Bethany’s 385 sqft Garage Apt

 

Bethanys 385 sqft Garage Apt 14

 

Bethanys 385sqft Garage Apt Plans

Describe your place:

I live in a 1950′s, 1 bedroom garage apartment in north Durham. The garage is detached from the main house on the property with an unfinished workshop area downstairs and a one bedroom apartment on the second floor, accessible by an outdoor staircase. The neighborhood is a few miles north of downtown, near the intersection of Roxboro and Duke.

Bethanys 385 sqft Garage Apt 01

What do you love about your space?:

Everything! As soon as I saw the listing for this apartment online, I fell in love. Many of my favorite features are original elements like the wood floors, the bathroom fixtures, and the small, exposed shelves in the kitchen. There are also so many great touches added by the property owner. I love the stained glass “Welcome” sign in the front door, the small-scale stove and refrigerator and a beautiful painted metal bench outside. I love how much character the place has!

Bethanys 385 sqft Garage Apt 07

How would you improve your space?:

Many of the issues I had when I first moved in concerned the age of the property rather than it’s size. Old-fashioned features like 2-prong outlets, plaster walls, no garbage disposal in the sink, no dishwasher, no bedroom closet and no place for a washer or dryer made getting settled in a little more difficult at first but now I rarely even miss those modern luxuries.

Bethanys 385 sqft Garage Apt 06

I would also love to improve the outdoor areas. As a renter, I’m limited in what I’m allowed to change and what my budget can do. While the shared yard is meticulously maintained by the owner, I would love to freshen up the gravel driveway, repaint the siding and outdoor staircase and add a fence with some landscaping in the yard on the side of my house for my dog. But, despite the countless project ideas, I really am thrilled with the house overall and the very sweet, relaxed outdoor areas.

Bethanys 385 sqft Garage Apt 08

What do you like best about small living?:

It may sound redundant given the name of this blog, but I love how living small makes every part of your life become very intentional. How many possessions you own, where everything is kept and the entire flow of your day is affected by the limited space. While large homes can feel spacious and open, I often find they lead the people living in them to fill space with more possessions, making things harder to find and, in a very real way, adding stress to regular routines. Running several small businesses out of such a small space can still lead to stress and chaos but I love being able to pay attention to every nook, cranny and detail which I could never do in a larger house.

Bethanys 385 sqft Garage Apt 11

Tips for fellow and potential small-space dwellers:

Storage and organization are key. As a housekeeper and home organizer, I made sure that everything in my little house has a place and that very little space gets wasted. This includes high up shelves and the space under the bed as well as my ottoman which I refinished to create storage space for blankets and linens. Leave no space unused, but keep it neat!

Bethanys 385 sqft Garage Apt 09

I also think that its also very important to have at least one area that is clutter-free and always clean. In a small space, a small mess becomes a big mess quickly. Especially since I use my kitchen and living area as work spaces for sanding, painting, sewing, crafting and many other hobbies, having an area that is always neat goes a long way to feeling comfortable and sane. For me, it is the bedroom. No matter how chaotic the kitchen, living room and bathroom are, my bedroom has little more than my bed, some books, my records and record player and my clothes neatly hung on the wall. Escaping to this room is always a welcome relief from a busy week or messy house.

Bethanys 385 sqft Garage Apt 12

More about Bethany:

I clean and organize houses for a living [www.YourHappyHomeSolutions.com], as well as making wood furniture and decor on the side [www.etsy.com/shop/aboveallgenuine]. Occasional jobs also include babysitting, pet sitting, seamstress work and home improvement projects. There’s always something to do!

I also have a booth at the Durham Craft Market across from the Farmer’s Market every Saturday between April and November from 8am to 12pm. Come out and see me!

