Tag Archives: Kitchen

Go green!

Hey there all you renters, landlords, property owners and property managers. Today at Home Town Rent we will talk about plants. They are, without any doubt, beautiful and allow us to decorate the living room, kitchen or bedroom. Their scent is also very good for the house environment to be much more enjoyable. However, the most important thing about them is that they generate oxygen and absorb carbon dioxide, just like trees. When plants are placed indoor they help purify the air by absorbing contaminants and gases.

In 1989, NASA conducted a study to determine the most appropriate plants to achieve this mission in an enclosed space. Here we present the top 5 plants according to Bill Wolverton, principal author of the research.

  1. Pothos (Epipremnum aureum)
  2. Spath or Peace Lilies (Spathiphyllum)
  3. The Lady Palm (Rhapis excelsa)
  4.  Mother-in-law’s tongue (Sansevieria trifasciata)
  5.  Rubber bush (Ficus robusta)

How can Pothos help at home?

This plant has the capacity to clean and maintain the air of the place where it is completely renovated. Pothos remove, for example, substances found in furniture made of wood. Another benefit that Pothos offers is that it helps eliminate odors.

How can Peace Lilies help at home?

This species is capable of absorbing electromagnetic waves that can be generated by various appliances like TV, our mobile or the microwave. In addition, the Spathiphyllum is one of the best air filters.

How can The Lady Palm help at home?

This palm can be inside and outside, however inside the house or condo, it can eliminate harmful gases in the air such as ammonia and other volatile organic compounds that are harmful to our health.

How can Mother-in-law’s tongue help at home?

The mother-in-law’s tongue has a wonderful function inside our house, condominium or duplex; while you sleep, the Sansevieria trifasciata is responsible for converting carbon dioxide into oxygen and you use its medicinal properties in tea.

How can Rubber bush help at home?

It is effective in removing formaldehyde from the air that can come from the tailpipe emissions from cars, and prevent us from burning sensation in the eyes, nose and throat; cough; nausea and skin irritation.

These plants apart from making your home look fresher and more radiant, they have an immense benefit to your health so do not hesitate to get one, and if you have a small house, an apartment or duplex, you have no excuse because these plants are small and perfect for interiors.

Go Green!

A Full Plate

Hey there all you tenants, landlords, property owners and property managers. Sometimes you may think to yourself, man, I’ve got too much stuff on my plate! We know we have. Sometimes we also find ourselves thinking, man, I’ve got too many plates on my stuff! The ratio of plates to stuff is an important one to maintain in a rental property, and one that is often overlooked by tenants all over. Lucky for you, this week on the rant, we’re talking dishware–everything from salad forks to serving bowls, when to use what, and how to store it so it doesn’t clutter up your precious space.

The first thing to consider as a tenant looking to move into a house, apartment, condo or duplex, is whether or not you plan on entertaining often. With thanksgiving just past, it may be another year before you have to host a massive dinner, but many of you out there are bound to have another big family get together in about a month’s time, and many of you will probably have friends or family over even sooner than that.

Most of the time when entertaining company, you’ll think about how much food you need, but an important and oft-overlooked aspect, especially among you twenty-somethings is thinking about how many plates and utensils you need. Your friends may pretend that they’re cool with eating out of frisbees and dog bowls, but part of being an adult is having dishware to serve your food on when you have company. You don’t necessarily need your grandmother’s silver and fine china, but at least a set of matching plates and bowls is a great thing to own, especially if you host people at your rental property fairly regularly.

On the other end of the spectrum, part of maintaining a clean kitchen is not having too many things in it, especially since there’s a tendency to not wash things if you can just grab a new, clean one, until eventually you have a pile of dirty dishes on every surface available. Especially if you live in a smaller apartment, try to figure out what your bare essentials–a few plates and bowls, a nice mug, enough silverware for a few guests, but not much more than that. Otherwise you’re running into clutter territory fast.

