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Car Organization Hacks: Keep Your Ride Clutter-Free

Reading Time: 6 minutes

Many of us are guilty of having a messy car. With everyone’s busy day-to-day routines, the task of cleaning and organizing your car is often left on the back burner. But now that many of us are stuck at home due to the coronavirus pandemic, this may be the perfect time to get to some cleaning done.

Aside from washing your hands and staying away from crowds, keeping your surroundings (including your car) clean and sanitized is essential to protecting yourself in these uncertain times. Also, keeping your car clutter-free is tantamount to your safety when driving. A messy vehicle is hazardous—particularly if the clutter gets so out of hand that you can’t even properly access your car’s controls.

Keeping your car clutter-free is tantamount to your safety when driving.

Need some car organization ideas that won’t break the bank? Here are some hacks to try:

Use Labeled Folders to Arrange the Glove Compartment

organizer inside car glovebox
Keep your important files in folders and place them in your glovebox.

Most glove compartments are particularly messy as it’s everyone’s go-to storage space for tickets, receipts, and other documents that you may need for your vehicle.

Instead of mindlessly stuffing everything inside the glove compartment, keep the contents organized in folders or envelopes so you can easily locate what you need in a pinch.

Tip: You may also opt to use a bill organizer if that’s what you have on hand. Just make sure to label everything.

Expand Your Storage with a Hanging Organizer

Hang a clear shoe organizer to the back of the driver’s seat or front passenger seat (or both) for extra compartments to store and organize snacks, hand sanitizer, wipes, and other essentials.

If you travel with kids, you can use the pockets to hold toys so you can keep them entertained while on the road.

Or, if you’re handy with a sewing machine, check out the tutorial above to make your own customized car seat organizer.

Keep a Laundry Basket Handy

dog sitting in laundry basket in the car
You could even use them as carriers for your pet—as long as they’re safe and comfortable in there, of course!

Keep a laundry basket or two in your trunk or cargo area at all times. This will be useful for storing all the items that you would normally leave in the trunk, like roadside emergency essentials or your kids’ sports equipment.

You could even use them as carriers for your pet—as long as they’re safe and comfortable in there, of course!

But probably the most common use for this would be for storing groceries—you won’t have to worry about your stuff rolling around in the back as you drive home. Having these baskets on hand will also save you from having to bring reusable bags (or purchase bags from the store, if you live in a state where this is common) for your grocery items.

Get a Plastic Caddy for Take-Out Food

pink caddy
Use a caddy as a food tray.

Do you know those plastic arts and crafts caddies that are used to hold kids’ crayons and other art materials? If you have one of those, or perhaps something similar, like an unused tool caddy, you can repurpose them into a tray to securely hold drinks and containers of take-out food.

Another possible use for these is as a food tray. If you or your passengers are eating in the car, these caddies provide a mess-free way to enjoy food and drinks during long drives.

Use Silicone Cupcake Liners to Protect Your Cup Holders

colorful cupcake holders
Place cupcake liners in your cup holders to catch food crumbs and debris.

We all know how difficult it can be to clean the cup holders in your car due to their shape and depth. To help prevent the accumulation of food crumbs and dirt, simply insert silicone cupcake liners into each holder to catch debris.

Then, when it gets too grimy, just take the liner out of the cup holder and wash it like you normally would. And there you go—easy cleanup!

Turn an Old Tissue Box into a Plastic Bag Dispenser

You never know when you’ll need a plastic bag on the road. You may need it for picking up spilled food, or perhaps when one of your passengers is feeling a bit car sick. If your grocery store doesn’t provide bags for your items, having some plastic bags on hand can also be very useful.

To keep your car organized, store plastic bags neatly in old tissue boxes. Follow this tutorial to learn how to properly insert them so you can easily pull one bag out at a time:

Stash Some Carabiner Clips in the Car

carabiner clip
These clips can be useful for hanging up an umbrella, grocery bags, or perhaps your handbag.

Carabiner clips are extremely useful. You can use them to hook items to either the roof grab handles in the back seat or the metal rods of your car’s headrests. These clips can be useful for hanging up an umbrella, grocery bags, or perhaps your handbag.

Aside from using them as hanging tools, you can also use these carabiners outside of the car. Use them to carry multiple grocery bags, clip your water bottle to your backpack, and more.

Repurpose a Cereal Container as a Trash Can

plastic cereal boxes
Use cereal containers as trash cans.

Not everyone has a dedicated trash receptacle in their vehicle—which is probably why it gets all dirty and cluttered in the first place. Most regular trash cans are typically too big for a standard car, but if you have cereal containers that you’re no longer using, these come in the perfect shape and size.

Just line the container with a plastic bag and put the lid back on to keep it in place. Stash it behind the center console so everyone in the vehicle can easily access it.

Keep Loose Change in an Empty Gum Container

supplement bottle
Store your loose change in an empty gum or supplement container.

Don’t throw that empty gum container just yet. You can use it to store loose change and place it in your car cup holder for easy access. This way, you won’t have to rummage through your bag for coins when you need them.

Here are some tips on how to keep your car organized:

Make a List

Jot down all the things that you need to absolutely have with you in the car—like your sunglasses, some facial tissues, USB cables, an umbrella, or a stockpile of plastic bags. Sort them into must-haves and nice-to-haves.

Designate a Place for Each Item

Figure out where everything should go. Make sure to put the most essential items more prominent and within reach.

Smaller items such as phone cables or perhaps a tube of lip balm are usually stashed inside the center console—but don’t just dump everything in there. Use small, lidless jars or plastic food containers to keep all of those odds and ends perfectly organized.

Put it Back

And finally, here’s a simple tip that many of us will probably have difficulty following: put things back where you got them. Let’s say you grabbed some hand sanitizer from the center console, but now you’re too lazy to open the lid and put it back—so you end up dumping it in the cup holder.

This is how clutter starts.

Once you’ve cleaned and organized your car, train yourself to put things back. Don’t let all that hard work go to waste!

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CarParts.com

Staff Writers

In the Garage with CarParts.com is an online blog dedicated to bringing DIYers and devoted car enthusiasts up to date with topical automotive news and lifestyle content. Our writers live and breathe automotive, taking the guess work out of car repairs with how-to content that helps owners get back on the road and keep driving.

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