Bethanys 385 sqft Garage Apt 05

A note from Nicole:

It was a pleasure meeting Bethany (and Elle!) and visiting their lovely home. Bethany was ecstatic to point out special elements that she loves and different DIY projects she undertook to make her place function better. She installed shallow shelves at every window – creating a deeper sill for potted plants, or creating storage opportunities above windows. She transformed a simple closet in the living space into a well-organized craft zone with hidden dog crate below.  In making her own home more usable, she has been able to turn her skills into a business, helping others organize and clean their spaces, and even selling spice racks that she first made for her own home. I love how passionate Bethany is about her small home!

Bethanys 385 sqft Garage Apt 04

more pictures:

Intentionally Small: Urban Living in North Carolina

Hey there! Please excuse the lack of new blog posts lately. I have started taking my architecture professional exams to become a licensed architect! One test down, six to go!

New posts are in the works and coming soon. In the meantime, if you haven’t seen this video yet, it documents my story with small spaces – from my time living abroad and involvement with local issues, to my studio apartment and starting this blog. I hope you enjoy:

Thank you to Kirsten Dirksen of faircompanies for creating this film. Be sure to peruse Kirsten’s youtube channel for videos of the best small spaces and simple living stories.

Jenny and Farzad’s 350 sqft Historic Boylan Studio Apt

Jenny and Farzads 350 sqft Historic Boylan Studio Apt 14

  • size: 350 sqft
  • type:  studio apartment in a historic home
  • location: Boylan Heights, Raleigh, NC
  • inhabitants: Jenny and Farzad
  • website and blog: ferrofabric.com

Jennys Studio Apt Plans

Describe your place:

Our apartment is a microcosm of Victorian architecture nestled in a vast century-old home that has been diced up into a handful of individual units. The miniature floorplan is compensated for by tall walls and ample sunlight. A tiny “foyer” immediately opens up into a room (our multipurpose bedroom / living room / dining room / office) with big bay windows and endlessly distant ceilings. The separate bathroom and separate kitchen have the same feel – small scale, antique details, lots of windows and vertical space. It’s cozy and open at the same time. The windows overlook busy Boylan Ave., so we have a squirrel’s eye view of quirky urban events like early-morning marathons, popsicle deliveries, and themed-costume bike rides.

Jenny and Farzads 350 sqft Historic Boylan Studio Apt 01

Jenny and Farzads 350 sqft Historic Boylan Studio Apt 06

What do you love about your space?:

I love that different parts of this space each remind me of places that I’ve lived in or visited in the past. I had big facade windows like this in a converted 19th century factory in London; the hardwood floors are the same color as the ones in my sunny LA apartment; the clawfoot tub and other Victorian details reference San Francisco. These memories make me feel closer to the ex-flatmates, roommates, and friends living in other parts of the world that I don’t get to see very often. It’s like living inside of a diorama, small and adorned with personal significance.

Jenny and Farzads 350 sqft Historic Boylan Studio Apt 03

How would you improve your space?:

The humidity and rain can speed up the deterioration of old places like this one. We can see signs of aging, and I worry about how long this beautiful historic home will be standing. I think it could use a new roof and other core structural restorations to prevent more water damage from seeping in.

Jenny and Farzads 350 sqft Historic Boylan Studio Apt 05

What do you like best about small living?:

It’s fun – it’s like living in a tent. Didn’t we all dream about that as kids? Small living also suits grown-up needs – it’s simple, easy, very very cheap, and prevents junk piles.

Jenny and Farzads 350 sqft Historic Boylan Studio Apt 08

Jenny and Farzads 350 sqft Historic Boylan Studio Apt 07

Tips for fellow and potential small-space dwellers:

I think other small-space dwellers probably do this intuitively, but it’s really important to scale down proportionately. Keep some walls empty and shelves unused, just as you would in a larger apartment. To me, this is the key to making a small apartment feel big and open. Rather than cramming all of your stuff in, get rid of most of it and just hang onto the most meaningful pieces. A bonus effect of this process is that it’s a bit like distilling – what remains will be the objects with the strongest personal significance.

