It creeps up on you slowly. That car clutter. One day it’s squeaky clean inside, the next it’s a disaster of crumbs, returns to make and water bottles rolling around the floor.
Clean and Sort
Bring out a trash can, recycling bin and a spare storage bin. Start taking everything out of the car. Empty the cup holders, door cubbies, glove compartment, console and trunk. With the exception of the trash and recycling (which should be obvious), begin making a pile of items to go back IN the car and use that spare storage bin to consolidate anything that needs to go back in the house. After sorting it all, grab some cleaning putty a small handheld vacuum (or take a quick run by the DIY car wash and use one of theirs).
Restock with Consideration
Items going back into the car should be narrowed down to the bare necessities. What is a must-have for your daily drives? This looks completely different for everyone, so no judgement and use your preferences. Start with fewer things than, since items can be added back easily when you need them. Below are some general ideas.
For the glove compartment, try to keep it to registration, car manual and other car-specific needs (like tire gauge, small ice scraper etc). In the center console, keep quick-grab items the driver needs. Change for meters, gum, spare sunglasses… you get the idea. Kids are a (literal) wildcard for the back seat needs. You do what you need to do! But give everything a designated home spot. For the trunk, you’ll want emergency and utility items like a first aid kit, spare blanket, bungee cords, jumper cables, etc. If your family has seasonal sports, consider leaving basic items like sideline chairs in the trunk until the end of the season.
As usual, sort and reset before you think about containing things. Here are some items that could potentially be helpful
- Small zippered pouches are great for corralling things in the center console or in door cubbies.
- A trunk organizer keeps things quickly accessible and stops them from rolling around.
- Billfold for your registration and insurance cards that’ll fit in the glove compartment.
- Car trash cans can be great or terrible. The last thing you want is one more spot to have stuff build up, and another ‘chore’ to empty it. A small one can be helpful though because for whatever reason, tiny trash can easily build up in cars (gum wrapper, receipts, straw wrapper…).
- Roadside emergency kit with first aid kit.
- Stop lost items and use that little spot for good with seat gap organizers.
- Backseat organizers can be helpful, when toting kiddos around especially.
- And if it’s pets you’ve got, a seat cover is great to have.
To make sure you car stays tidy, make sure to take out temporary items daily – what goes in must come out. Do a weekly trash clean out to keep it from building up. And seasonally, do activity gear swaps out of the trunk.