Budget Decorating: How to Decorate for the Holidays Without Breaking the Bank

budget decorating

The holiday season is typically a time where people come together, put aside their differences, and enjoy each other’s company. It’s all about finding joy, being grateful, and spreading holiday cheer.

One way to spread holiday cheer is by decorating your apartment. However, if your budget doesn’t allow much in the way of decorating, these tips and tricks for budget decorating will help you learn how to join in on the festivities and the spirit of the season without breaking the bank.

Whether you’re celebrating Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, New Year’s, or just the arrival of winter, keep reading for our best ideas on how to decorate for the holidays on a tight budget.

Take a Simpler Approach to Holiday Decor

First, understand that more doesn’t mean better. In many cases, especially where design and decor are involved, a minimalistic style is actually more attractive. Take a simpler approach this season to decorating your home. Create a couple of focus pieces, but don’t try to stuff each room with as much decor as possible.

Use Plantlife

You don’t need a Christmas tree to decorate, you can take advantage of any plants that you already have in your apartment. If you don’t have any, you can find super cheap indoor plants at places like Walmart, Home Depot, etc. As an added bonus, there are several benefits of growing plants in your home you may not know about.

Finally, collect pinecones from nearby trees or parks to get that Christmas-feel around the house. This is one of the easiest budget decorating tricks. You can also sprinkle the pinecones with essential oils for an extra aroma effect.

Create Your Own Decorations

Decorating on a budget means being more self-sufficient. In this case, it means creating your own decorations. Use common arts and crafts supplies like construction paper, tissue paper, popsicle sticks, and other materials and get crafty!

Buy Discount Holiday Decor

If you’re not creative or artsy, you still have options. You can find incredibly affordable holiday decor for your apartment at discount stores like the Family Dollar or Dollar Store. They offer a wide variety of fun holiday decorations.

Alternatively, learning how to decorate for the holidays on a budget can be accomplished by planning ahead. Once the holidays are over, large chain stores make a big push to get rid of their holiday products which allow you to find heavily discounted decorations for next year.

Use Household Materials Instead of Wrapping Paper

Finally, one of the best budget decorating tips is to use the stuff you already have lying around the house for wrapping materials. This can include old newspapers and magazines, leftover materials from previous projects, and more. Find creative ways to wrap presents for people without spending tons of extra money on wrapping paper that’s just going to be thrown away.

Want More Tips on Budget Decorating and Other Home Living Advice?

If you’re looking for more advice on home or apartment living, like budget decorating or being a good resident, we can help. Check out some of our other informative articles before you go. And if finding a new place to live is one of your New Year’s resolutions, you can fill out an apartment rental application right now!

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Staff Spotlight: Steve West

montrose square apartments staff spotlight

Steve West has been a groundskeeper at Montrose Square Apartments for the past year. You may have seen him around our community and at our resident events, but now’s your chance to get to know him a little better.

What 3 words would you use to describe Montrose Square Apartments?
Togetherness, vibrant, pride

Where is your favorite place (besides Montrose Square) to be?
With my wife

What’s your favorite food?
Cheeseburgers or pizza

If you won the lottery, what’s the first thing you’d do?
Go to Italy

What is your favorite movie?

Do you have any pets?
I have a dog. A Maltese named Zooey

What’s a fun fact about you?
I’m goofy and fun-loving

Now that you know a little more about Steve, make sure you say hi next time you see him around the property. And, if you really want to get on his good side, share your pizza with him! 😉


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Apartment Checklist: 7 Things to Do to Get an Apartment Ready for Fall

One of the best things about living in a climate that goes through seasons is the change in scenery. In most places, fall brings a beautiful variety of different colored leaves and other plants. Additionally, the temperatures become more enjoyable as has the hot summer weather abandons its hold and makes way for the new season. 

However, fall quickly turns to winter and we find ourselves struggling to keep warm and scrambling to prepare our homes for cold temperatures. Get ahead of the curve this year and start getting your home ready for fall now.

