In today’s mobile society drivers in Arizona spend more time in their cars than they do in their living rooms. Even though you spend so much time in your car you don’t usually spend much time on housekeeping tasks. After a few weeks of daily commuting and carpooling, cleaning your car and organizing the items you cart back and forth can seem a daunting task.
It might take a while to organize your car at first if you’ve neglected it for a while. Once you have it cleaned and found a spot for everything that you need to take with you every day, it will be easy to keep up with the maintenance.
It will make for a more pleasant ride if your car isn’t overflowing with fast food wrappers, newspapers and even essential items. Here are five steps to take to get your clutter under control.
1. Grab a box and take everything out of the car. The best way to get organized is to start from scratch. Take everything out – music, floor mats, garbage, pens, paper, coffee mugs, etc. It’s even better if you have three boxes so that you can sort your items when you take them out of the car. One box for trash, one for items you use all the time and the third for items you need only occasionally. If you have items that don’t fall into one of those three categories store it in the house or garage.
2. Analyze your vehicle life. Before you can decide what you need to keep in your car and what you need to store, you need to determine how you use your car. Are you a parent who drives the kids to school and soccer practice? A salesman who spends the weekdays on the road? Do you use your car to take clients from location to location? Think about the items you need on a daily basis when you’re driving: Pens, paper, toll money, cell phone? Let these daily needs dictate what items you keep close at hand.
3. Rank the items. Now that you’ve cleaned the car out, and thought about your lifestyle when you’re in the car, it’s time to prioritize your three boxes of items. It’s obvious that you can toss your trash box. Look through the box of items that you determined you use every time, or close to every time you’re in the car. Find a designated area to keep pens, paper, coffee mug, cell phone and change for the tolls close at hand. When you get to the box of items that you use occasionally but maybe not daily such as — CDs, water bottles, extra clothes, shoes, books or magazines – put them in the backseat or trunk.
4. Contain it. Items that are rolling around your car are what lead to the mess you found yourself in. Also, if you have to brake suddenly, loose items can damage your car or injure a passenger. Next step is a trip to the department store to find storage containers to hold your items. You can purchase cargo containers ranging from leak proof trash bags, trunk organizers, pen and paper holders and entertainment centers for the kids’ items. Look for over the seat organizers if you need easy access to maps or other items but don’t need them on the seat next to you.
5. A place for everything. You’ve gotten your containers and have sorted the items you need. The test now is to be creative about storing items that need to be close at hand. Have allergies and need tissues but can’t find a spot for a box of them? Buy a travel size pack and put it in an unused cup holder. You need to keep your insurance documents and owner’s manual in the car, but they don’t necessarily need to be in the glove box. That is prime space for easy-access storage. Check around the car for nooks and crannies that can be used to store items that are useful but not needed every day, such as a first aid kit, jumper cables or road flares. Lastly, don’t put anything back into the car on the floor – unless it’s in a storage container specifically chosen for that purpose.
Before you load your car back up with the floor mats and storage containers why not take the time to give it a thorough vacuuming and interior washing? The next time you hop in you’ll be glad you took the time to clean and organize. It will make your next commute a more pleasant trip.