8 ways to show your home you love + respect it

This isn't a post of decorating tips. It's a list of ways to make your space safer, calmer, and more supportive of the daily life you want! Click through to find out how you can do that >> yesandyes.org
Guys, can we get really hippie for a minute? (lights incense, crosses legs and sits on the floor)

Most of us spend the majority of our time in our homes. We eat here, sleep here, share secrets here, fall in and out of love here. When we have a living space that makes us feel safe and supported, just about everything in life goes smoother. We’re on time to things, we’re well-rested, we even spend less money going out because we actually like being at home!

Now, there are lots of lovely, decor-based things you can do to make your space feel amazing (here are my favorite ways to decorate on the cheap). It’s just as important to make your space safe and uncluttered and make sure you understand your rights as a tenant.

Here are 8 ways to show your home you love + respect it! 

1. Make sure your space is really, actually safe

Do you have a deadbolt? Do you have a safety chain on your door? Do you have a peephole? Do you have a carbon monoxide detector and a smoke detector? Do they really work? Do you have a non-slip mat in your shower? Are your knives sharp? (Not because you’re going to use them to protect yourself but because dull knives are more dangerous)

Do you know a few of your neighbors? Do you know where the nearest urgent care/emergency room/police station is? It sounds alarmist and mom-like, but it’s all super important!

2. Clean out your fridge at least once a month

It’ll keep things from getting to gross, it’ll help your fridge run better (thus lowering your utility bill), and it’ll give you a clue to the foods you keep buying and not eating. I’m looking at you, kale.

It would also be nice to spring for some of those fancy glass storage containers. You don’t have to worry about them leaching chemicals into your food and since they’re clear you’ll never be to lazy to open them and see what’s inside.

3. Turn over your mattress and sofa cushions

Obvious. Easy. And yet I always forget to do it.

4. Clean out your closet

It’s demoralizing to paw through tons of clothes you hate every morning. Who needs to be reminded of bad dates and old jobs via blazers and mini skirts? I certainly don’t. Let’s make a pact to pare down to just the things we know + love + wear regularly (and we all know that’s about 20% of our wardrobe.)

Then let’s slowly, carefully fill in holes in our wardrobe with things we lovelovelove. Not just something that’s okay, or something that’s on sale, or something that we got as a gift.

5. Get renter’s insurance

I haaaaaate the concept of insurance. I always thought “Whatever. Instead of having insurance, I’ll just put the money that I’d be paying for an insurance plan into a separate account and then if I need it, I’ll have it.”
Then my friend’s apartment building burned down. Now I have renter’s insurance. Also, if something is lost or stolen while you’re traveling, sometimes it’s covered by your renter’s insurance.

6. Actually read your lease + know your rights

I’m sure I read my lease before I signed it but at the moment, I couldn’t tell you where my copy is, how much notice I have to give before moving, and if I need to paint my accent walls back to white before I move out.It’s also important to know your rights and responsibilities as a tenant.

I’ve had to reference MN renters rights and responsibilities website more times than I care to count and even call their hotline before (because no, I’m totally not covering the cost of that damage we both know was here when I moved in.) Just give the site a once over to make sure you’re not getting screwed.

7. Make a copy of your keys and give them to a trusted friend

Because it’s a million times easier to walk to a coffee shop and wait for your friend than it is to call a locksmith.

8. Stock your kitchen with the makings of a few easy, cheap meals

I’m always buying fancy, weird produce for a complicated recipe, forgetting about it while it rots, and eating popcorn for dinner. I bet I’d be better off if I kept some frozen peas and rice on hand for sweet pea risotto or used up my can of chickpeas on this casserole. Of course, fancy soups and steam-in-the-bag frozen vegetables are always good, too.

How do you go about maintaining + managing your home? Leave your favorite tips + tricks in the comments!

P.S. How to thrift amazing home goods and 4 Things You Always Find At Thrift Stores + Cool DIYs to Make With ‘Em

photo credit: zara walker // cc

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  1. Pieliekamais

    "I'm looking at you, kale!" 😀 Yep, that's how I stopped buying cucumbers (I'd use half and the other half would rot, always).
    If I have coffee, milk, canned beans and mozzarella, I'm golden.