Not sure where to begin? Keep reading for a quick apartment checklist. 

1. Cover the Windows

It can get cold in Indiana and cold air can push its way into our homes. If your windows are drafty, consider covering your windows in plastic or with thermal or blackout curtains. These will help keep the cold air out and increase the warmth of your apartment. 

2. Throw in Some Throw Blankets

Keeping heavy throw blankets on chairs and sofas not only give your home a look of warmth, but they’re also easy to grab when you’re feeling a little chilly. Fall themed throws can help get in the autumn mood.

3. Bring in Outdoor Summer Decor

Now that the weather’s getting cooler, it’s time to put away your outdoor furniture and bring in your potted plants for the winter. Any other items you have on your patio that won’t make it in the cold, you should bring in or put in storage.

4. Reverse the Ceiling Fans

If you have ceiling fans in your apartment, now is the time to reverse the direction of their rotations. In the summer, fans turn counterclockwise to push cool air down. In the winter, run your fans on low in a clockwise direction to pull cool air up and displace the warm air that settles at the ceiling. 

5. Replace Your HVAC Filter

If one of your tenant duties for your apartment is to replace the HVAC filter, it must be done before you start running the heat full time. This will help reduce the risk of fire. A clean HVAC filter will also help your system run more efficiently. 

6. Report Any Issues to the Leasing Office

To get ready for fall and colder temperatures, take stock of everything around your apartment and report any major issues to the leasing office. This includes things like gaps in the windows or doors, malfunctioning heating systems, pipe leaks, and more. They should be able to help take care of the repairs before winter sets in. 

7. Put Up Fall Decorations

For most people, getting ready for fall means putting up fall decorations. As noted above, fall is a time of brilliant warm colors that help make any apartment feel cozy. Take advantage of the season and give yourself an excuse to update your decor.  

Is Your Apartment Ready for Fall?

If your apartment isn’t ready for fall yet, you’d better get a move on. After all, it’s only a few short months until we’re in the heart of winter. If you need more tips on apartment living, be sure to check out some of our other articles for guidance. 

And if you’re looking for a new apartment to settle down into this fall, fill out an apartment rental application today. We’d love to provide a warm, safe place for you.

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Are You the Perfect Tenant? 5 Maintenance Duties to Keep in Mind

One of the most appealing aspects of renting an apartment over buying a home is the idea of having fewer responsibilities. While living in an apartment is certainly much simpler than homeownership, there are still some responsibilities that fall on your shoulders.

When you sign a rental agreement, you agree to certain tenant maintenance duties. These are often quite simple and a normal part of everyday living.

Do you follow the basics of being a good tenant and adhere to the following maintenance duties?

1. Regular Cleaning

As a tenant, one of your most basic maintenance duties is keeping a clean apartment or rental home. While it may not seem like a big deal to let clutter build-up, doing so can certainly lead to bigger issues.

For example, if you leave food waste lying around on the counters, floors, or overflowing from the garbage, it’s a good way to attract pests such as rodents and bugs. It’s especially important to engage in regular cleaning if you have pets in the apartment.

Additionally, avoiding cleaning duties for too long will make it that much harder when you finally get around to it. Dirt, gunk, and grime will build up and can even cause permanent damage.

2. Repair Anything You Damage

Another one of the most common maintenance duties as a tenant is replacing or repairing anything you’ve broken or damaged. This can be anything from a broken faucet, a hole in the drywall, or stains on the carpet.

You can ignore these items, but you’ll likely have to pay for them when it comes time to leave the apartment. There are certain things, such as an oven that stops working, that may be covered by your apartment community. Make sure you know what falls under your umbrella of responsibilities. If you aren’t sure, talk to the team in the leasing office.

3. Report Major Issues

As suggested above, there are a lot of maintenance issues that fall on the apartment community to take care of. If there are plumbing, electrical, or other major issues that inhibit a normal standard of living, it’s likely covered by apartments.

