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Anybody renting a house or apartment in Sydney these days will be aware of the tenuous hold that tenants have over their residency. If your landlord decides not to renew your original twelve or six month lease but keep you on as a tenant, month to month, you know the axe could fall at any time. In inner city suburbs such as Surry Hills, Darlinghurst, Potts Point and Woolloomooloo, where rental demand is extremely high and the vacancy rate at an all time low, the situation is even more precarious.

If your lease is suddenly terminated you not only face the dilemma of looking for another dwelling but packing up your lifetime possessions and moving out. The more ‘stuff’ you have accrued the bigger the move and this can soon escalate into a series of traumas. What to keep and what to chuck out soon becomes both an emotional and a practical decision – your sentimental attachment to various possessions versus a need to declutter and start again fresh.

However even getting rid of ‘stuff’ can pose a problem as I recently discovered when exiting my long time apartment in Woolloomooloo. Advertising the fridge or sofa you don’t want on Gumtree can take weeks to get a result and sometimes it’s quicker to ring up Vinnies or the Salvos. It’s then you soon realise they don’t accept electrical goods and if your sofa is not in ‘excellent’ condition, they are not going to take it. They are not a disposal service and make that very clear.

You can always try friends and acquaintances to see if they need an extra bookcase or kitchen table but the chances are you will end up depositing many of your once beloved items in the street for the Council to pick up as part of their weekly household rubbish removal. Prepare to have your now unwanted possessions scattered from one end of the street to the other as the neighbourhood’s many scavengers pick over your pile to see if there is anything they can salvage from your autobiographical trash heap.

Chances are they will indeed find something to take and it’s not uncommon for almost everything to be removed before the actual Council truck arrives. Call it community recycling if you like but in my case I later found ‘treasured’ items I had put out abandoned in Walla Mulla Park and elsewhere.

If you have an average apartment full of furniture and other ‘stuff’, you’ll probably need a truck to move your goods and here lies another potential problem. In the crowded inner city there is often no parking whatsoever for a truck to pull outside your apartment. In my case the removalist had no option but to double park, albeit in what was essentially a very quite street with no real inconvenience to passing traffic. Nevertheless an over officious Council ranger soon descended, bellowing that if we did not move immediately we would be slapped with a sizeable fine. The Council makes no provision for people in this predicament and I have heard of people forced to move out late at night (i.e. post midnight) just to avoid the omnipresent Council ‘power’ rangers.

If you are moving to a similar location in the inner city you can almost be sure there will be a ranger waiting to see if you attempt to double park again to unload your goods. Again no mercy will be given and the whole episode can become very stressful. Okay, it’s nothing compared to some of the really tragic things happening in the world. However if there’s anything to be learned here it’s possibly to declutter now before that dreaded termination email arrives. The less you own the better and if you are very lucky the next move you make could be in a Woolies shopping cart.