24+ hours and one mini panic attack later, I’m thrilled to say…

we found an apartment!

We had an appointment at 2:30 yesterday to look at a 1 bedroom apartment with hardwood floors in a nice looking building with a courtyard. The manager led us to a building that was carpeted in an old brown color that covered the floor and the flight of stairs we climbed to number 57. The hallway smelled a little— okay, a lot — like a dorm; someone’s food smell was lurking in the hallway. The apartment itself was daylit, with large windows and hardwood floors and plenty of kitchen storage. We liked it. But it wasn’t love. My greatest hesitation was the bedroom, which was seriously tiny. We took an application and asked questions about how much time we had to apply before someone came in and grabbed it out from under us. The plan was to go home, think, see another place on Sunday, and perhaps chance a Monday application if it seemed our options were dwindling. But it was through this conversation that we discovered there was another one-bedroom coming available soon, not yet listed on Craigslist. It was more expensive, but a little larger. Did we want to see it? We decided we did.

She led us to the building next door. It was brightly lit, with tile and no Hamburger Helper stench. The apartment she opened was the first door we came to — a corner unit that looked out onto the quiet sidewalk and into the courtyard. The open kitchen had quirky black and white checkered tile and a couple built-in display shelves. The bathroom was endearingly old, with a working tub. (Our tub doesn’t plug, and a few small places we looked at only had showers!) The bedroom was small, but not as small.

We went for a little walk around the neighborhood, discussing budgets and raises and rents and space and location. And then we returned to submit our application and have our credit checked. And we asked to see the apartment one last time. And I noticed how there were only two teeny closets. And how the ceilings are kinda short. And how our bed might not fit, and even if it does little else will. I submitted some of these concerns to Eric, and then I did the logical thing and wrote a check for half a month’s rent.

We got in the car.

I said, “Where are we going to put all our clothes?”

…”What if our bed doesn’t fit?”

….”Where will we keep our skis? And all the stuff in the upstairs closets? And under the stairs?”

And my breath quickened and I pleaded with myself to love our apartment.

The rest wasn’t glamorous.

Fast forward two hours.  After apologizing to my husband for my irrationality and total moment-wrecking, I spent a bit of time thinking about downsizing. A few Apartment Therapy “small space” searches later, and I started getting excited.

Today wasn’t glamorous either, in its own way — I’ve started packing early. And by “packing” I mean methodically sorting things into “to move” boxes and “to donate” boxes, and consolidating items into more efficient storage. I’ve emptied several small bins completely, either by getting rid of their contents or by grouping more broadly, making sure my containers are full and not taking up unnecessary space. Two years’ time since our wedding has freed me to let go of some of the gifts we received that aren’t our style, or that we thought we would use but didn’t. The purging is slow and a bit painful — I literally tested every marker and pen in quite a large box, evaluated which stationery I’ve had for too long without use, and went book-by-book through our large shelf deciding whether to keep or donate — but with every inkless Sharpie I tossed, I felt lighter.

We both love the idea of living without much. We know our standard of “not much” will never be particularly ascetic. But we hope to own things purposefully; to control our stuff instead of letting it control us. One of my goals for our new place is to keep things that I want to use in view. As nice as it was to be able to hide “occasional use” things away in our extra bedroom, it also meant I hardly ever played piano, sewed, crocheted, or wrote letters. I imagine a little basket of yarn tucked under a chair; my keyboard and Eric’s guitar as welcome additions to our living room; my typewriter out where I can see it.

Have you ever majorly downsized or simplified, or lived in a very small space? I’d love your thoughts and ideas!

In the mean time, feel free to follow along with my newest Pinterest board for small space inspiration.

We’ll get our keys this week, and I’ll share pictures as soon as I can.

Oh, and if you have a garage, can we keep our skiis in it?


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  • kris {life at the table}

    it CAN be done! i’ll tell you how from major experience when i see you.

  • Karen

    It’s going to be simply charming!!!

  • Rachel

    Love it and congratulations! I want to see it! :) I’m trying to constantly ‘purge’ and get rid of the ‘packrat’ inside me. I have so much I never use. Why keep it? I am in the process of simplifying as well. It such a huge relief to get rid of things! :)

    I want to try to do the same. Keep only the things that I use and keep in plain sight the things that I want to use more (cello…camera…painting supplies…)

    Thanks for the inspiration :) LOVE YOU