Jenny and Farzads 350 sqft Historic Boylan Studio Apt 11

A note from Nicole:

Jenny’s apartment was like a secret tree house in the oaks  of a familiar neighborhood corner. It’s across the street from Boylan Bridge Brewpub, a local spot with the best view of downtown Raleigh. I could tell Jenny was an experienced small-space dweller as soon as I walked into her tiny apartment, it somehow felt both cozy and spacious. This space intrinsically has the two most important elements that make a small-space wonderful: tall ceilings and large windows. Then the rest is Jenny’s doing. The smart layout of her curated collection of furniture, pushed to the perimeter of the main living space, kept it feeling open and and comfortable. I loved the personal touches – her daybed, colorful floor pillows, and art adorning the walls. She speaks so poetically about making a place home, no matter how temporary the living situation. Thanks to Jenny and Farzad for welcoming me into your home, and thanks to Farzad for introducing me to Sekanjabin – a delicious ancient Persian cucumber drink - that I recommend to all!

Jenny and Farzads 350 sqft Historic Boylan Studio Apt 12

Jenny and Farzads 350 sqft Historic Boylan Studio Apt 13

more pictures:

Jordan’s 420 sqft Grosvenor Studio Apt

Jordans 420 sqft Grosvenor Studio Apt 14

Jordans 420 sqft Grosvenor Studio

Describe your place:

Grosvenor Gardens is on Hillsborough St. roughly halfway between downtown Raleigh and NC State’s campus, so it was perfect for school and is still very convenient now that I’ve graduated. The apartment complex was built in the 30′s and encloses a courtyard/garden space on 3 sides.

Jordans 420 sqft Grosvenor Studio Apt 02

What do you love about your space?:

I love the old feel of the building; from the hardwood floors to the old panes of glass in the windows, it’s comforting to think about living in something that’s been standing since my grandparents were children. It’s also pretty awesome that the largest windows in my apartment are north-facing, bringing in tons of natural light but very little solar heat.

Jordans 420 sqft Grosvenor Studio Apt 04

Jordans 420 sqft Grosvenor Studio Apt 06

How would you improve your space?:

I wish I had a bigger sink. I know it seems strange but there are so many times I have to clear the sink to wash one large item, like my wok. Other than that, of course I wish I had a washer/dryer and a dishwasher, but those are luxuries I’m totally okay with not having if it means I get to stay in this apartment!

Jordans 420 sqft Grosvenor Studio Apt 08

Jordans 420 sqft Grosvenor Studio Apt 09

What do you like best about small living?:

The best part of small living is the intimacy. In such a small apartment, you really appreciate the closeness of everything in it. It makes having company a real blast too!

Jordans 420 sqft Grosvenor Studio Apt 10

Tips for fellow and potential small-space dwellers:

The only advice I have is this: keep your apartment clean and organized. In my experience, if you allow things to pile up anywhere in such a small space, cleaning it can be a real pain. And if there’s anything I’ve learned, cleanliness is next to happiness.

Jordans 420 sqft Grosvenor Studio Apt 13

A note from Nicole:

I’ve always admired the Grosvenor Gardens Apartments – its painted white brick, glass-block and metal windows, and perfectly pruned courtyard. There’s always a waitlist to live there because it’s one of the only apartment buildings of its kind in Raleigh – all units are either 1-bedroom or studio apartments – so people snatch them up fast.

Jordan’s apartment was very comfortable and real. The main space is his living/sleeping/office/music space, which has windows at both ends bringing in plenty of good-quality daylight. I absolutely loved the bathroom layout. It has a foyer-like dressing area with closet and a window, and then light can reach back into the tub through a subdividing glass block wall. The original windows and hardwood floors brought the perfect amount of texture to the apartment, almost acting as its own decoration. Plus, the view out the window was beautiful!

