Here are my top six tips for having a cleaner and more tidy car without spending a lot of money on specialty organizing products.
Of all the places you work to organize, the car is usually one of the last to get attention. But if you think about it, most of us use our vehicles on a daily basis, so it should actually be a lot higher on your priority list. If your car could use a little love, here are my top six tips for organizing and maintaining a clean and tidy vehicle.
1. Add A Trash Can (Or Two!)
90% of your car’s mess has nothing to do with a lack of organization—it’s mostly a buildup of trash. From drink bottles to snack wrappers to drive-through receipts, trash tends to pile up quickly in a vehicle. An easy fix for an instantly cleaner car is to add a trash can.
Make sure the trash can is accessible to the driver, as well as passengers. If you have a larger vehicle, it’s a good idea to have two trash cans; one in the front and one in the back. I love this little can for the driver side door, and this larger bag for back seats.
2. Organize Your Middle Console With A Purse Insert
I know, this sounds a little crazy, but hear me out. A purse insert is usually made of felt and is pretty flexible. Instead of a bunch of pouches you need to unzip or lidded containers to fumble with, all your items are standing up inside individual pockets for easy access.
Most middle consoles are weird shapes and sizes, so finding a specialty organizer isn’t easy. But purse inserts are available in tons of shapes and dimensions, so you’re bound to find one that fits. My middle console is very small and has a bump-out for a USB port, so I chose this small round insert that works perfectly.
3. Use The Back Of Seats For Storage
There isn’t a lot of space in a vehicle, especially a small car, to stash things like umbrellas, shopping bags, and kids’ items. Instead of piling things up in the floorboard or shuffling everything from seat to seat, add a few organizers to the back of the front seats (and middle seats for third row vehicles).
For larger vehicles with lots of leg room, you can use a full-length organizer like this one that has a lot of various pockets and uses. But for a smaller vehicle, it’s better to save leg space by choosing an organizer like this that only takes up the top half or less of the seat.
Another great organizer for the back of seats are these hooks. They attach onto the headrest and you can store your handbag, grocery bags, jacket, umbrella, and anything else you want to keep off the floor. They’re especially helpful for preventing your purse from dumping out all over the floor in the event of a sudden stop.
4. Don’t Store Too Much In The Trunk
There are a lot of great trunk organizers, but I want to caution you not to keep too much in the there all the time. You never know when you will need to use the entire trunk for a large purchase or surprise school project, so it’s best to leave empty space.
A trunk organizer like I have works very well because it can hold items when it needs to but also be collapsed quickly when needed. I try to keep little to nothing inside it so it’s always open and ready for groceries or tennis match supplies for my son.
Another great organizer that’s really inexpensive is this side-wall divider. Most vehicles have a little pocket on the sides of the trunk, and if yours doesn’t have a netting, you can add these dividers for small space storage. They’re great for storing items you keep in the car all the time and preventing them from rolling around.
5. Only Keep The Necessities In Your Car
I know it’s tempting to stock your vehicle with anything and everything you could possibly need, especially if you have young kids. But I want to remind you that your vehicle is not a storage facility. It is really just a tool that gets you from one place to another.
Before you load up your car with all kinds of beauty items, snacks, fifteen toys, and four changes of clothes, consider what you actually need and use.
Just because you saw a TikTok video of someone loading up a whole caddy full of snacks doesn’t mean you need it. And just because your new back seat organizer has ten pockets doesn’t mean you have fill all ten of them.
If an item is something you already store in your handbag, diaper bag, at the office, or use very infrequently, it doesn’t need a home inside your car. Save the storage areas for things you use often, safety items, a few cleaning tools, and empty space for future use.
6. Rotate Your Car Storage Seasonally
There are very different items you need in your vehicle in the summer than things you need in the winter. Instead of keeping them all in there all the time, rotate them seasonally.
Standard safety items like roadside repairs and first aid should always be available, as well as one change of clothes. And if you have small children or pets, their everyday items can stay year round, too.
But you don’t need to keep ice scrapers and gloves in your vehicle in the summer, and you don’t need fans and flip flops in there in the winter. Audit your storage staples every season to be sure the things you’re keeping in your car really deserve a spot right now.
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More Car Organization Tips On YouTube
Want more vehicle organization tips, storage product suggestions, and unique ideas to tidy your car? Here’s a video on Youtube with all my favorites. And let me know in the comments what some of your favorite ways to keep your vehicle are. I’d love to know what works well for you.