Apartment Therapy Home Hacks 2010
February 23, 2010 2:27 PM   Subscribe

Apartment Therapy, the multi-city shelter blog, generally seems to have an audience that's more Martha Stewart Living than Make. But their Home Hacks 2010 collects lots of little HOWTOs that are totally geek friendly, from "How to Build an Indoor Fort" and "How to Deduct Your Electronic Gear from Your Taxes" to "How to Clean Your Jeans Without Water." (Sure, that last one is meant for designer jeans, but who says you can't use it for your Levi's?)
posted by ocherdraco (28 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
Doesn't Candida Albicans survive freezing to, like, -60C or so? Don't I really, really not want athlete's groin?

I'm gonna keep washing my clothes.
posted by Fraxas at 2:35 PM on February 23, 2010

I think Ratio would like this
posted by ekroh at 2:38 PM on February 23, 2010

How to Build an Indoor Fort

Yes! Now the perfect venue from which to say to my girlfriend: "I'm sorry, but your authority is not recognised in Fort Kickass!"
posted by turgid dahlia at 2:39 PM on February 23, 2010 [4 favorites]

I think Ratio would like this

This article would fit perfectly into that Ratio comment. How does one "hack" lasagna?
posted by eyeballkid at 2:43 PM on February 23, 2010

Wait, Levi's aren't designer jeans?
posted by robertc at 2:50 PM on February 23, 2010

How to deduct your electronic gear from your taxes: "What you need: A legit business or job directly related to the equipment purchased"

posted by ook at 2:51 PM on February 23, 2010 [1 favorite]

I decided to get tuberculosis so I could hack my cough.
posted by sciurus at 2:52 PM on February 23, 2010

Oh. Having now read the "how to clean the microwave" and "how to hack your peanut butter sandwich" articles, I feel embarrassed that I did not immediately recognize that these are meant as satire.

they are meant as satire, aren't they?
posted by ook at 2:54 PM on February 23, 2010 [3 favorites]

So I see the word hack and immediately want to have a GRAR reaction to it because that's usually how we do this.

But I get a hold of myself and say, "self, maybe this will be the time someone will use the word properly and not as some catch-all buzzword that doesn't make any sense and is just being used to drive hits to the page."

So I click the link.

First thing I see: How To Make Lasagna.


As if that weren't enough, I scroll down and see "10 Ways To Hack A Peanut Butter Sandwich."

I can't even launch into a tirade or make snarky comments about it anymore. I'm just so tired of it all.
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 2:55 PM on February 23, 2010 [2 favorites]

How To Build an Indoor Fort

This past New Year's Eve, Wendy BD and I built a fort out of blankets and pillows and read comic books inside. We mentioned this to a friend a few days later who exclaimed how much fun that must have been for Wendy's thirteen-year-old daughter. I said truthfully, "Oh, she was at her grandparents' house. This was just us."
posted by ricochet biscuit at 3:02 PM on February 23, 2010 [7 favorites]

Seeing as that I'm a member of both the class of Metafilter members and Apartment Therapy readers, I feel compelled to say, in the latter's defense, that a fair number of the "Home Hacks" posts have drawn complaints that they are not really hacks...some more pointedly than others. (Sigh, please see pippigirl's comment left on that post on February 23 at 3:54 pm...the site offers no functionality to link specific comments...and there's no way to hack it.)

AT's other irritating habit, as long as we're cataloging them, is they seem to expect all their writers to use the royal we. This is ostensibly to create an unobtrusive editorial voice, but it seems to regularly rankle readers and its use does occasionally border on the ridiculous.
posted by jocelmeow at 3:20 PM on February 23, 2010

jocelmeow, that link goes to an ebay listing for flying saucer lamps. I assume that's not what you were trying to point us to. (Though they are cool.)
posted by ocherdraco at 3:26 PM on February 23, 2010

Er...did you mean to link to eBay there, jocelmeow?
posted by Diagonalize at 3:28 PM on February 23, 2010

D'oh, preview fail.

For what it's worth, I think Apartment Therapy's main problem is quality control. Sometimes they'll have some great articles, just bursting with snazzy ideas and sleek pictures. Other times, it reads like my kid sister's blog, complete with rampant misspellings and crappy photography. It's just really hit or miss.
posted by Diagonalize at 3:31 PM on February 23, 2010

Sometimes I get into phases where I read a lot of Apartment Therapy and Lifehacker and Real Simple magazine. I think there's some kind of desire to read about "hacks" or ways to fix your life, make it easier, that you just haven't though of yet, introduce variety into a boring life by using things in novel ways. But unfortunately we've already mined them to depletion. So we either make up really silly stuff or repeat the same ones over and over again. There is a limited number and we used them up 50 years ago. And readers do notice this and complain about it constantly, as jocelmeow noted.
posted by amethysts at 3:43 PM on February 23, 2010

Ha! Who knows how I managed that. My apologies. Well, here - the post on building a blanket fort - is where I meant to take y'all. Then look for pippigirl's comment on February 23 at 3:54 pm. And if anybody finds a flying saucer lamp with a maple body and chrome shade as a result of my mis-pasting, please do let me know.
posted by jocelmeow at 3:47 PM on February 23, 2010

I like Re-Nest, one of their sister sites, a little bit more than the AT blog itself (my husband rates The Kitchn highly because of the narrow focus).

