For the past 2 years give or take, been renting rooms out from landlords. Its been an interesting journey. My first room was the so-called master bedroom. That room had a dedicated bathroom but the house was falling apart in so many ways. Yet it had an element of charm somehow. Perhaps the repartee was what I liked. We all knew the house was decrepit yet we lived there. Then the owner decided on a stupid whim to try to sell the house and asked us all to leave in preparation for the legions of takers. Of course, that never happened because the house was decrepit and who in the world would want to buy the place.
Then I moved to where I live now. In a house with 5 bedrooms. Everyone works in the house. One works for the City of Fremont. Two work for facebook. One works as a sales manager for a company out of Germany and then there’s me in the smallest room in the place. I live next door to the guy from Germany.
Room living is a bit different than having an apartment or house. Here in the Bay area, its an affordable way to live while still having a degree of autonomy and freedom. I don’t have to worry about getting things fixed like bathrooms or kitchens or plumbing. Those things are all handled by the owners. I just live here. There are downsides. The internet is one. At this point, I am using powerline ethernet so I can actually stream movies and stuff to my room. When I first got here, I got an amazing 5mbps download speed. Whoa! Hold me back!! Not enough to stream and get email basically. So off I went and get a good set of netgear powerline ethernet adapters. Now I get about 27mbps download and about 10 up. Sufficient to stream video from netflix and hulu and others. A real step down from the comcast plan I had before though when I got 150mpbs down and 10 up.
But, I don’t pay for the internet now so I weigh and measure what I get and what I give. Another area of getting and giving is the condition of this house. This place is fully remodeled where everything actually works. The heater does not sound like a world war II plane taking off. There is AC here. The plumbing works. The bathrooms are clean. The house is very quiet. Sometimes way too quiet. I joked about wanting to have the cops show up here sometime to stir things up a bit.
A question I get a few times is what its like renting a room. Imagine renting an apartment where everything is in one room except there is no bathroom or kitchen and the room measures 10×12 feet or so. All your living is done in this area. For me though, I am at work most days and only have the evenings here. Weekends I spend more time in the room but still I am gone for hours at a time. Its not the best of conditions but its not the worst either. A few things are of primary importance in a 10×12 room. One is you have to keep the place clean. A mess in a small room soon takes over the entire room. The second is furniture. ou cannot have couches and nice chairs and ottomans and stuff. I have a Japanese futon and a trifold mattress I use for everything. When I sleep, I roll out the futon. When I want to sit up, the futon is rolled away and I have a couch like thing. I also have a night table, a small TV table and a tray table. I bought most of the furnishing from a donation store like Good Will. I have a gold lamp which cost me like $15. The TV table cost $25.
I get by here on a day by day type of philosophy. I have the plus things and the minus things which I tally each week for this place. I pay the rent with a clean conscience knowing that others are paying roughly 3 times what I do for an apartment. They have more rooms. I have a community bathroom and kitchen.
What’s better? I don’t really know. This is okay and I made smart choices in a bedroll. The Japanese futon is the best thing I’ve bought for myself. Its a harder sleep than most mattresses but Its also resilient, able to be stowed easily, and I sleep better on it than I have for years. No back aches.
Could I do this?
Probably you could. Should you do it? Maybe not if you want to walk into different rooms with different functions. Here in the Bay area living is not so easy. I choose to spend less, be able to take vacations, spend money on stuff I want but perhaps don’t need.
Its living and I like it for the most part. It does take some settling in. You don’t have to be a social person to do this. You have to be somewhat flexible though and not set in your ways. I will continue to do this through next year. When December 2016 happens, a few things will change that I am still planning. We’ll see how it works. I have a year to go. I can live the way it is now for a year.