I spent the last week driving very, very carefully. No, it wasn’t particularly icy winter weather here. In my trunk, actually just the way-back part of my station wagon, I was harboring a noise-maker: a wire bin with wheels on it that I hadn’t yet returned to the store.
All the hubub in the back got me thinking again about good organizing in the car. Predictions are that we are headed for gas prices close to $4.25 by April, depending on your area of the country. Every extra pound that you carry in the car trunk (or anyplace else) leads to lower gas mileage, costing the average family an additional $40 per year, and more as the price of gas increases. There are plenty of reasons to get organized back there. Here are some strategies for how to declutter your car that can work for most families:
How to Declutter the Family Car:
-Empty the trunk. Sorting and purging is the first step of any organizing project, and the trunk is one you can do in just minutes.
-Stash emergency gear. Most cars today have hidden compartments beyond the spare tire well. My essentials will differ from yours, but they are: jumper cables, an extra diaper, a snow brush, some twine and bungee cords, an extra measuring tape, and an extra pair of shoes.
-Go vertical. Most trunks seem to suffer from the same problem my freezer drawer has. There are no compartments, so everything just falls to the bottom. Flat-bottom bags or bins can corral your stuff. Specialty car organizing bins are a great investment, in my opinion. Stop them from sliding around your trunk with hook and loop tape on the bottom or sides.
-Prepare to shop. My stash of cloth grocery bags weighs less than five pounds, stores all in one bag, and is always with me when I head into the grocery or Target. You can see my bag of bags in the photo above. It’s well worth the trunk space to keep them in the car and have them when I need them, rather than bringing home more bags which become clutter.
-Bump the beverages. Cartons of water or sports drink are some of the heaviest items you can carry. Not only are they heavy, but experts tell us that the heating and cooling that goes on in the car can break down plastics leach chemicals from the bottle into your drinks. Instead, buy drinks when you are out, or better yet, carry a re-usable water bottle that you fill from home.
-Back to my metal bin on wheels, which got returned this morning. The best place for items you are returning is in the car. With an organized trunk, returns will be easy to see and less likely to get crushed, which means you’ll likely return items before the retailer’s return window closes, which means more money in your pocket.
What other essentials do you keep in your car, and what can you do without?
Get Organized wishes to thank Darla DeMorrow for contributing this post.
Darla DeMorrow is an award winning Certified Professional Organizer®, Color With No Regrets consultant, decorator, author, speaker, and owner of HeartWork Organizing. She helps her clients to reclaim control and add beauty in their lives, their homes, and their workplaces. Request your free 31 Simple Tips for Organizing Space, Time and Paper & Information at www.HeartWorkOrg.com. Her new book for new moms, www.PregnantEntrepreneur.com, is available in hardcopy and e-book.
Photo credits: © HeartWork Organizing