Jordans 420 sqft Grosvenor Studio Apt 12

more pictures:

830 sqft Cabin in the Woods

830 sqft Cabin in the Woods 01

Cabin in the Woods

For Memorial Day weekend and my 27th birthday, Matt and I wanted to simply relax and enjoy each other’s company. We browsed through AirBNB for a small cabin in the North Carolina mountains, and found the perfect place for the most memorable weekend.

830 sqft Cabin in the Woods 04

This 830 sqft A-frame cabin is located near Asheville in an “intentional community” of artists and professors. Inspired by a trip to Scandinavia, the family of four designed and built this exposed wood cabin as their peaceful retreat. The kitchen, dining, and living spaces blend into one, double-height space with a high vaulted ceiling. A spacious sleeping loft above the bedroom and bathroom look down onto the light-filled living space. The large deck extends the main space to the outdoors where we gazed at the star-filled sky or listened to the continuous buzz of bees.

830 sqft Cabin in the Woods 07830 sqft Cabin in the Woods 03

I was fascinated by the space. The simple material palette let the space speak for itself. It didn’t need decorations or paint, it was intrinsically beautiful. The furniture that was there was functional – providing storage (like the antique hutch in the kitchen) or accommodating extra guests (sleeping up to 7 people). I especially loved observing how the cabin was constructed. I could easily read the structural logic of the exposed beams and columns.

830 sqft Cabin in the Woods 09

830 sqft Cabin in the Woods 10

The nights were chilly, so we made great use of the wood stove. It had such a presence in the cabin, with the contrastingly dark chimney stretching the full height of the space. Since we loved being in the main space so much, we actually slept on the futon. So we really only inhabited about 375 sqft of the cabin.

We had such a lovely stay. The weather, the cabin, the hiking, the food, the relaxing – it was absolutely perfect. Perhaps my favorite birthday yet…

830 sqft Cabin in the Woods 13

830 sqft Cabin in the Woods 14

PS. The best part about our trip…

Nicole Alvarez and Matt Tomasulo are engaged

See more pictures of the cabin:

Katherine and Brent’s 960 sqft Accessory Apartment

Katherine and Brents 960 sqft Accessory Apartment 02

  • size: 960 sqft
  • type: 2-bedroom accessory apartment
  • location: Chapel Hill, NC
  • inhabitants: Katherine and Brent Nobles
  • my info: @kgnobles

Katherine Nobles Plans

Describe your place:

My husband and I live in an apartment beneath a larger home in Chapel Hill, NC. The apartment has a private entrance and patio. The house is on a hill; so one side of our apartment has large windows facing the beautiful backyard. We’re secluded in a quiet neighborhood, yet we’re just over a mile from downtown and the campus of UNC Chapel Hill.

Photo by Brent Nobles

Photo by Brent Nobles

What do you love about your space?:

I love the window in the living room and the view it provides of the backyard. It’s fun to watch the wildlife. So far we’ve seen an owl, hawk, and lots of deer, right from our living room!

I also love the cabinet storage in the kitchen. The large island provides plenty of space for kitchen gadgets, platters, and pots and pans.

Katherine and Brents 960 sqft Accessory Apartment 01

How would you improve your space?:

It’d be great to have a small dining room. Our gate-leg table folds up nicely as a sofa table when we’re not eating, but the lack of a true dining space makes it hard to have friends over for dinner.

Katherine and Brents 960 sqft Accessory Apartment 03

What do you like best about small living?:

I value the efficiency that comes with small living, as no space is wasted or excessive. I also enjoy the simplicity it brings us in our everyday lives. I spend less money and energy on decorating and cleaning. I don’t spend time looking for things or fighting with clutter because everything has a place. I don’t spend money on items I don’t really need simply for the sake of filling space.

Katherine and Brents 960 sqft Accessory Apartment 05

Tips for fellow and potential small-space dwellers:

Edit! Really think about what you need and what you love. We moved here from a 1450 townhouse, so we sold and donated a lot of furniture, clothes, accessories, etc. And we don’t miss it! We’ve learned to live without things we thought were necessities like a printer and a microwave. Now the things around us are those that are meaningful and/or purposeful, and that feels good.

