Renting in Seattle on $400 a Month

Yesterday I met a young man who’s moved to Seattle for graduate work; he’ll be studying at a downtown Seattle campus. He doesn’t have a car, so wanted something within walking distance, and within his budget.

What does $400 a month buy, in our fast-growing and very expensive city?

One hundred twenty nine square feet. Loft bed. Tiny kitchen, like you’d find on a small motor boat. Tiny bathroom. Really tiny bathroom. Room to store your bike, boots, winter coat? Cupboards for extra rolls of paper towels or toilet paper or a twelve pack of sparkling water or a big laundry detergent or cleaning supplies or a vacuum? Not so much. And don’t even think about a closet for your clothes. You can’t store them under the bed either, because the loft bed hangs off the wall.

For most of you who live in average-sized homes, 129 square feet is probably smaller than your dining room, maybe about the size of your smallest bedroom.

In Seattle they’re called “micro-flats”, these exceptionally tiny apartments. They’re comparable in living space to a tiny house, and organized along the same principles: you get your own space, but not much of it, and you rely on shared and common spaces for much of daily life.

The young man is very happy to find an affordable place within walking distance of his academic program, and something that’s his own, without room mates.

Makes my 900 square feet feel huge and almost decadent.

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