SC Johnson Family Economics Blog
Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Organize Your Car | Family Economics

By Trisha

On-the-go kids mean on-the-go taxi driving moms who spend half their lives living in their cars, taking their adorable children from one activity to the next. This often results in a car filled not only with children but litter, remnants of clothing, sports equipment, books and other miscellaneous items creating a disaster on wheels and possibly leaving an over-driven taxi driver feeling less organized in her car then even in her home.

This is how I keep my car organized:

• First, we need to de-clutter and clean out our cars. Start by completely emptying out your car into three bags or boxes: one for garbage, one for items that don’t belong in your car and one for items that will be kept in your car once the clean-out process is finished.
• Empty out your entire car, glove box, center console, check underneath the seats, trunk or cargo areas. Search every area of your car for items that need to be de-cluttered.

Everything has a place:
• Decide what items are your “must haves” in the car and decide the best location for them.  For example, antibacterial wipes should go where the driver can reach them (middle console or glove compartment). An extra blanket could be stored in the trunk or cargo section of your vehicle.
• Have designated places so your kids know where to store items like CDs and snacks; if you give things a home everyone is more likely to return items to their homes when not in use.
• Use an empty paper towel tube to stuff plastic grocery bags in for a handy supply of garbage bags in your car.
• Use Ziploc® Brand Bags to store items. You can store items like your car manual, insurance card and registration all in one bag to easily access when in need.
• Use old lunch boxes to store a supply of kid friendly snacks and drinks.
• You might want to purchase CD/DVD holders for your visor, or back seat organizers, cargo containers, over the seat organizers or leak proof garbage containers.

Must haves:
• Glove compartment
o Insurance card
o Car registration
o Car manual
o Maps
o Small first-aid kit
o Flashlight

• Center console
o Paper, ink pen, permanent marker
o Sunglasses
o Spare money ($5 to $10 for emergency use)
o Cell phone charger
o Lotion
o Lip balm
o Antibacterial wipes/napkins
o Tissue

• Trunk or cargo space
o Emergency car kit – flares, jumper cables, tools, etc.
o Spare tire
o Fix a flat tire repair (comes in a spray can)
o Extra blanket
o Umbrella
o Snack box with water bottles and non-perishable snacks
o De-ice spray
o Ice scraper
o Cargo containers (laundry baskets work too)

• Extras:
o Disposable camera
o Extra feminine products, nail file, hair ties
o Bag of kitty litter for snow traction in winter months
o Paper towels
o Rags
o Baby wipes for quick clean-ups
o Small bin filled with kids travel toys

Passenger rules:
• Teach your children what they carry into the car they must carry back out of the car when coming home each day.
• Once a week do a litter and misplaced item clean-up in your car and re-organize anything out of place.

Hope you enjoy driving your children around in a clean and organized car!

11 Comments so far

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On Sunday, April 10, 2011, Prepared mama in Tacoma wrote

Even though my youngest is now 4 years old I keep a packed "diaper bag" in the car with extra clothes just in case of a bathroom accident. I also keep extra socks & tena shoes in case of an unplanned stop at the park. I also keep an extra sweatshirt.

On Sunday, April 10, 2011, mom in WA wrote

My third row folds flat to make cargo space so I put a tarp secured with velcro on the back of the seat so that the carpet does not get dirty when the stroller is placed on it.

On Sunday, April 10, 2011, M&M in Tacoma wrote

I have an SUV with 2 back rows....I use the grocery plastic bags as garage bags in each row including one within reach of me while driving. This has REALLY cut down on the amount of garbage on the floor or stuffed in the seats

On Sunday, April 10, 2011, M in WA wrote

Just came up with this idea today as I was at the park & noticed garabage by the play area.....garbage bags & rubber gloves so I can pick up the garbage while my kids play....what a great example this would be for my kids to see that even if we are not the ones littering we still need to partcipate in keeping the places we want to play at clean :)

On Sunday, April 10, 2011, Michelle in Tacoma wrote

I keep full size garbage bags (kitchen) in the car especially during football & soccer seasons....never know how muddy the kids will be coming off the can put them on your seats & floor to protect the car from the mud or if they are able to change onsite put all their dirty clothes in it.

On Sunday, April 10, 2011, Michelle in Tacoma wrote

I also keep sesonal thing in the car. Winter extra gloves & kids caps; summer sunvisor, hats, suncreen

On Sunday, April 10, 2011, mom of 3 in Tacoma wrote

Thanks for your ideas & lists of things to have in the car....I need to put some in mine!!

On Sunday, April 10, 2011, Organization in WA wrote

I have a HUGE center is very deep....I was able to find an organizer with 6 sections in it at Fred Meyer in the car section. I use the six sections: napkins, lip balm & lotion, first aid, personal hygiene & cosmetics, notepad & pens.

On Sunday, April 10, 2011, momisbestjob in Tacoma wrote

I baby toy rings to hang bags on the grab holds inside the door...restraunt bag, snack bag, activity bag, etc....

On Thursday, March 31, 2011, @ycock#4 in the harbor wrote

Thanks Neighbor ;) I really can use some of these, especially the empty paper towel, for extra garbage bags to use later, when needed ;) Like the picture of your vehicle, no mini-vans?

On Wednesday, March 30, 2011, Leslie from Port Orchard wrote

Thanks for the great tips! Now I just need someone to go do it for me. :) You know what they need to invent... is a hand santizer that fits in your cup holder. I have to use a tic tac box to hold it in place. :)


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