As a landlord or property owner, make sure to advertise it if your property has lots of cupboard space and areas for entertaining company, since these can be major draws for potential tenants who plan on hosting events, and don’t worry, people who care about cupboard space probably aren’t the keg and solo cup crowd anyhow.

Do you have rental questions of your own? Comments? Concerns? Love letters? Hate mail? We’ve got room on our plate: Hometownrant@hometownrent.com

Little Kitchens

Hey there all you tenants, landlords, property owners and property managers. This week on the rant, we’re talking kitchens, specifically small kitchens, and how to make the most of your space. Of course we all wish our house, apartment, condo or duplex could have a massive, professional kitchen, but for most of us, that simply isn’t the case. Luckily, we’ve got you covered with the Hometown Rant’s guide to four essential things you need to cook great food without a lot of space.

  1. A good chef’s Knife. This tool is actually essential for any kitchen, and there are all sorts of knives for all sorts of jobs, but a good 8 inch chef’s knife is the most basic and essential tool in the arsenal of any cook, and with a few basic knife skills you can be making great looking food in no time at all. Along with your knife, we’d recommend a sharpening steel to keep the edge nice, and some cutting boards so you don’t mess up your countertops or your blade.

  2. A skillet. Every kitchen is going to have a stove of some sort, but you’re going to need something to use on it. We’d recommend a nice stainless steel one for longevity and ease of cleaning. Non-stick is nice, but you have to be careful not to scratch the coating when cooking and cleaning. With a stainless, you can go to town with a steel wool and not worry about messing up the finish.

  3. A rice cooker. There’s a reason that rice is a fundamental part of most developed cuisine–it’s cheap, easily stored, delicious, and can be prepared any number of ways to go with any number of dishes. Of course, you should know how to cook rice in a pot, but with a rice cooker it becomes as easy as pressing a few buttons and waiting for the beep. Not only that, but most rice cookers can also function as a slow cooker and a steamer, which’ll give you a triple bang for your appliance buck, all the better for saving space in your kitchen.

  4. A panini press. The sandwich should be a staple for just about anybody, especially people living and cooking in tight quarters. What better way to take your sandwiches to the next level than pressing them into crispy golden brown paninis, filled with melty, cheesy goodness? Trick question. There isn’t one.

Obviously there’s an endless list of appliances that you can get to fill the kitchen of your house, apartment, condo, or duplex, but with our list, you can’t go wrong. Happy cooking!

Do you have rental questions of your own? Comments? Concerns? Love letters? Hate mail? Hit us up:  Hometownrant@hometownrent.com

Dishing it Out

Hey there all you renters, landlords, property owners and managers. Happy Thanksgiving! Last week we were talking preparation for turkey day, so it’s only fitting that we now discuss an issue pertinent to your post-thanksgiving problems. That’s right. This week we’re discussing disgusting dishes and washing them. Dishes are an integral part of the cycle of life. They get dirty and then you have to clean them. It’s part of being a civilized human, like cutting your hair and fingernails or brushing your teeth. You can choose not to do it, but eventually you’ll turn into this guy. Don’t do that.

As a property owner, manager or landlord, keep in mind that a dishwasher is one of the main appliances that people are looking for in a rental house, apartment or condo. It’s one of those modern conveniences that makes everything better in the kitchen, so if you want your rental property to be one in high demand, make sure you at least have a functioning dishwasher, if not a nice shiney new one. Not only will it be a selling point, but it’ll help your tenants keep the property spic and span so you have less upkeep to do when they move out.

As a tenant in any property, you’re going to be the one dealing with the dishes on a day-in day-out basis, and it’s your job to keep on top of it. Part of this is keeping on top of roommates who may not like to clean up after themselves, since one of the first places this tendency will manifest itself is in the sink. It’s ok to save some pots and pans for after you’ve eaten dinner, but you actually have to go back and wash them, or you’ll end up with a two week-old stack that’s got things growing at the bottom. Every new dish you put on top of the pile just compounds the nastiness for whoever has to buckle down and roll up their sleeves, which will probably be you eventually. Make it easy on yourself and clean up as you cook so you don’t have things to worry about later.

