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5 reasons why renters should also become minimalists

By George Hadgelias

The way the market’s tracking these days, renting’s no longer a temporary set-up for many Australians.

And while it offers lots of benefits, it also brings with it a fair few problems. First, there’s that voice at the back of your head telling you that your monthly rental payments aren’t building towards home ownership. And then there’s the looming threat of rental increases, evictions and maintenance disputes.

Which is why it’s important for renters to embrace minimalism – so that they’re able to move out with as little stress as possible, whenever life requires them to.

Here are five few reasons why renters should also be minimalists.

1. Limiting possessions for ease of movement

One of the major drawbacks of being a long-term or permanent renter is constantly being at the mercy of landlords. That’s not to say you can be turfed out at short notice without good reason. In fact, there’s a fair bit of legislation on this matter. But things can change fairly quickly – and often when you least expect it.

Owning fewer possessions makes moving far less stressful – simply because it’s much easier to move a small stack of plates than an overflowing box of seldom used and mismatched crockery.

Cut back on unnecessary items sooner rather than later, as it’ll save a lot of time and stress on moving day.

2. Purchasing versatile furniture

It’s important for renters to avoid buying dwelling-specific furniture.

A giant, wicker swinging chair with a $4k price tag might look outstanding while hanging from the rafters of a warehouse conversion, but it probably won’t look half as good in the tiny, one-bedroom, inner-city flat you next move into.

There’s no way to predict the next place in which you’ll live, but it’s always best to avoid buying large and cumbersome furniture – especially because you might have to pay for the disposal of the item if you’re unable to sell or give it away.

So, think ‘simple’ and ‘versatile’ when you’re next shopping for furniture.

3. Practicing financial minimalism

Another form of minimalism with great benefits is general financial minimalism. There’s no point in signing a two year, non-refundable gym membership, if you’re on a month-to-month lease and may soon have to move away from the area.

Similarly, buying a car or bike to suit your new lifestyle might not be the best investment. Freedom is one of the most valuable benefits of renting, and one of the main reasons why some Australians choose never to buy a home. But the value of that benefit soon diminishes when you waste money on location-specific purchases.

4. Harnessing a ‘make-do’ attitude

Just because there’s space for a stand mixer, food processor, blender, slow cooker and coffee machine on the current kitchen bench doesn’t mean there will be that much space on your next kitchen bench.

Multiple gadgets are luxuries, and it’s very easy to live without them. And lugging boxes of seldom-used equipment from house to house is also a massive waste of time and money.

Serviced apartments in hotels are designed for semi-long-term residency, and the most they will have in the kitchen is a kettle and toaster. To avoid overcrowding a tiny kitchen, stick to the essentials.

5. Ditching the storage trap

It’s a bad renting habit to drag the same ten boxes of stored items from one rental garage to the next, without ever opening them to use what’s inside.

If the items in the boxes haven’t been used, touched or thought about in years, there’s really no point in keeping them.

Old toys could be donated to child care centres. CDs and DVDs could be sold at markets. And excess blankets and bedding could be given to homeless shelters.

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