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Bad Apple

The trunk of my car functions as a combination storage unit / Dumpster. Still, nothing could prepare me for last week, when I was searching for a pair of heels and pulled out a tote bag from my best friend’s wedding in October. Pawing around in the bag for my shoes, my hand closed around something I didn’t initially recognize. 

It was an apple.

“Was” being the key word, because this thing I was currently holding in my hand was in no way a part of the apple family, having morphed into some sort of shriveled hybrid fruit—part plum, part prune, full parts disgusting.

As I stood there dry heaving, two gnats flew out of the bag—like demon doves released from my trunk. At that moment I realized—as if there were any doubt—that until I can properly store (and dispose of) produce, I’m not ready for children.

I also realized the importance of a little spring cleaning. According to Erica Rascon, apartment managers should follow suit.

Following are tips for transforming basic seasonal care into value-added improvements.

1. If utilities are included in residents’ billing, early spring is the perfect time to assess fuel costs. Buildings often consume the most fuel during the first two quarters of the year. At this point, an estimate can be drawn of whether the community will operate in deficit or surplus for the rest of the year. Fewer surprise costs for renters can lead to greater resident satisfaction and retention.

I’m all about fewer surprises.

2. Consider installing smart home or connected technology this spring. These devices can ultimately help to protect the property, improve efficiency and maximize resident comfort.

You know, like robot vacuums

3. Request that residents test their air-condition systems at the end of winter. This way, there’s the opportunity to get a jump-start on any needed repairs before service partners are slammed with requests in the spring and summer.

4. Early spring can be the perfect time to cut back unruly branches and shrubs, especially for fast-growing varieties like crepe myrtles and forsythia. Keep foliage at least five feet from the building, window screens and roof. Tidy landscaping can improve resident retention and minimize costly property damage.

It can also offer easier access to one’s car trunk.

5. Stock up on supplies at spring cleaning sales. An ample supply of bulbs, machine batteries, water filters, air filters and such will be discounted at bulk stores near you. Store a few items onsite when possible to minimize maintenance calls throughout the year.

6. The fire alarms may have served residents well during the winter holidays, but there are more holidays and barbecues to come. Test fire, smoke and carbon monoxide alarms at each property. Clean covers and replace batteries, as needed.

As the host of many Memorial Day soirees—with many cheeseburgers on fire—this is a must.

7. The weight of snow and ice may have caused new damages to the roof. Those issues will only worsen with spring’s showers. Inspect the roof for cracked or missing shingles, swelling, and buckling.

And fruit. Check for missing fruit.

For more tips, check out “Preventive Maintenance For Springtime” in the April issue of units Magazine. 

Lauren Boston is NAA’s Staff Writer and Manager, Public Relations. Unsurprisingly, she writes a lot—most often for units Magazine and as a weekly blogger for APTly Spoken. She enjoys making people laugh, sharing embarrassing childhood stories and being the (self-proclaimed) Voice of the Apartment Industry. She welcomes feedback, unless it’s negative (in which case, please keep it to yourself).