As a child, my summers always included many hours in the car, whether traveling from swim practice to playdates to tennis lessons, or when my family loaded up in the van and traveled to the beach or out west to visit family members.
These days, I still spend a lot of time in my car; I consider it my second office, as I am often on the go from client to meeting to business event. Many of my clients spend more time than they would prefer in the car, and as a result deal with “clutter on wheels.” Here are some tips to keeping your car well organized and eliminating the clutter during these busy summer months, whether you are carting around the kids or traveling for business sake.
- Invest in a passenger seat organizer. For less than $30.00, you can find a tool that will hold laptops, cell phones, papers, water bottles, etc… And if your children tend to fight over the front seat, it solves that problem too; no one gets it!
- Set the limits. If your children tend to bring along toys, games, or stuffed animals to stay entertained while riding, have a rule regarding how many items can be in the car at one time. Before buckling up and taking off, have each child count their belongings to be sure the number has not been exceeded. Keep a laundry basket near the garage door or door used to enter/exit the house, so if there are too many items in the car, the excess can quickly be placed in the basket to be relocated in the house upon return.
- Bag it. Designate a consistent place to keep a garbage bag in the car. It can be as simple as a plastic grocery bag with the handle looped over the headrest, or a product sold for this purpose that fits in the console or on the car floor. Make a habit out of emptying it each time you are at the gas station, and 1 or 2 times throughout the week when you get home. This could be a great chore for the kids!
- Trunk Junk: A truck (or the back of an SUV/minivan) is a great space to store items, but is also has the potential of becoming a black hole. Just as I tell clients when organizing at home or in the office, large, undefined spaces must be divided into smaller areas to have purpose and function. Get creative and find some boxes or containers of different sizes (ex: plastic shoe and sweater boxes, cardboard paper boxes) that fit nicely in the trunk and that will not slide around while in transit. Label the boxes based upon the items that need to be in the car (not what you happened to find that was hiding in that black hole). For families, these categories may be sports equipment, rain gear, pool items, extra shoes/change of clothes. For the business owner, categories may include supplies (paper, notebooks, paperclips/stapler) or business marketing materials (extra business cards, flyers).
The golden rule to make these tips work for you is to set up the system, explain the system and the rules to your passengers, and maintain by not allowing extra items to find their way into the car, and checking on all areas every few days.
Let me know what car organizing tricks you use to travel in style!