I’m going to move out of my San Francisco apartment and spend some time living in the countryside.

My company (based in SF) has been in working-from-home mode since Mar 9, 2020. The latest communication said that we’ll be WFH until at least Labor Day (Sep 7, 2020). There are doubts about whether it will be considered safe to return to the office at that time. Meanwhile, San Francisco is sinking into its glorious future, becoming less and less pleasant to live in. In the pandemic/quarantine/shelter-in-place situation, it’s clear big cities are overrated. I’ve recently spent a month in Crescent City (small town at the California/Oregon border), working remotely, and enjoyed it a lot. Also I realized that I only need 1 backpack + 1 suitcase worth of stuff to maintain most of my lifestyle indefinitely. So I think I’ll enjoy spending some more time in smaller towns, continuing to work remotely. I’m putting my stuff in the storage and leaving SF for a while.

  • My stuff
    • For the last 5 years, I’ve been living in a half of a 2-bedroom/2-bathroom apartment in SoMa, San Francisco. It’s a pretty new and comfortable building: free gym on the second floor, arriving packages are signed for by the reception and won’t be stolen from your door, if any appliances in your apartment break they’ll fix it for you. I have washer+dryer in unit (a dream of many in SF!), walk-in shower, huge floor-to-ceiling windows, ceramic floor. At the rental price of $2200+utilities, I consider it a great deal.
    • The downsides are nitpicks: all the doors are sliding, so sound isolation within the apartment is not great; the ventilation is pretty weird, feels like it’s blowing cold wind all the time, so I had to tape it down. The bigger problem is location: on 9th St and Market St, it’s a pretty rough neighborhood. You’re guaranteed to meet strange-looking people if you walk outside the building in any direction, and you better watch where you step if you care about your shoes being clean. But at the same time, it’s convenient to get to BART/MUNI Civic Center station, Walgreens/Market-on-Market grocery stores, SoMa coffeeshops. The Twitter office is right across the street (the reason I moved there in the first place) - when I worked there, my horizontal commute was shorter than my vertical commute!
    • Anyway, over these years I’ve accumulated quite a lot of stuff. Interestingly, mostly things that I got as gifts or planned to give as a gift. Particularly, I collect tech T-shirts as a hobby (I have about 300). Collecting T-shirts is nice because I can show off my collection, one shirt at a time. I have a circular queue rotation system so that I only wear any particular shirt once or twice a year, and a folding/stacking method to store them compactly. But even then, they take quite a lot of space. I also have more buttoned shirts, pants, and jackets that I know what to do with. Besides clothing and gifts, I have some furniture: a couch, a queen bed, a desk, a chair, a floorlamp, a nightstand - not much at all, and most of these things I bought 7 years ago, when I just arrived in US.
    • So, I’m going to box most of that stuff and ship it to the storage. I found Boombox Storage where you can rent 5’x10’ storage cell for $135/month, 3 months minimum. They’ll come to you, pick up your packed stuff, and drive it away, then you can pick your items from the online gallery to be delivered back.
    • While packing, I’ll go through all the things and see if they spark joy or if I can donate them to Goodwill or throw them away. I did that exercise several years ago (without moving anywhere), got rid of a lot of junk, and established a single place for every category of things.
  • My address
    • It’s useful to have an permanent address (for banks, insurance companies, government agencies). When you don’t have a permanent address, life could be hard. I’ve rented a mailbox at UPS for $30/month, 3 months minimum. This provides you with a real mailing address, not a P.O.Box one. You can come check your mailbox at any time or e-mail them to ask if there is any mail for you.

Overall, I’m pretty excited about the change of scenery, and even about going through all my stuff. See you around!