It was a pleasant surprise to get so many email messages and comments in response to my post about car-free living. A common thread in many responses was the aspect of hauling large or heavy items without a car. It wasn’t really at the top of my mind, as it has been quite some time since I have been in need of a creative transport solution — mostly because we live in a small home and there isn’t much more room for more furniture or large objects. In a couple of months, though, I will be eyeing the melons and winter squashes at the farmer’s market, which would be somewhat heavy to carry the bags that I normally use. I realized that I had addressed this topic last year; take a look at my post about transporting goods without a car for some thoughts about bike trailers and rolling carts.
A term that How to Live Well Without Owning a Car uses is “car-lite,” to refer to a lifestyle where the car is used minimally and/or where a family might get rid of one of their cars and adjust to sharing a car. This an idea for the cases where there is a reason or multiple reasons why it would make sense to be completely car-free. So if there is a car sitting there to use, how do you stop yourself for jumping in the car in the cases where it isn’t necessary? Some ideas include planning ahead, trip-linking, and being okay with certain errands taking more time than they would in a car. If you want an easy motivator for getting more organized, not using a car might be one way to do it: because you can’t just drive everywhere when you are out of something or need to pick something up it’s much easier to keep a running list of errands. One of the best techniques that’s worked for me in terms of efficiency is trip-linking. Instead of going in and out multiple times, I look at what I need to do and plan a route that makes sense to get a few tasks done at once. Of course (as I mentioned previously) it’s pretty easy to do this living in Berkeley. This is not as easy in some suburban and rural settings, but not impossible.
I would love to hear from others who are living without a car or have minimized their car use. Please feel free to comment or send a message!