9 Ways to Organize Your Car (and keep it that way)
You might spend so much time in your car that it feels like a second home — did you know American drivers spend an average of one hour behind the wheel of their cars every day? Cars can become disorganized very quickly, which adds unnecessary anxiety to your day. We’ve identified nine common problem areas in your car and suggestions for how to organize each one.
Before you organize: Give your car a quick clean-up. Set a timer for 15 minutes, and spend the time tossing trash, removing clutter, giving surfaces a quick wipe-down with a wet cloth, and vacuuming.
Keep it organized: Set a time once a week to spend five minutes to give your car interior a quick touch-up and reset it for maximum organization. To keep your car clutter-free, revisit each of these problem areas during your maintenance time. Decide on the same time for this car chore every week, preferably a time when it can be done quickly and efficiently.
Problem Areas in the Car and How to Organize Them:
1. Corral Your Loose Change Forever
Where does your loose change go in your car? Face it, you need all your cup holders, and it’s hard to access change when it’s in one of those random open slots in your car dashboard.
Solution: Buy a car change sorter, or reuse a small lidded container like a pill bottle to store your change. Put the sorter of your choice into the center console, door pocket, or back in the cup holder (if you can spare the space!)
2. Keep Paperwork in Order
Some paperwork belongs in your car (registration, proof of insurance, your car’s owner manual, auto service records), and some doesn’t. Solve this problem once and for all and cut the paper clutter in your car.
Solution: Buy a small accordion organizer and file necessary paperwork inside. Label each section of the organizer to help you quickly locate paperwork when you need it. Put new essential paperwork in the file when you receive it. Keep the file in your glove compartment, side pocket, or center console.
3. Make the Most of Your Cup Holders
Cup holders are some of the hardest-working components of your car interior, and can also be a magnet for dirt and clutter.
Solution: Line cup holders with silicone muffin liners to keep them clean; simply toss silicone liners in the dishwasher when they get dirty. If your cup holder isn’t the right size for your regular beverage of choice, buy a cup holder adjuster to make it work for you.
4. Designate an Official Car Trash Can
Having trash and no place to put it can make your car look like a dump in no time.
Solution: Define a specific place to put trash, whether it’s in an actual trash can (a small one lined with a recycled grocery bag works well), or in a bag that you stash in the side pocket of your door.
5. Add Trunk Organizers
The trunk is a big, open space, which makes it hard to keep under control.
Solution: Buy a trunk organizer for essential items, or divide your trunk up into useable spaces with large plastic bins.
6. Make Space for Emergency Equipment
If you don’t already have emergency equipment in your car at all times, you need it. Your car should always have a basic auto toolkit, a small first aid kit, and emergency equipment. But where to put it?
Solution: Store emergency equipment on top of the spare tire under the floor of your trunk, for easy access and to keep it out of the way.
7. Look for Unused Surfaces to Add Storage
Your car interior has a lot of untapped areas that can be used to provide additional storage in your car.
Solution: Hang a small shoe organizer from the backs of the front seats. Buy a seat-side organizer for essentials. Suction cup shower caddies can be used on side windows, and are handy for road trips with kids.
8. Make a Place for Necessary Supplies
There are a few items that you always have in your car, so identify these items and make a place for them.
Solution: Designate a space for items like tissue boxes, maps, and other things you keep in your car at all times. The seat-back organizer mentioned above is a good place to keep the essentials.
9. Add Small Solutions for Occasional Needs
Sometimes you need a place to keep groceries, your sunglasses, or extra phone cords. Keep a few small items in your car to help with organization in a pinch.
Solution: Items like seat-back hooks (where you can hang groceries or your handbag), binder clips (use to keep sunglasses on your car visor, or to contain extra cords), or zip ties will take up little space, but are very helpful when you need them. Keep them in your seat-back organizer or in a bin in the trunk.