As fall looms around the corner, those of you who are college kids are likely getting ready for life on your own. Packing up clothes and filling suitcases with your parent's stuff - a stapler, scissors, a plasma television - you head for the hills, or at least the universities. Though some of you will undoubtedly live in dorms, which are - from a home improvement standpoint - completely hopeless, others will find yourselves in your very own apartment. That, my friends, we can work with.


Now, home improvement may not be something a lot of you are concerned with. Let's face it, with the more pressing matters of books, parties, class, and more parties, improving a living area may fall between the cushions of the used couch sitting in your living room. But, enhancing your living area doesn't have to be as time consuming as some might fear. With a few simple steps, a college apartment can go from a place used merely for sleeping, to one that is actually used for living.


Stock up on cleaning supplies: The typical college apartment is a place that the local Health Department could justifiably shut down. In a nutshell, college times aren't the tidiest times. Whether you find yourself cooking dinner, and inevitably getting some of the pasta sauce on the kitchen walls, or throwing massive parties that get mud, alcohol, and who knows what else all over your carpet, cleaning supplies are a staple of college life. Not only does a clean environment make a more social atmosphere, but it also helps to keep you healthy so you can live to party, er…I mean study, another day.


Get door and window locks: Locking your doors and windows in college may be the furthest thing from your mind. After all, you don't really have anything worth stealing. While this may seem to be the case, you do have yourself. And that, of course, is priceless. Perpetrators are often found in college towns, towns where students let their guards down and keep their windows and doors open or unlocked. They are known to sneak in during the night and during the day. For this reason, whenever you leave the house, or go to bed at night, lock your doors with chains and deadbolts and your windows with a security bar or a sliding lock. This will help keep you, and your parents, feeling secure.


Check out a Thrift Store: If you happen to have anything against used furniture, college is your time to get over it. During your four years at a university, you'll move, you'll have parties, you'll loan things to friends, and your stuff will get broken or ruined. Thus, going out to the Pottery Barn and stocking up on a new living room set is kind of futile, futile and expensive. Instead of buying new stuff, hit up the local thrift store or scout around at local garage sales. Not only will the furniture be inexpensive, keeping you from caring when it gets marred beyond recognition, but a lot is also of very nice quality. You might need to shop around to get exactly what you're looking for, but you have time; it's not like you need to study.