For events like thanksgiving, depending on the level of class you’re going for and the size of the gathering you’re hosting, you might consider getting disposable plates and silverware for the occasion. It’s not as sustainable, won’t look as nice and granny might be disappointed that you haven’t brought out the fine china, but it’ll save you a lot of time if you’re cleaning up after 20+ people’s post-feast messes. That might be a fair trade if you value your sanity and several layers of skin on your hands. You could also enlist the inevitable hordes of children that come around to be your indentured dishwashers for a few hours, though that might be easier said than done. Whatever you decide to do, have a happy holiday, and remember to keep it clean.

Do you have rental questions of your own? Comments? Concerns? Love letters? Hate mail? Let us know: Hometownrant@hometownrent.com

Garbage Day

Hey there all you Landlords, Tenants and Property Owners. This week, we’re talking about a certain special day of the week. No, it’s not Tuesday. Or maybe it is, depending on where your rental property is. Anyways, this time on the Hometown Rant, we’re talking about garbage day.

Western Civilization is founded on a few key principles, and one of them is that the municipality in which you live has a system for dealing with the refuse associated with the average consumer lifestyle. In order to keep a populace olfactorily satisfied, you need to deal with all the trash.

So what does this have to do with you as a Renter, Landlord or Property Owner? Well it should be pretty obvious. As a renter, unless you’ve created some sort of perfectly sustainable mecca within your rental property you’re going to have to get rid of stuff every week. As a Landlord or Property Owner, you don’t want your tenants to fill your property with trash, so you want to make it as easy for them as possible to deal with it themselves.

Cities and Towns often charge a fee for garbage collection, usually monthly. Landlords who have the option might want to pay for this up front and add the amount to the tenant’s rent. This will create less individual bills for the tenants to worry about, reducing the chances that a bill goes unpaid and your rental property becomes a dump that you’ll have to clean up later. Whatever you decide though, make it clear in the lease who is supposed to take care of trash so there can be no confusion later on.

Renters are like it or not the people who will be dealing with the trash on a week to week basis. Gross, we know, but get over it. If you don’t like it, be cleaner. The main difficulty of waste disposal for you is going to be separating trash from recycling, and glass from that. Most cities have those categories, and some even have compost. Check out our earlier article for more on responsibly letting stuff rot in your yard.

The easiest way around the issue is to separate your trash as you throw it away, so that when it comes to garbage day you aren’t stuck digging through your own mess, or worse, left with a full can the morning after because you didn’t separate things right. Good Garbagemen and Garbagewomen don’t play–if your trash isn’t right, they won’t touch it. Get yourself a few of these guys to make your life easier, and know that you’re doing the world a favor by not letting people bury your used yogurt cups for the next hundred million years.

Do you have rental questions of your own? Comments? Concerns? Love letters? Hate mail? Don’t be a stranger:  Hometownrant@hometownrent.com

 

House Plants

Hey there all you renters, landlords and property owners. The season is changing once again. September is almost over, and with it goes the final hurrah of the summer season. The time for growing plants outside is coming to a close, so what better time for us to discuss how you can become more aesthetically floral and or vegetative in your rental property.

Seasonal Affective Disorder is a real thing. Less sunlight and less time spent outside can be incredibly detrimental to your psychological well being if you aren’t careful. While it isn’t necessarily a cure-all, keeping live plants in an area can help mitigate levels of stress and contribute to a healthier and happier lifestyle. Check out this study done at Kansas State if you don’t believe us.

Besides the potential psychological benefits, keeping well-maintained plants will just outright make your house, apartment or condo look way better. A healthy plant says something about you. It say hey, I care enough about stuff to not let this pretty thing die.  Isn’t that a message that you want to convey about yourself?

Let’s say you’re a renter in a house, apartment, condo, duplex or other rental property, and we’ve convinced you that you should get some plants. Where do you start? Probably with something fairly low maintenance, if you’re just getting into growing things. A quick google search yields a plethora of resources for figuring out what sort of plants you should get. Remember that even though you’re inside, some things may be locationally dependent, so make sure to take that into account if when making a decision.

