Renting Out of the Box

Unique living situations might be just what you need

When you imagine renting, what comes to mind? Maybe an apartment complex with a club house. Or a community of single-family houses with yards. Or 12-month lease agreements with security deposits. Fair enough. But what about the other scenarios for renting which might work out better for you?


Thinking outside the box is critical to mastering strategic living. A large part of getting out of the rat race of money and materialism is finding solutions no one else is doing.

Why shouldn’t this apply to where you live?

What if you don’t need an entire apartment? What if you could rent a bedroom in a single-family house? Or a garage apartment? Or someone’s pool house? What if you could be a caretaker of the property and live there for very little or free? What if you could live close enough to town that you could sell your car?

Some of these ideas may be just what you need to get ahead. But they are anything but typical.

What if you could avoid signing a lease? What if you could find furnished places and not own any furniture? These last two strategies have worked out well for us.

Wife and I been renting since we married in 2007. Here are our unique housing situations so far:

  • A spacious 1200-sq-ft two-story townhouse with 2 beds, 2.5 baths, and a one car (plus one motorcycle) garage
  • Most of a furnished 1500-sq-ft two-story house during the week, leaving each weekend for the owners to come back and stay in different rooms
  • A cozy 700-sq-ft one bedroom square house with a big yard and a shed for the motorcycle
  • A purposeful room at my mother-in-law’s home with a storage unit for everything else
  • A fun month-to-month 500-sq-ft studio with windows on three sides on the top floor of an old house
  • A furnished month-to-month 850-sq-ft “apartment” with a huge kitchen in one third of a house

It’s very limiting to subscribe to mass opinion. Assumptions take us down very narrow roads, and often the assumptions are entirely unnecessary. Take some time and think about what is essential for your living arrangements (and what is not essential). Then find creative ways to rent what you need, even if it’s not in a typical package.

What are your ideal renting situations? Please share!