Category Archives: living sumpler

Juan’s Perspective On The One Car Household

I got my driver’s license when I was 15 ½. I bought my first car when I was 16. Since then I’ve owned a couple more (okay, 38 at last count). As much as I love cars, I’ve been advocating that we become a one car family for several years now. Shawn was less than enthusiastic at first!

Shawn and I began working together in February of 2005. At that point, one of our cars always remained in the garage as we carpooled. In 2008, we began to occasionally ride a bike to work (one or both of us). Bicycle commuting has since become a passion (when the temperature is bearable). So over time, we decreased our need for two cars even further.

Last year when we moved to Central Phoenix, we lost our garage, so one of the cars was relegated to the carport and the other to the extra (uncovered) space. At this point, the idea of selling one of our cars began to build momentum. I had a full-size truck and Shawn had a Mini Cooper. With gas prices nearing $4.00 per gallon, you can guess which vehicle remained in the parking lot most often. This past summer we officially became a one car family. I have to say, I haven’t missed the second car one bit! Less maintenance, insurance, etc. One less headache.

Living in Central Phoenix gives us greater access to the places we’ve always frequented. We tend to drive even less now, because we can ride our bikes more often. Monday through Thursday we drive to the office. Friday’s we work from home. Saturday and Sunday we try to keep the car parked and ride our bikes as much as possible. Before you start commending our efforts to save the planet or start labeling us as tree-huggers, I must confess. Our primary desire to ride our bikes is born out of a passion for riding. The environmental aspect is an added bonus.

The bottom line is this, selling my car did not send my world spinning out of control. If anything, my quality of life has improved. As I stated, one less headache.


Stuff!-Shawn’s Perspective

“We’ve got to sell all this stuff!

I can’t imagine all the “crappola” one accumulates over the years. I can’t imagine the stuff people have saved in plastic bins, saran wrapped, and cardboard boxes and pressed between old books.
So here we sit in our family room thinking about this journey we are about to embark.

Juan: What are you doing? (Watching me staring into kitchen cabinet)
Shawn: Nothing
Juan: What do you want to get rid of in there?   
Shawn: I say nothing staring into cupboards
Juan: I think we should start in the office and spare bedroom. We can make up some boxes that we are going to sell in a garage sale and also things we can donate….are you listening? What are you doing?
Shawn: I’m hungry

I wasn’t like this all the time. It was exciting yet overwhelming…what “STUFF” am I going to get rid of? Where to start cleaning house….literally.

The beginning of building your stuff starts at a very early age. Your childhood is spent with monumental occasions; First haircut, first drawing, first pair of cowboy boots, first art project. Placing all these special occasions in a small box. Then there is graduation from elementary school, then middle school, high school and college. All this time accumulating more and more stuff. More and more boxes.
By the time you hit adulthood you head out with a trailer of stuff PLUS stuff Mom and Dad give you. Furniture, dishware (lots of it), tables your bedroom furniture, more stuff!

You accumulate so much and yet hate to let it go because of some sentimental value. Well here I sit and here I begin going through my things. I then realized…it truly is just stuff. It doesn’t make up who I am as a person or classification within human kind. That’s what Juan and I are trying to shed, this need of keeping up with “The Jones” Getting more and more things, going bigger needing more space and for what? To store and hold all your stuff. Don’t use your good dishware, but a “semi-nice” (sorry, my words) set for semi special occasion and a more casual set that you don’t worry about breaking THEN….your regular set that your use every day. And so on and so on with all types of things you accumulate over the years. You work so hard to build up getting bigger and better things to show off to everyone right?

Which brings me to the gorgeous Copenhagen square table that seats eight. This certainly isn’t going to fit in a 900 square foot home unless I want to sleep on it and create a den under the table. So off I go putting it on Craigslist and hope for a quick sale. It was the start of selling off these so called nice things that Juan and I received all sorts of comments and dismay. Mind you…we weren’t asking anyone for advice we knew what we were doing. However many said we were crazy, what were we thinking? Why are we giving away our status?

Well for me it’s not important anymore. You shouldn’t value me as a person by the size of my house, style of clothes I wear, car I drive or bank account. Value me for the type of person I am; for being kind, for being there when you need me, for NOT falling into that same rut everyone else does (bigger and more expensive means status); for enjoying the simpler things in life. 

We took the value off of our stuff and put it on the opportunity to live deeply more meaningful lives.

(Copenhagen Table)

Next Juan’s perspective…..

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