Some of us have messy cars that are full of clutter. Or maybe they don't really have much car clutter, just trash! Besides keeping things clean and somewhat organized, it is possible to get tickets in some states for having trash laying around in the car (the actual ticket would be for not having/using a trash bag)! Let's take a few minutes and see what we can easily do to declutter our cars.
Get Rid Of Trash
Seriously, the first step is to grab a trash bag and go through the car. Anything half eaten, half drank, etc, needs to go. Wrappers, old paperwork, receipts, all need to go. If it wasn't important enough to take out of the car, it is fine to through in the garbage. This should take you about 5 minutes.
Now that you have the trash out of your car, put a small trash bag into the car to keep yourself, and others, from dumping trash on the seats and floor. I recommend putting a grocery bag around the shifter. This keeps it handy and in sight - you will know when it is full and can grab it on the way out of the car and toss into a garbage can. Voila - no more trash!
If you don't like the idea of a grocery bag hanging around in your car, or you want to make things a bit more organized, consider using something like the behind the head rest litter organizers (check out the picture below). These can hold bags, litter, odds and ends, and make things easier to clean up. They are inexpensive and can really help if you have more than one or two items to deal with.
Get rid of any actual clutter in the glove box, side compartments, and trunk. This may not be trash, but it is clutter! Things like magazines, extra chapstick, multiple pairs of sunglasses, can all be taken out of the car. I know that I tend to cram things into the center console of my car when I'm in a hurry - time to take those things out so that we can use the space we have for things we might actually need:
- one pair of sunglasses
- car insurance and registration paperwork
- car manual
- phone charger
- napkins or towels for emergency use
Doing all of this should only take ten minutes. You should now have a cleaned up car - if you really want to go all the way take the time to wipe down the inside with something like a damp cloth to clean of the smooth surfaces, vacuum the interior, and give the outside a good wash. It's nice to drive around in a clean car that isn't full of clutter!
If you want to keep track of important items and things that you normally keep near the driver's seat, consider getting a console organizer or a glove box organizer. Both of these will save you time and reduce the amount of items that you find drifting through your car. If you limit yourself to keeping things in these organized areas you can keep your car clean and organized.
Last but not least, in terms of organizing, you might want to look into trunk organizers. If you regularly have items in the trunk (safety equipment, sports gear, groceries, etc) a trunk organizer can be a handy item to have. It can save you from the dreaded full trunk of junk and help keep things separated and easy to find. If you don't want to buy one you could fashion one out of wood or cardboard fairly easily, although prices these days on the trunk organizers are fairly reasonable.
After taking care of the cleaning, don't forget to make sure that you have the proper safety equipment. At a minimum you should have:
- Cables to jump start your car in the event of a dead battery
- Jack to elevate your car should you get a flat tire
- Tire iron to use on the nuts holding your wheel
- Flashlight or other light source - have you checked to see if the batteries are still good recently?