By Tom Z
10:12 AM EST, January 28, 2013
Even though the economy is beginning to recover, times are still tough for many out there, especially graduating college students. These kids are leaving school with no jobs and mountains of debt. And to survive, some of them have been forced to take drastic measures. The San Francisco Chronicle has an interesting new article about twentysomethings who live in group homes, laundry rooms and even closets.
Poorer than their parents and scrappy by nature, this young generation of tech workers sees little value in suburban comfort. Their entrepreneurial individuality and interest in back-to-nature minimalism lends itself to inventive bedrooms, and there is a machismo to living uncomfortably, manifested by unleisurely things like standing desks.
But pop-up housing hasn't sprouted up just because it's a novelty. There's no element of hipster nostalgia for the old mining camp boardinghouse - and a laundry closet, no matter how subversive and revolutionary, is still a laundry closet. In many ways, pop-up housing is a necessity, even as some worry that these illegal arrangements could lead to abuse or unsafe conditions.
After college I lived in a 900 square foot New York City with two roommates, paying $800/month apiece. My bedroom fit a full size bed and a small dresser and that was it. I had to use my windowsill as a computer desk and I always slammed my elbows into the wall when I was trying to get dressed. It was a pain in the ass, but it was worth it to have some independence. That said, paying $500 to rent someone's living room closet is a horrible decision. First off, you can't bring girls home, which defeats the whole purpose of renting a place. You might as well just stay with your parents or live in your car, Jewel-style. More importantly, why wouldn't you move in with a bunch of friends? I realize to spend $500 a month you might have to share a room or have someone living on your couch, but isn't that better than living in the laundry room of some Mexican family? I'd rather share bunk beds with a buddy my age than get woken up every time a spin cycle kicked on. No wonder these kids can't find a job, their decision-making skills are terrible.
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