How To Make A House A Home On A Tight Budget

How To Make A House A Home On A Tight Budget

Create a space your mother would be proud of

As much as I enjoyed the artsy, stylistically confused appearance of my Freshman Year dorm - with the magazine cut outs, the disposable camera photos, the tapestries, the college flags - my older and wiser self cringes at the thought of the aesthetics. I was clueless, naively grabbing at any photograph of Kate Moss or David Bowie, however torn or tattered, to blindly tape onto the vomit-beige walls of my bedroom. Now that I am an adult, and so much more advanced and classy, I have come up with a few ways to make myself feel as if I am living in an adult's apartment without breaking my budget or my bank.

1. Get cheap frames, and frame your photos

In Target, you can find small white picture frames for $1.99. Instead of taping dog-eared magazine pages to the wall, try popping them into the frame to give your picture gallery a more sophisticated feel.

2. Invest in a mirror or two from Target or Goodwill

Mirrors make your space feel bigger and fill up empty wall space. You can also paint the frame with metallic paint to give it a more industrial feel. These tend to cost anywhere from $5-16.

3. Have a nice laundry hamper

I got so sick of keeping dirty laundry in one of those netted bags. It looked gross, the bag would always fall over, and you could see my dirty underwear and socks through the sides of it. Invest in a nice laundry hamper - I have a cream-painted old-fashioned trash can in my room to contain the dirties. Couldn't have been more than about $15 from Ikea.

4. Choose a color scheme

Choose a color to vibe with for the year, and stick to it. Please don't be Freshman-me and decorate your bedroom like a bad acid trip. Nobody wants to spent time in there, and with a little alcohol in your system, it is going to make you feel slightly sick. Easy color schemes are whites and creams, black and white, blue and yellow, orange and pink - these simply tend to be the colors you can get good furniture in!

5. Get small desk gear from Goodwill and spray them a color of your choice

Once I had chosen the color scheme for my room, I went to the campus bookstore and got some spray paint in the color of my choice (my room is cream, pink and gold, so I got gold!). I then went to Goodwill and picked up a few gems - lamps, little bowls, mason jars. I spray painted them and made them into little desk ornaments.

6. Have white bed sheets

Having white bed sheets is the easiest way to match your room as time goes on. If you're like me, and you like to change it up once a year according to your favorite Pinterest board of the year, then you don't want to have to buy all new bed linen too, as it is quite pricey.

7. Always have flowers on your desk/bedside table (real or fake!)

A room can be made to look more put together with just a couple of bunches of flowers in glass vases. If you don't want to buy real flowers (even though they'll smell great!), you can get fake ones to give your room a cosy feel. You can get vases from charity shops for $1-5 and flowers from $5-10!

8. Spring clean all year round

This is completely free! Keeping your room relatively tidy will give you a sense of pride for your space. Make your bed every day, sweep the floor every night, and pick up your clothes as soon as you strip to stop them building up!

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Working With People Who Are Dying Teaches You So Much About How To Live

Spending time with hospice patients taught me about the art of dying.


Death is a difficult subject.

It is addressed differently across cultures, lifestyles, and religions, and it can be difficult to find the right words to say when in the company of someone who is dying. I have spent a lot of time working with hospice patients, and I bore witness to the varying degrees of memory loss and cognitive decline that accompany aging and disease.

The patients I worked with had diverse stories and interests, and although we might have had some trouble understanding each other, we found ways to communicate that transcended any typical conversation.

I especially learned a lot from patients severely affected by dementia.

They spoke in riddles, but their emotions were clearly communicated through their facial expressions and general demeanor, which told a story all on their own.

We would connect through smiles and short phrases, yes or no questions, but more often than not, their minds were in another place. Some patients would repeat the details of the same event, over and over, with varying levels of detail each time.

Others would revert to a child-like state, wondering about their parents, about school, and about family and friends they hadn't seen in a long time.

I often wondered why their minds chose to wander to a certain event or time period and leave them stranded there before the end of their life. Was an emotionally salient event reinforcing itself in their memories?

Was their subconscious trying to reconnect with people from their past? All I could do was agree and follow their lead because the last thing I wanted to do was break their pleasant memory.

I felt honored to be able to spend time with them, but I couldn't shake the feeling that I was intruding on their final moments, moments that might be better spent with family and loved ones. I didn't know them in their life, so I wondered how they benefited from my presence in their death.

However, after learning that several of the patients I visited didn't have anyone to come to see them, I began to cherish every moment spent, whether it was in laughter or in tears. Several of the patients never remembered me. Each week, I was a new person, and each week they had a different variation of the same story that they needed to tell me.

In a way, it might have made it easier to start fresh every week rather than to grow attached to a person they would soon leave.

Usually, the stories were light-hearted.

They were reliving a memory or experiencing life again as if it were the first time, but as the end draws nearer, a drastic shift in mood and demeanor is evident.

A patient who was once friendly and jolly can quickly become quiet, reflective, and despondent. I've seen patients break down and cry, not because of their current situation, but because they were mourning old ones. These times taught me a lot about how to be just what that person needs towards the end of their life.

I didn't need to understand why they were upset or what they wanted to say.

The somber tone and tired eyes let me know that what they had to say was important and worth hearing. What mattered most is that someone who cared was there to hear it.

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Poetry On Odyssey: Rain

I've always loved the rain, for how it fascinates me. A calm reminder from the sky to let things be.



There is something about when it rains

It's as though the world goes quiet, and time remains.

A calming shower for the grass and trees.

A dance of raindrops for those who see.

I've always loved the rain, for how it fascinates me.

A calm reminder from the sky to let things be.

For even the sky has days it weeps.

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