Television and magazines have plenty of good advice about organizing your home or office, but precious little is devoted to keeping your automobile (a.k.a. "home on wheels") clutter-free. The average American spends anywhere from 72 to 120 minutes each day in his or her car, making it well worth the time spent to have a clean, organized vehicle, which helps reduce stress, keep your family safe and save on fuel costs.
An Organized Car Is a Safer Car Perhaps the best reason to take time to organize your car is safety. Loose items canâ€”and doâ€”become projectiles during hard braking or accidents, and can cause serious injury to both front- and back-seat passengers. (Imagine everything that`s currently loose in your car flying at 50 miles per hour around the car as you`re trying to control it.) Another important reason to stay organized is to avoid distracted driving, a major cause of accidents and driving fatalities. Fumbling for items means taking a hand off the wheel and your concentration off the roadâ€”a sure recipe for trouble. The reward for your efforts will be a safer, organized and more confident drive that will make the time spent in your car more enjoyable.
When in Doubt, Take It Out The first step in organizing your car is to take everything out, including all those tangled papers in the glove compartment, the map pockets (on the seat backs), the door pockets and even the child safety seats. You`ll be amazed at what you find. Keep only what`s truly important; recycle all the unneeded paper and plastic water bottles, and trash the rest. Once that`s done, give your car a good vacuuming and washing. If you do it yourself, remember to get under the floor mats and to move the seats forward and back to reach crumbs (and other items) hiding underneath.
Less Junk = More Peace of Mind + More Money Next, it`s time to get rid of all that "junk in your trunk." Many people unwittingly carry the weight of an extra person in the back of their vehicle, so be brutal: Remove everything you don`t use frequently or need in an emergency. Items such as car cleaners or foldable chairs, for example, should be stored elsewhere. Seasonal items, like traction aids for the mud or snow, should be stored in the car only when the season demands it or if you`re an active off-roader. Cleaning out your trunk will do more than lift your spirits: The weight you save by shedding excess pounds from your car could be enough to improve both your tire wear and your gas mileageâ€”saving you money every mile you travel.
Must-Haves for Your Car Now comes the fun part: Arranging everything that rightfully belongs in the car. Below is a list of what you should have in your car at all times. Add any personal "must-have" items to this list and you`ll have a good idea of how much storage you`ll need:
- Proof of insurance, copy of registration
- Pen and pad of paper
- Cell phone charger
- Vehicle owner`s manual
- Tire gauge
- Trash holder or bag
- Disposable camera
- Kit with jumper cables, tire patch, flares
- Spare tire and jack
- Supply of nonperishable food and water
- Jacket, hat and blanket
- First aid kit
- Spare change
Everything else is a judgment call, but we prefer to keep tissues and hand sanitizer in the vehicle. CDs, DVDs, toys and road-trip activities are a necessity for many familiesâ€”just don`t store more than you really need, and stick to soft toys whenever possible.
Tools of the Trade As with cooking, having the right tools is essential to success with organizing, too. That means having containers to corral everything. While some vehicles come with storage cubbies, they usually aren`t enough for everything we may need. Consumer Reports recommends avoiding an organizer that hangs on the back of the front seat: In a sudden stop, a child could be injured if his or her head makes contact with hard items in the organizer. It`s also important to buy an organizer for the seating areas that anchors to a nonmoving part of the car, like the bottom of a seat or the metal part of the head rest.
This prevents the organizer itself from becoming a hazard. Fortunately, most aftermarket car organizer tools are within a typical family budget. Here are a few helpful sites to check out: Trunk Organizers are compact, customizable and reconfigurable trunk organizers that help tremendously with shopping or traveling.
Up until recently I never owned a trunk organizer. Now I have the Attmu Soft Storage Chest, Black Folding Trunk Organizer and it`s totally awesome! This organizer is completely awesome and functional. It has two large compartments which are perfect to organize emergency equipment, sports gear, groceries, and auto supplies. It also has 3 mesh side pockets which is great to holds maps, small tools, and accessories. The design has the outer walls being very strong and sturdy, after opening the bottom folds down and gives the chest more stability.
The chest features lots of storage, a large open space, a divided large open space, 4 mesh pockets on one side, and two Velcro non-mesh pockets on one side. The organizer can be stored flat and secured with snaps, or even reduced in size with these same snaps. The handles are good and strong, and surprisingly it is easy and stable to carry this chest when full of items. I`m really impressed with this storage unit, it went right in my car and is staying there.