Use space-saving storage items. When we moved in, we purchased a lot of “under the bed” and “over the door” organizers, for things like shoes, coats, towels, pantry supplies. In a space with limited storage, we had to think about other ways to stow the items that we just couldn’t part with.

Katherine and Brents 960 sqft Accessory Apartment 11

More about us:

I work as a career counselor, but have always had an interest in design. I studied interior design for a year in college and worked as a graphic designer for a couple of years after completing my degree in communication.

My husband, Brent, and I moved to Chapel Hill just over a year ago. We were seeking a change – a simpler life in a small town that offered good food, music, art, and outdoor activities. We’re happy that we’ve found it here.

Photo by Brent Nobles

Photo by Brent Nobles

A note from Nicole:

I had a lovely time visiting the Nobles residence. This apartment epitomizes what is so great about accessory apartments – they provide alternative housing types for renters in great locations, help the owner with some additional income, and create flexibility in the life cycle of the house and its inhabitants. This is not your ordinary basement apartment – the spaces are flooded with light from large windows. The plan is surprisingly efficient, including 2 bedrooms, 1 full bath, and 1 half bath, and it even includes a private outdoor living space. The Nobles did a fine job selecting functional furniture to fit their space while making it cozy. I loved the fluffy sectional couch that defines the living room, and the nifty collapsable dining table for two. I hope Raleigh will one day reintroduce accessory apartments into its code!

Photo by Brent Nobles

Photo by Brent Nobles

more pictures:

Guiltless Shopping

If a year without buying clothes sounds too daunting, you could try a year without buying new clothes. When you purchase secondhand clothes, not only are you saving a little money, you are also extending the life cycle of the garment. You can think of it as “guiltless shopping.” Consider a few options:

Thrift Stores

There are all sorts of thrift stores – from the warehouses where you may have to dig a little to find the right piece in the right size, to the designer consignment stores with a curated selection of in-season wears. It just feels good to buy a pre-loved item and show it a new life. Here’s a list of my favorites, near and far:

  • Revolver Boutique – my all-time favorite classy consignment store. Guiltless shopping spree go-to. Located on South Glenwood in Raleigh
  • Raleigh Vintage – “quality vintage” from the 1920′s-60′s – you can find them at local markets or through their Etsy shop
  • Father & Son – a 5-story clothing/home-ware/furniture/everything thrift store Mecca in downtown Raleigh
  • Bargain Box – a basic discount store in a Cameron Village basement run by the Junior League of Raleigh
  • Fifi’s – I’ve heard good things about this new fashionable consignment shop in Cameron Village – can’t wait to visit!
  • Goodwill – we all know them, but have you been to the one in West Asheville, NC where you pay $1 per pound of clothes?
  • La France – a fabulous vintage store in Ybor City (Tampa, FL) with the best selection of era clothing – especially 1930′s gowns

If you know of any other must-shop thrift/vintage/consignment/antique shops, please do share in the comments below!

Clothing Swaps

ReDress Raleigh Clothing Swap

Photos by Redress Raleigh

Why is it that you can see so much potential in your friends’ closets, but not so much in your own? When your clothes are feeling a little lackluster, you can schedule a clothing swap with some friends. Or better yet, you can start a pile right now to bring to Redress Raleigh‘s “Swap Don’t Shop” event next month! Bring what you don’t want, take what you want. At the end of the day, the items that didn’t find a new home are donated. I’ve been to two of these events, and I’m already set with a load of clothes to bring to the next one.

Redress Raleigh - Swap Don't Shop 05-19-13Shop your Closet

The most guilt-free shopping is revisiting your own closet. Try that dress on again that you haven’t worn in a couple years, and combine it with a new accessory and jacket. Or, cut some raggedy jeans into long shorts for the summer. I’ve found knew life in many of the items in my wardrobe. Sometimes it helps to bring in a friend, with an objective eye, to realize new potential or uncover new combinations.

