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Messy Car?  Here’s How to Get it Under Control.  
By Monica Resinger

Speaking from experience, I understand how easy it is for your vehicle to 
become an out-of-control mess.  You use it to go shopping, traveling, visiting 
friends and family, pick the kids up from school, get to work and back and 
more.  All this results in empty soda cans, shoes and socks, French fries, 
hamburger wrappers, chip bags, receipts, loose change and who knows what else 
rolling around in your vehicle.  

This is not only embarrassing (if someone is allowed to see it) but it can slow 
things down when you can’t find what you’re looking for and can make you 
unappreciative or resentful of your vehicle. Wouldn’t you rather have a nice 
clean car with everything in its place?

It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking it’s too hard to keep your vehicle 
clean and organized but really, it isn’t difficult if you apply a few ‘rules of 
the road‘.  To get on the ‘road’ to recovery, begin applying these rules:

~ When you g
et home or to your destination, be sure everything that doesn’t belong in the 
vehicle comes out of the vehicle.  I know, you’re tired and don’t feel like 
doing it right when you get home, but you’re most likely not going to feel like 
it tomorrow either so get it over with now.  Tell everyone that what they bring 
into the car they bring out of the car the same trip and be sure everyone 
follows this. If your kids want to take items with them, have them put the 
items into a backpack or tote bag.  This will make it easier for them to bring 
in the house when you get home. It will take a little effort to begin with but 
after a while, it becomes a habit for everyone.  

~ If you stop for fast food and eat in the car, be sure to throw the garbage 
away in the restaurant’s garbage can before leaving the parking lot.  This not 
only saves your garbage space but also leaves you one less thing to do when you 
get home.  

~ Always have a garbage bag in the car.  You might even want to include one in 
front and one in back.  Tell everyone the only place garbage is allowed is in 
the bags and they are not to set it anywhere else even if it is only 
temporary.  Good triggers to empty your bag are when you are getting gas, going 
shopping or stopped at a rest area or fast-food place.  All of these places 
provide garbage cans and it’s a great reminder to get rid of it.

~ It’s helpful t
o carry a whiskbroom and pan to clean as you go.  Also, keep some rags and a 
spray bottle of all-purpose cleaner to wipe things up as they happen.  Replace 
the rags as needed.

~ On road trips, make it a habit at every rest stop to do a quick clean up of 
the vehicle.  Dump the garbage in the cans provided, wipe spills or dust, put 
things in their places and sweep it out.  

Now, get your car organized.  

The best way to organize your car is to be sure that everything is in it is 
needed in the car. So the first step would be to go through what you have in 
the vehicle and decide if each item is necessary. It helps to have 3 
containers, boxes or bags to sort the items into. One container for garbage, 
one for items you don't want and can give to charity and one for items that 
belong in the house. Anything you want to keep in the car set to the side for 
the time being. 

Once you have sorted through everything, take the garbage container to the 
garbage, take the charity bag to the charity and put you household items in the 

Now organize what's left - hopefully it isn't too much because cars don't have 
much storage space. If you find the glove box or other containing places in the 
car aren’t roomy enough for what you have left, then you might want to double 
check your items and be sure you really need and want them in the car.  If so, 
you could go to the store and look in the automotive section for car or
ganizers. There are a lot of different vehicle organizers on the market. I 
noticed they are now carrying an over-the-seat organizer for children’s and 
other items.  The important thing to remember is that whatever you decide to 
keep in the car, be sure it has a home. 

What should be in the car?  First I’ll tell you the must-haves.  In the glove 
box, you should have current insurance card (if you don’t keep it in your 
billfold), vehicle registration and vehicle maintenance book.  In the trunk you 
should have a spare tire, jack, lug wrench, and battery jumper cables.  

There are many other helpful things you could store in your car such as a first 
aid kit, flashlight, screwdriver, etc.  It’s up to you what you decide is 
helpful when you’re using your vehicle.  If you keep a lot of tapes or CD’s in 
the vehicle, consider keeping 4 or 5 at a time in the car then rotating them 
from the house.  

To summarize, it doesn’t take that much effort to keep your vehicle neat and 
clean.  Establish ‘rules of the road’, what you want in the car and places for 
these items and you’ve got it made!

For more tips for getting organized, check out this e-book:
Guidebook for Getting and Staying Organized:

Monica is the founder Homemaker's Journal E-publications, the growing home of 
many fun and informative home and garden e-books, tip sheets, articles and 
Get a FREE Slowcooker Recipe E-book when you subscribe to Monica's FREE e-zine 
for homemakers!  To subscribe and receive instructions for picking up your FREE 
e-book, just send a blank e-mail to:  [EMAIL PROTECTED]

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