When you live somewhere temporarily, you realise how few items you really need.
Renting is the mother of minimalism, to clumsily paraphrase the famed proverb. When I rented a room in Madrid for 12 months as a student, I selected only a few precious books to take with me, and had next to no furniture and a limited wardrobe. Prior to that, I had been a hoarder, taking advantage of the space in my parents' home to store masses of unnecessary clothes, books, trinkets and rubbish.
Renting a home, versus owning one, has some peculiar implications for how businesses sell products. As home prices rise and renting looks to become the dominant housing mode in Australia, it's interesting to note how digital disruption plays into this paradigm.
The sharing economy is often thought of in terms of outsourcing traditional jobs, but it's also intrinsically linked to the newly remote accessibility of products. Is it a stretch to imagine that entertainment streaming services are not merely a digital innovation, but a by-product of the necessity to minimise storage space?
After all, Netflix exists inside the screen, as opposed to 10 years ago, when skyscrapers of DVDs and videos scattered the living room space. The same can be said for Kindle—now, when we move home, we needn't box up dozens of heavy books to throw in the removalist van—we can simply slip our reading device in our backpack.
Similarly, there's an impact of the rental market on the sharing economy. A great many jobs listed on Airtasker, such as cleaning, gardening, or removal services, would find their business in the rental market.
With renting on such an exponential rise, coupled with the thinking that renters are ostensibly likelier to move home more frequently than those who own their home, it's a comfort to know so many of our documents, books, films, and even artworks, now exist ephemerally, rather than taking up precious space in our increasingly smaller or temporary living quarters.
More than 40 per cent of neighbourhoods across Greater Sydney now have a majority of renters, making tenants a growing electoral force in NSW.