My Car. My Family’s Home away from Home.

Clutter bothers me. Trash and garbage annoy me. Messiness irritates me. Ironically, for those of us who have children and/or spend any amount of time in our car over let’s say, an hour a week, all of these icky things are inevitably found in our cars. Did you know that average North Americans spend an average of over an hour a day in their cars?

J.D. Power and Associates, in its latest annual survey of what car buyers like about their new vehicles, highlighted the center console as one of the top frustration points for drivers because it either isn’t big enough to store items like a purse or fails to offer the kind of organizational slots people most want for small gadgets, says Mike VanNieuwkuyk, executive director of global automotive for J.D. Power.

Some days, my car doubles as a living room, a dining room, kitchen and of course a change room. So how can this tiny space (I have a 2015 Nissan Versa Note – not huge by any standards but more than adequate for our needs) avoid becoming a garbage bin on wheels?

Here’s how.

1. A car ‘trash can’ is a MUST. The size and location of this is completely up to you and what will work best for your car type and passengers. I found that any type of bin on my floor gets knocked over or kicked, so for me, the over the seat type works best. And those suckers can hold quite a bit so don’t be concerned! This one is hands down my fave: The Original Auto Litter Bag. But head to Walmart or even the local dollar store, guaranteed they will have something that will get you on your way to car-cleanliness!

2. Wipes. You are buying them for your bathrooms for quick cleaning and makeup removers anyways! Keep a pack in your glove compartment! They are invaluable for cleaning dirty hands and faces, those pesky ice cream drips that land on your seat-belt or the orange juice that spilled on the gear shift…

3. The “I Wish I Had A…” Kit. You can customize this to suit the needs and gender of your kids, where your regular driving routes and schedules take you.. this kit works for the busy mom and teen girls on the go…store everything in a neat little bag from the Dollar Store and tuck it away in your glove compartment!
a) Pony tail holders
b) Bobby pins
c) Halls or other sore-throat remedy
d) Tylenol
e) Money (at least some loonies and toonies just in case)
f) Mints or Gum
g) Band-aids
h) Tide stain pen
i) Headphones

4. Toiletry Hanging Organizer. Pick up one of these handy-dandy hangers (again at the Dollar Store) and loop over your seat as an instant organizer for things like pens, papers, water bottles, sunscreen, kleenex, sunglasses…

5. Empty Laundry Basket. This one is my favourite tips! Put an empty laundry basket in your trunk for grocery bags (do one trip instead of 5 when bringing them in the house) or use it as a catchall for clothes, mitts, random books, papers etc. It all goes into the basket and into the house at least once a week and everyone is responsible for grabbing their items from the basket and re-homing them as necessary!

Stay strong, stay organized and stay diligent. Your car will thank you for it!

Leslie McBride

Full-time working single mom to human kids, full-time slave to furry kids. Advocate of volunteering for the whole family, hater of cooking, lover of cooking shows. Secret dream is to one day pen a book of my very own...

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