Thank you to LITTLE TREES for sponsoring today’s post!
It’s week 13 of the Get Organized series and this week we’re decluttering an area that is almost like our second home – the car. You can print the Get Organized Checklist for Your Car at the bottom of the post, but don’t skip the helpful tips in between.
How to Organize Your Car
When you have kids, your car is more than a way to get from here to there. It not only needs to move the people in your family from one place to another, but also all the things everyone needs for the places they go and things that they do.
In addition to the equipment that came standard with your car, it’s not unusual for the family vehicle to contain:
- Camping chairs or bleacher cushions
- Reusable grocery bags
- Sports equipment
- Travel games
- Hidden stash of snacks
No mom wants to be stuck in traffic unexpectedly, listening to hungry, bored kids whining from the back seat because they’re ready to be home. Nor do we want to show up at soccer without shin guards for our child or a chair to sit in for the hour-long game.
Because of the chaos of our everyday family lives, it is sometimes easier to store all those things we don’t want to be caught away from home without in our car. It makes perfect sense, until we can’t fit all the groceries in the car because the trunk is full. Or when that secret stash of snacks has been found and is now scattered all over the floor of the car. You know when it’s time to organize your car.
Step One – Take Everything Out
If you’ve been following this series, you realize I’m beginning to sound like a broken record. This is almost always the first step in the organization process for good reasons.
First, we need to take stock of what items we’re using. Are all the things in our car needed there? Or have we simply gotten lazy and let junk accumulate?
Second, it’s easier to organize when you have cleared the space and can envision how you will use it.
Finally, no space will look organized if it’s filthy. Clearing everything out makes it easy to get the space nice and clean.
As you remove items, throw away all garbage and return items that aren’t needed in the car to where they belong.
Step Two – Clean
As I mentioned above, now that the car is empty, it’s the ideal time to clean it.
- Vacuum all interior surfaces
- Clean all surfaces, including windows and mirrors
- Scrub away stains
- Wash exterior of car
I love how the smell of a clean car! Sadly, with five kids and two dogs that clean smell doesn’t last long. Thankfully, there’s an easy and inexpensive solution.
Those same LITTLE TREES that hung from your parents’ rearview mirrors are still the simplest way to keep your car smelling fresh. Now they have over 40 high-quality fragrances to choose from though so you can pick one that suits your personality.
I’ve been fantasizing about the beach lately so I’ve got one of the Coral Reef LITTLE TREES in my car right now.
You can find LITTLE TREES at Walmart, Target, Advance Auto Parts, AutoZone, Meijer, Kroger, Pep Boys, Publix, CVS, and other places auto air fresheners.
Step Three – Establish Zones
In the car, you should have some obvious zones. Take a minute to identify them.
- Driver’s Area
- Passenger Seat
- Kid Zone
- Large Storage
Depending on the age of your kids and type of vehicle, you might have other zones. Think about how you use your car daily so you can figure out what items you’ll need where in the next step.
Step Four – Place Items Accordingly
Once you’ve carefully evaluated how you use your car, you’re ready to put items back in. Since we each use our cars differently, this will vary from person to person.
Here are some ideas to get you started though:
- Keep items you need while you are driving or as you enter/leave the car in storage areas you can easily reach from the driver seat (e.g. sunglasses, ice scraper, umbrella)
- Place items passenger might need in the glove box or passenger door storage (e.g. maps, phone charger)
- Keep kids’ entertainment items in the storage areas between the rear seats or behind the front seats (e.g. travel games, DVDs)
- Place reusable bags in the trunk so you’ll always have them for shopping trips
- Keep strollers, sports equipment, and spectator seats in the trunk
In addition, you should have certain essentials on hand in case of emergencies. Lifehacker has a great list of the 30 Essential Things You Should Keep in Your Car.
Printable Get Organized Checklist for Your Car
Ready to make your car a super mom resource on wheels? Print off the checklist below and get it done!