Back to articles Organizing Tips for Keeping Your Car Clean

Categories: Organizing

Question: The interior of my car looks like a disaster zone. How do I keep it clean?
Answer: These days, our vehicles can double as an office, restaurant, toy room and even a movie theatre! Front seats and floors are cluttered, CDs and DVDs have gone missing, and the trunk is packed with last year's sporting equipment. Here's our step-by-step plan for organizing a vehicle and keeping it tidy:

1. Keep cleaning wipes and paper towels in the car for easy cleanup for sticky fingers, spills or to wipe your hands after a visit to the pump.

2. Place one or two plastic bags in your car to collect trash.

3. Use over-the-seat organizers to keep children's toys, media items, cords, maps, umbrellas, gloves and other essentials at hand.

4. Use milk crates, boxes or cargo organizers to keep your trunks' contents organized. These work especially well to keep bags of groceries from tipping over.

5. Add organizing and washing your car to your house cleaning routine. Once a month, have an appointment to organize the car.

6. Instead of allowing a few emergency items to roll around in your trunk, organize the space by making a roadside emergency kit. Even if you have purchased one, read on, as we have added important items that will not come with pre-made emergency bags. Put the following items in a duffel bag: spare warm clothing; battery-powered radio and extra batteries; flashlight and extra batteries; blanket; booster cables; fire extinguisher, first-aid kit, bottled water, nonperishable high-energy food items such as granola bars, raisins and peanut butter; shovel; tire repair kit and pump; and flares. With all of these items in one spot, you'll be able to find exactly what you need in the event of an emergency.

7. If your glove compartment is home to fast food ketchup packets, service receipts, and expired insurance slips, restock it with the following: registration and proof of insurance, owner's manual, small flashlight, Swiss Army knife, tire pressure gauge, cell phone charger, emergency contact (insurance agent, tow service), pen and notebook. Also, put items for a small first-aid kit in your glove box so you can find what you need when you need it!

8. Make a new household rule that ALL family members are responsible for removing what they bring into the car. Our favourite organizing principle of 'bring something in, take something out' holds true in your car as well. If you bring in a new DVD (or three....), sort through what's already there and find others to swap them for. You might try 'junk jail' for anything children leave behind. Even small children will get into the habit of removing their things from the car if there is a penalty attached.

9. Toss a handful of canvas shopping bags into the car so that even if you leave the house without them, you'll have some handy.

A clutter-free car makes every trip more pleasant, whether it's to the daily carpool or across the country! Organizational retailers such as Solutions and automotive accessory stores sell a wide variety of containers and organizers such as netting, dividers, collapsible cargo totes, visor CD holders, backseat organizers and more to help keep things in order.

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