How I saved $6000 on rent in San Francisco

Having a roommate in San Francisco is hardly news worthy; even multiple people living in one room isn’t that out of the ordinary for what’s considered the most expensive city in America.


But my troubles weren’t about money, and I wasn’t searching for the elusive cheap-near-MUNI-good-neighborhood-rent-controlled-unicorn apartment – in fact I had my own studio and had lived there comfortably for 2 years. The problem was that I lived alone, and that was making me lonely. That’s when I got to thinking: I should get a roommate. I had someone in mind, an old friend from my home town who wanted to move to San Francisco, so that was easy. The real issue would be fitting 2 grown 20-somethings into a 400 square foot studio apartment. I would have to utilize 100% of my space efficiently and after doing a little research I found 2 simple rules to do just that.


Closet and Loft


Feng Shui-lite

Feng Shui is a system of structuring your surrounding environment in a way that harmonizes yourself with it. There are a lot of “rules” to follow if you’re looking for a text book example of feng shui – i wasn’t. Really, I just wanted to follow the idea that your environment shouldn’t impend your interactions with it. To me that meant that furniture shouldn’t be placed in the natural walkways/flow of the room. And that work stations in the room should be easily accessible with out re-arranging anything.


I did this mostly in the closet, and with the loft bed. In the closet I made sure that shelving didn’t stick out into the entry way, and I built the hanger rod so that it expanded vertically, when it had originally had a horizontal expanse. This way, moving in and out of the rooms felt natural and undemanding. I also built a loft, so that our beds could be “stacked” on top of each other; i purposely built it so it spanned the whole width of the room – that way there wasn’t a clunky piece of furniture awkwardly sitting in the middle of our space.


Build Vertically: Above Cabinet Shelving


Build Vertically

This one is a no-brainer, but some how so many people still don’t think to utilize their vertical space. Especially true with shelving, building up will not only look better, but it will give you more options for storage of not-so-often used options. By taking those items out of the closet and putting them up high and out of the way, we had more room for the things that mattered, like shoes.


By following these simple rules I was able to cure my loneliness and save a load of money on my apartment. That’s #winning if I’ve ever seen it. Do you have a great story about saving money on your apartment? Email it to us at or Tweet us @mynewplace.

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John is in his 3rd year with MyNewPlace. He is a Marketer by trade but considers himself an artist, a photographer, a chef, a craftsman, and a painter. His sharp eye for detail is invaluable ...