Joel and Jessica’s 265 sqft Studio in Paris

Photo by Joel Sadler

Photo by Joel Sadler

Photo by Joel Sadler

Describe your place:

Our apartment is in a very central location in Paris. It is a newer building (1968) surrounded by lovely older ones (1468). It was renovated just before we moved and maximizes the limited available space but also maintains a sense of style. It has the VERY rare distinction of containing a washer/dryer, dishwasher, and fridge w/freezer.

Photo by Joel Sadler

Photo by Joel Sadler

Photo by Joel Sadler

Photo by Joel Sadler

What do you love about your space?:

We love the balcony. The place is small but when you’re on the balcony it’s as big as the city itself. The hardwood floors are terrific. The kitchen is disproportionately large with lots of storage and counter space – great for keeping it cheap eating in. Perhaps our most beloved feature of all, though, is the low profile but highly effective AC unit. Honestly, between the appliances, balcony, and location, it is practically one-of-a-kind in Paris.

Photo by Joel Sadler

Photo by Joel Sadler

How would you improve your space?:

We’ve milked the cabinets, closets, and IKEA storage containers for all they’re worth but there’s no getting around the fact that it would be nice to have a little more room for hanging clothes. Also, with a place this small it looks like a flood has recently receded the way we have to hang our air-dry clothes after washing. Some hang-dry solution would be nice.

We can’t complain about having a washer/dryer and a dishwasher but, due to the plumbing, we aren’t able to run them simultaneously. You’d be surprised how often that comes up.

Photo by Joel Sadler

Photo by Joel Sadler

What do you like best about small living?:

We love how we are forced to live the way we really want to live: simply and without clutter or accumulation. We end up spending more time and money on experiences than belongings. Plus we can clean the whole place top to bottom in an hour.

Photo by Joel Sadler

Photo by Joel Sadler

Tips for fellow and potential small-space dwellers:

Take stock of everything you own and make three “piles:” essential daily/weekly items (shoes, toothbrush, computer, dishware); need to keeps (second suit, yearbooks, china, art); discardable. Put the first category in a few suitcases/boxes to bring with you; put the second category in cheap, long-term storage; sell the rest on craigslist and trash what doesn’t sell.

It’s like dancing. Over-communicate with your fellow inhabitant about expectations for cleanliness and schedule. There’s no autonomy in small spaces because every move requires the cooperation of the other. “I’ll do yoga while you’re in the shower” or “You take the dogs out while I cook dinner” or “Can you scoot over so I can get by” are typical exchanges.

Keep fresh flowers.

Plan on small-batch grocery shopping – bringing home a package of Costco paper towels would require moving furniture around.

Photo by Joel Sadler

Photo by Joel Sadler

A note from Nicole:

Jessica and Joel have the most amazing warehouse loft in downtown Durham, NC. In July 2012 they departed on a journey to live in France for a year. I must say, I’m quite impressed that they (along with their two pups) have been able to down-size from 2,100 sqft to less than 300 sqft.

Their studio apartment feels expansive and provides for plenty of storage – two things you wouldn’t expect from a place so small. The bathroom, entry, and closet are compact, leaving the rest of the apartment completely open. Perhaps the only definition of space is marked by the couch between the living and sleeping areas, making a private corner for the nifty twin-bed storage unit. A few unique features caught my eye: the built-in dish drying rack, the long low mirror as a backsplash to the desk, and the bold dash of color anchoring the end of the space and framing a playful painting. The main element that makes this space so wonderful is the balcony and large glass doors/window. Expanding a tiny space to the exterior makes all the difference…and being in the middle of Paris is an added bonus!

Thanks to Jessica and Joel for sharing your space! Since I didn’t have the opportunity to visit, I really could not have posted without your help. It was so fun comparing similarly sized studio apartments – in Paris and in Raleigh. Read/see more of their Parisian studio in Jessica’s blog post.

