Archive for the ‘Roommates’ Category

Happy Holidays from Austin Housemates!

December 7th, 2014, Posted By Austin Housemates

zilker-christmas-tree

Now that Thanksgiving is behind us, we still have two huge days approaching. Celebrating Christmas and ringing in the New Year are always better spent with a crowd of our favorite people, or at least those few special someones that you only see once or twice a year. But while friends, family, and feasts are on the agenda in the coming months, don’t let accommodating all these guests in a shared living space put a damper on holiday plans. Here are a few ways you can entertain your guests in Austin during their holiday visit.

When it comes to the holidays, we’re lucky to live in Texas. Our winters are fairly temperate, meaning you can explore the city, the night life, and some of our historical landmarks here in Austin without bundling up and fighting the cold and snow. Take advantage of the warmth and avoid overcrowding in your living space by taking your guests out and about. If the weather is going to be particularly nasty, choose a venue with both indoor and outdoor accommodations – because you know the weather often changes its mind halfway through the day! And because there are a slew of events going on this holiday season, finding one to entertain everyone in your group won’t be too hard.

This Christmas, Zilker Park will be hosting its annual Trail of Lights, a mile-long walk through the park complete with hot cocoa. But if you’re looking for something a little more off the grid, check out the light show on 37th Street. These quirky and outrageous neighbors design their own light décor, making for interesting and festive displays. For the New Year, Austin’s annual New Year celebration ANY is in Barton Park on New Year’s Eve with live music, famous food trucks, and local vendors and artists selling their wares. It’s a must-see for visitors to get a showcase of local food, art, and music. And since the festivities end at 10pm, you’ll have your pick of parties downtown.

Accommodating visiting guests over the holidays should not be stressful, whether you live alone or with roommates. If you share your living space, don’t hesitate to let your holiday plans be known. If you are inviting friends and family over for dinner or to stay with you for a few days, discussing this with your roommates is very important. They live there too, and if the shared space is going to be utilized by your guests, communicating with one another can help you avoid any holiday drama. Inviting them along is a nice, friendly gesture, but just simply giving people a heads up can work wonders. They can help you cook, clean, and they may even have furniture you can borrow for that big dinner party.

Keep Austin Weird – Quirky Winter Tips to Stay Energy-Efficient

November 9th, 2014, Posted By Austin Housemates

ames winter austin

Now that the weekend of Fun Fun Fun Fest is behind us, it’s time to pull out the bulky jackets and the close-toed shoes and hope that another ice storm isn’t coming our way this winter. Roommate living and apartment living comes with its own tensions during the winter season when people are trapped indoors and bickering over the heating bill. Avoid these and other issues by following these few – albeit quirky – tips.

Clean Out the Fridge: This may not be your favorite chore, but cleaning out the fridge will increase your energy efficiency and reduce your power bill. As the refrigerator is one of the biggest strains on the power in your apartment or home, cleaning out the interior as well as the coils on the exterior will keep it running smoothly and appropriately while reducing its pull on your power source. This way, on the colder nights, you won’t feel the bank tighten when you turn up the heat a little bit.

Run Ceiling Fans Counter-Clockwise: Sounds weird, right? But in actuality, reversing the direction of your ceiling fan will send hot air from the ceiling back toward your living space and bedroom. So turn the heat down and turn on the fans.

Buy a Humidifier: Keep the heat down low and purchase a humidifier (also known as a vaporizer). Just like a de-humidifier keeps you cool during our hellacious Texas summers, a humidifier will keep you warm during our unpredictable winter season. Just like you did when you were young and sick with a cold, keeping the air humid will keep it warmer inside your apartment or bedroom. You’ll stay toasty warm without having to worry about an expensive power bill.

Re-Arrange Your Furniture: Time for some feng shui! Especially if you have floor vents, moving your furniture around and away from these vents will free up a lot of space for hot air to warm. Also consider moving beds and couches away from windows and toward the center of the room. This way, vents are free for the circulation of warm air, and any drafts of cool air will stay away from your sleeping and lounging comforts.

Buy a Snake: But not that kind of snake. A door-stopper snake is an elongated bean bag that sits at the base of any door to block drafts. You can purchase an inexpensive snake at local hardware stores or choose to make your own if you’re into arts and crafts and want it to match your personal décor tastes. We recommend the twin models which fit on both sides of the door without obstructing the opening and closing of said door.

New Occupancy Limits for the City of Austin

April 26th, 2014, Posted By Austin Housemates

austin city council

Austin is the fastest growing city in Texas – in the country! – and with the expanding UT campus, the effervescent artistic culture, and the budding film industry, it can only hope to get bigger. As the city aims to accommodate all of its newcomers, the Austin City Council voted against the trend of “stealth dorms” that have been developing throughout the city.

So what does this ruling mean for all the newcomers?

It means that roommate housing just got a little more difficult in Austin. Single-family homes in residential neighborhoods in specific zip codes have been reduced from a 6-roommate capacity to a 4-roommate capacity. “Stealth dorms” is a term used to describe single-family homes occupied by non-related roommates, usually students, young professionals, and newcomers to the city looking for affordable living situations.

