Even though it’s officially spring, many more moments of fresh air, flowers, and mud are about to come. You and I (and every other person on the road) may be getting that feeling of “Ukk!” when we get in our cars. We all need a winter blues over
on our vehicles. Maybe you’ve found things under your seats you didn’t even know
existed; yet somehow your family got a hold of it and decided to stash it.
Cleaning is the first step to get your car ready for those park excursions,
road trips, sports, and vacations. Let’s make some lists of needs in your car
to accomplish the overhaul. We will break your car down into 4 sections.
Before we break down the sections, here are some general tips for keeping your car clean:
· Keep a garbage bag or bin in the front and back seats
· Empty your car of all trash and cleanup the back seat every time you pump gas
· Make sure that your kids bring in all of their items every time you arrive at home
Section 1: This area needs to be in perfect order at all times. Safety is first while driving. Let’s be honest, if your child hands you a sticky juice box to throw out you probably don’t pull over to safely place it in the garbage can. Let’s say you do what most moms do - accept the juice box and the gross stickiness that comes with it. Now you need hand sanitizer without having to take your eyes off the road. That is where I come in. Here’s a list to help you out.
Things needed in arms reach of a mother:
- Grocery Bags (put in side pocket on door)
- Pen and Pencils
- Nail file
- Hand sanitizer
- Healthy Snack
- Tissues, napkins (or a roll of toilet paper)
- Baby wipes
- Hair ties and clips
First, clean your console and leave only the items you’ll need when driving. Then, a great way to keep the items of this list organized and in-reach is to use a pen holder in your console. Make sure its small enough that the top of the console can shut (same thing applies to the height of your antibacterial pump – you don’t want it squirting every time you close your console!). How you arrange the items in your console is SO important to keeping everything where it should be without everything caving in when you pull one thing out. Arrange small items in one section next to larger items that will not be pulled out (e.g. the pencil holder and antibacterial would not be moved). Also, if you have dash board holders, use them for smaller items and leave the console for larger items.
The glove compartment should not have gloves in it - a man named that one! The glove compartment should have items you need while you are in the front seat of your car, yet you should not need to grab while driving. You should have some of these items in your glove compartment
- Pain reliever, adult and kids
- Backup Medications
- Small First Aid kit
- Phone charger (normal and card outlet)
- Flash light
- Lint roller
- Emergency info in a Coupon
· Contact information with phone number
· Insurance details
· Copies of driver license of you and significant other Remember, this does NOT replace the actual driver license card. This is an emergency measure in case you have to leave without your wallet. For identity security reasons you may choose not to include this information..
· 4 or 5 small notes with insurance details and contact information that you might need to exchange in case of an accident
· Emergency contact numbers
· A few dollars in smaller bills in a small envelope
· Pen and note pad
There are many clever ways to organize the items in your seats, but always remember that the main point of seats is to let people sit in them!
An underutilized area that I really like to use for storage and organization is the back of the front seats. This is especially important, not only for storing personal items you need to drive, but also for storing items that will keep your kids occupied in the backseat. Happy kids don’t pose safety issues and distractions like screaming and kicking the back of the seat! Back of the seat organizers can be a life saver. They can hold a snack, drink (something non-staining, like water), some toys, wet wipes, and diapers. Even if you don't have kids, these back of the seat organizers can be wonderful. They can hold the stuff you often use, like tissues, umbrellas, maps, etc.
When organizing your car, please take into account the chance of a car accident. Make sure these items are securely fastened to the seat and that they won’t fly out easily. Also, don’t put items on the seat itself that can be moved in an accident. If you have bucket seats, you can always use a side pocket holder. There is a company here in the Lehigh Valley called Super Car Seat Geek. They will inspect your children’s car seats to make sure they are installed correctly – free of charge. Visit them at https://www.facebook.com/SuperCarSeatGeek.
While I haven't discussed them much, make sure you don't forget to organize and declutter these additional areas in your car's interior:
- Side door pockets
- Cup holders
The trunk. What a marvelous place to have! When I was shopping for my car I told my daughter to climb in them and roll around (which made the experience so much more fun for her),
and tell me if she thought she
could sleep in it. If she could sleep in it, it was an option, because the
trunk is so important to hold all you need for an emergency, convenience situations,
and for your daily haul.
If you have small ones, you should find an appropriate sized box and keep it stocked with paper towels, Lysol wipes, gallon size trash bags, extra diapers, the Fisher Price Potty-on-the-Go (worth its weight in gold…actually it’s very light), and a backpack with back-up clothes and socks for everyone. This is needed for a little one’s accident, which happens so often.
Carrying around those particular things is not as necessary now that my child is a bit older. If your circumstances have changed like mine, you may have graduated to kids' sporting events and may need folding chairs instead of some of the other items. Bottom line – be prepared for any outing!
Items you may want to keep for emergencies and first aid:
- Basic first aid supplies
- Some water bottles, snacks hand warmers, a deck of cards.
- Weather related supplies: blanket, umbrella, ice scraper, sand for traction, spray deicer, etc.
- Auto supplies: fuses, jumper cables, tire jack, properly inflated spare tire (most likely your car already has a place to hold one of these)
- Safety supplies: map, flares or reflector triangles, flashlight, extra batteries