How to keep your kids safe & warm in their first apartment

Wood brace wedged under door knob secures door from being kicked in.
Wood brace wedged under door knob secures door from being kicked in.
Wood brace showing the top cut to hold under the knob
Wood brace showing the top cut to hold under the knob
Simple fireplace insert wedges in place without screws or anchors.
Simple fireplace insert wedges in place without screws or anchors.
Styrofoam backing glued to the wood helps insulate the fireplace insert.
Styrofoam backing glued to the wood helps insulate the fireplace insert.
A stick or dowel inserted into a sliding window track keeps the window from being opened fully, but still allows fresh air into a room.
A stick or dowel inserted into a sliding window track keeps the window from being opened fully, but still allows fresh air into a room.

Add some inexpensive window and door locks to a rented apartment without screws or altering doors or windows


As our youngest one moved into his first apartment, my concern of his safety and welfare is always on my mind. It’s difficult to see the kids move out, especially in this difficult world.

To help ease my mind and make my son feel safer, my creative and thoughtful husband spent about an hour out in the workshop making some items out of scrap wood that might benefit others moving into apartments or rental homes. He was able to come up with some solutions that did not require adding to or screwing anything into the existing doors or window frames.

Problem #1- The apartment has aluminum sliding windows. Our son wanted to be able to let fresh air in but didn’t want the possibility that an intruder could simply push the unlocked window open and come on in. He had looked at the screw on clamps that clamp onto the frame, but he did not think they would be strong enough.

Solution- A wood strip or dowel rod to lay in the window track cut 3” short to prevent the window from being opened more that 3”

Problem #2- The apartment had a front and back door, both are equipped with locks and a dead bolt, but the frame work around the locks did not appear to be solid enough to keep the doors from easily being kicked in.

Solution- A ¾” x 4" board cut to fit under the door knobs, and wedge into the floor. One end of the board was cut in a half circle to fit around the bottom of the door knob. The other end was cut at an angled so that it was 10-12” away from the door. You want just the right length to push it up and wedge, but not too long where it will slide on the floor. This will work on a solid or carpeted surface.

Problem #3- The living room has an open wood burning fireplace, which brought us concerns of higher utility bills and uncomfortable conditions during cold days and nights when the fireplace was not being used. Our son probably will never use it.

Solution- A board cut to fit the opening with a sheet of Styrofoam insulating siding material on one side. A strip of lumber on the other side with another angle cut wedge to hold it in place. The board fits in to cover the opening and the wedge holds it tight to keep it in place without having to have any other affixed anchors. Our son plans on painting it to match the fireplace.

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Comments 1 comment

Shelterguru 3 years ago

These are great tips lizstevens. I especially like the idea of cutting down on the utility bills by cutting a board with a sheet of Styrofoam insulation material on one side to fit over the fireplace opening.

This reminds me of http://www.livinginchico.com/blog/, which gives great ideas on decorating your apartment on a smart budget for the holidays. Nice to see people are coming up with creative ways to save money and make their apartment a home.

Thanks again Liz...

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