Is it just me or is my car the first thing to get cluttered and dirty, but the very last thing that gets cleaned? It’s not that I forget about it, because I’m in it almost daily. But it just doesn’t seem like as high of a priority to me, I guess. Whatever the reason, I’ve recently added in some new organization systems in my own car and they’re working unbelievably well. By picking up a few affordable car organizers, and making a few more myself, I’ve finally got a place to put all my stuff in there and it not look like I just came back from a month-long vacation at a flea market.
1. Assess Your Needs
Here’s what most people skip, but it’s actually the most important. Have you ever just gone out and bought a ton of containers and bins and hanging pocket thingies so all the crap in your car would have a place to be stashed? Guess what. You probably don’t need most of the stuff in there. And there are things you actually do need that didn’t end up getting a space at all.
Take a few minutes to really reflect on what you use your car for on the daily. If you work from your car, you likely need a place for your computer (no, not the floorboard) and a spot to store your lunch. Maybe even a tray to eat it on. If you haul kids all over town all day every day, you need a few things to keep them from screaming “I’m Bored!” thirty thousand times during a ten minute trip. And if your dog travels with you often, you need a collapsible bowl and seat covers, because drool on seats is apparently permanent. At least in my case…
2. Get A Trash Can
I know what you’re thinking. The only people who have trash cans in their cars are Moms of seven kids who drive an old minivan. Well take a hint from these superwomen and follow their lead. Trash is what makes a car messy in no time, so by keeping it under control, you’ve already won half the battle. Now I’m not saying to go pick up a plastic bathroom trash bin and slap it in the floor of the passenger seat. That would be weird, and slightly laughable. There are some really good looking (and space conscious) garbage bins specifically for cars on the market. I use this one and so far, it’s never failed. Every time I have to stop to get gas or get my car washed, I empty the bin.
3. Get A Car Wallet
Have you ever gotten pulled over and spent twenty minutes digging through that disaster of a glove box looking for your registration and getting more and more frantic by the minute? Those glove boxes are kind of an organizer’s nightmare. It’s basically a closed up spot that people can just throw anything in and it magically disappears. But the thing is, it all disappears because those little cubbies seem like they’re freakin’ endless! Any chance you had of getting out of that ticket is over, because you’ve now wasted half an hour of this officer’s time.
The solution? A simple car wallet. It’s like a regular wallet, but bigger. Kind of like the pouch your owner’s manual came in when you bought your car. It’s got dividers and pen holders and pockets, and even a place for notes. I keep my registration, insurance card, two pens, a tire air pressure checker, my warranty info, tire membership card, dollar bills for parking, and a small pair of scissors in there. Now, I drive like a grandma most of the time, but just in case I ever get carried away and see blue lights, I’m going to be able to find my stuff in seconds.
4. Find Storage In Lesser-Used Places
Unless you’ve got a giant SUV, you probably don’t have a lot of space in the car to start with. Then throw in a family of 4 and the dog and you’re packed to the brim. Storage space is hard to find, so you’ve got to think outside the box. I love things like visor organizers, pouches that hang on the back of seats, a purse hook that attaches to a headrest, and collapsible bins.
I keep a line of those cheap fabric bins (the ones for cube shelving) in my trunk and I use them for sorting the things we take on day trips, storing groceries so they don’t roll around, and keeping things separated to make running errands easier. And if I need more trunk space, they collapse into a flat little square and get tucked out of the way.
5. Stop Letting Stuff Get In The Car
This one seems so simple, but it seems like it’s the hardest one to implement. Maybe your kid is different from mine and he doesn’t try to sneak an armload of stuffed animals, action figures, books, and games into the backseat for a ten minute drive to a restaurant. But if he does, you’ve got to set some boundaries.
And you need boundaries for yourself, too. If you know you’ve already got a jacket in the backseat, don’t take another jacket out to the car in the morning. Just be cold on that trek from the door to the car and put the one that’s in there on instead. That chilly walk might remind you that you need to bring it in going forward. #toughlove
6. Get A Car Wash Membership
This may sound weird, but trust me, it helps so much! In my town, the local car washes offer a monthly membership. A membership fee is automatically drafted out of your bank each month, and you can use the car wash an unlimited amount of times. You can even use the vacuums and dash wipes and window cleaners unlimited times. Truth, I actually went twice in one day once. Why? I don’t know, just because I could, I guess.
By having this membership and knowing you’re spending money on it monthly, you feel like you have to use it. You’ll wash your car way more often which will psychologically make you want to clean the inside, too. And you’ll vacuum after every wash, so you’ll be forced to clean it up and keep random stuff out of the floors and trunk. I think of all the organization hacks in the world, this one is the most effective for me.
Share Your Own Tips
How do you keep your car organized? Have you found an awesome product that is beyond helpful? Share your secrets below in the comments section and read through the others for more ideas!
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