Rental Party Rules: Apartment Entertaining
"Renting is a group sport," says Naomi Kay, a store manager in Toledo, Ohio. "People forget. I used to live below these idiots. Everyone used to call the cops on them, pretty much every Saturday. They never figured out how to throw a party without having it ended by, like, midnight."
So how can you throw a party in your apartment while respecting the renters around you? Read on:
Go door to door before the party and invite the neighbors to come. If they aren't the type who would be interested in joining you, go over a few ground rules with them. The most important rule to set is what time you will need to wind things down -- and then respect the rule.
If your neighbors have small children, you need to find out where they sleep and whether or not they can sleep in a room that is neither below nor beside the room in which you will be hosting your party. Next, offer to do a sound test for noise filtration to deduce the decibel level that is best for everyone and mark it on your stereo. Your neighbors will appreciate that you made the effort and are more likely to give you a break during the party, even if it gets louder than you expected.
Drop Off Goodies
It can't hurt if you make plates of some of your party refreshments the night of the party and drop them off at the apartments closest to yours (don't forget above and below!). Even if you are just setting out M&M's and chips, small bags of candy never disappoint and will butter them up when at 2 a.m. someone is yelling to a pizza delivery guy outside their door.
Establish a Plan
If your neighbor is easily offended by Madonna's early years and somehow your party has taken that turn, make sure you make it easy for them to get in touch with you so that you aren't embarrassed by a pajama-clad neighbor knocking on your door-or worse, the Fuzz. Hand out your phone number liberally, and ask for a text or a call if things get rough on the other side of the wall. And then be polite about turning it down.
Choose a Room
Once you have figured out which room will be the best for your party, move as many things out of it as possible, leaving maximum space for guests and party accessories. If you live in a studio, see if you can pair up with a neighbor as a co-host, then use one apartment as the "staging area" for the party and the other for the party itself. It does require some work but it will be worth it! Also, swap out your standard white lights for colored bulbs, and add a strobe or a disco ball. If you are hosting a Halloween dance party, put in some black lights for a spooky glow!
Make sure you keep the room bouncing, but not your turntable. If you plan on spinning records, use a turntable stabilizer. A laptop or an iPod is less likely to skip, but put it out of the way where it won't be bumped or abused by sabotaging friends with itchy song-skipping fingers. And make sure your speakers are powerful enough to fill the space, while also low enough that your guests can still talk. This isn't Studio 54 -- just ask your neighbors.
Prepare a setlist before the night of the party. Music is an art, which is why DJs are so well paid. See if you can find a good DJ setlist online and then download the suggestions. Also, go over the music you choose with a reliable friend, or even better, a DJ friend to make sure it will suit the mood of your party.
A party is not a dinner party unless you specify in the invite. So, to keep costs low, everyone will be happy with a few bowls of candy and pretzels, or nuts and chips. Make sure you subsidize alcoholic beverages with ample sodas, juices and water to keep things from getting too sloppy. And as a good host, offer it to those guests who look like they might need it. A good host will also stay well-hydrated and sober him or herself -- in case things get out of hand and the police do show up.
Throwing a party can be a challenge, especially when you live in an apartment. But enjoying one is the easiest thing in the world. "I love to throw parties," agrees Kay. "I just make sure everyone around me likes it too!"
Want to know how to deal with other rental issues? Here are some AOL Real Estateguides that can help:
- Tips for Finding a Rental Apartment
- Apartment Security for Renters
- Are You Paying Too Much for Your Rental?
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