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Car Organization 101

If I'm being completely honest, car organization is something I've never been consistently good at. The key to success, I’ve found, is to spend a few minutes every single day maintaining it (we're talking 2-3 minutes max), and once a week, do a deeper dive into the nitty gritty. And I do mean gritty, my darling children are animals. Speaking from experience, there are some weeks where I could fully outfit one child, complete a craft project, and make a meal out of the goldfish and loose fruit snacks I find. The joys of motherhood...

Ready to roll? (See what I did there?) Here are Simplified KC’s Top 7 Tips for Keeping Your Car Organized plus my favorite products for keeping your car tidy:

1. Spend 15 minutes/week taking a deeper dive

I recently purchased a monthly membership to a Car Wash/Vacuum service that I use about once a week to wash/clean out my car. This DIY service pays for itself after two uses as I have unlimited access to car washes + DIY vacuums at the end of the line. The key component here is vacuum. Whether it's a shop vac in your garage or a membership, throw away any trash, then clear out the crumbs/debris that has accumulated over the week. After you vacuum, wipe down all surface with a dust rag or wipe. If you have time, follow-up with glass cleaner to get rid of fingerprints and smudges from kids + pups.

There's something about a clean car that completely changes my state of mind. We spend lots of time here, and the good news is that these "spaces" are smaller than most in our homes, making the task much less daunting.

2. Pro Tip: Keep a designated trash container in the car.

For an inexpensive hack, purchase a clear, plastic cereal container and line it with a small trash bag to collect wrappers and junk. This inexpensive option 100% changed my car organization game and the trash that ended up stuffed in my door’s console was completely gone. I keep mine between the console and the snap-on lid gives me easy access to toss items as well as keep them securely contained until I empty it.

For larger trash (ahem, Chik-fil-A bags if you're my family...), gather it immediately and throw it away when you get home. Encourage your kids to do the same.

3. Contain loose items in a container in your trunk.

Organize the belongings in your trunk with a collapsible, hard sided bin like this one. Storing items in a bin or divided container prevents them from rolling around. Soccer balls, baseballs and gloves, and a quilt for impromptu park hangs are staples in our car. While I prefer the hard-sided option, there are also great collapsible, soft-sided versions too. By giving items a place to live in your trunk, it keeps them from piling up. Once a week, go through your trunk and put away anything that doesn't need to live there permanently.

4. Take advantage of your headrests

I'm a huge fan of using hooks like these as hangers for your purse or other bags. Not only will the bottom of your tote stay clean, but if you have to stop quickly, the items inside won’t go flying forward. We’ve all been there, haven’t we? These are inexpensive but mighty - I don't know how I survived for so long without them!

5. Be Prepared

My family keeps an emergency kit in the trunk containing First Aid items, wet wipes, an umbrella, reusable grocery bags, blankets, and a flashlight. Bonus: a quarter for Aldi - because darnit sometimes I just forget...

Think about your family's stage of life. Maybe for you items include diapers, extra changes of clothes, and snacks that won't melt. Whatever your kit includes, make it functional. I can't tell you how many times we've needed these items in a pinch and I was so glad I planned ahead.

6. Don't forget about the glovebox

Organize important documents like insurance, registration, maintenance documents and receipts, extra Bed Bath & Beyond coupons (just me??) in your glovebox using an accordion folder like this one. Instead of keeping them in a loose stack, I label the tabs to make finding papers a breeze. Since I've organized these items, I haven’t been pulled over (knock on wood!) but if I do - you'd better believe I can put my hands on that proof of insurance in 15 seconds flat.

7. The front seat essentials

This portable seat organizer is my absolute favorite way to store the loose items I use daily in my car. My paper planner, extra sunglasses, a notebook, pens, and water bottles for the kids are all stored within easy reach. It was inexpensive and a great way to keep things from rolling around on the front seat.

There you have it, the Simplified KC guide to car organization. Like anything, it takes a little work, but with a few minutes a day and some weekly routine maintenance, your car will be clean, organized, and your sanity restored. What are your favorite tips and tools for keeping the car organized?

Please note: I do use affiliate links on my blog and make a small commission each time you purchase something through one of my links. Thanks for reading, I so appreciate your support! As always, all opinions are my own.

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