I was thinking about the nature of these Lifehacker-ish mass websites the other day. While I don't read every single article they splurge forth (because as many people have pointed out, they can be hit or miss with quality control), I like to plug them through an RSS feed and scan the headlines for information I might find useful - especially now I'm a new homeowner and have recently confronted the fact that I am now an Adult and have to Know Things. How to clean a built-in cutting board and how to clean a cast iron skillet were recent gems. And very often the people who leave comments contribute tenfold than the actual writers, so I find myself checking back for more information.

I think what I'm trying to say is that I like these sites despite the flaws. Although they really could drop the use of the word hack, it's so trite now.
posted by saturnine at 3:48 PM on February 23, 2010

I like these sites, I subscribe to the Kitchn's feed and have gotten some good recipes from them. But theyconstantly end their posts with annoying comment-bait statements meant to drive up their hit count or whatever. One post the other day was actually concluded with "Do you love peanut butter sandwiches, too?"
posted by statolith at 4:25 PM on February 23, 2010

STOP! STOP! STOP! This has got to stop. You did not "hack" your fucking breakfast because you found a more efficient way to cut a grapefruit. People are close to misappropriating this word so much that it has no meaning left. Stop the madness!
posted by DecemberBoy at 6:11 PM on February 23, 2010

I read both Metafilter and AT daily, so I'm also part of that colliding Venn. Many of the posts each day send my eyeballs rolling into my skull, but there's some great stuff there if you know where to look.

How to (Ahem) Hack Apartment Therapy:

1. Read only the Small/Cool Contest entries -- each year they run a collection of home tours of actual readers who beautifully live in small homes and readers get to vote on their favorites. Or join in on the twice-yearly Home Cure.
2. Read only posts by Sparrow King. This contributor finds the most unique homes and decor and is far and away the best writer on AT.
3. Focus on Home Tours. Usually some great photos and stories.
4. Treehouses. Oh yesss.
5. Navigate over to sister sites The Kitchn (cooking/recipes/food) and Re-Nest.
6. Skip AT altogether and read Design*Sponge instead.
posted by mochapickle at 6:33 PM on February 23, 2010 [6 favorites]

I don't know. I've already learned how to poach an egg. It may not be a hack, but it's helpful (not to mention something I forgot that I'd been meaning to try).
posted by a.steele at 6:59 PM on February 23, 2010

If your jeans are ruined by the application of soap and water, then you have not bought jeans. You have bought fussy-ass fancy pants. Nothing wrong with that, if that's your thing, but you have emphatically not purchased a pair of goddamn jeans.
posted by middleclasstool at 8:30 PM on February 23, 2010 [4 favorites]

Also, what kind of jeans, or any clothes, get "ruined" by dry cleaning? Isn't that totally harmless? I thought you could basically dry clean anything without risk.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 12:56 AM on February 24, 2010

I can't even tell if this is ironic or satire or real. If it's real:

posted by obiwanwasabi at 1:32 AM on February 24, 2010

I'm also a MeFite-ATite... I pay no attention whatsoever to AT's "hack" articles, and a few other sorts at which I just sigh. I heartily second mochapickle's list, and would add that it's a great place to go to if you have a question about a piece of furniture or some other decorative item. I found a sofa + 2 matching chairs this weekend and, for the life of me, couldn't figure out what style it was. Posted it to ApartmentTherapy, and the response was unanimous: 1940s French Art Deco. One of the first posters even added that the decade was identifiable because of the light wood used on the arms. This delighted me, since my apartment building also happens to be Art Deco (built in 1953 though).

I do wish they would aim for quality over quantity/page hits/comments, and this is something I've said occasionally in my comments on AT. But there are neat things posted when you look for them. The house tours can be great for inspiration and ideas.
posted by fraula at 1:38 AM on February 24, 2010

I did prefer AT before they went 'pro' and started packing in the ads and churning out vast quantities of low-quality posts. But the good stuff is still in there - I read via RSS so I miss most of the ads and just have to hit Next to get through the filler quickly. The Kitchn and Re-Nest are pretty good, as noted earlier.
posted by harriet vane at 2:31 AM on February 24, 2010

And that How to make chili is rather good: less of a recipe and more of a blueprint.
posted by harriet vane at 2:35 AM on February 24, 2010

You have bought fussy-ass fancy pants.

More like crusty-ass fancy pants, amirite??
posted by applemeat at 6:08 AM on February 24, 2010

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