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Helpful Items For Your Rental
by Kari Lamanuzzi

Apartment living has its benefits, for sure, but it can be hard when you can't secure things to walls or make structural changes to better suit your needs. After all, you do want that security deposit back when you move out, right? Here are a few space- and security deposit-saving items that can be really helpful if you don't own your dwelling.

Cube storage systems are a great way to maximize storage and maintain a pleasant aesthetic in your home. These systems are available at many retailers and are incredibly versatile, often having the option of removable drawers, baskets, and shelves which can be installed in each cube. If you are low on space you can put them together as a coffee table and cover with a cloth, line them up against the wall to create a ledge for displaying photos and plants, or stack several on the floor of your coat closet and store things like your iron, umbrellas, hats and scarves, etc. Often times the cubes come in several complementary colors so that you can easily mix and match to your preference.

A little thought of apartment essential is the over-the-door ironing board. Ironing boards can be a real drag when you have to haul them out of the closet and set them up, so why not get an over-the-door board? Often found for under $20, these almost-full-sized ironing boards hang from hooks over a closet or bathroom door and fold down for easy use and easy clean up. When you live in an apartment, the best things to get are those that save space and those that don't require being permanently affixed to walls, floors and ceilings.

A futon is another great space-saver is the futon. Futons come in many shapes, sizes, and styles but the best futon for an apartment is one that converts from a couch to a bed. They are great for overnight guests or if you live in a studio apartment, they are a great way to make a small living space more entertainment-friendly. Because futon mattresses are pretty inexpensive, look for used futons to save money. The end of spring semester lends itself to awesome garage and yard sales where you can get great deals on futons from students who are moving.

Fun Tak is essential if you want to hang artwork without damaging your walls. This pliable putty is available at most grocery, office supply, and home supply stores. It will not work on framed art but posters are easily hung by tearing off pieces of this putty and kneading it until it is soft. Use it to hold up pieces of cork board so you can'tack your work schedule, phone numbers, and carry-out menus to your wall for easy access.

Don't be afraid to get creative with your storage solutions and look for items that can serve multiple purposes. The key to living in a rental unity is to avoid damaging walls and other structures so you can keep your security deposit. If you plan on living in your apartment for several years or you don't mind spackling over holes then nail away, but if you are not the Mr. Fix-it type keep your eyes open for shelving units and interesting furnishings for decorating and storage. Don't be afraid to experiment but don't be afraid to use traditional apartment things like futons, either...there's a reason they are old standards.

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