Keep the car?

Part of our original downsizing plan was to let go of the car once we got settled in Boston. We haven’t done that yet.

We love the easy access we have to great public transportation. For the most part, we delight in using that. And, for the times when a car could be really helpful, zipcar is readily available. Still, we’re not ready to let the car go yet.

In the heart of Boston a car is not always an advantage. One either finds parking on the street or pays serious money for a dedicated parking place. Sometimes really serious money. We’ve opted for street parking. It can be complicated. The other morning, for instance, Bill got up to move the car by eight AM for the street sweepers. He could only find parking at a meter, which meant I had to move it two hours later. Luckily the street sweepers had finished with our street and I could get a place right in front of our house. Whew! Safe – until we use it for something or the streets get swept again in two weeks.IMG_2420

Is this how I want to spend time? Doesn’t downsizing and simplifying suggest we should give up this car we don’t really need. What about our commitment to a sharing economy? And what about lessening our carbon footprint?

On the other hand, it was so nice to have a car for the couple of getaways we did in August and for work I had in Gloucester. And we have shared it in some interesting ways (more on this later).  I’m really looking forward taking drives to see fall foliage and going apple picking. All of that could be done with a zip car, true. I guess the bottom line is that we’re still attached to the car. It’s a used Volvo and, I have to confess, one of only three cars I’ve been attached to in my nearly 50 years as a driver.

One thing I’ve noticed about this downsizing adventure is that it happens stepwise. My attachment to many of the things we brought with us seems silly now. I’m hooked on that feeling of freedom and hence, willing to let go of more. Patience with ourselves as we move through it feels like the wisest stance. We’ll see what happens with the car.

What would you do? Keep the car or let it go? Please vote and/or advise us in the comments below.

10 thoughts on “Keep the car?

  1. Of course you know it’s not the car. What does the car represent? Actually, is the car part of possible decisions about 2 years from now? The car does represent easily organized travel and y’all loooove to travel. Take it slowly. Ask someone with a suburban house to let you park it there and see if you go to the trouble of going to get the car often enough to warrant your dispossession. ahhhh for someone in JUST your circumstances who wants to share a car.

  2. I suggest holding on to the car. As someone who used to live in Beacon Hill with a car and now lives in Allston without a car, I can definitely say I miss having one. Zipcar is great. That is, if you are only planning to use it for only an hour or two. A day with a Zipcar will cost you over $100. I am lucky to be able to rely on friends with cars to get to the beach, go apple picking, or check out a new restaurant on the North Shore. However, sometimes it would be nice to just jump in my own car and go! I think you should keep it through the winter and see how you do!

  3. I’ve visited Boston a lot, and you’re right, great public transport and expensive to have a car. Yet, I also tend to like my freedom too and a car is just that freedom. Difficult decision for certain. I will be interested in hearing your verdict. Maybe loan it to a family member that way you can borrow it back when you want to use it and avoid the cost and bother of storing and moving it for the street cleaners, Good luck 🙂

  4. Getting rid of the car will slow you down, force you to think well ahead, require you to ask yourself whether a trip is necessary now or can wait, and incline you to creative ways of getting around (including, perhaps, bartering for transport. But bartering what?) Having no car will also lead you to appreciate much more deeply whatever car travel you are able to make.

  5. You are new in your area, and are trying out a radically different lifestyel. Perhaps that’s not a good time to limit your options. It is hard enough to adjust to a new city/town, and you’ve the added stress of a whole new way of looking at your daily life. The car can provide you not only with flexibility while you are learning the lay of the land, but also with a security blanket. Nothing wrong with that while you’re adjusting to your new environment. I like the comments above suggesting cheap and creative ways to store it. Best of luck!!!

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