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How to Move Without a Car

Maggie Awad
Maggie Awad February 22, 2017 Maggie Awad is the former Marketing Director at Arlington Transportation Partners.
ATP Takeaway: You don't need a car to move out of your current home to your new place. Check out these tried and true options for those times you think you need a car but you actually don't.

When people find out I’ve been living car free for almost two years, there are usually a few minutes of disbelief as they run through a mental checklist of everything they use a car for—grocery store, commute, road trips, visiting friends, errands, or the gym.

At which point, I explain how I do it:

  • I walk (my grocery store is five minutes/0.3 miles away)
  • I bike, run, bus, metro, or usually some combination to get to work
  • I use Zipcar, car2go, or similar carsharing services for road trips, visiting friends/family, and errands
  • I walk or bike to the gym—it’s a great warm-up

But there’s usually a point in the conversation where we talk about those big life changes and how to do it without owning a car and the one that seems to baffle the most is how to move houses/apartments/condos without a car.

It’s actually easier than you think. Of course, you have the traditional route of movers, but let’s take that one out of the equation just for fun. So how do you do it?

1. Move by Bicycle

I know it sounds a little far-fetched, to move all your worldly possession by bike, but it can be done. A quick Google search proves it. 



We know moving is stressful, but at least with a bike you’re adding a facet of fun. In fact, our very own Elizabeth Denton moved apartments by bike once upon a time. There are even companies in the US and around the world who strictly move your belongings by bike. This moving company in New Orleans is a great example. In the book, Everyday Bicycling, Elly Blue suggests gathering a group of fellow bikers with cargo or trailer attachments to quicken the process. 

No, not your jam? That’s okay—plenty of other options.

2. Move with Zipvan

If you’re about to ask, is Zipvan like Zipcar but with a van? The answer is yes. Like renting a Zipcar for an hour or a day, you can rent a Zipvan to help with your moving needs. They are exactly what you think—a large utility van with two seats in the front and lots of room in the back for boxes, furniture, and more.

In fact, one of our newest members of ATP—Sheila McGraw, moved into her apartment last month using a Zipvan.

If you already have a Zipcar membership, you can find and reserve a Zipvan at any time. If you don’t have a Zipcar membership, you can get started here.

3. Move by Feet

I know this might sound a little obvious, but hear me out. If you don’t want to move by bike, use traditional movers, or go to the trouble of doing it yourself with a Zipvan, maybe you should consider portable storage units.


With a portable storage unit, you can literally move stuff at your own pace and with your own two feet. What could be easier than that? Pricing is sure to vary based on how long you have a storage unit in use, but it at least turns a moving day into moving days and significantly reduces stress levels.

Interested in More?

Explore even more interesting topics when you peruse our blog. One of my favorites is analyzing the cost difference between car ownership and strictly living a car free lifestyle in The True Cost of Going Car Free.

Explore the blog and keep reading

Photo Credit: Sam Kittner/ for Arlington Transportation Partners

Tags: Bike, Carshare, Walking, Residential


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