Report any issues immediately (even if you caused them) to make sure you get things taken care of. Worst case scenario, you’ll have to pay for the repairs yourself. However, it should all be outlined in your lease agreement.

4. Maintain a Safe Environment

One of the most important tenant maintenance duties is to keep the apartment safe and secure. For example, creating fire hazards not only puts your life at risk but also the lives of your neighbors.

The same goes for allowing harmful mold to grow due to a water leak or “inviting” pests into the apartment because you don’t keep a standard of cleanliness.

5. Complete Agreed Upon Duties

Finally, when you sign your lease, it should be made clear to you if you have any extra maintenance duties as the tenant. These are more common in home rentals than apartment rentals.

The duties could include any yard work such as raking leaves, mowing the lawn, keeping sidewalks clear of ice and snow, etc. Basically, all the duties you would have if you owned the home.

Ready to Take on Some Tenant Maintenance Duties?

Are you looking for an apartment and feel up to the maintenance duties of being a good tenant? If so, fill out an apartment application today or contact us with any questions. We look forward to providing a home for you!

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Adventure Time! The Best One-Tank Day Trips From Fort Wayne, IN

day trips from fort wayne

Who said there’s nothing to do in Fort Wayne? Not only is there plenty to do in the city itself, but there’s also a lot to do within driving distance from your Fort Wayne apartment. You can take day trips from Fort Wayne to a variety of destinations around the city all on one tank of gas.

You’ll be able to enjoy the best of culture, nature, and city life on these trips. For the very best one-tank trips from Fort Wayne, read on.

What Cities Are Near Fort Wayne?


The Windy City, Chicago, is only a three-hour drive from Fort Wayne. Chicago has it all: Deep-dish pizza, pro sports teams, a busy cultural calendar, and more. Its Washington, Grant, and Lincoln Parks are worth checking out too.

While Chicago is a more obvious choice, don’t let smaller cities fly under your radar.


Detroit’s only slightly smaller, but still a brand-name American city that’s recently been revitalized. In a less-than-three-hour drive, you’ll arrive in the Motor City where the finest food, culture (including car culture), and nightlife await you. Detroit Rock City, everybody.


In another approximately three-hour drive from Fort Wayne, you’ll get to Cincinnati, the Queen City on the Ohio River. Enjoy the craft vendors and food stalls at Findlay Market. Also, make time to see the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden.

The Cincinnati Bell Connector will help you get around easier.

Other Day Trips From Fort Wayne

Cataract Falls

“Don’t go chasing waterfalls,” TLC said, but just this once, disobey them and chase Cataract Falls in Owen County, IN. With an 86-foot drop and perennially-cold water, Cataract Falls will have you coming back for more. But first, enjoy the walk in the forest that takes you there.


Whine now, wine later, right? Get in touch with your classy, sophisticated, cultured side at the Fruit Hills Winery and Orchard in Bristol. Here, you can traipse about the vineyard like a French sommelier, sampling local wine as you gaze upon the rolling hills.

French Lick

For another classy experience, chart a course to West Baden Springs Hotel (near French Lick), a high-class hotel once known as the “Eighth Wonder of the World.” Take afternoon tea in the hotel’s atrium or indulge and luxuriate at the spa. Make it a whole weekend there, while you’re at it.   

Parke County

Feeling nostalgic? Then head over to Parke County for a blast from the past as you visit one of the county’s 31 covered bridges. Pedestrians are allowed on more than 20 of its bridges.

Vehicles aren’t allowed on all of the county’s bridges.

Indiana Dunes

Even though the weather’s cooler and it isn’t a great time to take a swim, Fort Wayne is only a short 2 1/2 hour drive from Lake Michigan at the Indiana Dunes National Park. 

Spend the day climbing the many surrounding sand dunes or hop on a bike and hit the trails to view the colorful fall leaves. 


