10 Tips for Doing DIY Apartment Projects
No garage or basement? No problem! DIYing has no boundaries with these creative tips.
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Make a Mobile Workstation
A folding workbench that doesn’t take up much space is the perfect solution for apartment-dwelling DIYers. Once you have this workbench built, you can set it up and take it down whenever you like because it folds up to only 7 inches wide! You only need two hours, some 2x4s, 3/4-in. plywood and 8 feet of 1×4.
Designate a DIY Corner
Take a look around your apartment. Is there an unused corner? Or maybe you’re looking for an excuse to get rid of that rickety hutch collecting dust. Find a corner in which you can put a small table and use that as your DIY space. Install some shelves for storage and consider mounting a piece of pegboard on the wall to store all sorts of tools and materials.
Buy Multi-Tasking Tools
When possible, buy tools that can do more than one job, so you don’t have so many things to store. Cordless tools that have multiple attachments, are versatile and give you the ability to do more tasks with fewer tools. Another good purchase is a Leatherman multitool. A multitool is essentially a toolbox in your pocket and will be a major help around the apartment.
Use a Common Area in Your Building
If working inside your apartment is a no-go, check with your building superintendent to see if there is a space in or around your building where you can work on DIY projects. Maybe there’s a spot in the parking garage or lot where you could set up a small spray-painting project or perhaps there’s a utility sink where you could clean your humidifier. Always clean up carefully so you don’t upset other residents or maintenance personnel.
Be Considerate of Noise and Neighbors
One of the biggest complaints apartment neighbors have about each other is noise. If you DIY too early in the morning or too late at night, you may get an angry knock on your door. Even if it’s in the middle of the day, using loud power tools could wake a napping baby or disturb someone working from home. A thick rug may absorb some of the noise for your downstairs neighbors, but always be considerate of those around you. If you’ve been installing shelves and it’s been a little noisy, perhaps offering to help neighbors install shelves in their apartments would make them less irritated!
Find a Cooperative Workspace
If you’d prefer to keep your DIY projects out of your living space, but don’t have permission to use onsite locations at your apartment complex, consider using a cooperative workspace in your community. Especially if you live near a city, your chances of finding a community workshop are high. There’s Fort Houston in Nashville, Southside Hub in Chicago, ADX in Portland, Community Workshop in Los Angeles, The Crucible in Oakland, HammerSpace in Kansas City and Philadelphia Woodworks in Philly. The list goes on!
Have Someone Else Cut Boards
If you’re going to build something in your apartment, chances are you don’t have room for full-size boards or sheets of plywood. Some home improvement stores will cut materials to length for you if you ask. Some will do this for free while others may charge a small fee.
Use Press and Seal Food Wrap
If you’re concerned about your décor, clothes, food and more getting dusty during your DIYing, protect them with Glad Press ‘n Seal plastic wrap. It goes on fast, stays right where you put it and won’t damage whatever you’re trying to protect.
Use Your Balcony or Deck
If you’re lucky enough to have a balcony, deck or large enough stoop at your apartment, by all means turn it into a makeshift workshop! Outdoor spaces such as these are great for painting and projects that require drilling. Always remember to project anything around the area that could be damaged and don’t encroach on your neighbor’s space unless you have their permission.
Use the Parking Lot
There can often be a lot of unused space in a parking lot, so go ahead and ask the building superintendent if it’s OK for you to set up shop there for the day. Just be sure you pick up and sweep up, paying close attention that you don’t leave behind any hazardous things like nails, pieces of glass, small bits of wood and more.