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7 Tips for Organizing Your Subcompact Car

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For the past few years, the national average gas price has been on a crazy roller coaster ride. The current national average is $2.66 per gallon, with some states paying well over (e.g. $4.17 in California).

High gas prices have not discouraged people from buying big vehicles, however, as larger-than-life trucks, SUVs, and high displacement engines have accounted for 70% of vehicle sales in the U.S. Many people buy these vehicles for the ample amount of space offered by their interiors. The good news is you don’t need a large gas-guzzling truck to have fun on the road while carrying a reasonable amount of items in your vehicle. A subcompact car like the MINI Cooper offers impressive performance and fuel economy, while the rear compartment can still carry a good amount of cargo.

We’ll give you tips on how to organize your subcompact car to carry more items from point A to point B.

A subcompact car like the MINI Cooper offers the best of both worlds–performance and fuel economy–while the rear compartment can still carry a good amount of cargo.

How much can you fit in a subcompact car?

As mentioned, the usual reason larger vehicles are preferred over small cars is the interior space, but having a small car doesn’t mean you have no interior space. In fact, you’ll be surprised how much cargo you can carry if you organize systematically. If you own a vehicle like the MINI or if you’re interested in purchasing a small city vehicle, here are seven tips to organize your small car to fit more stuff:

1. Install a cargo shelf.

If your car doesn’t come standard with a compartment cover or a cargo shelf from the MINI dealership, you can purchase one that simply loops around the headrests of the rear seats. This gives you two levels of storage and maximizes floor area when loading up your trunk. For example, you can place your groceries on the cargo floor and other items that may have been left in your trunk on the shelf.

Keep the clutter off your seats and floor by organizing it all in a collapsible storage container, which you can usually buy from a discount store.

2. Get a collapsible storage container.

Traveling with children can be a handful, and you’ll need all the help you can get to keep them busy while you concentrate on driving. A sizeable collection of coloring books will keep kids entertained for hours at a time. Of course, on top of the mess you could end up having with coloring materials strewn all over the backseat, children tend to have quite a few accidents, too. Having a container of WetWipes will be a huge help cleaning your child and the car’s interior when the inevitable happens. These are just a few of the essential items you would need in a family vehicle. Keep the clutter off the seats and floor by organizing it all in a collapsible storage container, which you can usually buy from a discount variety store.

3. Use a plastic file folder to store documents.

Keeping your glove compartment clutter-free is as important as keeping your trunk organized. You can use a plastic file folder to store all your car-related documents like your registration, insurance, maintenance logs, and repair receipts. This will free up your glove compartment for smaller items you need to secure away from plain sight.

A crafts organizer is perfect for organizing small necessities such as medicine and other first aid supplies, eye drops, headphones, emergency sewing kit, etc. Store either in the back seat pocket or in the trunk.

4. Put all related items together.

Getting your vehicle organized gives you the opportunity to clean it out. Getting rid of all unnecessary items that could take up precious space in your small car is essential. It’s like reorganizing your garage or closet. Knowing what you need to keep is the first step to any organization project. All the essential items that need to stay in your vehicle should be grouped according to their classification. For example, all the first aid items should stay in the same bag to make them readily accessible.

A makeup organizer or crafts organizer from your local dollar store are great options that make a perfect storage solution. Both easily stow away and protect your items from scattering all over the car floor.

5. Organize using boxes.

If you’re moving into a new apartment, home, or even a dorm, buying boxes gives you the opportunity to organize, store, and seal your items while you transport them from one place to another. Boxes come in various shapes and sizes, which will give you a good idea of just how much will fit in the back of your subcompact car. It’s also easier to carry multiple items out to your car while loading it up if you put them in boxes.

You can purchase small moving boxes for around $0.99 per piece or medium moving boxes for $1.49 apiece. Some stores offer kits that come with several moving boxes in various sizes and an arrangement of packing essentials.

6. Use carabiner clips.

Everybody loves a 2-for-1 deal and, luckily, carabiners usually come as a pack of 2 for $1. Carabiners not only make great keychains, but they can also keep items like your umbrellas from rolling all over the cargo floor. Clip a carabiner to the metal portion of your rear seat’s headrest and hang your umbrella from it to free the cargo floor for more bags of groceries.

Store loose change in a small jar that fits in your door’s cup holder.

7. Store loose change in a small jar.

Ever pull up to a parking meter and for some reason, it denies your credit card? It happens to the best of us, but the worst thing for someone who typically parks on the street is to not have change. Changing a dollar for a few quarters and dimes is quite tasking, and sometimes a hard feat to pull off. Have a glass jar at hand and keep it in your door’s cup holder, just in case you need change for parking or don’t want to hear it shuffling in your pocket as you walk. This will save you time searching for change in different compartments and cup holders of your car.

Subcompact cars like the MINI are great, especially if you live in the city. Street parking won’t be a headache thanks to its size, and the retro styling will keep it relevant for many years to come. Remember to always clear out your small car and reorganize every couple of months so clutter won’t build up. Keeping your car in shape isn’t just about the performance or paint—an organized interior will leave you with a car you’ll be proud to show off, both inside and out.

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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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