates from your durables -- or even sort according to family members -- before you hit the laundry room.
The products range from the $10 Pop N’ Fold Laundry Sorter with heavyweight carrying straps, to the $30 Double Laundry Bag Stand with mesh bags and bronze-finished steel frame, to the $110 Triple Laundry Sorter. This last one is hand woven from all-natural sea grass, coated to prevent mold and mildew and lined with removable, breathable fabric -- it may be a hefty laundry investment, but it’ll last for the long run. Plus, it’s perfect for the chic apartment dweller.
But if you really want to level up your laundry, the $200 Bamboo Laundry Center is for you. It’s an eco-friendly, carbonized bamboo laundry center, going beyond simple sorting to include shelves for clean towels or extra storage and a top bar that holds hangers for wrinkle-free drying or simply to provide an extension of your closet. Not only does this product make laundry more organized and efficient, but it’s one of those multifunctional apartment space savers as well!
Sorting Secret: Always separate “heavy bleeding” fabrics from the rest of your laundry, which include any red clothing or new, dark denim. This saves time by saving you a trip to the store to replace ruined clothing!
So you’ve soiled and sorted and your helpful hamper’s ready to be unloaded. It’s time to head to the laundry room. But don’t worry; this will be quick! No lazy laundry here -- let’s wake up that washer. Check back soon or subscribe for advice on how to whittle away wash time!
So what do you do when your noisy neighbor refuses to cooperate with your polite plea for peace and quiet?
Put it in writing. Write a letter to your neighbor, restating your problem, why it’s a problem and your reasonable solution. Restate your apartment complex’s rules about noise levels. Make sure to note that this is your second respectful request. Include specific details, like the type of noise the neighbor makes and the times it interferes with your life. And most importantly, make a copy to keep for yourself. This will serve as evidence if, unfortunately, the neighbor still does not cooperate and you have to take the next step.
And that next step is bringing in the landlord. Explain your situation. And again, do so calmly and rationally. Remember, you landlord is there to make your living situation as pleasant as possible. Describe how you calmly and respectfully approached your neighbor twice -- first in person and again with the letter -- and then present the letter. Your landlord will work with you and your neighbors, taking all necessary steps to resolve the situation. Remember, your landlord's goal is to ensure a happy living environment for all residents!
If you feel threatened by your noisy neighbor at all -- if he or she says or does things that make you feel unsafe -- contact the authorities! When things get serious, it’s time to bring in the people who are trained to handle serious situations. Not only will the police provide for your safety, but they will also definitely make sure the noise pollution stops here and now.
Good luck with your noisy situation. Hopefully, you’ll put a cap on the clamor the first time around and won’t have to take any additional steps.
But speaking of irksome inconveniences, do you have a heap of laundry piling up? Don’t worry, we’re not going to lecture you on the decency of leading a clean life. But we will give you tips to turn lazy laundry into laundry at lightning speed -- check back soon or subscribe to get the “quick and dirty” on cleaning your clothes!
Living in an apartment complex is all about respect. But, as we all know, this respect gets undermined from time to time. And one of the most common ways this happens in apartments is with heightened noise levels. Our last post was about the importance of getting off on the right foot with your noisy neighbor -- approaching him or her first and not inviting unnecessary drama by bringing in the landlord or other neighbors right away.
So here are some tips to make your encounter with your neighbor a friendly and effective one:
- Get focused. Before you approach your neighbor, gather your thoughts and decide what you’re going to say. This way, you’ll be much less likely to forget to say something or realize (too late) that you could have said something better.
- Calm yourself. If you approach with anger, your neighbor’s going to be on the defense from the get-go -- he or she will be working against you instead of with you. So before you approach, take a few moments to calm down. Consider some yoga or calming music.
- Respect your neighbor. Give out what you want to get back. In other words, if you want to be respected, you have to show your neighbor some respect. When you approach your neighbor, ask if he or she has a few minutes to talk. And if this isn’t a good time, ask what time would be better. You’re much more likely to get a positive response and a solution that sticks when you lead with respect.
