BEFORE: Renovating a Basement Storage Room into a Mini-Apartment


If you’ve been following my journey to FIRE (retiring by 45 years old), you probably know I spent the first 6 months of 2019 renting out my home (or my master suite) on AirBNB to cashflow my entire mortgage each month.

Honestly, I loved all of the people I met through Airbnb Hosting (even two new friends - Jason & Arvind - and a scientist I want to be when I grow up)! I loved being a tour guide in my own community and sharing my wonderful 100 year old cozy home with others. I’m even a superhost now!

But, Airbnb hosting was really a “bandaid life plan” that accidentally happened as I started traveling as a digital nomad more and worked toward doing better at life hacking. With literally - ALL OF THE HOUSING OPTIONS to consider - I still want to leave my options open as a position for a big move (TBD) spring of 2019.

possible spring 2020 housing options

  • move to Fort Wayne as a home base (tech city, parents, 1.5 hours from airport, adorable nieces) or stay in Central IL (community, friends, established career path, cheap, client-base)?

  • travel full-time or just once a month and all of December?

  • sell my house or rent it out?

  • buy a fourplex for a homebase and House Hack or keep my house

  • pay cash for an Airstream and full-time RV - because why not?

  • And, there’s always buying a lot of land on lake in Northeast Indiana and contracting someone to build a tiny home container house…

My current “plan” is to probably to jump back and forth between Ft. Wayne, IN & Decatur, IL when I’m not adventuring. In Fort Wayne I can work on the investment property I’m doing with my parents, do Grit HQ work without interruptions, and spend time with other family and my adorable nieces. Then I can spend a few weeks in Central IL each month meeting with clients, spending time with friends, and planning my future traveling.

But, my mortgage + housing expenses for ONE HOME in Central IL are around $1,050 a month. So, two “home bases” plus traveling will not help me get to FI.


Considerations for converting my basement storage room to a mini-apartment

Well, here’s my short-term solution to save up for ANY (or multiple) of the above - rent out a second room in my house and convert my large, finished -ish storage room in my basement to a studio office/bedroom (sans bathroom and kitchen). I anticipate being able to rent out a house that sleeps 4 (instead of 2) and a second bedroom on Airbnb will cashflow my entire housing a positive $400-$900 per month.

I’m taking my biggest expense - housing - into a fun, income opportunity!

My goal is to convert this unused space in my house into the coolest, urban loft type space where I look forward to working in! Wish me luck.


Total Budget for conversation of basement storage room to studio apartment: $1,200

My goal is to get this project completed in one month (hopefully before Fin Con)! This is what I anticipate needed to purchase or do to make the room badass with a cozy and comfortable atmosphere!


  • paint paneling white

  • spray paint shelving charcoal

  • add lighting

  • add super cheap, yet awesome vinyl flooring

  • large gallery wall (or two)

  • move office furniture downstairs

  • set up mini-closet for 2 weeks worth of clothing


  • good dehumidifier

  • large, really cozy rug (think super poofy)

  • at least 3 more lamps

  • full-sized mattress, bed frame and bedding

  • space heater

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