This is How we Roll: Car Organization in the New Year

Between ferrying offspring to various activities (and all the accompanying soccer, swim or hiking accoutrements), eating on the go, and life in general, sometimes it feels as if we are living in our car. Before we had kids, I used to detail my car with a Q-tip and a special natural bristle brush. Minuscule flecks of dust, pieces of paper, and pollen were quickly whisked away on a regular basis. Nowadays, I feel like only a powerful high pressure hose will do the trick to make our mini-van habitable.

I have long thought that mini-vans were more prone to more mess than smaller vehicles.  It is like up-sizing your purse – the more stuff that fits in, the more you are likely to tote.

more passengers + more stuff =

However, since our family is currently assessing whether or not it is worth resuscitating our past-its-prime mini-van, I have been temporarily driving a sedan.  Recently I found myself thinking that the problem was that this car is just too small to stow everything, so it is a complete disaster.

Hmmmm, wait a minute.

I recognize that I can’t have it both ways – the minivan is too big, the sedan is too small. Yep, so the real problem is the passengers.  And, after reflection, perhaps the driver should take some ownership, too. So, at the risk of airing “dirty laundry”, our cars – no matter the size – have a high “yuck factor”.

The primary rule of organization, whether you are organizing your home, your office or your car, is not to let the junk get in the car in the first place.  Why is this so challenging?

As I inventory the contents of my vehicle, there are school projects, highly sought after treasures junk freebies from festivals, work papers, brochures from museum exhibits and the list goes on and on.

important&yuckystuffFurther complicating matters, there is a contraindication of important stuff that is supposed to be in your vehicle and having these essentials near yucky stuff.  You can read more about sticky situations and my lollipop principle here.  And the more stuff you have in the car, yucky or otherwise, the greater probability of important stuff getting messed up by yucky stuff.

So now what?

Let’s be clear: I don’t profess to have the answers.  Although my Car Organization Board on Pinterest (you can follow me here) demonstrates that there are many good suggestions out there for organizing your car, I need to stop pinning and start doing.

Here are 4 things I commit to remember as the New Year unfolds:

  1. Thoroughly clean out cars and detail.
  2. Install a storage system for toys and trash (see my Pinterest Car Organization board for suggestions that might work for you).
  3. Develop a habit of taking everything with us as we exit.
  4. Figure out rules and post in a prominent place in the car.

I have observed clean vehicles with children’s car seats in them.

It is possible. 

If you are one of those parents, please share your secret.  And if you are not, please leave a comment listing the most disgusting artifact you have excavated from your vehicle.