The new ruling does not apply to apartments, condominiums, or those buildings not in residential neighborhoods. In fact, existing dorm-style homes with 6 or fewer roommates do not have to change. It is simply a new city ordinance that aims to curb illegal and precarious homes and insure each resident of Austin – both new and native – has the opportunity to live in comfortable, affordable, and safe housing.

None of the Austin Housemates’ houses or roommates are affected by this code change. We are still looking for the opportunity to grow our business by purchasing and managing more houses.

Austin is still the brightest city in Texas, and if you’re looking to seize a chance to get in on the action and its growth, now is the time to move! Just keep the new city ordinances in mind as you seek housing.

How You Can Make Chores Fun

December 3rd, 2013, Posted By Austin Housemates

ChoreWars_ILLOblg

 

You may have at some point encountered resistance in getting the household chores done while living with other people. Whether it’s your own family or your Austin roommates, there’s always a bit of a challenge in getting things done that seem like a nuisance, right?

 

But what if it could be fun?

What if it was a game or a challenge?

What if you could win your favorite prize for just doing the simple housework that needs to be done anyway?

 

Enter: www.ChoreWars.com

– the solution to adding some fun and friendly competition to your tedious tasks:

Chore Wars aims to make chores fun by incorporating them with an online role-playing game designed to reward chore completion with a bit of challenging fun. You can assign characters to each member of your household, and in turn, each character receives experience points for every chore they complete.

 

If you’ve got a household full of willing and on-board players like any of your Austin roommates, who just need a little extra motivation to get their chores done, Chore Wars might just be the thing for you.

 

At the end of the week, prizes could be awarded such as: player with the most points gets free drinks, gets to skip a week of chores, or maybe the player with the least points has to buy drinks for everyone in the house! Prizes can be anything – so get creative. Remember, this should be fun!

 

If the game concept doesn’t sound fun or appealing to your household, check out Chore Buster if you just need help delegating and organizing the household chores.

 

Chore Buster allows you to organize your chores – all for free.

 

The program lets you enter in the people and the chores needed to be done, specify how hard the chore is and how often it should be done, then automatically generates a fair schedule of chores to be done and emails it to you either daily or weekly. That’s it – an easy system allowing your household to stay accountable and on track with what needs to be done.

 

One of the hardest parts about living with other people can be dealing with each other’s different personalities and preferences on cleanliness and organization. Chore Wars and/or Chore Buster can help take the frustration out of tedious tasks and instantly make it fun and doable.

 

Give them a try – your household will be cleaner, and more organized in an efficient way!

How to Make the Most Out of a Small Space

September 18th, 2013, Posted By Austin Housemates

Small-spaces

 

Organizing a small space can feel overwhelming when there’s not much room to work with. Especially if it’s your bedroom – a place meant for rest, relaxation, and de-cluttering your mind. However, a smaller space also has its benefits – less space to clean and usually a lower rent or mortgage. Making it feel comfortable can often be tricky – but not for long!

 

Here are 4 useful tips to make your peaceful abode feel like the spacious sanctuary that you deserve:

1) Keep only the necessities. Take a look around your room – do you see a few piles of clutter here and there, or perhaps covering the entire floor? It’s time to remove it. Clearing your floor of unnecessary objects can be hard, yet so valuable. Having a clear floor will open up the room and create the illusion of more space – not to mention allow you more room to move around, as well as more room for your roommates to hang out with you as well.

2) Take advantage of the space under your bed. This is a great place to store winter clothes in the summer and summer clothes in the winter, leaving you more room to use in your closet year-round. Grab a few clear plastic containers at The Container Store or Bed, Bath & Beyond that can slip right under your bed. Under the bed storage can also be a great option for shoes and suitcases.

3) Choose lighter colors. We don’t always have options for the paint in our bedroom if renting or staying somewhere temporarily, however we can control our decorations. Darker colors can make a room seem smaller – even cave-like. If you’re prone to blacks and browns, try those colors on your pillows or throw rugs and keep the lighter and brighter colors to your walls and the major focal points of the room.

4) Choose your furniture wisely and put it to work! One of the quickest ways to make a room look smaller is with big, clunky furniture. So, depending on the size of your room, choose 2-3 necessary key pieces such as a dresser, armoire, or desk. Then utilize each piece in more ways than one. For example: Your dresser can also become an entertainment center by placing your TV on top. If you choose not to have a TV, this space is also a great area for toiletries and/or makeup, books, and odds and ends. The more ways you can use your furniture, the more space you’ll clear up thereby making your room looking larger.

 

A small space can definitely be a challenge. But it’s important to know you can always organize and condense your room with these simple adjustments! Besides, having a small bedroom can be cozy, warm and inviting.

Try these 4 tips today to make your room feel unique and transformed into the larger space you desire, and share with your Austin Roommates as well!