How To Organize Your Car


Many of us spend a great deal of time in our cars. Between commuting to work, grocery store trips, and ushering the kids from one practice to another, the family car can get very messy. Following these simple tips can help you get your car organized and keep it that way, making for less stressful travel.

What you will need:

  • Large garbage bag (or two)
  • Resealable sandwich bags
  • Plastic crate or laundry basket
  • Plastic containers (2 quart disposable kind work fine)
  • Over-the-seat pocket organizers (optional)
  • Expandable file
  • Medium-sized cloth or canvas sack
  • Adhesive velcro strips
  • Old towel

How to Get It Organized:

  1. Clean out your car, throwing away all old papers and junk you no longer need. Set anything you think you will need to the side (outside of the car). Don’t forget the trunk, glove compartment and side pockets. You may want to take this opportunity to wash and vacuum the interior of your car.
  2. In your glove compartment, you should place your car manual, a small pocket flashlight, and a small notebook containing important phone numbers. Unless you are in the habit of carrying your registration and insurance information with you in your purse or wallet, these documents should also be kept in your glove compartment.
  3. Any small, rarely used items (such as paper clips, batteries, etc.) should be placed in resealable bags and stored in your glove compartment.
  4. Unless you have a specific storage area in your car for loose change (i.e. some models come with a coin holder built into the dashboard area), gather loose change and place it in a resealable bag (you can either use a separate bag for each denomination of coin or one bag for all of it), and keep the bag(s) in the side pocket next to the driver’s seat for easy access.
  5. Although many stores sell CD organizers (some attach to the visors, some are stand alone), a plastic container can work just as well. Ziploc’s 9 ½ cup rectangular storage container works well for this. Place your CDs in the container and keep in an area that is accessible, but out of the way.
  6. All maps and guide books should go in the side pocket of the passenger’s side door.
  7. If you have kids who carry toys, games and other such items into the car, you may want to invest in a pocket organizer that fits over the back of your front seats. This will give the kids a place to keep their stuff without having it rolling around on the floor. Case Logic offers one that is relatively inexpensive and has varied pocket space to carry an assortment of stuff.
  8. Attach one side of a Velcro strip to the cloth or canvas bag. This will serve as your trash bag. Choose a convenient spot in your car for the trash bag (such as the bottom of one of the back seats) and adhere the other side of the Velcro strip to the spot where you want to keep your trash bag. Attach the bag using the Velcro. This will keep it in place while driving, and prevent the trash from falling out onto the car floor. Make sure you don’t place liquid (i.e. unfinished soda) in the trash.
  9. Place the expandable file folder in a convenient spot (between the two front seats) and use it to keep miscellaneous papers and documents (i.e. school forms, receipts, doctor’s notes, etc.). This will keep your papers from getting trampled, dirty or ruined while in the car.
  10. Keep a box of baby wipes handy (most are short enough that they can be kept under the seat) for those time when you need to clean up a spill or clean up after eating a meal on the go.
  11. Spread the old towel out in the trunk of your car and place the plastic crate or laundry basket on top of it. The crate/basket will be used to keep spare items such as your first aid kit, jumper cables, flashlight, soccer balls, groceries, etc. (for more information on what emergency items you should keep in your car at all times, visit the car expert, The towel will keep the crate/basket from sliding around when you drive.

Additional Tips and Advice:

  • Keep an extra tote bag (even a plastic grocery bag will do) in your car to carry items from the car to the house. Unnecessary items are less likely to accumulate if you are able to carry them in comfortably in one trip.
  • Empty your trash bag regularly. It will do no good to have a trash bag if you let it get stuffed to the point of overflowing.
  • Make a rule with kids and other passengers that whatever they carry into the car they must carry back out. This will keep the back seats from getting cluttered with old magazines, toys, books, etc.
  • Car air fresheners always add a nice touch, but don’t overpower passengers by using too many of them.
  • Vacuum the car regularly, including seats and floor mats, to keep the car looking and feeling neat.
  • If you use your cell phone in the car, consider investing in a cell phone holder that clips to the visor or dashboard, so that your phone isn’t left sliding around in the seats, dashboard or floor. The same is true for an iPod.
  • You can find a variety of products to help you organize your car at any superstore such as Wal-Mart or Kmart, most auto supply stores and online at such sites as Organize It.

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