How I Organized my Car – Once and for All

A Jim Motavalli photo

A Jim Motavalli photo

So I’m gonna get a lil’ wild and take this organization business to the valley of the vehicles.

“Now that’s just crazy talk…”

Don’t fret my pet, this is an easier jump than you think! It might be easier than any room in your home because it’s totally contained. Therefore, you’ll be able to focus on it from start to finish without getting distracted by shiny objects in a room you’re passing through during an in-home clean up.

I used to be in my car on the road for several hours a day every day of the work week. I had lots of opportunities to compile trash, containers, snacks, paperwork, miscellaneous items all over the place.  That wouldn’t be so terrible, I guess, if it weren’t for occasional odd smells, the shame of having clients see my mini personal disaster  zone, and not feeling “together”. So by that, I mean, it was awful.

I finally adopted a shift in thinking and applied my home organizing into my auto world. Here’s how I did it;

  • Remove everything from your car.
  • Clean your car – always best to start completely fresh. It will give you an honest perspective of what you actually need to keep in your car going forward (no pun intended).
  • Throw out all the trash.
  • Decide what NEEDS to be in your car and what can be taken back into your home.
  • Once you’ve decided which items make the cut list, consider the most logical place within the built-in pockets your vehicle already contains. If your vehicle doesn’t have many built in storage spaces or perhaps they’re not large enough for whatever you need to store, consider purchasing an after market storage container.

Why? The most important reason is because you don’t want your things flying around when you need to make a quick stop or worse, get into a car accident. Loose items in the car can be like shrapnel if you’re in an accident. Best to have those items as secure as they can be. I’ve found some really great options here if you think you could use some extra storage. (*TIP* It’s not recommended to have any organizing/storage container sitting on a seat, especially the front seat, since this can seem like an invitation to people who have a knack for breaking into cars to find loot.)

All done, right?

Wrong. Cleaning and organizing is a great feeling. So great that you’d love to have that feeling of fresh and tidy EVERY time you jump into your whip. However, it doesn’t just stay like that without help. Do yourself a favor, and commit to maintaining it so that you can experience that victory every time you open that door. Here’s how you can stay ahead of cluttered car.

  1. Commit. Make the promise to yourself that you’re all-in for keeping your tidy mobile just that. Know that every time you get in your car, you’ll have that feeling of control, pride, and accomplishment. BONUS – it does happen that we can get hit with a surprise travelling guest for whom we didn’t have any warning/time to clean out our car ( this has TOTALLY happened to me…yes, I cozied up in my blanket of shame). How awesome would it feel if you were already prepared and surprise guest-ready every day!!!
  2. One in, One out.  Since you’ll be starting from scratch- a totally clean vehicle, you can implement this idea without any real effort. For every one item you bring in your car; a purse, bottle of water, coupons, fast food…take it out with you immediately when you leave your vehicle. If you can bring it in the car, you can take it out of the car. Any item that didn’t make the cut list doesn’t live in your car. So go put it where it does live; garbage, fridge, bookshelf, garage, etc. This will guarantee that your car never has the chance to breed clutter when you’re not looking.
  3. Wipe ‘er down. Since we’re all about the new habits, start reminding yourself to launch a wet wipe across your dash when it starts to gather dust. If a visual dusty reminder isn’t enough for you, put a 2 week reminder in your phone to give it a quick wiping. The real reason behind the bi-weekly wipe fest is that if you have an asset that is organized AND clean, you’re far more likely to take care of it and make sure it stays that way. Sometimes us human folk need those extra layers of motivation baked in. We live in a fallen world…whaddya gonna do?

As i mentioned, I’m not just assuming this is a good plan. I 100% implement this in my life. Here are some of the ways my new habit has paid off:

-I feel like a grown up

-I’m proud of myself

-I’m never embarrassed for anyone to get into my car; I’m actually proud because I know most people don’t cruise clean like I do;)

-If I drop something under the seat, I can always find it immediately

-My interior smells amazing

-My kids are adopting the idea of “one in, one out” without being told; this means they’ll be good at keeping their spaces organized at a far earlier age than I, giving them an advantage in life.

-I never have to panic in the parking lot, rearranging items in order to cram groceries into my car.

-I’m driving around in a clutter-free car so I can just relax and enjoy the ride. Literally!

I’d love to hear how it goes for you!

Sandra from TidyTime

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