Onur and I are on apartment number eight, in our four years together. There is one thing for sure, we are highly skilled at packing and moving and have out of necessity built a more minimalist lifestyle than we would have otherwise.

As my longtime readers know, we met, and lived together for a year in beautiful Bozeman, Montana.

During that year we lived in:

Apartment #1
specs: two bedroom/one bath basement apartment, with in-unit washer/dryer, gas stove, yard, walk-in closet and resident wildlife
length of stay: 7 months
reason we moved: house was sold to new owners, rent was raised
thoughts: this was by far our favorite apartment to date. It was well cared for, the perfect size, in a great location just out of town but on a walking trail into town and had wonderful landlords until it was sold to new owners. We regularly had deer and rabbits in our yard, and even a bear.

Apartment #2
specs: one bedroom/one bath, 500 square ft, tiny kitchen, shared w/d
length of stay: 3 months
reason we moved: I landed a job at Stanford and we decided to move to California.
thoughts: this was a no-frills, closet-sized apartment we rented out of necessity.


Then we moved to California in 2013 for work. In the past three years we have lived in:

Apartment #3
specs: I moved to California to start my new job, Onur had just started a great job in Bozeman and needed to stay for a few months to get the work experience on his resume. He rented a room in Bozeman and I sublet a dorm room at Stanford.
length of stay: 3 months
reason we moved: Onur joined me in California and we needed more space.
thoughts: living in different states sucks. Subletting at Stanford during the summer is delightful. I had great roommates who made me feel welcome and I was able to fully enjoy the campus amenities including a 5 minute commute to work by bike.

Apartment #4
specs: one bedroom/one bath, in-unit washer/dryer, dishwasher, gas stove, private balcony
length of stay: 3 months, we were subletting from a friend of a friend who was abroad.
reason we moved: the friend was returning from abroad and we found an apartment.
thoughts: this was a really great spot for us to transition from Montana to California. The apartment was perfectly sized and beautiful. We had sold our car in Montana and only had some crappy bikes to get around on. we were perfectly situated near two supermarkets, could bike to Caltrain for commuting, were on a great pedestrian/bike trail and could bike to the farmers market on the weekend.

Apartment #5
specs: one bedroom/one bath, 700 square ft, dishwasher, gas stove, coin-operated w/d, fenced yard
length of stay: 1 year, 7 months
reason we moved: rent was being increased by $400/month. The Bay Area is absurd.
thoughts: this was a pretty affordable place (at least initially) next to Caltrain and food stores, and was biking distance to campus. Although the apartment was pretty dingy and dark, it worked for our car-free lifestyle and it had a yard where I could garden. We did end up buying a car eventually!

Apartment #6
specs: studio/one bath, nice kitchen, dishwasher, free w/d in building, central A/C, incredible view
length of stay: 3 months
reason we moved: we were subletting a Stanford dorm during the summer term.
thoughts: did I mention how delightful subletting at Stanford is? It was a wonderful studio, it fit us perfectly and got us thinking about small-size living long term. We had everything we needed in the apartment and on campus. We did get a small storage unit because this was a temporary situation but it helped us downsize pretty seriously. Waking up to incredible sunrises and enjoying the view of campus was the biggest perk.

Apartment #7
specs: one bedroom/one bath, dishwasher, gas stove, outdoor gas grill, swiming pool, semi-private yard, shared w/d, A/C, locked garage for bikes
length of stay: 8 months
reason we moved: the house was going on the market and we found an ideal spot closer to my work (which was now in SF).
thoughts: this was a very comfortable in-law unit we rented from a friend’s parents. It was a larger space than we needed. Even when we tried we couldn’t fill the whole space! It was a quiet neighborhood that was close enough to bike to/from Caltrain or to drive to Stanford, which I did most of the time. However when I started my new job my commute went from 45 minutes each way to two hours each way and wasn’t sustainable in the long term.

Apartment #8
specs: one bedroom/one bath, dishwasher, gourmet kitchen, in-unit w/d, shared outdoor space
length of stay: April to present, happy so far!
reason we moved: N/A
thoughts: at first we were VERY skeptical about moving to Oakland/Emeryville because we assumed it was not safe at all. However, we ended up loving this apartment, which had just been freshly renovated and was on a quiet residential street. It’s a small apartment, but it fits us just fine! There is plenty of public transit and my commute to downtown San Francisco takes only 40 minutes by bus or walking to the BART.

Long term we really really hope to buy a small house somewhere and stop moving constantly. Unfortunately the Bay Area housing market is insane and there is little chance of buying something here.