- Be personable. Make sure your neighbor knows that you’re approaching as a friend – perhaps bring over some homemade treats or ask how their day is going first instead of leading with your problem. Add some positivity into the negative situation. But, don’t take this too far. It’s important to …
- Get to the point. After a brief and pleasant exchange, get to your point. Calmly and rationally state your problem (the noise), why it’s a problem (interfering with your work schedule, your young child’s sleep, etc.) and a suggested solution.
- Present the facts. If your apartment has noise regulations, show them to your neighbor. It may be that he or she is not aware of these rules.
- Be reasonable. Let your neighbor know that you’re not being unreasonable. You understand that making noise is human nature and since you’re all living together in a shared space, it’s natural for some of this noise to escape the walls of one’s own apartment. Tell your neighbor how much you would appreciate it, though, if he or she worked with you a bit so keep it down.
- Be specific. Don’t just say, “I need you to be quiet!” This is far too general -- not only do everyone’s definitions of “quiet” differ, but it’s also a bit unreasonable to demand silence at all times. So suggest that your neighbor keep it down in a specific way -- “Try not to turn the music up so loud,” or, “Is it possible not to slam the doors so loud?” And specify the specific time you’re requesting your neighbor to keep it down -- “I have to get up very early for work, so I’d appreciate it if you turned the music off after 10pm.”
- Be mindful of your tone. You get more flies with honey than you do with vinegar. Don’t use accusing words or a condescending tone. Try your best to be as congenial and poised as possible -- without coming off as fake or insincere, of course.
If all goes well, you might actually start a new friendship with this person! Who knows -- maybe he or she didn’t even realize the deafening nature of the din.
But what if the face-to-face doesn’t go well and a solution isn’t set? Or what if you both agree on a solution, but your neighbor doesn’t follow through? Check back soon or subscribe for what to do when your noisy neighbor won’t cooperate.
You live in an apartment complex, which means you share space and proximity with your neighbors at a greater extent than the average homeowner -- in fact, you most likely share a wall with at least one of your neighbors. So a noisy apartment neighbor is not only irksome, but can also be quite debilitating. Whether your sleep or work is being compromised -- or the noise is taking a toll on your lifestyle in general -- you deserve a solution. And that means speaking up to turn your neighbor’s noise level down.
This week on the Berger Blog is all about how to deal with the noisy neighbor in a calm, respectable and solution-oriented way.
Most of the time, the best way to solve something is to go to the root of the problem. So instead of going to your landlord first or getting other neighbors involved -- which may exasperate the issue with unnecessary drama -- approach your noisy neighbor in an unruffled and respectable manner.
Remember, this isn’t about getting emotions involved. It’s about working out a solution that leaves both you and your neighbor feeling satisfied, respected and able to pass each other in the lobby without feeling uncomfortable. So stay tuned or subscribe for our next post, which will give you some pointers for an unflustered and effective face-to-face with your noisy neighbor.
It’s Friday, which means we’re pulling out the fun card. In this last post of our Wii Tournament series, we’re telling you how to kick the fun into high gear.
You can’t deny that people love when things are customized for them -- it’s human nature. Make this tournament a personal experience for each player. This could mean creating team T-shirts with the player name, team name and team mascot on them.
And when it comes to maintaining a theme, you have to go big or go home -- similar to designing your apartment bathroom! If you’re hosting a tournament revolving around Super Mario Bros. games, bake some cookies featuring Mario, Luigi and Toad -- check out this creative baker’s blog for some ideas.
Are you particularly crafty? The opportunities are endless when it comes to preparing the ambience at a Wii tournament. This “hostess with the mostess®” blogger is an expert in the Wii party arena. From mini Wii remote candy dispensers and bowling lane table runners to “margaMiitas” and “moWiitos,” this hostess merged creativity with charity, using her Wii tournament as a mini fundraiser for the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life!
Okay, we’ve given you enough to think about. Now its time to start planning and customizing your Wii tournament! And please let us know how it all turns out -- we’d love to hear all the details and any innovative ideas you came up with!
We hope your tournament doesn’t make too much of a racket. Because next week’s blog posts are about dealing with noisy apartment neighbors. Check back soon or subscribe to learn how to deal with the noise and how to respectfully cut down on your own commotion.