As a Professional Organizer and a bit of a neat freak I have always driven clean cars, both inside and out. For a brief moment yesterday I had a flashback of some cars I have gotten into in the past. I can remember some specific times where I was a passenger inside a colleague’s car or carpooling to College with a friend and their vehicles were an utter pigsty! Not only is this a turn off in general but it is not at all classy, or hygienic for that matter. I was amazed that a father of two had loads of McDonald’s leftovers and banana peels in the car near where his children sat.
My cleaning today was a quick vacuum and ensuring our large umbrella and sunshade were moved to the trunk and off the floor of the backseat, that is the extent of our cleaning because we make it a point to keep our car as close to spotless as we can. For many of you who are trying your best but your children or spouse seem to be the culprit, or maybe you yourself just need a little organizational wisdom, here are some pointers on keeping a cleaner car and having happy passengers.
4. How to Handle Trash: Trash as with all other miscellaneous items should leave your car every time you get out of the car, no matter where you are. Everyone is responsible for their own mess including children, who are responsible for their own stuff at the age of 4 and up. If children take ownership of their own mess at an early age, you’ll have far less to clean up in your car and in your home. If you stop to pump gas, buy a coffee, or head to a store, throw out any drink containers, junk mail, wrappers, tissues, etc. When you get home you can offload the other items so your car always stays pristine.
5. Get Organized with Containers: It’s one thing to get things organized one time and another to maintain it. A system needs to be created to make things easy to keep it neat. Sometimes the mess in our car is due to the need of certain items that don’t really have a ‘home’. A pair of soccer cleats you need three times per week for soccer, books that are being returned to the library, jumper cables, and more. The best thing to do is invest in a few plastic tote bins and label them or better yet, buy clear plastic so you can see what’s inside. One can be used for car-specific items such as the aforementioned jumper cables, extra windshield washer fluid, a roll of paper towels, cleaning wipes for on the go messes and more. Another bin for emergency items such as a first aid kit, flashlight, a few spare bottles of water, snacks such as energy bars and yet another one can be created for items to be returned like library books, a toy or household item that was borrowed or a place to store a bag of Goodwill items, etc. This way, you stay organized and it frees up the usable seating space in your vehicle and keeps it from becoming cluttered. If your groceries are placed in the trunk, to keep them from rolling all over the place, invest in a cargo net.
Nobody I know has time to vacuum or clean their car every single day, but if you can plan to keep on top of washing and vacuuming once to twice per month, your car will always look pristine and ready to welcome guests. You’ll feel so much better about your car as you’ve taken pride in it, regardless of what you happen to drive and the side bonus is that it helps protect the value of your vehicle as well as your paint job as it will be less prone to rusting in winter slush and salty beach air.
I’d love to know, what are you tips and tricks for keeping a clean car all the time?
Thanks for reading!