Clean Out Your Car

Clean Out Your Car

Task: Clean out your car.

Psalm 138:8 The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands.” 

There’s always more to be done.  A commute to drive.  A meeting to attend.  Children to pick up. Sometimes our brain is so full of our own plans that we forget to be part of God’s plan. 

Having your space organized, whether it’s your bedroom, office, or vehicle, supports your own plans. This, in turn, allows you to be more accessible to God’s plans.  Today’s March Toward Simplicity Challenge is to organize your car.   The four steps below, although abbreviated, will start you on your way.

Step 1:  Plan

As with any project, planning as a first step is crucial.  Being mindful of how you use your car, think about how you want your car to look, feel, and function.  Does your car double as a makeup station before heading into the office?  As an office away from the office?  Do you transport children or elderly folks to extracurricular activities or appointments?  Do you carpool?  What items need to be in your car so that these commutes are safe and comfortable?

If you’re not sure what items you need, keep a running list in your car for a month and write down the things that you use.  Phone charger?  Kleenex?  Altoids?  How many water bottles?  Oh gross, what is smeared on the back of my headrest?  Write down baby wipes.

Step 2:  Declutter

This is the fun part!  Get one trash bag and two or three boxes.  Comb through your car from front to back, left to right.  Obvious trash goes in the trash bag, and everything else goes into the boxes. 

Note:  It’s important to take everything removable out of the car.   Why?  Because you think and feel differently about items when they are out of their default space. You’ll realize that the magazine in your door pocket is three months out of date and no longer holds your interest.  So take out the Kleenex box, six pens, broken sunglasses, hairbrush, travel sewing kit, etc. You may find that you don’t need them in your car after all.


Step 3: Sort and Contain

Sort the contents of your boxes into categories.  Items that, now that they’re out of the car, you know don’t belong there can be placed back into a single box to be dealt with later. 

Common categories and their suggested items include:

Emergency:  First Aid kit, flashlight, jump starter, tire pressure gauge, 2-4 water bottles, 2 blankets.  Purchase a trunk organizer with section dividers, or a clear plastic box to make your own Emergency Kit.  Consider keeping spare jackets and an umbrella in your trunk as well.

Electronics:  usb cable, portable charger.  The center console seems a reasonable home, and dollar stores have small mesh or zipper bags in which you can keep them separated.

Paperwork:  car registration, owner’s manual, proof of tire purchase, maps, and coupons, gift cards.  If they won’t fit in your glove box, buy a small, plastic file folder to keep in your door pocket or under your seat.

Sanitation:  pocket facial tissues, baby wipes, hand sanitizer, cloth towel.   I keep mine in the front seat rear pockets, and extra Kleenex in my door pocket.

Kids’ Stuff:  this is where I differ from most parents.  I say, less is best, especially for kids, especially in a car.  If you think those crayons, DS cartridges, books, snacks, etc., will stay neatly organized in any container for more than a single day, simply recollect the state of your car before you pulled everything out.  See what I mean? 

But I digress.  If you must keep children’s entertainment paraphernalia in the car, limit your items to two per child and chain them to the car seat.  Invest in audiobooks.  Achh, I need to devote a separate article to this topic.

Once you’ve sorted your items, you have a better idea of what type of container will work best for your collection.

Step 4:  Maintain

The only thing left is to devise a plan that will keep your car in order.  Before anyone else sets foot in your newly organized car, lay down the law. 

  1. No food.  Notice the period at the end of that sentence. 
  2. Bring only what you will use for this trip. 
  3. Take out everything you brought in.
  4. At the end of each day or week, rid your car of crumbled receipts, school papers, water bottles, and miscellaneous accoutrements.

Now, Friends, your car is in order.  No longer weighted by the distraction, stress, or embarrassment of the interior clutter, you are happy to give a last-minute ride to a friend who needs it.  You sit tall in the driver’s seat, confident in your preparedness, and available for God’s plans as you go about yours.

Written by: Carol Sanborn, The Organizer Gal

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