Photo by Joel Sadler

Photo by Joel Sadler

more pictures:

“Tiny but terrific”

The News & Observer "Tiny but terrific" with Nicole Alvarez 1

Over a month ago I got an email from Stacy, a reporter for our regional newspaper The News & Observer, asking if we could chat about small spaces and my blog. I’m always excited to talk about small spaces, so we met that very weekend. Fast forward to this Saturday’s front cover of the Home & Garden section, and there I was! A huge picture of me in my new apartment filled up most of the space above the fold, with the article continuing onto a second page. There was even a headline on the newspaper’s cover directing to the article!

The News & Observer "Tiny but terrific" with Nicole Alvarez 2

The community support has been overwhelming! People reached out from all parts of my life, from my parents’ church friends, to my middle and high school teachers, to my grandmother. It meant so much to me. Thank you!

A special thanks to Stacy for doing such a lovely job writing the article. You can read the full article here:

The News & Observer "Tiny but terrific" with Nicole Alvarez 3

A Year Without Buying Clothes

Clothes are a big part of our lives, and can be a big part of our budgets. In an attempt to simplify your life and save money long-term, could you commit to only “shopping your closet” for a year?

Marie is my most fashion-savvy friend. She’s never been afraid to spend big bucks on a fabulous wardrobe must-have. So when she told me she was not going to buy clothes for the year of 2012, I was a bit skeptical. Now, a year later, I can vouch that she did it! Well, mostly.

Simple Living - A Year Without Buying Clothes - Marie Fornaro

Why did you decide to go a year without buying clothes?

There were several reasons, but I primarily wanted to save money. I read about the idea in Real Simple magazine; a couple listed a year-long moratorium on clothes shopping as the best money-saving decision they had made. I added up the amount of money I had spent the previous year on clothes, and it was over $2,000! At that point, I was determined to make a change, and use that money for something more fun than hanging another sweater in my closet.

I had also recently moved to a very small town in the mountains (see her small home) without a mall or boutique in sight, so temptation to shop was at an all-time low.

What were the rules?

The rules were simple: don’t buy any clothes, either new or used, for one calendar year. I started on January 1, 2012. I did make an exception for costumes. Halloween is very important to me!

How did you fare on your challenge? Did you keep your word?

I did pretty well, but I wasn’t perfect. I made it all the way until August, when I purchased an outfit (see below) to wear to Penland School of Craft‘s annual benefit auction- a soiree so fabulous I felt it warranted the purchase of a new dress and shoes. And, I effectively ended my challenge on December 30, 2012, with a modest shopping spree. I know, I know, I was weak and couldn’t wait two more days!

Simple Living - A Year Without Buying Clothes - Revolver Boutique 01

What was the first thing you bought after the completion of the challenge?

I bought some great pieces from Revolver Consignment Boutique in Raleigh- my all-time favorite store. Two sweaters and a silk blouse.

How has this year of not purchasing new clothes changed your habits/lifestyle? What did you learn?

This year taught me that not buying clothes is a lot easier than I ever imagined. When you make the choice to “shop your closet” instead, you’ll be amazed at what you find in there! Also, after making the conscious decision not to shop for clothes, I began to make similar decisions with respect to other stuff, too. For instance, I stopped buying home goods, jewelry, and gift items as well. When I walked into a store, I thought: “Look at all this stuff I don’t need,” rather than “Look at all this stuff I want!” It has been incredibly liberating, and I hope I can stick with this new outlook as I settle back into life in the Big City of Raleigh, NC.

What’s your next challenge?

This year, I’m challenging myself to add something to my life instead of eliminating. I’d like to spend the year nurturing relationships with the people who are dear to me. Removing excess from my life a little bit at a time, starting with bad shopping habits, has cast a sharp light on what is most important.

Simple Living - A Year Without Buying Clothes - Revolver Boutique 02