Finally, take your kids to (or rediscover your inner child at) the Whitewater Valley Railroad in Connersville, only a little more than two hours from Fort Wayne. Ride the Fall Foliage Flyer or Wild West Train and learn about local history. This railroad’s a museum, too.

Attractions Near Fort Wayne

There you have it. You can make day trips from Fort Wayne to world-class cities like Chicago, natural jewels like Cataract Falls, and high-level vineyards like the Fruit Hills Winery and Orchard. Best of all, you can do all of the above in one day, on one tank of gas.

For more things to do around here, stay tuned to our blog.

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Health Benefits of Growing Plants in Your Apartment

Growing plants

More people grow plants indoors than ever before, but did you know that indoor plants also bring a lot of extra health benefits?

There’s a huge variety of plants that love indoor spaces, and they all look beautiful, but they’re much more than that. By growing plants in your apartment, you’ll find that your quality of life improves in a lot of different ways.

Keep reading to learn all about how growing plants indoors benefits you and your family!

Reduce Stress

Due to COVID-19, we’re all feeling a little more overwhelmed. Having some plants in your apartment is the perfect way to reduce stress.

Seeing nature inside our homes brings a sense of joy that you can’t quite replicate any other way. Plus, watching as those little plants continue to grow and flourish, you’ll feel a sense of pride and parenthood that makes every day a little more interesting.

Improve Air Quality

Plants provide us with clean oxygen, keeping your air feeling fresh even with closed windows. By improving your air quality, your immune system strengthens — which is something we can all use right now!

They’re also great for those dry winter months when your hands and lips tend to crack. The extra humidity your indoor plants give out will help take some of the dryness out of the air.

Provide Natural Remedies

Many plants are multi-function. They grow in our homes and provide passive benefits, but they also have extra remedies that we can use as well.

For instance, you’ve probably heard about aloe vera. This clever plant is the perfect solution for a bad sunburn. Crack open one of the thick leaves of this plant and smooth it over the burned area for instant relief and healing properties.

Other plants work in a similar way. Grow thyme and rosemary, as well as other herbs, to have fresh additions to your next meal. Put a twig of lavender into your bath for a beautiful relaxing scent that is reminiscent of a spa.

Boost Productivity

Taking care of indoor plants takes some dedication. They need a good balance of sunlight and water, and they depend on you to help them thrive.

Even on the slowest of days, your plants will spur you into action when they need a sprinkling of water. Once you start caring for them, you’ll often find that you’ve found an extra burst of energy that carries on to your other responsibilities.

When you first start growing plants, it might feel like another chore to add to your list. Over time, you’ll find that you love tending your plants and look forward to seeing them grow over the weeks.

Growing Plants Is the Perfect Hobby for Apartments

Apartments are wonderful places to live, and growing plants makes it even more of a joy. Bring the outdoors in to your home so that you always feel comfortable and relaxed.

The next time you decide it’s time to shake things up in your apartment, try looking for some easy plants to grow!

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5 Benefits of Purchasing Renter’s Insurance for Your Fort Wayne Apartment

Are you renting an apartment? It’s safe to say that renting can offer a magnitude of benefits in comparison to homeownership. 

When budgeting for an apartment, it’s important to account for the cost of renter’s insurance. While this is an additional fee to budget for, it’s safe to say that there are many benefits of renter’s insurance.

To help, we’re going to name a few and explain how they’re sure to save you money over time. 

1. Protects Your Belongings 

First and foremost, rental insurance will provide you with coverage for your belongings. 

This will cover every piece of content that you own and is present inside of your home. This could be anything from your computer and your television to your couch and bedroom furniture. 

If disaster struck and these items were suddenly lost, your renter’s insurance would provide you with the estimated cost to replace these items. Without an insurance plan in place, these costs are left to yours truly. 

2. Provides Medical Expenses for Injured Guests 

Did someone injure themselves in your apartment? 

Perhaps someone slipped and broke one of their ribs. Depending on the scale of such an injury, this could leave your guest with a hefty hospital bill and a longstanding rehabilitation plan. 

