Sometimes small-town life can get you down. Everyone's going to West Elm, or Anthropologie, or heck — even Target, and you can only dream about being close enough to one of those stores to be able to casually drop by. Well, I'm here to remind you of ten reasons why living in a small town can really rock. 1. Trendy design is hard to find. Well, let me restate that — you can find lots of trends from the 80's and 90's, but current hot items are few and far between. The bonus? You don't get stuck buying trendy stuff you'll be sick of in six months.
2. Antiques are everywhere. Okay, so I might not be able to find ombre paint-dipped chair legs, but I bet you I can find a dozen really beautiful old farm tables without breaking a sweat. Old farmhouse furniture (and lots of different styles of antiques, really) is ubiquitous, and such a thrill to peruse.
3. You get to work for your finds. I could drop into Target and spend $100 on home accessories without batting an eye. But give me $100 at a morning of yard sale-ing, and I pinch every dollar, every quarter as if it's my monthly grocery budget. My sister and I have seen each other barter over a matter of cents. I'm serious.
4. Back to trends — if you do decide to go trendy, you stay trendy for a long time. I know that there are some trends that are hot right now on the blogosphere that haven't even hit my town yet. If I wanted to be the cool kid in class who is always the first to sport a new trend, I could. I don't, and I'm not, but I could.
5. You get forced to be creative. Usually, if I have something in mind that I want, I end up making it. Or painting it. Or building it. I've got lots of paintings and lots of furniture I've made just because it was the easiest way to complete the ideas that were in my head.
6. Purchases are thought out extensively. If I have to drive 100 miles to visit a Target, and if I have to drive even farther to visit any upscale shop, you better believe I have planned, budgeted, planned some more, and really thought about my purchases. When I make out a shopping list for Ikea (the closest one is about 3.5 hours away), I plan it down to the most minute items, including magazine file folders and glass votives. Since "dropping by" for a forgotten item isn't an option, planning is a must.
7. Shopping locally is not just a pleasure, it's the only option. Not having big-name stores can be a bummer, but the upside is the flourishing of all sorts of small, locally-owned shops. You never know what you're going to find, but chances are, it will be something unexpected and unique, and probably not mass-produced.
8. Little artisans thrive. We have so many shops (I could probably count half a dozen just right downtown) that are simply collections of dozens of little crafters' wares. If you like to make or collect things and need a place to sell without a huge overhead and commitment, there are lots of little places that will give you a spot. It's like a real-life Etsy.
9. It's a great excuse to shop online. If there are things we really do want outside of our area code (or if I get the urge to do the next best thing to "window shopping" at a big popular store), I just go online. This is a fairly new option, obviously … but now it's a luxury and for us, a must. I love curling up with my laptop and a cup of coffee for a morning of shopping in my pajamas.
10. Parking and traffic are not a big deal. I've lived in big cities before, and mall traffic is the worst. We don't have mall traffic because we don't have a mall. And I'm pretty much 100% guaranteed to find a parking spot, probably relatively close to the doors of the place I'm headed. And it's never more than a 15 minute drive anywhere.
Now, I could probably turn right around and make a list of ten reasons why living in a big city rocks (and it definitely does!) … but I'm a firm believer in being content where you are. When you grow up in a small town, you hear "I can't wait to get out of this place!" a lot … and many do move away. But for me, I love living small. Do you live in a small town? Do you love it or hate it?
(Image: Sarah Dobbins)