We organize our homes, our schedules, and sock drawers, but how often have you ever thought to organize your car?
Your car can quickly become like a second home. Especially if you are a mom who is shuttling children and running errands. Our vehicles are often the last place we think to organize. I don’t know about you, but when my home (or car, in this case) is full of trash, and I can’t find anything, it stresses me out.
Now, full disclosure: my car is not always organized. In fact, there are times my car has old french fries and long lost toys under the seats, just like everybody else. But now that I have a plan in place to organize my car, it’s much easier to get it back into shape quickly.
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The Front Seats
The front seat of your car is where you spend the majority of your time. It also may be one of the messiest and disorganized places in your whole car! Let’s take a look at a few ways to fix that.
The Glove Compartment
The glove compartment isn’t just for gloves. Is that what they used to be used for? Somebody get back to me on that one!
Your glove compartment can be an easy place to stash items you don’t know where else to put. Essentially, it’s very easy for it to become the Black Hole of your car. Extra ketchup packets. Used Kleenex. Annoying toys you’re hiding from your kids.
But just imagine, you get pulled over (not that that ever happens to you). Then you have to spend several minutes digging through all the junk just to find your registration and insurance card. You don’t want that to be you.
So what should you really keep in your glove compartment? I’m glad you asked. Here are a few ideas for you.
- car insurance
- maybe a map in case you get lost somewhere and your phone battery dies, or you have no cell service
- a flashlight
- you car manual
- a few extra napkins or tissues (I said a few)
- ice scraper or defrost spray (depending on where you live and the time of the year)
Since you only have things you might actually need in there now, your glove compartment should be easy to organize.
The Center Console
The center console is another place that can quickly become a dumping ground for random junk. I try not to keep too much in our console because it is deep, and things can get easily lost down inside of it.
Here are a few things that I keep in my center console that you might want to consider for your own car.
- extra snacks in case anyone is hangry
- a little bit of cash for unexpected expenses (I’m talking $5-10 here)
- our mailbox key
- a few CDs
- barf bags (Little Miss gets motion sickness randomly)
- a pen and paper of some kind
- phone charger
Your Car’s Technology
Most cars today have some sort of technology package. And even those that don’t, probably at least have radio presets that need to be set up.
Take a few minutes to set up your car’s technology. Get out the car manual (it’s in the glove compartment, remember?). Find out how to set up Bluetooth calling, satellite radio stations, the GPS, and any other fancy technology your car has.
If you spend a few minutes setting up and organizing now, you’ll save yourself a lot of trouble later down the road.
Other Nooks and Crannies
- Get a small car trash can and keep it in the front seat. All trash goes directly inside.
- Use sunglasses clips to keep your sunglasses out of the way on the visor. This will prevent you from sitting or stepping on them, and you’ll always know where they are!
- Put a small umbrella in your driver’s side door pocket. You’ll thank me later.
The Back Seats
Ah, the back seats of a family vehicle. Your back seat may look like the setting of a horror film, but we’re going to fix that.
Behind the Seat Storage
Children seem to need a lot of stuff. And that stuff often seems to multiply when it’s time to get in the car and go somewhere. Then, it all ends up on the floorboard.
Last year, I bought two of these, and they have been a game-changer for the back of the car. I put one on the back of the driver’s seat and one on the back of the passenger’s seat.
Although Monkey and Cub are rear-facing, I keep extra toddler toys and books, as well as a couple of diapers, wipes, and outfits for them in one of the seat organizers.
Little Miss is front-facing and can usually reach the top few pockets of her organizer. Even if she has trouble reaching the items in the organizer, at least we know what’s in there. For her, we keep another barf bag, a few books or toys, her sunglasses, and a couple of snacks.
The seat organizers make keeping the floor of our back seat much cleaner.
Now it’s time to organize your trunk. Think about where you go often or what kinds of things you’re doing when you’re out and about.
Do your kids play soccer or baseball in the spring? Then I’d recommend having some towels and bags for muddy clothes handy. You’ll also probably want to have lawn chairs or a blanket to sit on at games or practices.
If you have little ones, your stroller or baby carrier probably takes up permanent residence in your trunk as well.
Things to Always Have in Your Trunk
Here are a few things you’ll most likely want to keep in your trunk just in case:
- jumper cables
- a first aid kit
- a tire pressure gauge
- a multitool
- a roll of paper towels (you just never know what you’ll have to clean up in your car)
Keep Your Car Clean Inside
Now that you’ve got your car all nice and organized let’s keep it that way! Follow these tips to keep your vehicle clean month after month.
- It would be ideal to take everything that doesn’t belong in your car inside the house after each trip, but we’re moms. Our hands are full of children and sippy cups and diaper bags. I aim to grab forgotten items and take them inside a few times each week. Don’t forget the trunk of your car too!
- Empty the trashcan regularly. I’ve gotten in the habit of emptying our trashcan every time we stop to get gas. Typically the trashcan isn’t overflowing at that point, so it’s manageable.
- Vacuum the inside of the car once a month. Thinking about vacuuming and procrastinating doing it usually takes longer than actually grabbing your Shop-Vac and doing a quick pass of the floorboards and seats in your car.
- That brings me to another suggestion- invest in good floor mats. We have these mats (these are comparable) in our van, and I’ve been shocked at how much easier it is to vacuum the floors! (Be sure to check floor mats against the make and model of your car so you know they will fit properly!)
Taking an hour or so to organize your car really can make a huge difference in the way you feel. Don’t believe me? Try it and see what happens!
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