Lessons Learned from Moving to a Smaller Space in San Francisco

For the past year I’ve been spoiling myself while living in the glorious city of San Francisco. And by spoiling myself, I mean paying triple the rent that I would pay anywhere else for a two bedroom apartment. The apartment boasted stunning views, a courtyard garden equipped with BBQs, tables, and a private dog park, my own bathroom and master bedroom, and so much living space that I was able to turn a third of it into a dance studio. For a while, all of this seemed worth paying more than half my income in rent, but then a room opened up in a rent-controlled (yes, they do still exist) apartment and I knew I had to jump on it or else I’d still be paying off my student loans well into my nineties. The upside to this move was that my rent decreased to two-thirds of what I had been paying; the downside was that I moved into a much smaller space. How do you suddenly cram 1,000 square feet of living space into an eight by nine room and a tiny storage closet? The secret is learning how to let go, getting creative with home storage ideas, using on demand services, and taking advantage of the full-service storage options offered in San Francisco.

Say Goodbye to Clutter (aka Learning to Let Go)

You know that saying, “I left my heart in San Francisco”? Well, if you move enough times in this city, you end up with pieces of your heart all over San Francisco, especially if you’re moving to a smaller space. When you’re downsizing your space there’s just no way you’ll be able to take all of your belongings with you. I quickly realized I would have to let go of some things, and sadly, the first thing to go was my dance mirror. Due to its size, it wouldn’t fit in my new place and due to its fragility, it didn’t make sense to store it. Leaving it behind practically broke my heart (if you were a dancer, you’d understand). The silver lining was that letting go of my stuff was an opportunity to say goodbye to clutter. Did I really need that pile of clothes I never wore or that stack of magazines I swore I would someday get around to reading? Of course, I didn’t. All those objects had just been collecting dust and taking up space. I gathered up everything that I could reasonably part with and donated it to Goodwill, which had the added benefit of feeling good about giving back a little. One person’s decluttering is another person’s treasure.

Home Storage Solutions Are the Best

When you’re moving to a smaller space in San Francisco, look at it as an opportunity to embrace your creative side, because you’re going to need it for creating home storage solutions for your stuff. In my larger apartment, I had so much home storage space I didn’t know what to do with all of it, but standing knee-deep in boxes at my smaller space quickly made me realize I would need to get creative with home storage solutions and fast. After a quick browsing session on Pinterest, I was ready to create home storage for my stuff. Up went the shelves, out came the storage baskets and storage cubes (that conveniently doubled as places to sit), and in went a variety of hooks and screws for hanging my clothes, belts, scarves, jackets, you name it. I was also pleasantly surprised at the amount of stuff I could fit under my bed. Lastly, I tackled the storage closet like it was a game of Tetris, with boxes stacked so neatly they now look like they’re part of an elaborate puzzle.

San Francisco Has on Demand Services

We’re living in there’s-an-app-for-that-San-Francisco, which means there is every type of on-demand service you could think of at our fingertips. Hopefully, if you’re moving to a smaller space in San Francisco it means you’re saving money. If this is the case, use a bit of your newfound financial independence to take advantage of on-demand services. For a small spend, you’ll reap big rewards. Rather than convince friends to help me move or trying to find moving boxes for my stuff, I was able to book a moving service and rent moving boxes all by just pushing a few buttons on my phone.  

Full Service Storage in San Francisco

Despite embracing the act of letting go, there were a few things I just couldn’t part with. Luckily, San Francisco has several full-service storage options to choose from. I decided to go with an on demand storage service because it seemed like the most convenient and best priced. I was pleased with the results! Storage crates were delivered for packing my stuff, and then picked up at a time I scheduled and brought to a full-service storage facility. I could easily access my inventory online and request my stuff back anytime I wanted. At just $7 a month, it felt well worth it to store the things I didn’t want to let go of, especially since someday I will live in a larger space in San Francisco once again.

Moving in San Francisco Makes You Feel Privileged

The last lesson I learned was that moving in San Francisco can make you feel privileged, even if you’re moving to a smaller space. Yes, I let go of my fancy pants apartment for a much smaller place with four roommates, but even so, the building is nice and the neighborhood has sweeping views of the East Bay. Plus, moving in San Francisco is much easier than moving to other cities. I was able to use a number of on-demand services to take the stress out of moving tasks and I was able to store my stuff at an affordable cost with on-demand storage. Moving doesn’t get much easier than that.