It recently clicked, a car is an extension of my home. Like kind of, right? It’s like a separate room that we just so happen to drive around in multiple times a day.
I wish I had before photos of my filthy car interior to show you guys. My car was like the floor of Logan’s Roadhouse, except instead of peanuts all over the place, it was trash, Starbucks cups, water bottles, receipts, and chewed gum. Plus lunch containers of old broccoli growing some sort of funk. On my drivers wheel and radio buttons, I always had makeup marks, which I actually never understood since makeup goes on my face and I wash my hands. Sometimes. The back seats had toys everywhere, old fruit squeeze things, and tons of papers and worksheets from daycare.
Little did I know, this nasty car situation that I drove around in was actually impacting my day to day mood in a small way. Once I took control of my car and the needs I had for the interior space, I began feeling better each time I entered and exited my car.
#1. The Trash Can, $5
A duh moment for me was introducing an actual trash bin into the car. Like of course cars need trash cans, too. I got a small one to fit in the nook of the passenger area, a swinging lid for easy access and to hide the trash. At first, the trash can moved around when I drove, but I placed a big bag of dried beans in the bottom, which has really helped. The trash can keeps the car floors looking clean, with minimal effort. For some reason Ari thinks it’s so funny that it’s in the car. Maybe he just thinks it’s funny that our car is actually clean now.
#2. The Toy Box, $2
It never fails, Ari wants to bring a toy into the car. I’m totally fine with it, and typically encourage it as long as it fits in his hands. It gives him something to do while we drive, and motives him to get going as we leave. You would think the easy solution would be to take the toy back inside once we got home, but for whatever reason, that doesn’t always happen.
It’s really not my problem, I’ve chosen to pick my battles. If Ari wants the toy to come inside, he can remember to bring it in, or ask for help. If not, it usually stays. The car toy box sits in the middle of the boys car seats, it can store toys that don’t make it back inside, and toys that the kids think should live in the car. Do you see daddy pig?
#3. The “Extra Stuff, Just In Case” Box. $1 (plus supplies, which I had on hand)
-Underwear Change for Ari
-Onsie for Max
-Name Tag Stickers (In case we go to a public place and need to put child contact info for lost child situation)
I hate carrying too much stuff into a restaurant, activity center, home, anywhere. I don’t love a diaper bag because it’s just more to carry and be responsible for. It clutters my mind, and my hands, and I sometimes feel like it’s an excuse to just keep adding things in. If it doesn’t fit in my purse, I try not to bring it. This means that sometimes I opt for bringing only one diaper, instead of 3-4. Or a thin package of wipes, instead of the large. I’ll choose to not bring hand sanitizer in hopes a friend has some. What I’m getting at, is that in case of a complete diaper blow out situation, I can always walk to my car and grab extra. This is stored under my seat on Max’s side.
#4. The Coupon Bag. $0 (Had at home).
I’m not much of a coupon-er, not because I don’t like saving money ( I do!), but because so often, coupons seem irrelevant to the exact product I want to buy. For me, coupons are just a here and there kind of thing. If it’s a pizza coupon, it goes on the fridge. If it’s a Target or Kroger coupon printed at the register, I need to make an instant decision to keep or toss it. If I keep it, it can go into the coupon bag right away. This way, if I’m running into a store on the whim, I don’t need to miss out on a coupon I left at home. This lives in my console.
#5. Effective Use Of Door Pockets, $6 to stock
Before, I would shove as much trash as possible into the door pockets, and eventually it would seep to the car floor and trash was everywhere. So, no more trash in the door pockets. I started to think, why am I not actually using these built in pockets for a better purpose. If I had built in shelving in my house, you can bet I would never use it to store trash. I think they could be used for many things, but I decided to use them for cleaning and tidying supplies. On the passenger side, I have leather wipes (I bought this brand because the container was flatter which meant it would fit), trash bags for my car trash can, and car trees so it smells nice.
On my side, I placed Kleenex and towels, because those are things I usually need while driving when Ari sneezes boogers all over himself, or spills a drink on his shirt.
#6. The Coin Cup, $0.
This idea is so simple, and may seem even too simple to implement. However, for me, the coins were accumulating everywhere, and the dirt from coins and sweat from different drinks were creating some sort of ick that was impossible to clean. I designated one drink coozie to be just for coins.
#7. The Over The Seat Hook, $6
This hook is by Rubbermaid, and it’s perfect for little backpacks and lunch boxes. The floor would work perfectly fine, but I like things off the floor, plus kids sometimes thrive on responsibility. In this case, it’s Ari’s job to put his school backpack (lunch, change of clothes in case of accident, and any notes/worksheets/art from school) onto this hook. Unlike the toys, the backpack does have to come inside with us each time.
#8.The Backseat Hanging Organizer, $13
This is used for flat educational type items in front of Ari’s car seat, but I could easily see this being used for extra diapers and wipes. These items are more for longer rides, but it’s nice to have them handy in the car when needed.
My car has been clean for about two weeks now, and like I said, I feel so much better about it. Implementing these ideas did take some time and around $30, but it was so worth it.