Today I want to look at how to keep on top of car clutter and organization. The clutter that is building up in cars right now is… well Covid Clutter, and it’s adding to our stress levels.
In 2014, I was a spokesperson for the launch of the new Honda Fit here in Toronto. The Ad campaign for the car focused on not where the car could take the passengers (countryside, city driving, concerts etc.) but on the fun the drivers could have in the car with it stationary. The ad campaign did not focus on driving at all – the car was the destination and party in and of itself.
Cars were designed to carry people, their pets, and their belongings but, particularly because of the current global health crises, they now function as mobile offices, nurseries, locker rooms, meditation rooms, and walk-in closets. So, regardless of whether your car is your “office on the go”, your “sanctuary” of peace and quiet, entertainment centre, or a vehicle of industry transporting family, shopping, and hobbies, it is getting a lot of use right now – whether it’s on the road or stationery. Indeed in a recent survey, they learnt that as a result of the current health crises more people are driving.
Tip 1: Keep storage flexible
In order to reduce clutter and free up space, you should only keep items in your car that you will either need in an emergency or use on a regular basis. In my experience, I have found it best to choose organizing solutions that are easy to carry and can be stored in multiple locations. These organizers can sit in, on, or beside the front or backseats, but easily go into the trunk when you need the seats to be clear. They can also be easily taken along with their contents, into the house.
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Tip 2: Organizing your PPE supplies
We all have to wear protective masks now. Some cities have mandated that they must also be worn in all public places. So, having all your masks and sanitizing supplies on hand in your car is a must. Let’s look first at what you might need to have on hand:
- Disinfectant wet wipes
- Garbage bags – Small (you can keep these in a Kleenex box or empty wet wipe container)
- Hand sanitiser – Large (for filling up the ones in all the door pockets)
- Isopropyl alcohol wipes (for phones and technology)
- Masks – Disposable (keep these in a zip-lock bag to keep them clean)
- Masks – Fabric (keep used masks in their own Ziplock bag so that you can take them in to wash).
- Disposable gloves (for filling up at the gas pump, etc.)
Make sure you have hand sanitiser in the pockets of each door of the car. For all your other PPE you should assign one place to keep it. Somewhere that keeps everything safe, clean, and accessible. A great storage option for personal protective supplies in the car is a Hanging Travel Toiletry Bag. They are compact, easily accessible, can be customized storage wise, and are easy to grab and go. Here’s an example of what I mean:
Or if your glove compartment is big enough (mine is tiny) commandeer it for this purpose. It will keep everything safely out of the way and is easily accessible.
Tip 3: Organizing your important car documents
The last thing you want to be doing in an emergency is fumble through the clutter for your registration and other important documentation. You need to have one place, easily accessible, for all things connected to the car.
- If your essential car documents are only a few pages long, invest in a Sun Visor Pouch to have them accessible.
- If you have additional papers to keep track of, consider a simple Expandable Organizer in your glove compartment, with tabs so you can find exactly what you need quickly and easily.
- If your glove compartment is being used for sanitizing and protective supplies, then put your important documents in the expandable organizer under the passenger seat.
Tip 4: Keeping your shopping organized
With the current health crises, you may be choosing the option of curbside pick-up. Because someone else is putting your groceries in your car you need to maintain a trunk that is tidy with enough room for the bags to be placed. The problem with regular plastic bags (beyond not being environmental) is keeping the bags from falling over and spilling their contents. Trunk Storage Nets are a good solution, as are Collapsible Trunk Organizers. Here are some products to bring order back into your “home on wheels”.
Tip 5: Add extra storage where you need it most
If you have children, your backseat is likely a magnet for messes and clutter. Toys, crayons, devices, snacks, socks… the list goes on, it’s probably scattered somewhere on the floor beneath a car seat. Keep the little ones’ items organized by installing a Backseat Organizer. These offer a variety of pockets and pouches for storing everything your child might need during their ride.
Tip 6: The mobile office in the car
The best way to manage a mobile office in the car is to have it all in one place.
I don’t do my actual work in the car, I bring my office with me into my client’s homes. In my case, it’s my organizing kit which I adapted from a Craft Trolley and I put it in the trunk of my car. When I get home, I take it up to my office where I have a cupboard it fits in. I have a client who is a personal trainer, and they keep the bulk of their supplies, paperwork, and resources in their trolly. It is also great if you are in sales.
If you need to have all your supplies on hand in the front of the car with you then a car Front Seat Organizer will fit securely to the passenger seat would be ideal for you.
If you work in your car, I do think it is important to invest in a car desk. They make working on the go so much more comfortable and efficient. There are Car Desks that attach to your steering wheel and can be stored or used in the back seats.
To be really connected and organized in the car you need to have hands-free connectivity for your phone. Our car does not have a built-in system. I wanted a device that also connected with Google so that not only can I ask my phone to call someone but I can also update my To Do’s and Shopping Lists easily. We purchased the Anker Bluetooth Receiver and it is fantastic.
Tip 7: The car as your sanctuary
I have a friend who has been working on the front lines since March of 2020. It’s not that he doesn’t love getting home after a long shift of caring for others, he does, but before he does he needs some alone time to process and leave the day behind him. Time to regroup, ground himself, get ready for a wardrobe change, clean-down, and he has to put the laundry on before he even gets to see his partner and pets. For him, his car has turned into a sanctuary for him. Create a Calm Kit that stays in the car (you can keep it under a seat). Get a small bag (like a toiletry bag you no longer use) and put items in it to help you with keeping calm and de-stressing after a long day.
A Calming Kit:
- A calming object or photo. What brings calm to you? It could be a poem, a photo of your loved ones, or crystals, pictures of nature. Whatever it is, place or tape it somewhere you can look at it. When you look at this object or picture take three slow deep breaths. Breath in the goodness it inspires in you. Reconnect with your breath.
- Aromatherapy car diffuser. These are wonderful for changing a mood quickly.
- Music. Create a playlist to help ground you, that creates a calming, peaceful vibe. It doesn’t even need to be music, it could be the sounds of nature or water.
- A Treat. Have some chocolate or a sweet thing that you can pop in your mouth to enjoy. When you are trying to de-stress and unwind it’s good to engage as many senses as you can, being present to the taste, the texture, and memories.
- Hand Cream. After a long day of washing hands and using disinfectant – not to mention the smell of it all, it is always a relaxing experience to apply hand cream.
- A pen and notebook. Just writing it all down helps with letting it all go so that when you enter your home you have left all the chaos of the day behind you.
Visit my Pinterest board for more tips and suggestions on keeping organized in the car. Check out some of my other posts on staying organized:
- Keeping the Family Organized in the Car
- Grief: Coming through the fog and keeping your business on track
- How to Start Decluttering
Free Professional Organizing Advice for you!
We could all use something to look forward to right now. I want to do something that will add value to your life, that would help you during these confusing and challenging times. When you are organized there is less chaos, less overwhelm.
An organized home can bring you a sense of calm, ground you, and help you feel more in control. It is one of the things that we can influence and control despite what’s happening in other areas of our lives or communities.
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- How do I declutter my makeup drawer?
- How to organize my students planning notes and supplies while teaching online