I’I’ve long been a fan of tiny life. Establishing a more micro-everyday lifestyle seemed for a long time to be the most pragmatic and realistic way to pursue a financially solvent career as a writer without a roommate. But even in San Francisco, which is still the most expensive rental market in the country despite the 26% drop in rental rates since the pandemic began, even living with tiny children comes at a high price.
Before Covid-19, it was common to See monthly rents in excess of $ 2,000 for units less than 200 square feet. A 161-square-foot unit a block from my current address had become famous in 2019 for its astronomically high monthly rents of $ 2,295. It had a wedge-shaped cabinet, nothing resembling a kitchen, antiquated cabinets, and a shared bathroom down the hall.
However, when this apartment started doing the rounds on social media for its weird absurdity, I remember seriously thinking I … I could actually get this working and kind of like it. Just that it was well on my budget.
About 18 months fast forward and a global pandemic later, and here I am: Write this exact article in an identical space. (But with an updated kitchenette, regular rectangular cabinet, fresh paintwork, better hardwood floors, and moldings.)
My rent? A paltry $ 1,050 per month – $ 900 less than a year and a half ago – with two months free and no down payment.
It’s my own lease, just under my name. For a rent-controlled unit. Two things I never thought I could have in San Francisco (and probably never would have if it hadn’t been for the pandemic).
The apartment I currently live in is described as a comparatively large SRO unit which, according to the property management company, has “modern amenities and luxurious details”. (For context: my building, today’s Saratoga Hotel, built in 1908, is a historic San Francisco property and consists of eight SRO units, including 50 other traditional one-bedroom and one-studio units, spread over four floors .)
These SROs are relics of residential buildings in the Depression area where the units share either a bathroom or a kitchen or both. In my case, I am sharing 1.5 bathrooms with two neighbors who have each been in the building for over 20 years. And because a lot of San Francisco properties that come with SRO units have certain maintenance clauses, the toilets are cleaned twice a day by janitors – which, frankly, is more times than I’ve ever cleaned a bathroom in my life.
But similar to ’90s fashion and nostalgic sitcoms, SROs and other micro-style apartments have recently become very popular. Millennials and Gen Xers are learning to live with less, and house prices are still rising.
I can assure you that it is still quite annoying to walk into an empty house less than 200 square feet and realize that you will have to spend your entire life in it.
While it’s nearly impossible for many current 30- and 40-year-olds to imagine either owning property in the Bay Area or living in a 700-square-foot apartment with no roommates, the tiny city life at least makes a semblance of it from reality back to the city image.
That … and living small is healthier and more environmentally friendly in terms of taxes. If you live so compact and purposeful, you can also stay tidy and tidy. In many individual cases, those who have “grown small” have reported improvements in mental health and have traded excess work for more free time.
Before I moved, I lived briefly in an all-too-familiar Bay Area building: a cell-like room in a 1,700-square-foot, four-bedroom, 1.5-bath home in the Noe Valley for $ 1,350 that I wasn’t the main tenant. I spent a lot of time each week helping my roommates clean their common areas. disinfect and scrub the bathroom; Water the patio plants after you’ve swept the patio yourself. vacuum the hallway; and dust from the shelves and wooden railings. And at some point during the week, at some point, I would clean up my own 100-square-meter room – which, comparatively, took no time at all.
Now that I’m just 163.7 square feet, I’ve done 90% of that housework effectively. There is also no need to buy bathroom detergents.
Mind you, living in such a small space involves certain adjustments and settling in. As someone who fell in love with tiny houses and stayed in a few, I can assure you that walking into an empty house less than 200 square feet and realizing that you are yours is still quite annoying Have to spend your whole life in it. Unlike the smallest traditional urban studio apartment, you basically have to delimit and use all of your living areas for multiple purposes – taking into account every square inch of space.
Sign up for The Bold Italic Newsletter to get the best of the Bay Area in your inbox every week.
You will quickly see that retractable tape measures become secondary attachments. These Murphy beds are a godsend. That a high-quality bistro table on castors can serve as a mobile preparation and dining area for meals. The Samsung frame televisions, which are only an inch thick, are indeed worth every damn penny. This vertical storage is your best friend – and horizontal clutter is your worst enemy.
Almost two years ago I wrote in my diary that when I was 35 I wanted a tiny home to myself. And although I can’t drive my SRO exactly into the national parks on the second floor, I reached this goal (in a roundabout way) before my 30th birthday. Or as my mother said affectionately when I signed the lease: “You have your own little house – it’s only in one building.”