On the other hand, you might be a landlord or property owner looking for renters, or looking for a way to improve the quality of your renter’s experience. One way to do this might be to better accommodate for house plants, or possibly even to provide some if your property comes already furnished. Consider installing some hooks by sunny windows to allow for hanging plants, and make sure to advertise that your rental property is equipped for tenants to keep plants indoors. Not only will you attract tenants, you’ll likely attract tenants who are motivated and clean enough to maintain house plants. Bonus!

 

Do you have rental questions of your own? Comments? Concerns? Love letters? Hate mail? Send it on over: Hometownrant@hometownrent.com

 

THEM!

We’ve already covered bed bugs here at the Hometown Rant, but as spring rolls into summer, a whole new family of insect crawls into houses, apartments, lofts, duplexes and condos across the country… ANTS! GIANT RADIOACTIVE ANTS! Ok, maybe not, but depending on the type of ants, you could in for anything from bugs in your food to major structural damage in your rental property. Luckily, Hometown Rant has the answers.
One good thing about ants is that they tend to be pretty obvious. They won’t come alone, and you can usually follow the trail of them from where they’re coming from to where they’re going. As a landlord, this means it might be tough to conceal an ant problem from potential tenants, but you wouldn’t do something like that, would you? In any case don’t worry, the little buggers are at least predictable.

The first step to getting rid of ants is to identify the type of ant you’re dealing with. Bayer provides a nice illustrated guide for figuring out which species is invading your rental property. Ants not on the Bayer list include Henry Pym, Ant Man of the avengers, and DJ Ant of Atmosphere. Once you know which type of ant you have, you’ll know what you’re up against. Most ants are just hungry for the food in your kitchen, so that’s where you’ll want to start. If your cabinets have crumbs and open containers, wipe up the crumbs and close the containers! The more airtight, the better. Simple, right?

Then, get yourself some ant bait and leave it where the ants will find it. It’s designed to be delicious and deadly, and to take long enough to kick in that they’ll bring it back to their nest and let everybody get a piece. You can kill individual ants all day, but if you don’t hit em at the source you, you’ll never see the last of them. Baits are better than straight up pesticides too, because even if you spray them right at the nest, chances are some of the ants will escape and start a new nest somewhere else in your house or apartment, and then you’re just going to have the same problem in a few weeks.

What you really need to worry about as a renter or landlord is the ants that aren’t out for food, at least people food. Carpenter ants nest in wood, and can cause major damage to your rental property if left unchecked. Wikihow has a good guide for how to deal with carpenter ants, but the gist is the same: find the nest and destroy it with sneaky poison. It’s the American way! Also, if you’ve identified a crack or crevice where the ants were getting in, plug it up with some caulk so future ant colonies can’t come back in the same spot. Now you renters and landlords can get back to whatever it was you were doing, minus the ants! Isn’t that better?

Do you have rental questions of your own? Comments? Concerns? Love letters? Hate mail? Send it on over: Hometownrant@hometownrent.com

Composted Up

A few weeks ago on the hometown rant, we were talking gardens and what to grow in them, but what about what your garden is growing in? Composting isn’t just for hippy tree huggers anymore! Now it’s for everyone who doesn’t want their grandkids to live like this. Tenants and landlords alike can save money while saving the planet, all just by making dirt!

Why compost? Isn’t it just easier to throw everything away? Well maybe, yes, a little bit, but nothing worth doing is easy. If you still need convincing, imagine archaeologists in the future digging up a landfill and cloning you by DNA swabbing the easy-mac you threw out still in the tupperware. Gross. Isn’t it better to turn your waste into fertile soil that won’t leave behind traces of your genetic material for future generations to glean out of the trash. It could happen.