The good news is that your policy will cover you in the event that one of your guests faces injury. This will help to take the stress out of inviting guests into your home. 

3. Covers Unforeseen Living Arrangements 

If something happened to your apartment and you had no choice but to evacuate, what would you do? 

When renting an apartment, unforeseen circumstances could present themselves from time to time. This could be the result of a natural disaster or a sudden problem within the community itself. 

For those with renter’s insurance, the plan will include covering the cost of any necessary relocation. Whether your apartment caught fire or your floor was subject to a flood, your insurance company will cover your temporary relocation costs. 

Depending on your plan, they may also cover the costs of food and utilities during your relocation period. 

4. Helps to Cover Legal Costs 

Fortunately, your renter’s insurance will also include a degree of liability insurance. This will help to cover you in the event that someone is injured within your home or a guest chooses to sue you for damages. 

If your dog confuses your guest’s finger for their favorite toy, your guest could be left with a hefty medical bill. If your guest chooses to sue you for damages or liability, your insurance will help to cover these costs. 

Knowing that this is a possibility will help to lower your stress and increase your everyday happiness in your home

5. More Affordable Than You Think

It goes without saying that insurance premiums are generally high. In fact, over 44 million Americans don’t have access to health insurance simply because they can’t afford it. 

The good news is that renter’s insurance is significantly more affordable than other insurance policies. While all policies are different, a basic rental insurance plan can cost less than a standard phone plan. 

While this is yet another monthly cost to account for, it’s could save you significant money in the long run. 

The Best Benefits of Renter’s Insurance 

As you can see, there are many benefits to holding renter’s insurance for your apartment.

If you need help choosing a company, talk to the management team to see if they can recommend an insurance company. Chances are they’ll be able to suggest a company or two that other residents have used.

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Setting Up Your Apartment Before Adopting a New Cat

Adopting a new cat is a wonderful experience for you and your family. These furry little creatures bring so many benefits to our homes, and they’re adorable, too!

We all want to make sure that the kitten is content and safe in their new home. Before it’s time to introduce the cat to your family, it’s good to prepare the apartment for a tiny and curious creature.

Listed below are all of the best adopting a new cat tips that will make the transition seamless!

Block Unsafe Areas

Although the new kitten will sleep around 16 hours a day, they love to get into places that are less than ideal when they’re awake. That’s why it’s important to bar the way into these unsafe rooms until the kitten learns the way of the home.

Places with a lot of cords or breakable objects should be blocked off with gates or closed doors until you’re able to trust the kitten won’t try to play with them.

Prepare Feline Gadgets and Toys

Everyone loves presents and little kittens are no different. When you’ve adopted a new cat, you already know it’s vital to have a good litter box as well as food and water bowls.

Other important items include a variety of different toys to occupy the cat’s time so they always have something to do. A scratching post stops cats from tearing up your furniture and curtains. Treats are also a great thing to have on hand, especially when you’re trying to teach the kitten good behavior.

Remove Hazardous Objects

Endless curiosity resides in every kitten in the world. This includes an interest in things they shouldn’t put into their mouths.

Any tiny odds and ends should be removed from any room in which your new cat has access. Anything with loose strings is another big hazard since cats love to chew on small things like this.

To prevent the potential of choking, keep the kitten away from anything that would fit into its little mouth.

Open up One Room at a Time

Kittens bring a lot of happiness to a household but they can get overwhelmed the first few days in a new home. It’s good to give them ample space and time to explore the home so that they always feel comfortable. Introduce them to each room slowly so that they get the lay of the land before moving on to the next.

If you have children, they’ll want to meet the cat right away but it’s best to hold off a few hours while the kitten finds its way around. There’ll be plenty of adorable bonding moments once the cat feels secure!

Adopting a New Cat Is a Joy for the Whole Family

There’s nothing quite like adopting a new cat. They’ll be a companion for you and your family for many years to come.

