HomeOrganized TravelOrganizing Your Car – The Essential Spring Cleaning Guide

Organizing Your Car – The Essential Spring Cleaning Guide

20140320-Car-Organizing-3So many of us feel like we “live in our cars,” yet we don’t pay nearly as much attention to maintaining them as we do our homes. Now that spring is finally in sight, it’s time to wash all signs of winter off our vehicles. You can get your car organized, too, with these tips for bringing the fresh start of spring-cleaning outside to your ride.

If you’re a person who enjoys getting in some outdoor physical activity and saving a few bucks at the same time, then you may be familiar with the DIY carwash routine. Whether you do it yourself or bring your car to the pros, once you’ve got the outside washed and the paintjob shining, follow these easy steps to get an organized interior to match:

Gather a few baskets or bins for inside your car, and a few more for the trunk; small individual containers with lids work best. And you’ll need a visor-clipped CD holder (if that’s how you roll). Next, remove everything from the interior or the car that isn’t tied down and throw away all garbage. Go through whatever is left, and determine what needs to be kept in your car, and what should be stored elsewhere. Use the bins to carry those items inside your home or office, returning them back to their original storage location.

Sort and group everything that is to be returned to your car into the following suggested categories:

  • Emergency roadside supplies: first-aid kit, jumper cables, flashlight, etc.
  • Sports gear for your regular gym visits or scheduled games
  • CDs, kids’ toys
  • Occasional items: a blanket, umbrella, reusable grocery bags
  • Essential items: pens, paper, tissues, hand sanitizer, vital records (registration, insurance)

Start by organizing the prime real estate that is your glove compartment. This space should be reserved for your most important items, and kept clear of clutter, so you never have to dig for the following items when you need them:

  • Proof of insurance and car registration
  • Car’s owners manual
  • Garage door opener
  • Mobile phone charger
  • Small flashlight
  • Pen and paper

If you have a center console, you can use it to stash personal items such as tissues, hand sanitizer, gum, and a coin purse with loose change. Use one of the lidded container or a zipped pouch to organize smaller items, so they don’t migrate into cracks and crevices.

There’s a fine line between having what you need on hand and getting overrun by STUFF! Keep clutter at bay by setting boundaries: allow your kids two items (OK, maybe three) each and store them in a designated tote, seat back or door pocket, where they can be easily accessed. Similarly, set limits on your non-essential items, and put a cap on the number of CDs you carry in the car at any given time. Better yet, just use your mobile phone to play music and ditch the CDs all together.

Items that can be stowed neatly in a bin or basket that will be returned to the interior of your car include occasional items like an extra baseball hat or umbrella, and a collection of reusable grocery bags for any impromptu shopping trips. Use the remaining bins to keep your trunk in order, separating roadside assistance and emergency items like jumper cables and flares from gym bags and sports gear.

As with any area of your home that you wish to keep organized, the best way to maintain a newly organized space is a little at a time. Each time you stop for gas, take a few minutes while the pump is on to gather any collected trash and toss it! Then make it a habit to spend five minutes at the end of the week to remove any items that don’t belong in your car and put them away in their proper place. Make sure whatever remains has a designated bin or bag it belongs in.

Extending your spring organizing efforts to your vehicle will help you get jump on the season. If you have any tips for keeping your car clutter under control, please share them in the comments below.


Written by

Certified Professional Organizer®, Scott Roewer is founder of The Organizing Agency, a professional organization and productivity company devoted to teaching residential and business clients how to increase productivity, save money, and how to live a more organized and abundant life.

An award winning company, in 2013, The Organizing Agency was once again awarded the Angie’s List Super Service award, in 2012 the National Association of Professional Organizers recognized Scott with its top honor, the Founders’ Award, and later the same year, the U.S. Air Force commended his volunteerism, naming him Joint Base Andrews “Hometown Hero.” For more information on Scott’s team and how they can help you, contact the office online or call us directly at 202-249-8330.



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