Monday, March 17, 2014

The In-Law Apartment Lifestyle

   We've heard of the lifestyle of the rich and famous.  Now let's discuss the lifestyle of the NOT rich and famous.  The high cost of living in San Francisco created a unique lifestyle. Garage and ground floor areas have been renovated to accommodate a single person or a couple.  These are called in-law units.  In Tagalog it is called "silong" (under the main floor).  Most of these are cramped with little or no storage space.   Some have bedroom closets but not nearly enough for the typical amount of personal stuff.  This is where a tenant can be creative.   Below are some tips on making the most of the living space without spending more than necessary.

To augment closet space make use of the space under the bed instead of a free standing drawer.  Dollar Tree stores have plastic containers for a dollar that can slide in and out.  A single bed that lay on the corner of the bedroom has one side and the foot of the bed.   Get one for socks, another for underwear, another for sleep wear, etc. For miscellaneous items that do not need to be visited daily push behind the boxes.   The bed skirt and cover could hide the boxes.  This gives more closet space for wardrobe and the absence of a free standing drawer leaves more floor space to enjoy.  

The space behind and under the couch could be used to store food  that does not need refrigeration.   Store food in containers that can be sealed tight or are securely wrapped like bags of rice,  canned goods, wine and soda, laundry and bath supplies, etc.   

   Because it might be prohibited to use nails on the walls use decals to decorate the walls.  They are inexpensive, could look elegant depending on the design and you won't mind leaving it on the wall when you move out.  It would be a way to express a personal design statement.  

   In-law units can be furnished with very little cost by buying from Goodwill stores. Detail clean it before bringing the item in.  For fabric covered furniture, vacuum, then use a lint roller to pick up clinging hair and other particles that resisted the vacuuming. Then spray the fabric parts  dripping wet with Fabreze fabric freshener.  When it dries the furniture will be as good as if it had been dry cleaned.  Wipe down the legs and non-fabric parts with furniture polish from Dollar Tree.  The executive chair on the photo is a perfect example.  The cushion feels as good as new, the missing arm rest is no big deal as long as it did not cost an arm and a leg which a new one would.  

   Goodwill stores also have elegant decors that are inexpensive.  With careful picking and cleaning the in-law unit can look just as good as a regular apartment. The copper vase and fake flowers cost $8 and would have cost around $20-25 if brand new.  Remember that just because the place is small doesn't mean it's unlovable.   

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