I decided to sell my car in 2010 while living in Arlington. I don’t use it much, because I walk to the Metro every day to work, catch the bus to shop, and wander the walk to Clarendon to socialize. By 2020, I’m still living without a car. Most people understand that life without a car in Arlington is easy and fun, but I’m always asked, how do you get your groceries? Here are a few things I’ve learned from living without a car and walking groceries over the past eight years.
Use the Basket in the Store
Read more: How long does it take to learn C++? This is my #1 tip! Bring a basket. You will be aware of the weight of your items and the size of the items. If it’s hard for you to carry them around the store, it’s difficult to bring them home. So leave the large grocery cart at the front of the store and pick one up.
Rethink where you shop
Instead of treating grocery shopping as one big, once-weekly trip where you buy everything from food to household products to alcohol, consider buying some of those items at alternate times. alternative and location. Stopping at a corner store on your way home to buy milk or taking a fun family walk to the farmers market to buy produce will help reduce the need to make a big trip to the store each week.
Bring a reusable bag
Always keep a collapsible, packable tote bag in your purse or work bag. This comes in handy as I can spontaneously grab essentials when out and about without worrying about paper or plastic bags. The bag has a shoulder strap that also helps spread the weight around.
Get the right device
Read more: how to fix dry patches on your lawn Even though you’ll have fewer groceries when you leave the store, you still need a way to bring them home. Sometimes they’re heavy, because you decided at the last minute to add a snack (or two) to your basket! But that’s okay, as there are some great options to help you carry larger loads, including:
- Bag handles to help you carry more grocery bags at once, like the Mighty Handle.
- Folding trolley, perfect for larger trips.
- The backpack is great for hands-free carrying and balancing heavier items.
- Carshare is used as a last resort for groceries, but having a membership helps for those times when you’ve bought too much and can’t bring it home under your own. Zipcar operates out of Arlington.
- Carpooling services like taxis, Uber and Lyft. Whether you hail a car with the traditional wave of your hand or use an app to hail a ride, they will pick you up wherever you are.
- Cycling is another option whether you buy a Capital Bikeshare bike or upgrade your own bike with baskets and saddlebags, cycling is a fun and easy way to carry a lot of stuff.
Subscription services are increasingly popular, both for ready-to-eat meals (e.g. Blue Apron, Hello Fresh, Freshly) and grocery stores (e.g. Instacart, Giant Food’s Peapod, Shipt). Depending on your budget, switching to one of these services can reduce the stress of grocery shopping and eliminate a long trip. I do this mainly for large, heavy items that I buy frequently like pet food.
Want more of a car-free experience?
Not having a car in one of the most walkable places in the country is a lot easier than imagined. If you could buy groceries and bring them home, imagine being able to do other things. Learn more about all the ways you can ride a car without a car and experience Arlington by signing up for WalkArlington’s monthly newsletter. This post was updated by Suzanne Patel on October 6, 2020. Read more: Post navigation | Top Q&A
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