As people lead increasingly busier lifestyles and are constantly being on the go, it can have a negative impact on the state of affairs inside your car. The line quickly blurs between things you need to keep and those things that were simply left behind in haste.

Consequently, cluttered cars are a frequent sight, but the disarray is not a permanent condition. With a little time and effort, you can organize your car in a way that keeps the things you need near while still looking clean and fresh.

Part 1 of 4: Perform a general de-clutter

Step 1: Organize loose items. Go through the various loose items in your car one at a time, making piles for trash, recycling, and what you’re going to keep.

Step 2: Throw out the trash. Throw out everything designated as trash, resisting the urge to hoard unnecessary items.

Step 3: Put things in their place. Take everything you want to keep and put it in its appropriate spot, whether that’s back in the house or in your office.

Step 4: Set aside the items that will go back in the car. Place the items you’re going to keep inside your car aside, and clean your car’s interior and trunk while all surfaces are clear.

Part 2 of 4: Organize your trunk

Material Needed

Step 1: Buy a trunk organizer. Place a trunk organizer with multiple compartments inside your trunk, situating it in a position where it is least likely to slide or topple over.

Step 2: Put items in the organizer. Go through your box of items to keep in your car and decide which ones you do not need to use while driving, such as small sports equipment or first aid kits.

Place these items in whatever way makes sense to you inside your trunk organizer.

Step 3: Organize larger items. If you have larger items that do not fit inside the organizer, neatly lay or stack them in such a way that leaves open space for groceries and other interim items.

Part 3 of 4: Organize your car’s interior

Materials Needed

Step 1: Pick a spot for items to live. Go through the remaining items in your box of things to keep inside your car, seeking out the ones that belong in your glove compartment.

This usually includes paperwork, such as your registration, proof of insurance, and your car’s owner’s manual. You may also wish to keep spare napkins or other small items there as well. Place these things neatly in your glove compartment.

Step 2: Buy visor and seat back organizers. Place the rest of the things designated to keep in your car in appropriate slots in your chosen organizers.

  • Tip: Sunglasses and GPS devices often fit nicely in a car visor organizer, books and magazines slide right into back seat organizers, and kid’s toys and snacks make sense inside the organizer just for them, for instance.

Part 4 of 4: Establish a system to keep your car clutter-free

Step 1: Buy a trash can for your car. Keeping a small trash bag or other receptacle just for trash goes a long way in keeping your car clear of clutter.

Make a habit of using it and emptying it regularly, perhaps in sync with your regular trash day for your home.

Step 2: Clean regularly. Make a schedule to re-organize your car on a regular basis. * Once or twice a year is often sufficient and allows you to reassess which items are still necessary to keep inside your car as your lifestyle changes.

While the initial decluttering and organization of your car may be time-consuming, the time you will save with good organization will soon prove to be a sound investment. There will be no more frantic shuffling through piles of this and that looking for one little thing or hasty clean-ups when you have an unexpected passenger. Everything will have its place, and your car will be clean. Once it is organized, all you have to do is maintain it.

This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as How to Keep Your Car Organized and Tidy and was authored by Elan McAfee.


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