Updated: Jul 16
Car organization is tricky because being prepared is so important when you are on the road...but with limited space too much stuff can create a lot of clutter. Organizing the essentials can help you feel calm and create systems the whole family . Here are my top hacks for intentionally choosing what you put in your car AND keeping it organized.
1-USE PHOTO BOXES TO CONTAIN THE NECESSITIES. Photo boxes fit nicely in most middle consoles. I label with items I typically use while on the go. I use the following categories for items kept in my middle console:
-First Aid & Medicine
-Sunscreen & Bug Spray
-Lotion/Lips & Sanitizer
-Hair/Scissors & Tweezers: I put a little water spray bottle in here as well which comes in handy for lots of things
-Cutlery & Wipes: have you ever gotten takeout to find that the restaurant forgot to pack a fork?
-Cords: extra charging cord, headphones, and aux adapters
2- KEEP SMALL VACUUM AND CLEANING SUPPLIES IN CAR. This has been a GAME CHANGER for me! When I go through the car wash, I pull out my handy microfiber towel with my mini spray bottle of my favorite Thieves cleaner, my window cleaning towel, my mini car vacuum, and I let my kids help clean the inside of the car WHILE the outside is being cleaned. It is AMAZING and feels so doable. Here is another car vacuum I like that is cordless.
3- USE ZIPPER POUCHES TO HOLD LARGER ITEMS AND PAPERS. I keep a zipper pouch in between my driver's seat and middle console to hold all coupons and gift cards I collect and a few favorite cds in these thin plastic sleeves. I also keep zipper pouches in my glove box. One holds cleaning rags and a small spray bottle of cleaner and the other holds important documents (ie: car manual, registration, and insurance info)
4- KEEP PERMANENT CAR TRASH BAG IN THE CAR. This way everyone knows where the trash goes (with a little reminding).
5- USE OVER THE SEAT CAR HOOKS. I love using these to get my purse off the ground. I use it to hang other bags, groceries, etc. They can also come in handy on road trips to give each kid a place for their own garbage sack, a landing spot for their headphones, etc.
6-KEEP ESSENTIALS IN PRIME LOCATION. This might look a little different for everyone...but my 3 top essentials are:
My phone mount that I love and keeps my phone hands free whenever I am in the car.
Post-its and pens. I keep them very accessible for easy notetaking while on the go.
Tissues. I just discovered these tissue boxes that fit very well in cup holders, I love that I can keep it low in my cup holder on the door, but it is super easy to grab a tissue.
6- KEEP A FEW EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS ITEMS. There are some items I keep back by my car jack and jumper cables, but items I keep up front in my glove box are: a few bottles of water, a few small tools (a tire gage and screw drivers), and a flashlight that doesn't run on batteries.
Note: There are so many possibilities and I know "essentials" are different for everyone. I only included items that are currently in my car and working for my family of 6 (4 kids ranging in age from 5-13). I did not include the following that I will sometimes bring along for outdoor activities and store in a less accessible place in my car.
-Garbage sack for wet/dirty clothes and shoes
-Jackets for each member of the family
-Reusable shopping bags
-A roll of toilet paper
-Emergency car tools: jack, jumper cables, tire chains, tool set, etc.
The principles I have learned from being a professional home organizer in Utah definitely carry over to car organization. The best way to reset is to take everything out, really think about what you use and need while in the car and then put it back in a way that is intentional, with products that work for your space. Then...labels are the icing on the cake! I promise you can do it too. I have had times where I have felt the shame of having a car that is completely overrun by children and messes, but following these principles has made all the difference!
Tell me... which hack are you going to implement? What do you do to keep your car organized?
Thanks for being here!
Jen is the founder of Reset Your Nest, Salt Lake City home organization company. She is a professional organizer and designer who believes that function and design can meet to create beautifully customized spaces that are easy to maintain.