“If you don't keep up the work on your house, it will become an overwhelming proposition.”
I heard that quite a while ago from one of my most experienced clients...meaning that she had years of experience doing and waiting and trying to keep up! I completely agree with her, and have repeated this quote many, many, many times.
We each perceive “urgent” in many ways. Deciding what you want or should get done starts with the “911” list and a budget. I (strongly) encourage taking care of anything structural that will continue to deteriorate. That includes items like damaged walls (and peeling paint), uneven floors, aging kitchens and baths. Not only will redoing and/or replacing major structural items make your home look refreshed, it will stop time and "the elements" from causing more damage and even more costly replacement/repairs later. PLUS, most of these updates will add to the value of your home if they are done properly.
If you are a renter and have been “in place” long enough that new repairs are required, it seems that conversing with your landlord about what he/she HAS to do vs. what you might choose to redo. The expenses you take on yourself should be with a plan to stay long enough to make the costs worthwhile.
Then try to keep part of your budget for the portable items -- like furniture.
The biggest items are first:
Remodeling to make everything updated, but not glamorous:
Kitchens, baths, basement -- AND exterior repairs
Next, the bones/structural/permanent items:
Paint, floors, lighting, windows
Built-ins, cabinetry, carpeting
Then, furniture and all those things that you will keep when you move!
Doing an “all at once” project is not just costly, it's very disruptive to your daily existence -- it and might make you crazy. PLEASE, don't assume that you “should” be Doing It Yourself. Money is money, and time is money. If you have had no experience in this area, mistakes can not only be very frustrating, but very expensive as well.
An experienced, reasonably versatile Interior Designer should be ready to assess what should be done first or, perhaps, find things you might not notice—even a problem that requires serious attention. Choosing and pricing materials and services is the central part of a Designer's job. Project coordination and setting priorities for the work go along with the selections. Coordinating a project on your own is a lot of work, especially if you have never done it before. How can you make the right selections on your own... or how can you find a proper Designer? It can be as simple as getting names/recommendations from friends. Or check out web sites like InteriorDesignPro.org or ASID.org and click the "Find a Designer" links. Ask for help to get ideas and research prices. Just remember that wrapping it all into a smooth project that's within your budget and efficiently delivered on time is a lot harder than it looks.