Have you ever had the infamous “my car is a disaster zone” pit in your stomach when you have to give someone a ride? For many of us, our car is our home on wheels, and it shows! Here are some tips for organizing the car and keeping it that way. Below is also a list of some helpful items to keep in the car so you are always prepared. Before you begin organizing the car, make sure you have PLENTY of time. This process cannot be rushed.
Step by step guide to organizing the car:
- Gather the following items:
- Trash bag: So you can immediately dispose of any trash you find in the car.
- A canvas: Whether that be an old blanket, sheet, towel, or tarp- you need something for sorting items.
- Containers: Anything like a bag or box works. You will need them for containing the following: paperwork, items to be transported into your home, and items to be returned to the store or a friend.
- Cleaning supplies: If you get your car detailed, this step can be skipped. But if you want to go all the way, make sure you have the following cleaning supplies: glass cleaner, upholstery cleaner, vacuum, rags, toothpicks, tooth brushes, and Q-tips for reaching all the crevices!
- Start by taking all the items out of your car. Begin at the front and work your way back. Don’t forget the glove compartment, console compartments, and under the seats. Lay all the items out on your canvas. Keep the trash bag handy so you can discard all trash.
- Sort items into categories on your canvas. Use the following four categories:
- Any item that is going to be put back into the car.
- Items that need to be put away inside the house. Use a container for transportation ease for these items.
- Paperwork-but make sure to throw away any paper that you do not need anymore. Place these into a container.
- Return items: items that need to be returned to a friend or the store. Use a container for these, too.
- Time to clean your car. Once you have everything out of the car, take it to be detailed or clean the interior yourself. Your car will feel so nice and fresh.
- Now it is time to put all the items back into your car. These reusable bags are a great way to keep these items organized. Adding a label to each bag is also a great touch. Check out the list below for some of our recommendations of items to keep in the car to make sure you are always prepared.
- Keep going until everything is in its place. You should be really proud! But keep on going…those items that need to be taken into the house and returned still need to be dealt with and the trash needs to be put in its proper place, too. You are so close to the finish line!
List of helpful items to keep in the car:
- Basic Car Maintenance Items: Microfiber cloth for quick dusting, lint roller, wipes or an extra towel; tools needed to change your tire should you need to do this in an emergency situation; contact info for your insurance or AAA to help you if you get a flat tire.
- Emergency Essential Ideas: First aid kit, ice scraper, blanket, flashlight, tire gauge, jumper cables, flares, and any emergency drink or snack you think is important. These emergency essentials can be neatly stowed in a duffel bag or large canvas bag like the one linked below.
- Glove Compartment Essentials: Registration, proof of insurance, and car owner’s manual.
- Basic Personal Care Items: Wipes, hand sanitizer, tissues, lint brush, and other items you would use in your car like lotion or chapstick.
- Reusable Trash Bag: Having a reusable trash bag like this bag or that bag can help to keep the car cleaner with an immediate place to put all the trash.
- Return Container(s): Returns – whether to stores or friends – tend to pile up in the house and can really take up too much space. Having a system set up in your launchpad and car to organize these can really help them not get lost in the business of life.
Note for Parents: Some parents find it very helpful to keep a towel, change of clothes, and extra diapers, wipes, trash bags, and snacks stowed in the back of the car. This big reusable canvas bag is a great option for containing those items.
Like any space in which we live and work, maintenance is vital for keeping your car organized. Do a monthly car check-in to stay on top of keeping your car organized. If you are not in the habit of getting your car detailed, a monthly cleaning and detailed analysis of the items in your car is very helpful. It is also a great idea to do a quick cleanup every week: Remove trash, take paperwork and any other items back into your house, and so forth. This will only take a couple of minutes but will make your monthly car check-ins so much quicker. Don’t forget about the “returns”. When your pile of returns is really building up, schedule a block of time to make these returns so that you can clear them out of your car. Also, always remember that with the changing seasons, whether in weather or in life, the items you need in your car will also change.
Check out our Abundance Declutter Group on Facebook for more and share the funniest item you found in your car. We love to hear from you!