Our cars are like an extra room in our offices and homes. We take stuff into the car. Some things leave and others overstay and become clutter. We take care of work, errands, people and dogs. Like an office or a room in our home, we have technology devices, music, audio books and movies, all our creature comforts. The floors need vacuuming, windows need washing and mechanics need tending.
Yet, with all that activity and all the time we spend there, we don’t think of our car as another room to be taken care of.
Organize Your Car’s Interior
1. Every time you leave the car, take out what you brought in. This ride is over, so just as you finish a project on your desk and put things away, same idea here. If “every time” sounds like too big a step, make a simpler goal. For example: Clean out the car every Saturday morning before you start your weekend. Or every Sunday night to start your week.
If you are just back from a business trip or a vacation, bring everything into your home when you arrive. Put the suitcase right next to the washing machine. Take your office briefcase and computer/tablet right into the office and plug in the chargers. You’ll be much happier the next day.
2. In the garage, keep a recycle and trash bin located between the car and the door to the house. Less work and a great reminder.
3. Put an “errands box” in the back, to keep things together, until you’re ready to make the stop. Put a notepad up on the dash in sight, to write down the errands you need to do while you’re out: work post office box, deposit at bank ATM, returns, office supplies.
4. Buy a trash bin for inside the car to collect it all in one place. Once full, empty it when you stop for gas or else in the recycle/trash container at your house. Works because it gives you a physical limit.
5. Wash and vacuum: Use a recurring calendar appointment to remind yourself it needs to be done. Plan time for the week the reminder pops up. Similar concept to Fly Lady’s making your bed daily or cleaning the kitchen sink.
6. At the gas pump: do a quick cleaning of car windows and headlights, especially in mud and snow seasons.
7. Dog stuff? Keep it together. I use a recyclable shopping bag. When I have passengers, the bag can easily be tucked under the seat.
8. Children can help, especially if you are a role model. “Take everything you brought today,” is easier to say if you’re doing the same.
9. If you have a “way back” space that gets cluttered, go through it all and set aside all the things that need to stay in the car, because you use them often enough that it doesn’t make sense to carry them back and forth. See how much you have and find a container to fit.
10. Inside your house, on the way out to the car, designate a launching/landing pad. Put things that need to go out to the car so they have a temporary home. Also, use this space as you enter your home, hands and arms full. Drop off your pocketbook, briefcase, mail, bags, and so forth. Again, a temporary home, until you’re ready to deal with putting away things or handling the mail. Dramatically reduces kitchen counter clutter.
Organize Your Car: Next Steps
- Check off which of these 10 tips you’re already doing that work.
- Mark the ones you want to try.
- And remember, as you start to make changes, talk about them, so you’re not the only one on board with them.
I keep my house clean enough, but boy, my poor car. That would be my car that’s shared 130,000 miles with me. I think this article, written in response to a reader’s request may inspire me to do better and follow my own advice!