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Car Clutter – Where does it all come from?
Car clutter has become a big probably for our family. How about for you?
If you are a mom, it is pretty much a given that you spend a good amount of time in your car during your day. It can also probably be assumed that at this very moment you have a decent amount of clutter sprinkled throughout your vehicle like confetti. Only there was never a party. That is unless you consider driving four screaming kids home from soccer a party. In that case you need to have some adult time and fast!
I know how hard it is to keep a car free from clutter when you are on the go. Whether you are running errands, dropping off at school, going to play dates, or picking up from sports & activities, you are always accumulating things throughout the journey. There is always something coming into my car on a daily basis– gas receipts, food, toys, books, sports bags, but yet
nothing seems to ever come out of the car. It piles up and piles up until someone (me) can’t take the mess anymore and starts threatening that everything is getting thrown out. Cue the kid tears.
Trash vs. Useful items
As I begin my journey to make life more manageable for our family, I am quickly learning that you can’t start organizing directly from a mess. First of all you need to clean out the clutter. Now, when I begin to tackle a new area I pull everything out of the location. I put everything into piles of Keep, Trash, Recycle, Donate, etc. Then I can assess the situation. If you haven’t done so yet, make sure to check out my Quick Guide to Cleaning Up your Car in 10 Minute Intervals, before diving into these tips. It will show you how to clean and assess your biggest clutter traps and obstacles, so that you can implement these hacks quickly. You need to be able to separate the useful items for your car from the not so useful. Once you weed out what does not belong in your car, you can assess the pile and come up with ways to store the necessary items effectively.
Car clean and ready to go?
Check out the hacks I applied this weekend. I had most of the supplies I needed in my house, with the exception of three items. Once I had everything in hand, it took me all of five minutes to put everything in place.
8 fool proof ways to conquer car clutter in under 5 minutes!
1. Container for pens/crayons
If you have spent some time on my site, you are probably aware of the fact that I live by lists. I always have a pen and paper on hand to jot down ideas. I have lists for things I need to buy, to-do items for the day, etc. This is very helpful in keeping me on task, but it also leads to having pens spread all over the house and car. It is one of the things that drives my husband the most crazy about me. It should be no surprise then to know that I found a total of 14 pens spread around the car when I cleaned it out during my decluttering mission.
I needed a designated storage place for pens, so that I could easily access them and keep track of how many I was accumulating in the car. I had this extra wipes container down in the basement, just waiting for the perfect thing to hold and viola! Now I have a perfect pen container that I can store in the center console! (30 seconds)
2. Storage Dispenser for Trash
I know this little plastic cereal container is going to be a life saver for cutting down on clutter. I popped a plastic bag in there and closed the lid. Now all those dirty tissues, snack wrappers, and lollipop sticks have a home. Sure they will still probably be thrown on the floor during your trip, but when you get to your destination, have everyone pick up their trash, pop open the flip top and put it in the bin before exiting. (30 seconds)
Bonus tip: I wedge the container under the passenger seat to keep it from sliding around while driving
3. Receipt Envelope
I can’t blame the kids for ALL the clutter in our car. Gas, Chik-fil-A and Target receipts have a way of multiplying in my front console. I save certain receipts, so I got a coupon organizer to store them and dropped it in the center console of the car. A paper envelope would work just as well. If you don’t save receipts, throw them out in your new car trash can. (10 seconds)
4. Backpack storage for each child
If your children are anything like mine, they want to bring a toy with them every time they get in the car. They play with it for the duration of the car ride and then drop it on the floor to be forgotten for days. I needed a designated place for them to place their toys when they were done. Therefore they wouldn’t wind up on the floor and we would remember to bring it back inside when we got home. I am not a fan of the clear shoe organizer idea on the back of the car that I have seen on Pinterest. There are way too many pockets that they could fill up with junk and since they are clear I’d have to look at that visual clutter every time I strapped them in. No thanks!
I took one of each of their old school backpacks and put it in the car. I told them that they are allowed to keep three items in there. If they want to bring in a new toy, they have to exchange it for one of the three things in their bag. No exceptions! When we get to our destination, they need to put their toy back in the backpack. If they will need to be entertained on the outing, they have the option of bringing the backpack with them when we arrive. When we return home it stays in the car. This takes some reminding, but it is working. See the next tip for how I attached them to the seats. (1 minute)
I love carabiners! They are a great little organizing tool. We only have a hook on the back of one of our front seats, so attaching one of these to the headrests allows for an easy place to hang each child’s backpack. Take the carabiners out of the package and hook them on. Easy peasy! (30 seconds)
6. Laundry Basket for the trunk
This is one of the simplest hacks, but yet I can see it being such a lifesaver for containing clutter or fragile items. I have had my share of sports gear falling on tomatoes, flowers and other delicate things that I have placed in the back of my car, so this should help prevent that. Now if I buy anything that damages easy, it can go right in this protective container. If I am grocery shopping, I plan to put my freezer food and meat bags in the basket. Then when I get home, I can carry the whole basket inside to quickly get them to the freezer. When the basket is not in use, I store my reusable grocery bags and a blanket or two in there. Chuck one in the back and you are done. (20 seconds)
7. Cupcake liners
I cannot take credit for this as I saw it in a magazine, but I loved this idea. Cup holders have a way of getting funky fast and they are not the easiest to clean. Have you ever tried cleaning melted lollipop out of one? Trust me, it sucks! Your cup holders should be wiped out and clean at this point if you followed my 10 minute interval car cleaning tips. From here get a package of silicone cupcake liners and place them in all your cup holders. Quick, easy and pretty. For my son’s car seat, I found that our cleaned out chobani yogurt cups were the perfect fit and were easier for my son to handle. I love when I can upcycle. Win, Win! (1 minute)
8. Spice container for change
We probably have about $5 in change floating around in our minivan at any given time. I don’t know where it all comes from, but I recently upcycled this little spice container to hold our change. It is one of my favorite car hacks yet! Drop it in the center console and you now have a place for all those loose coins that accumulate. (30 seconds)
Want to know how to easily get sticky labels off of jars and containers like this one? My post on How to Easily Remove Glue Residue and Labels from Jars and Containers will show you how.
Car clutter will always exist, but organizing it will save you time and help decrease potential stress in the long run. What car clutter hacks have you found helpful? Share below. I’d love to hear from you!