These days, many of us are in our cars A LOT less often, which might be a great or not-so-great development, depending on how much you enjoy/despise driving.
Either way, we think that this is the perfect time to get your car organized… for when driving does become a thing again.
So we’re giving you a little “Car Organization 101” — a few trusty tips and tricks to get your car in tip-top organizational shape!
This post may contain affiliate links. For more information, please read our disclosure agreement.
We’ve got a love/hate relationship with these little alcoves. As an easily accessible storage zone, they become the holder of all the things.
We often find that center consoles become dumping zones for trash and random items. And we get it — because where else do you put your gum wrappers and snack packaging? Hint… a car-specific trash can!
We’re strong advocates for keeping this storage area fairly simple and clutter-free. Take five minutes (or twenty, depending on what your console looks like these days) to empty out everything. We’re willing to bet that most of what you find in there won’t actually be necessary to keep in your car — or at least, not in that spot!
Be sure to give the area a quick vacuum or wipe down. When we organize, we always love to start with a fresh, clean space!
We’re completely supportive of keeping a few necessities within reach… just make sure that they truly are NECESSARY. Think: a lip moisturizer, a small bottle of hand lotion, a sunscreen stick — and these days, a bottle of hand sanitizer.
You can also consider storing these items in a small pouch in the car door pocket.
This space can be a real clutter zone in most cars, because… out of sight = out of mind. It’s the car’s version of a junk drawer.
Are you picturing the crumpled napkins, hot sauce packets, marketing flyers and MORE that are currently filling up your glovebox?
This should actually be one the MOST organized spots in your car! You never want to be frantically searching for your important papers in moments of chaos.
First and foremost, clear out everything in your glovebox that doesn’t belong there. Think: old ID badges, previous rental car agreements and purchase receipts. Let’s be honest, NOBODY needs 100 napkins filling up this precious space. Just keep a few, for spill emergencies.
You absolutely should store the following items in your glovebox:
- License + Insurance (have copies of both)
- Car Manual
- Travel Needs (if you’re in your car often, you might like to store some necessities in a pouch, such as: hair ties, a pen, a little cash, a snack, deodorant, etc.)
Keep them all in separate (labeled!) envelopes or pouches for easy access when you need them.
Just remember = anything that could melt in this hot zone should be removed accordingly.
Tip = You can store our number one must-have car necessity — a seatbelt cutter/window breaker — in either your center console or your glovebox. Just make sure that you can access it easily, should you become constricted by your belt. You may also consider storing it in the driver’s door or have it safely mounted/clipped to your seat or dashboard.
We’re sure that any parents reading this may already be using your seatbacks for storage — because littles need access to all the things, all the time (and trying to wrangle a toy out of your bag while driving isn’t always feasible and is never really safe!)
But seatback organizers can be incredibly useful to ANY driver. From wrangling extra cables and holding workplace necessities to simply keeping a few good books on hand, these organizers are a tidy and space-saving solution.
Think of this space as a backup zone for items that you don’t need readily accessible and/or an easy-access zone for anyone hanging out in your backseat.
Because we’re moms and we care about your safety, we have to remind you again: must-have items for the driver can be stored in the car door or center console. Items placed in this seatback zone should be ones you only need occasional access to: a packable umbrella, an extra phone charger, wipes, a back-up water bottle… but nothing that you would need immediately, as this space is a bit trickier to access safely and easily while driving.
Finally, keep in mind that these are visible areas, so make sure not to place any high-value items here.
P.S. This is also a great spot for a car-specific trash can!
This is the big kahuna of car organization…. the spot that is set to hold it all, from groceries and car tools to earthquake supplies and camping gear.
You’ll want to find some balance here, though. Just because you can fill it up doesn’t mean that you should!
Ideally, you’ll want to outfit your trunk with a storage system that still leaves at least ½ of the space free, for everyday errands or any items that you need to transport temporarily.
Here are our categories for your trunk must-haves:
- Jumper Cables
- Tire Gauge
- First Aid Kit
- 2 L of Water
- Change of Clothes
- TP (you never know when it’ll come in handy!)
- Pair of Shoes
- Kiddo Extras (wipes, clothing, sealable bags for accidents)
You can use either a trunk organizer (which, of course, we love!) or a lidded storage box. The goal is to have your supplies organized, contained and easily accessible.
When it comes to car organization (or organization anywhere), we always recommend that you repurpose any items that you already own. If you are in the market for some new products, check out our gallery below for some of our personal faves…
Once your car is organized, you’ll want to keep it that way! And as with any organized space, MAINTENANCE IS KEY.
Plan to do a weekly sweep (5-10 minutes at most) to remove or replace items that have been shoved or dropped in a hurry. Restock your go-to items once a month, as needed. Consider a quarterly check-in on your trunk supplies, to make sure you’re never left without the things that you might need in an emergency.
Tip = For this type of longer-term of organizational maintenance, calendar reminders are a life-saver for us!
As you create these new habits, your car and all of its passengers — yourself included — will thank you!