When we moved into our apartment I quickly taped up our names below the doorbell, thinking “I’ll fix this in a few days.” And then I didn’t, for months. Two years, almost.
It’s the sort of thing you eventually stop seeing, but a Craigslist buyer was in our apartment recently and he said “Wow, I didn’t think the inside would look this nice based on the outside!” Thanks, and ouch? As a renter, I don’t care all that much about curb appeal, but I don’t want strangers bracing themselves for squalor.
Some haphazard Google searching eventually led to these metal label holders. (Currently listed for $4.27 – I bought them for $9. What the hell, Amazon? I thought we were friends!)
I sprayed the holders with enamel clear coat to protect them from the elements. I also wrapped the printed labels in tape as a half-assed lamination.
Much better, yeah?
One of the benefits of my basement hoarding is that I have frequently have enough supplies on hand to complete a weekend project without spending any additional cash. This is particularly important for any communal areas I tackle: as an apartment renter, I don’t want to spend much money on a space that isn’t “mine.” But this is our home and small, inexpensive improvements can make it feel even more so. (Our landlords, I should note, are enthusiastic about all of my projects and they, regularly and hilariously, defer to me on decisions regarding the property. Jarrod jokes that I’ve been deputized.)
This laundry room area has always felt unnecessarily grungy. That little storage nook was full of unused products and left-behind items, including this baseball, which was signed, twice, by a previous tenant — who is a full-grown man. It’s pretty endearing, really.
A few simple changes made our laundry area look much more finished. I know this Before & After isn’t going crash Pinterest’s servers (for one thing, I didn’t use chalkboard paint or white vinegar), so I’ll just dive right in.
Before: the unfinished wood was difficult to clean – not that anyone had ever tried.
After: I unearthed a few peel-and-stick vinyl tiles from our landlords’ trash pile, which will be much easier to wipe clean. I centered the middle tile and then trimmed the other tiles to fit around it.
Before: You know that episode of 30 Rock where James Carville says “Cajun style!“? Whenever I see half-assed jobs like this, I say “Landlord style!” There was no need for this shelf support to be so huge, and there was certainly no need for that many screws.
After: I cut a cheap garden stake to use as a shelf bracket and stained all of the wood to match.
After: A few wood trim scraps, caulk and white paint makes the shelf and moulding look much more finished.
I scrubbed the sink and put out hand soap and a towel. I washed and painted the back wall and hung a clock. I also had some Flor carpet tiles from our previous apartment that I used to cover the concrete floor – when you accidentally drop an item of clothing, it’s nice to not feel like you have to wash it again. (Side note: while I don’t love their hard/unfinished edge, reconfigurable Flor tiles are great for frequently-moving renters.)
Before: Once more, for comparison.
A small victory! My next post will bring us back out of the basement, I promise.