A Minimalist Viewpoint on Vehicles

“Admit it, sport-utility-vehicle owners!  It’s shaped a little differently, but it’s a station wagon!  And you do not drive it across rivers!  You drive it across the Wal-Mart parking lot!” – Dave Barry

I loved using public transport when our family lived and traveled overseas.  But In America, owning a vehicle seems to be a true rite of passage.  We love cars.  We love trucks.  We love anything we own with wheels on it to get us from point A to point B.  I think it’s easy to forget that owning a car isn’t a right but a privilege.  Over the years we’ve made the mistake of going into debt to buy cars and have even been able to give away a vehicle.  In the day in/day out experience of driving it’s easy to  forget anything we have is a blessing and could be passed along to others in need.  When we – as minimalists – choose to view what we own as something to hold loosely, we must ask ourselves how we can be good stewards of the vehicle(s) sitting on our driveways.

* Develop the behavior of taking bits of trash out of you car every time you leave.  In my opinion, a cluttered car makes for a stressful drive.  Keep a plastic bag in the glove box to use for trash so it’s easy to keep under control.  I ask my kids to make sure their cup holders are empty and it’s generally simple to keep things tidy.

* See your vehicle for what it is – a means for transport.  If you’re lugging items around in your trunk for months or have random belongings rolling around under the passenger seat every day, those are items that do not need to make the trip with you.  Find a home for them outside of your car.

* As far as cleaning goes, I spray a microfiber cloth with a vinegar and water solution and wipe down the console, dash, and steering wheel every few weeks.  About once a month I take my car by the local car wash, as you can use their high powered vacuum for 5 minutes for $1.  If the kids are with me, they help me clear out trash and take turns vacuuming the car’s inside for me (sometimes getting an extra treat from Mom for being happy helpers).

* Give your vehicle a break and walk, bike, or run when you can. No joke.  :)  When I lived in Indiana our bank and pharmacy were about 1.5 miles from our home.  I loved getting in my workout and completing a family errand all while getting in a run, too.  Going on a walk makes for a more enjoyable experience and gives you the opportunity to think or chat (if someone joins you).

Remember, minimalist – your car (like everything else you have) isn’t your own.  You might own it, but you don’t want it to own you.  God might have a plan for you to pass it along to another person or family someday – treat it like a gift you’re taking care of for the time being.

In your opinion, how can changing little habits make for a better driving experience?

Dana (reluctant minivan owner)


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