by Susan McCarthy
Everyday practice: Set a regular time to tidy your car each week so things don't get out of hand.
It can be all too easy to treat our vehicles as storage for things we don’t quite know what to do with. However, it isn’t fun (or safe) to have items rolling along the floor or becoming potential projectiles if we hit the brakes.
A car salesman acquaintance told me about a woman who returned to the dealer after buying a car because she couldn’t figure out some of the functions. The two of them couldn’t sit in the car at the same time because she had filled the backseat and passenger seat with so much stuff that it couldn’t be easily moved – within two days of spending thousands of dollars on a new vehicle!
I was flabbergasted by the story and I felt sad for this woman. She made a huge investment in a car that she wasn’t treating well from the start. If she ever got into a car accident, would irreplaceable items or papers get strewn over the road? How much time did she waste each day trying to find things? Had she ever tried (on her own or with someone’s help) to purge unnecessary items or sort items into the many specialized organizing tools made especially for cars?
Let’s face it, driving can be stressful so keeping the environment of the vehicle as calm and organized as possible can release a bit of the tension that comes when you take a turn and then hear something in the car tip over and roll into something else.
What to Keep in Your Vehicle
What items you keep in your car all the time really depends on who drives in the car, where you live, how much driving you do, and where you travel. If you do a lot of driving with kids, then keeping toys, games, and other forms of entertainment will be useful (and you’ll have something to bring into waiting rooms and restaurants).
What’s useful when driving far distances might not be necessary when your daily drives are close to home. If you’re not certain what would be useful to keep in your car, you can purchase emergency supply kits and augment them with additional items you find appropriate or assemble suggested items (like from this list on the AAA website) based on your needs.
Two or four times a year, you’ll want to check your inventory of non-perishable food, water, first aid supplies, batteries, lightweight jackets, and anything else that may have been used.
Schedule a reminder in an online calendar or on a paper calendar so you don’t have to think about checking on these supplies. Of course, you can also link this activity to decluttering your car.
Declutter Your Car
If you won’t have enough time to declutter your entire car at one time, you can think of different areas of your car and aim to do one each day.
Your car is a small space and so the clutter can quickly make the space feel chaotic. Figure out a system that works for you – a quick declutter each week or every few months.
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Susan, chief (and only) organized squirrel at A Less Cluttered Life, loves learning and sharing information about organizing, productivity, and habits. She also likes reading young adult novels, crocheting, and spending time with her cat and husband in their riverside home in Massachusetts.