Space Is Your Greatest Asset

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Everywhere you look now, space is at a premium. Parking a car in Vancouver for three hours can set you back $21. Fifty square feet of storage in Toronto can cost you $193/month. According to Rentseeker, my 3-bedroom in Richmond would rent for $1,644! Somehow, we’ve all just accepted that space is expensive, even though the price for renting that space is often flat-out stupid! What if we decided to end the madness? What if, instead of being gouged for square footage, we found a way to make our existing space work for us instead of the other way around? Well, listed below are a few ways you can cash in. You don’t need to live in a mansion either. I’m just a regular guy who recognized an opportunity. You might realize there’s been a cash cow in your backyard all along.

First, the obvious: Get roommates. You don’t have to live alone. I’ve done the math, and by March 2018, I’ll be back to “no rent and no bills” because of what I make from them. I’m sacrificing my home office to make it work, but not really. I’m just moving my office to my currently underutilized living room. To get even more advanced, consider getting into Airbnb if you have a spare room! Here’s an article about it. For the nitty-gritty, here’s another! If that all sounds too stressful, rent to friends because you can still make extra cash in unique circumstances. We still “put people up in our storage closet for about $300/month”, and my friends all know they can come to me if things ever get weird, like if they suddenly get evicted or a relationship splits up. This was my first step. If you’re willing to bring other people into your space, you can profit immensely.

In another example, this book describes how its author uses an MRP (Multi-unit Residential Property) to live rent-free. He even advocates going as extreme as buying a fourplex, renting out three units, and living in only one! In 1999 though, he bought his first duplex and started paying into it. The property was $109,000 in Calexico, CA and his monthly payment was around $900. He lived in one apartment and rented the other for $800/month. That $800 plus his $100 “rent” went straight into home equity! I suspect he’s doing quite well now. This is common and basic optimization of real estate. You probably know a bunch of people doing something similar right now.

I also discovered you don’t need a full room or apartment available to make money. When my dad died, I sold my van, took over his car, and now my parents’ two-car garage in New Westminster has one space open. (I live a few towns over in Richmond.) Remember how expensive storage can be? Well, I know someone desperately in need of storage space. Instead of gouging them though, I’m letting them use that space for $50/month. It’s slightly less convenient for everyone because I’d have to accompany them whenever they need access, but they’d save (and I’d earn) hundreds! It’s win-win because I get to profit, they get to save, and I’ve effectively done a favour for them! It’s great!

Live near an event space? Here in Vancouver, near our local fairgrounds, residents open up their driveways for people to park. Last I checked, the fair itself charges $20 for parking, so let’s say we charge $15/car. Well, if you have a property width of 14.5 metres and a large enough backyard, YOU CAN PARK FIVE VEHICLES LEGALLY. $75/day for a month? That’s over $2,000! Everyone should be doing something like this! You can even monetize a small patch of dirt on the sunny side of your building! I’d gladly pay $50 for a garden space during the summer if I didn’t already have one. We all have access to space that’s “ours”, so let’s use it!

These are just a few examples, but every bit of space in your home should have a job. Let it make money for you. I’m a few thousand richer every year because I abide by that. Can you do the same and live rent-free? Tell us in the comments.

Throw Your Shit Away

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Can you live with only 100 things? What about dressing yourself with only 33 items for 3 months? Minimalism is in, and experiments like The 100 Thing Challenge and Project 333 are popping up on lifestyle blogs everywhere. These challenges are a bit too extreme for little ol’ stuff-loving me, but I made a few notes and started taking back my space. I now throw out a minimum of one thing a day.

Since my girlfriend moved in, we’ve needed to make more room. There are now three people living in our 1,000 square feet, and just to fit us all comfortably, a lot of shit had to go. In the past month, we’ve thrown out old pillows, workout equipment, countless DVDs, unplayed PS4 games, posters, dishes, multiple boxes of unnecessary documents, and right now, we’re boxing up old glassware we’ll give to a friend. I look in my office closet now, and I see SPACE. I haven’t seen that much space since I moved in! A new addiction was born.

Oh, I’m sorry, did I say 1,000 square feet? A realization dawned on me: With all our crap everywhere, we really had about 700 square feet. I made it my mission to reclaim my home, one box and one square foot at a time. I’ve mentioned before you really just rent everything you own. Stuff is only useful when you’re using it, right? Well, why not have someone else store it for you? I didn’t just haul my DVD collection to the dump. I donated everything to my local library. There, it helps enrich my community, and I can take out my old DVDs anytime I want! The PS4 games got traded in at EB and earned me $50 in store credit. Let’s face it: I’m gonna nerd out and get “No Man’s Sky” on Day 1.

There’s an entire industry preying on people overly attached to their shit. You can tell things are bad when companies like Public Storage don’t even put prices on their website. That’s literally the ONLY reason people are on their site! It also turns out 100 square feet of storage can cost more than $150/month! Why would you have SO MUCH SHIT, you need to pay ADDITIONAL RENT just to store it, unused?

There’s also a problem in having so much shit, you need to hire movers and trucks every time you change residences. I’ve done it, and got billed about $800. That was before this blog started. Now, I insist on doing everything without a moving company. Moving my girlfriend in was easy and only required the help of a friend. We owe him dinner. That’s it.

Having too much shit can even limit your moneymaking opportunities! My mom lives alone in the 5-bedroom townhouse my brother and I grew up in, and is limited in her ability to rent rooms to people because our family crap is everywhere. We’ve even been talking about her moving to the 1-bedroom in Surrey her sister owns so she can rent out the ENTIRE townhouse for $2,000+ per month! What’s stopping her? Our piles and piles of useless shit!

My challenge to you is to throw away one thing a day for at least a month, and not immediately fill the space up again with newer, shinier crap. You’ll actually be objectively richer if you have less stuff! Counterintuitive, I know. THROW OUT ONE THING A DAY FOR A MONTH. You’ll thank me, seriously.

Anything you haven’t worn in six months can go. Any piece of entertainment you haven’t looked at in a year can go. Anything you own a better version of can go.

Hell, with everything you’re tossing out, you might even be able to make a few bucks