Cheap alternatives for apartment chores

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Change is never easy, whether it’s Yogurtland replacing your favorite flavor or your GSI changing office hours at the last minute. Perhaps the most terrifying of all changes we must face as students is moving into our first apartment. Subtract mom, subtract meal points, add water and electricity bills, add cooking and cleaning, add a million other responsibilities we didn’t think we would have for a long, long time. Luckily, there are a few common, cheap household items that can not only solve almost any apartment problem but also make even the most flustered underclassmen feel like they have life together.

1. Vinegar

  • Instead of purchasing Windex or Clorox, let vinegar do the cleaning for you. Combine half a cup of water and half a cup of vinegar and use as a surface cleaner for mirrors, windows, tabletops, floors, etc.
  • Setting out a cup of vinegar in the kitchen will ward off fruit flies. But you will still need to take your trash out — eventually.

2. “Baking soda! I got baking soda!”

  • This miracle product can be used to clean almost anything, including dishes, microwaves and bathroom floors.
  • A mixture of baking soda and water can be used to remove stains. Remember to soak your clothing item in the mixture for at least 10 minutes before you start to scrub.

3. Lemons

  • Drinking water with lemon daily will aid digestion and cleanse your system — especially important in light of all the ramen and microwave pizza you will probably be eating for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
  • Leftovers are a must for college students on tight budgets. They’re ideal for when you are awake at 3 a.m. and pulling an all-nighter, but their odor after being left in the fridge for too long is perhaps not so desirable. Dab lemon juice with a sponge and place it in the refrigerator — it gets rid of any odors instantly! Depending on how desperate you are, those leftovers could still be good to eat.

4. Salt

  • A couple of pinches of salt in water will do more for your sore throat than the Tang Center ever will. It’s a cheap and natural home remedy that will get you through the day.
  • Adding half a teaspoon of salt to your milk will keep it fresh longer. Make sure to shake the container after putting in the salt. You won’t taste it at all!

5. Paper clips

  • If you do not own a racerback bra but want to wear a tank top without your bra straps showing or without the constant worrying over keeping your strapless bra in place, then use a paper clip to pin your bra straps together in the back. It’s completely unnoticeable and highly durable.
  • Another handy paper clip tip: You can use one as a replacement zipper. Think of all the money you aren’t spending on a new jacket or backpack! Plus, it’s totally avant-garde.

Contact Carina Zhao at [email protected].