6 Tips to Keep Your Car Organized and Clean
When you first got your car, each crumb, receipt, jacket and water bottle was ushered quickly out of its confines and into your home (or the trashcan). However, that immaculate, near-sterile level of care you used to provide your automobile – not the case anymore.
Cars often become dumping sites and end up a bit grimy (adios, new car smell!). Lucky for you, if you make a few changes, you can maintain a clean, organized vehicle without traumatic monthly clean-outs.
1. Utilize Organizational Tools
If you’re the type of person who has a personalized organizational system thatoften results in announcing things like, “I know exactly which stack that’s in – I have a refined system!” as people look on in horror, it’s time to make a change, preferably to a system that evokes smiles from onlookers. Consider the bevy of interesting items that will make your life easier:
- Sticky Dashboard Mat: A wonder product. This vinyl- or gel-like pad (looks similar to a mouse pad) sticks to your dashboard. The surface is tacky to the touch, so you can place your cell phone or iPod on it without it falling to the floor. And don’t worry – it doesn’t leave a sticky residue on your belongings.
- Tidy Cups: What’s that on your floor? Pens? Glasses? A random lollipop? Slip hanging cup organizers into your cup holders for a place to stow all of those little items.
- Seat Back Organizers: Those bigger items that roll around in the backseat – think children’s toys, compact umbrella, packaged snacks and everything in between – will fit nicely in a seat back organizer. It’s like an apron for the back of the seat with ample pocket room for odds and ends.
- Trunk Dividers: Whether it’s groceries or cleaning tools, a trunk divider offers compartments so your larger items remain organized (and in place).
- Kits/Toolboxes: First aid materials? A jack and a lug wrench? Collect these loose items into separate containers for safe keeping and easy access.
2. Designate Organizational Zones
Organizing your car doesn’t just mean shoving everything out of sight. When you know where everything belongs, it makes keeping your car neat – and finding what you’re looking for – a total breeze. For example:
- Glove Box: Manuals, registration and insurance card
- Console: Tech accessories (chargers, adapters), tissues and gum/breath mints
- Door Compartment: Maps, atlas and travel literature
3. Tidy Up Your Music Library
Eighty-seven CDs in the front seat of your car does not make for an organized space. Place your CDs into an organizer. Use portfolio style cases that sit on the floor or keep them close with visor organizers. Or, go modern and move your entire collection onto an iPod or MP3 player for major space saving.
4. Set A Schedule
If you keep telling yourself you’ll empty your car of various unnecessary items (the blanket for the picnic two Saturdays ago, perhaps?), you might find it’s still there in three months. Set a simple schedule. Really simple. Like, “I’ll straighten up my car every Friday and wash it Saturday morning.” This method truly works wonders.
5. Tote Cleaning Products
Carry your cleaning products with you, and you’ll actually clean your car. And waiting to spot-treat a coffee spill until nine hours after the fact when you finally get home from work or school? Not very effective. Items to consider:
- Paper towels
- Window cleaner
- Small vacuum/dust buster
- Carpet stain remover
6. Wash It!
Don’t wait for the rain to do it – it never comes out quite as sparkly! You have a bunch of options for getting the car cleaned. Spend a little extra, and you don’t even have to lift a finger.
- Professional: The priciest on this list, but bringing your car to a car wash with real people is the most thorough you’re going to get. Professionals will clean your car inside and out, and they happen to have the right products on hand.
- Drive-Thru: You never even have to get out of your car! Pay at the automated machine (typically $10 or less) and enjoy the suds as you drive through.
- DIY: In your own driveway or at a pull-in stall that operates on quarters. Either way, your car will get a nice scrub down.
- Scented Car Freshener: Throw one of these into your car for good measure. A freshly scented car completes the package.
Unless you’re really into waxing on and waxing off, cleaning your car is likely not high on your list of fun things to do. However, by keeping up with organization and cleaning on a regular basis, it will simply become a part of your day (and you just might start to wonder how your car remains so orderly and shiny – must be magic!).