Maximize apartment space with these DIY hacks

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  • Eliminating shoe clutter is easy with a simple laundry basket to hold the shoes. 

  • Alternative ways to hang up pictures can be helpful in an apartment with restrictions on hammering nails into the walls.

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By Bridget Hynes

My three roommates and I moved into our first apartment at 101 E. Green St. in August, which was a big milestone for all four of us. Collectively, it was our first time paying rent, cooking all of our meals on our own and keeping a four-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment clean and orderly. As simple as this may sound, it hasn’t always been easy, especially with classes, work and extracurricular activities. Therefore, within the past six months, we’ve developed a number of do-it-yourself apartment hacks to better use our space.

1. Hooks for winter coats

Once the cold weather started, we realized we didn’t have anywhere to hang our big, bulky winter coats. We had been resorting to throwing them on the couches in the sitting room, limiting the space we had to sit down and hang out. Therefore, we decided to hang up four, large plastic hooks by the door using Command strips. Now, we have a place to hang our coats, and we didn’t damage the wall in the process.

2. Laundry basket for shoes

Being that we are four girls living together, we have a lot of shoes. Snow boots, rain boots, fashion boots, heels, heeled boots, grungy running shoes for working out, cute running shoes to wear to class, Converse high-tops, ballet flats for interviews and slippers — you get the point. We have a lot of shoes. At one point, these shoes made such a clutter that they blocked our doorway. To combat this problem we decided to buy a basic laundry basket strictly to put our shoes in by the doorway. As a result, the amount of clutter by the door decreased significantly.

3. Homemade curtains

Our apartment came outfitted with vertical, white, slatted blinds that cover the sliding glass door that opens to our small balcony. However, within the first week, individual blinds started falling down, allowing bigger and bigger chunks of light to shine through. Although this was fine during the day, at night we often wanted to close our blinds. To solve this problem, we decided to purchase a set of floor-length curtains and a curtain rod. We wedged the curtain rod in between the two opposite walls and then attached the curtain. Not only did this solve our curtain problem, but it also added some color and personality to our apartment.

4. Communal mirror

Although we all have full-length mirrors in our rooms, we were accustomed to having full-length mirrors in more common area places at home. So, we decided to purchase a lightweight, full-length mirror that we attached to a wall with Command strips in between our kitchen and sitting room. Having this mirror is nice when we need to do a quick check of hair and outfits before running out the door.

5. Clothesline picture-hanger

My roommate came up with this idea since we are not allowed to hang up pictures with nails. She bought a roll of white, clothesline-string and hung it up on our kitchen wall using Command strip hooks. Now, we are able to attach pictures to the string using clothespins. Besides being practical, this idea is also really cute and convenient. We are able to add or take down pictures very easily, and this particular method of decorating is both new and thrifty.

Bridget is a sophomore in Media. She can be reached at bhynes2 @dailyillini.com.