But how do I do it? Some cities now have municipal composting, and if you live in one of them then you’re in luck. Just put your food and yard waste in the bin provided and let them do it! Easy right? If you don’t live in such a city then you can devote your least favorite corner of your yard to be a compost pile and it might become your favorite corner. These guys have a whole bunch of helpful information for you to get started. Keep in mind though that if you’re composting yourself, you have to be more selective about what you use. Also, the amount of material you can compost at once will be limited to the size of your storage area, so you’ll have to pay more attention to the waste you create.

If you live in an apartment, loft, duplex or other type of closer-quarters situation, see if you can’t get your neighbors to compost communally if you have access to some shared outdoor space. A good neighbor will lend you some sugar–a great neighbor will give you all of their rotting veggies so you can turn it into healthy soil.

As a landlord in a city without a composting program, consider equipping your property with the capabilities for home compost. Not only will it make the place more attractive to the easygoing and eco-friendly crowd, it’ll help cut down on garbage bills, which is a plus for everyone involved. Now what are you waiting for? Get out there and let it rot!

Do you have rental questions of your own? Comments? Concerns? Love letters? Hate mail? Get at us:  Hometownrant@hometownrent.com

Is Your Refrigerator Running?

Seriously though. Is it? Of all the appliances that come with a rental property, the fridge is often taken for granted, but it’s by far the most important, and the one that can cause the most problems if it isn’t properly cared for. Renters have a responsibility to keep it in good shape, and if something does go wrong, landlords or property managers need to fix the problem quickly or risk a literally rotten situation for everybody involved.

So how does a fridge work? Well, it’s actually pretty sneaky. Basically, a chemical (freon in older fridges and tetraflouroethane in newer fridges, if you wanna get technical) is pressurized to its vaporization point, and when it turns into a gas it absorbs heat from the surrounding air, cooling the insulated compartment. This technology was proposed as early as the 1700s, but wasn’t made commercially viable until 1914 and wasn’t widespread in houses and apartments until after World War 2. Before that people had to salt their meat and eat their leftovers later that day, or they’d get all gross. Crazy right?

If you remember anything from the history lesson, it should be that there are scary-sounding chemicals in your fridge that are harmful to you and to the earth as a whole, so act quickly and decisively if you think there’s a leak. The HPA has a good checklist for what to do in the case of refrigerant leakageIt’s a tenants job to keep an eye out, and a landlord’s job to act quickly in fixing the situation before anyone gets hurt.

As a renter, and really anyone who eats food and uses a fridge, it’s also important to make sure your fridge is at the proper temperature. Your fridge should be between 35-38 degrees Fahrenheit and the food in it should be below 40 degrees F, otherwise it’s vulnerable to microbial infections, some of which can even kill you. Be especially careful of your raw meats, poultry in particular, eggs and dairy products.

Even at proper temperature your fridge won’t keep things forever so pay attention to what’s in there and get rid of it when it’s old. Keep a sharpie nearby and put dates on stuff you open so you don’t have to gamble with the old sniff-and-guess. Also, remember to check behind the pickle jar for that takeout box of chinese food that you got three months ago. Trust us, it’s not still good.

You should also unplug and deep clean every couple of months too, and freezers should be de-iced and cleaned at the same time in order to keep everything running properly and to prevent mold and rot. Here’s a way to judge: if you don’t feel comfortable licking the interior of your fridge, that probably means it’s too dirty to store food in. Keep it clean people, and if it’s not then you’d better go out and catch it. Or something.

Do you have rental questions of your own? Comments? Concerns? Love letters? Hate mail? Get at us:  Hometownrant@hometownrent.com

Do it Yourself: Five Easy Home Repairs

There are a few easy around the house maintenance things, which you should be aware of incase some emergency comes your way. If you do, they’ll come a long way in ensuring your home is always running smoothly and looks great. Here are the top five easy repairs that everyone should be able to do on their own:

  • Know how to paint
  • Learn how to take care of your doors
  • Know how to apply caulk; it can really do wonders
  • Know how to fix your leaky faucet
  • Fix a clogged toilet

To read up on each point in detail, you can visit: http://home.howstuffworks.com/home-improvement/repair/5-home-repairs-you-should-do-yourself.htm#page=0