Start this new relationship with the tips and tricks and you’ll guarantee that everyone involved gets the best experience as you all learn to live with each other.

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2020 Survivor Resident Appreciation Month

apartment resident appreciation month

At Montrose Square Apartments in Fort Wayne, we LOVE our residents! And while right now we have to social distance due to COVID-19, we can still be together as an apartment community … at a safe distance, of course!

Since COVID-19 threw a wrench in our usual resident appreciation events, we had to get a little creative in order to show you our appreciation while keeping all of our residents and team safe.

This year we’ll be doing things a little different and have declared the entire month of August ‘Resident Appreciation Month’!

You’ve survived what 2020 has thrown at you so far, so let’s celebrate with a 2020 Survivor Resident Appreciation Month. We’ll have games, food, lots of great prizes, and fun all month long.


All month – Bingo
8/4 – Ice Cream Truck & Ring Toss
8/11 – Jenga Wars & Bulls Eye Bean Bag Toss
8/14 – Boxed Lunch
8/18 – Cotton Candy & Sno Cones
8/25 – Pie Eating Contest, Water Balloon Toss, & Chalk Drawing Contest
8/28 – Drawings for Prizes including Gift Cards, Big Screen TV, Cash, and more!

To participate, please fill out the sign-up form and menu request form delivered to your apartment (or call the office), fill it out, and submit it to the office no later than Friday, July 31, 2020.

Due to social distancing requirements, we must have advanced knowledge of everyone who will be attending and which dates they are attending in order to ensure the safety of all. Only those residents who have their forms in by July 31 will be able to participate.

We can’t wait to have fun with you throughout August!

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Happy at Home: Tips for Increasing Happiness in Your Fort Wayne Apartment

If there’s one place you should feel happy, it’s at home. Apartments should be a place where you feel safe and centered away from the stress of the world.

People who struggle with feeling happy at home should follow these tips to increase happiness and comfort in their apartment.

Clean Apartment

A clean apartment is a healthy and happy apartment. Whether you’re cleaning your place or you hire someone else to do it, a clean apartment can improve your mood.

How you keep your living area is a reflection of who you are. Let any visitors know that your apartment is a great place to relax and entertain by showing them how clean it is.

Happy at Home With Photographs

It can seem like photographs are an old fashioned way to decorate, but putting up pictures of loved ones and memories will make you happy.

Seeing these reminders is a great support system to constantly remind you of the positivity in your life. It’s hard to be sad when you can see everyone and everything you love hanging on your walls or desks.

Music for the Soul

Everyone loves music. Play some uplifting and upbeat tunes around the house. Music takes people to a place where words cannot describe.

For rough days at work, come home and crank your music to put yourself in a better mood.

If you have good taste in music, maybe your neighbors will join you for an impromptu dance party. Just remember to keep the music happy and avoid sad tunes.


Engage all your senses by using the fragrances of aromatherapy. Your apartment might look great, but make it smell great, too.

The different smells can affect and enhance your mood. Experiment with which fragrances put a smile on your face.

Do Random Acts of Kindness

Do you live with roommates? You can build strong relationships by helping your roommates do their dishes, laundry, or walk their dog. Do these chores without asking for anything in return.

By doing these random acts of kindness, you can turn the meanest roommate into a friend.

The chores you do for other people may not yield favors or kindness in return, but you’ll feel better about yourself and your living situation.

Natural Light

Open the shades and pull the blinds. Natural sunlight makes a living space look and feel like a happier place.

The light also exposes you to doses of vitamin D which improves the immune system, brain, and nervous system. While you’re opening shades, crack open the window, too. The fresh air and sunlight combination will do wonders for your happiness.

Make Yourself at Home

Your dwelling should make you excited to come home from a long day. Everyone deserves to be happy at home with a comfortable apartment.

If you’re interested in finding an apartment to make yourself at home, then contact us today so we can start the search for you.

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