    • Sarah Von Bargen

      Those are all really delicious things to have on hand! 🙂

  2. Ella

    Renter's insurance is a must-have. Seriously. I'm a landlord and I require all my tenants have it. Also, do a walk through when you get your place with the landlord and make sure you both sign off on it – I surprised how some tenants just don't seem to care.

  3. Jenn Wisbeck

    – CO detector may be required by your state- so if you rent in one of those states, your landlord should provide it. If not, you can get combination smoke/CO alarms.

    – Check your fire extinguisher.You should have one in your kitchen, the one in the apartment hallway may not be close enough.

    -Renter's insurance will also help protect you if someone gets hurt on your property, your dog bites someone, etc.

    – Mason jars work well for food storage in the fridge.

  4. Barbara Kelly

    Fire extinguisher suitable for car should be in car trunk…..some cases of sudden car fires around here lately…..not home info, but "better info given than not".

    Mason jars & other glass jars (from nut butter, jams, etc.) in different sizes are great for not only refrigerated food storage, but also dry foods (beans, nuts, cocoa, etc. Glass is food-safe and lets you see what you have. Often, thrift stores sell large (about gallon-size) glass jars with metal lids (from super-size mayonnaise, pickles, salsa, etc.) that are great for larger quantities, like flours, sugar. One friend color-coordinated the metal jar tops by painting them (fun, if you have the time and a little paint. Chalk paint would let you change the contents label , with a bit of chalk.)

    "Grown ass" folks also keep an inventory of what they have in their homes, for insurance purposes. Taking photos of the possessions and keeping receipts is important; as is making a copy of the inventory to store off-site. A fireproof box should work, for keeping the inventory and other important papers stored in your home.

    • Sarah Von Bargen

      Such a good reminder! I need to put together one of those inventory lists!

      • Sarah

        I second the fireproof lock box. Being able to recover vital documents after a house fire is so important. Depending on where you live, it’s also worth having some kind of emergency kit that’s easy to find and grab in an earthquake/ forest fire/ flood. We had an earthquake recently and I could have gone outside so much faster if I had been just a little more prepared.Thankfully, my apartment building was fine and I was able to get back in pretty quickly.

  5. Call it Adventure

    This series is awesome! Will you have the post-college survival guide available for awhile?? I might have to save up for it 🙂

    • Sarah Von Bargen

      It'll be available through the end of September! 🙂

  6. Candice @ The Let's Go Ladies

    I just cleaned out my living room and bedroom in anticipation of my upcoming move. I have never been so satisfied with my living situation. A clean and tidy home does WONDERS for your mood.

  7. Kaisa M.

    I had a water damage (and fungus and mould appeared practically overnight) at my new place and removing the damage and restoring it all cost thousands. All covered by my insurance (that I had just gotten couple of months earlier). Even if I pay insurance for the rest of my life it's still less than what the damage would have cost.

  8. Grainne

    Oh kale, how you judge me from your lofty perch! Along with the closet I also recommend purging the bathroom cabinet. My home spa is 100 times more believable when I'm not looking at a mini trio of bath oils that was regifted to me two years ago!

  9. Sarah Greesonbach

    Love this! A clean and comfy home is totally more than being superficial. Three hurrahs for organization and decorating!

  10. Jill

    Renter’s insurance is essential. I’m glad that you mentioned it. There are different types of coverage that insurance may have. So, when renter decide to buy that policy, they should be sure they understand what policy covers. Here is article https://rentberry.com/blog/tenants-insurance-guide to help them with that. Tenants also need to ask agent about available discounts, deductibles and coverage limits.

  11. Linda

    We remodeled our kitchen five years ago and it was one of the best decisions ever—totally worth all the headaches. I hope you love your island as much as I love mine—space for cookie baking, play dough, school work, coloring while listening to audiobooks on long winter afternoons. Oh I love mine

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