more young people are leaning into the rental or sharing economy — owning less of everything and renting and sharing a whole lot more. Housing, cars, music, workspaces. In some places, such as Los Angeles, this rental life has gone to an extreme.
Steven T. Johnson, 27, works in social media advertising and lives in Hollywood. He spends most of his days using things he does not own.
He takes a ride-share service to get to the gym; he does not own a car. At the gym, he rents a locker. He uses the gym’s laundry service because he does not own a washing machine.
Johnson doesn’t even have an apartment, actually. He rents a bed in a large room with other people who rent beds, for nights, weeks or months at a time, through a service called PodShare. All the residents share a kitchen and bathrooms. Johnson also rents a desk at WeWork, a coworking space.
And he says the only clothes he owns are two versions of the same outfit.
Johnson says he owns so little that he has even been able to get rid of his backpack. “I gave that up two months ago,” he says.
He says that for him, this lifestyle isn’t cumbersome or confusing. “That’s what’s great,” he says. “When you don’t own things, you don’t have to keep track of them. You just show up.”
He’s part of a newish group of young people. He is educated and owns his own business. He could be considered well off, but he is also, in a way, homeless. By choice.