This is me! And this is my house!
Also pictured: my dog who refused to smile.
Despite having lived here for three years, it doesn't really feel like my home.
This might be because since graduating from high school I've moved approximately 10 times. I got so used to moving that I stopped putting any effort into making my home, well, homey. I basically have zero art up, and my curtains are sad dirty pieces of fabric left by the previous owner.
But I want my house to feel like a grown-up's home. So I decided to try the most basic DIY home improvements. This is my journey.
The biggest problem with my house is that it has very few closets — and the ones it does have are very inefficient.
This means you have to be clever to store all your stuff, or in my case you make no effort at storing anything at all and just shove stuff wherever it can fit.
I tell you this to prepare you for what you are about to see. I need you to know that I didn't stage these photos. This is how disgusting I really am.
I got some floating shelves, which are cute, functional, and a HUGE PAIN.
Sure they look cool and aren't super expensive, but to install them you have to measure and mark the crap out of your wall, put the screws in, and then slam the shelves against the wall until both screws catch.
And if you get it wrong (like I did), you have to reposition it awkwardly so you cover up your mistake/shame screw holes.
I know this made a huge difference, but for the amount of work that went into it I basically could have just built another house.
My living room was basically being taken over by cords. I have a TV, two game consoles, a record player, speakers, a Wi-Fi router, and a modem.
This is in addition to the fact that an entire wall comprises built-in bookshelves — which means you can't put furniture against them and there's no place to hide my miles and miles of cords.
On top of all of this, the room has only two electrical outlets. This is why my living room looks like this:
Bonus points if you can spot all the dogs in this photo. (Hint: There are 17 dogs in this photo.)
LOOK AT IT. LOOK AT MY SHAME.
This took more coordination than I had assumed it would. I utilized the shelves by placing books in front of some of the electronics.
I swapped out my black extension cords for white ones that blended in with the walls and the shelves. I bought some cheap cord clips that attached to the inside of the shelves and held the cords in place.
This took forever, even though I mapped out on paper where everything would go. But I'm pretty happy with the result.
LOOK WHAT I DID!
My dining room is pretty much a glorified hallway. It has a table in it only out of obligation — and because I had a table.
There's a couch and a chair in there because when my husband and my roommate moved in, they had a bunch of furniture and this was the only place for that stuff to go.
We never use the dining room. It's awkward, crowded, and super beige.
It turns out that curtains really do matter. I finally tossed all the dust-coated curtains hanging around our house and gave the windows dust-free, non-off-white replacements.
This was definitely the easiest thing I've done so far...but by far the most expensive. Throughout my house I replaced eight panels. But at $15–$20 a panel, it really adds up.
To finish off the room, I tossed a blanket over the back of the couch, added $3 accent pillows, and stuck some flowers on the table. One hundred percent improvement. I might actually start eating in here.
For reasons I don't remember, the Lazy Susan in the corner of my kitchen was designated as the place for pots and pans.
While it is a terrible place for anything, it is especially useless for removing awkwardly shaped large things.
It's wedged in between the fridge and the stove, and it's slightly too small for its space, which means that lids and pots are constantly falling off of it and out of reach.
I hate this Lazy Susan.
Sorry, Susan — you gotta go.
I got a rack and some hooks to hang the pots and pans from. While it took a couple of tries and I had to invest in better screws (NOTE: It's AMAZING how garbage the screws were that came with most of the stuff I bought), I'm pretty happy with the result.
I also hung curtains on the windows. When buying rods, I discounted the importance of measuring — so one rod is perfect and the other is maybe two times as long. But the result is perfect:
Another symptom of our complete and total lack of closet space is the dire situation around the entryway.
This has always been a disaster.
Because there's nowhere to store coats or bags, they're tossed onto an overburdened coat rack, mail is usually carried to another room and abandoned on a table or counter, and shoes are left for people to trip over and kick under couches, where they will gather dust for eternity.
This needed to change.
I installed hooks and a short shelf unit for shoes. I also put all the heavier coats that I don't need because it's spring in an under-the-bed storage box.
I'm actually surprised about the degree to which this was such an obvious and effective fix. But those hooks were evil floating screws again — so, boo.
I also replaced our old welcome mat. This was another holdover from a previous tenant. It didn't so much say "welcome" as it said "this porch has never been swept." I got a cheeky replacement for about $20.
The true peak of my shame is my patio.
When I moved in, there was an abandoned chair that years of rain and neglect had rendered into a pile of wood slightly resembling a chair.
I purchased a table and then a hammock because those two things work together. I did at one point hang string lights, which really jazzed the place up.
Basically my patio is a mess.
Since making these changes, my place actually feels like a home. I find that I'm making more of an effort to keep it clean and am actually taking pride in my spot.
Photos by Eileen Connors. Design by Victoria Reyes / BuzzFeed.