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Organizing Your Car For Spring

messy carA car would be typically described as a passenger vehicle that is self-propelled with four wheels and an engine.  With that in mind let’s consider what state of organization your car is actually in.  Don’t be fooled into thinking that that you don’t need to have your car organized. Remember that your car is an extension of yourself and in fact tells others about you, your character, style and personality. As a result you want to keep its contents organized, functional and accessible.

10 things to keep in your car

There are certain items everyone should keep organized in their vehicle for safety purposes.  These include:

  • Owner’s manual
  • Tire pressure gauge
  • First aid kit
  • Flashlight
  • Jumper cables
  • Jack
  • Motor oil
  • Spare tire
  • Tire iron
  • Flares

It’s not recommended that you keep your insurance card or your vehicle registration in your glove compartment.  They should be kept on your person only as these are not items you would want a thief to get their hands on.

Also remember to keep all your invoices and receipts from any repairs and maintenance you have done on your vehicle and store them in a clear plastic sleeve or envelope inside your glove compartment.  Its good practice to also scan and keep a copy of these papers in an electronic folder on your computer as well.

Starting the car organizing process

Spring is a great time to do this project.  Pick a good weather day and roll out a small tarp or blanket on your lawn or driveway.

You then begin by removing everything out of your car (don’t forget the trunk, behind the visors and all compartments throughout your vehicle) and place it out on the tarp or blanket.  Keep an open trash bag on hand so that you can place any trash you come across immediately in the bag.  Also have on hand an empty bin that you can label “Put back in the house” in which you will place any items that originated from there and should be returned.  This would include coffee mugs, food containers, etc. Once everything is out on the tarp take a photo. You will likely be amazed at how much “stuff” was living in your vehicle without your knowledge.

Categories are cool

This next stage of organizing your car is like a game of Match as you will be sorting like items with like items.  For instance, place all tools together, DVD’s in another pile, paper in yet another and continue this process until you have put everything in a category, like items with like items.

If you find any maps I suggest you check the dates for relevancy.  My rule of thumb is that any map over 3 years old has likely changed and may not be worth using on your next road trip unless you are looking to take an unscheduled detour. This is also a good time to update your GPS system.

Once everything is in a category begin to revisit your piles and start purging. Think about the essential items you need in your vehicle all the time. For instance if your work requires your car to be your office as well, you may need certain office supplies. If you regularly drive kids to and from school, perhaps you may want to carry a supply of wet wipes or snacks.

Remove items that are obsolete and out dated, broken or damaged. Multiples of items should be addressed and should not be kept unless there is something special or unique about them in terms of size or shape.

Organize and corral

Now it’s time to corral all your piles.  Using separate bins and crates, load your categories of items into the best sized container. Corralling items in your trunk will save you time and frustration scrounging around in there when you are looking for something. An orderly car is less frustrating and more efficient than disorganized chaos.

Don’t forget to plan a regular schedule for cleaning out your vehicle to maintain the state of organization.

Drive organized!