Living in San Francisco: How to Make a Small Apartment Work

Posted on Mar 10 2017 - 2:00pm by Extra Space Storage

Colorful homes in San Francisco, CA

Moving to San Francisco? That’s great! The culture is unique and eclectic, and there’s so much to do—from art and good eating to Chinatown and Fisherman’s Wharf. Plus, it’s an absolutely beautiful city (iconic bridges, anyone?). Because of all that, it also has the most expensive housing in the United States, which means living in small spaces (like really small) is the norm. For many moving to the Bay Area, especially those coming from areas of the Midwest where spacious housing is more common, this is a radical change. But no worries! We’re here to help you prepare for life in your 500-square-foot apartment!

Live Somewhere More “Affordable”

Living in an area like SoMa or Mission Bay might sound amazing, but if you want to get a little more space for your money, look elsewhere. In areas like Western Addition, Outer Richmond, and Outer Sunset, your money will go a bit further for you. You might be working with 500 square feet instead of 300! And in a city that’s only 7 miles by 7 miles (actually a little less), wherever you’re going is never too far away.

Get Rid of Your Old Furniture

Maybe not all of it, but a lot of it. With spaces as small as 240 square feet, your sectional, full-size kitchen table, and other furniture probably aren’t going to work. If moving to San Francisco is a long-term move, selling your old furniture and starting over is likely the best option. Check out some of these space-saving furniture ideas that are perfect for small spaces. But if the move is more of a temporary one, you could always use a storage unit for the furniture that doesn’t fit in your smaller place.

Be Creative With Your Space

However much space you end up with, you’ll have to get creative and maximize your space. You’ll need to understand small-space design hacks that not only create more space in a room, but that also make the space feel more organized. These tips on how to live in small spaces are a great place to start!

A post shared by Arlie West (@studioinspo) on

Take a Trip to The Container Store

Speaking of getting organized, The Container Store is the place to start. From organizing your pantry to making more room in your closet, you’re going to need to maximize your storage space, and The Container Store is THE solution to make that happen!

Downsize Your Belongings

Almost everybody has unnecessary belongings. Whether it’s a sweater you haven’t worn in years or a pile of magazines that have gone unread, take the time to evaluate what you own and decide if you can live without it. If you can, it’s time to say goodbye. Here are some tips on how to declutter your home and get rid of things that go unused.

Go Hiking to Stretch Out Your Legs

If you’re feeling a little cramped in your new apartment, the easiest way to stretch out is to explore the great outdoors. The Bay Area is absolutely stunning, so there’s no shortage of great places to go hiking around San Francisco, including these family-friendly East Bay hikes. It’s the perfect way to grab some fresh air, get in a workout, and experience wide open spaces for a change. The weather in San Francisco also lends itself well to getting outdoors for hiking and other activities. But it certainly has a few quirks. Mark Twain once said, “The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco.” Just be prepared for cooler temperatures once the sun goes down, and you should be fine.

A post shared by Candace Cory (@candycory) on

Explore Neighborhoods & Suburbs

If hiking isn’t your thing, another way to get out and explore the Bay Area is to visit different neighborhoods around the city. Find a new coffee shop, bookstore, or park every weekend while hitting a new part of town. In a sense, you could act like a permanent tourist and take in every city block of San Francisco and neighboring suburbs. San Francisco’s amazing Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) will be your best friend when exploring all that the city has to offer.

A post shared by Alysson Santos (@asanctus) on

Turn the City into Your Living Room

After exploring the city, you’re bound to find a place where you’re comfortable hanging out for long periods of time. Once you find your go-to spot, you can spend your spare time reading in that quiet coffee shop, going for a walk at that favorite park, or meeting up with friends at your favorite local bar.

Take Day Trips to Get Out of the City

Another way to get out and enjoy some open space is to take the occasional day trip somewhere outside of San Francisco. After all, city living can get tiresome. With so many great destinations within a short drive, San Francisco is the perfect starting point for a new adventure.

A post shared by Oru Kayak (@orukayak) on

Rent a Storage Unit

When space in your San Francisco apartment comes at a premium, the easiest way to get more space is to rent a storage unit. Extra Space Storage Units come in a wide selection of sizes so you can find exactly what you need. Use your to store seasonal items or recreational gear, like bikes and hiking equipment. Whatever you use your storage unit for, it’s easy to find a location and price that fits your needs.

Sign in front of an Extra Space Storage location

Find a storage unit near you in San Francisco now!