Whether the calendar officially says so or not, summer is in full swing here at our house. Not only are the kids out of school, but the weather has been extremely hot--which means we are often found at the park, the pool, picnics, or other
warm weather activities.
Summer seems to bring on more outings, which also means more time in the car. So I thought I'd share how I (try to) keep my car organized as well as any additional items I keep in there for those "just in case" summer surprises.
And I say "try to" because I do have young kids and as hard as I try and stay organized, my kids don't always share the same plan. However, I am a big fan of the calm that a little planning and organizing can bring and I think it is important to teach our kids that as well.
With that being said, my biggest and number 1 rule in the car is:
What comes in must go out.
This is especially important for my kiddos who often like to bring a stuffed buddy, Leapster, or drink/snack, etc. They are responsible for their belongings. So before we leave the car to go inside, we always do a quick check and rarely leave it empty handed. This has become a habit now and really seems to help keep the car in pretty good shape.
In order to show how I keep things organized, I thought I'd start at the front of the car and move back. First little tip that has been helpful for me has to do with my keys and is this 2-in-1 key ring.
You can see it easily attaches and detaches so I can separate my keys when needed. This is helpful for us for a couple of reasons. 1. We have a community mailbox so I often stop by to unlock it while driving back home. This way I can keep the car running and just step out quickly to get the mail. 2. This has also proven helpful when my car is in for service and I need to hand over my keys. When I separate them, I still have my husband's car key, my mail key, and house key. Just makes things easier. These are found at the Container Store (and I think Lowes or Amazon).
I also like to keep a clip of some sort on my key ring as well. This is so that I can clip them to my purse or bag and not have to dig forever to find them. I know you all know what I'm talking about. :)
Next up is my dashboard/console area. And although this doesn't seem like much, it has come in SO handy, SO many times. What is it?
It is a little adhesive pen holder. (I couldn't find this particular one when searching online but I found it at Walmart.) It's great because, again, no more digging. It is right there in front of me and takes up very little space.
My center console has a couple of compartments. The top holds loose change, sanitizer, and a couple of extra pens.
The deeper hidden compartment below holds my navigation system, a checkbook, and a notepad. I can't tell you the amount of times I needed to write a check or a note from my car. Having them available has really been helpful.
The very top of my arm rest is very shallow inside and is perfect for my car charger and a cord to play music in the car from my phone. (That's the technical name for it, I know. :)
We have an extra charger that my husband uses when we are both in the car (mainly for long trips) that I keep tucked away in this little side compartment on the passenger's side.
Up top I have a handy little pop up compartment.
It isn't very deep but it is perfect for my proof of Insurance and car registration. I also keep an extra pair of sunglasses in here just in case I have misplaced my others. It happens people----it happens. :)
That way I don't have to dig through my glove compartment on the passenger side. In here I keep it pretty simple: the car manual, some glass cleaner wipes to clean up any messes on my dash, windows, or seats and a little pencil box
with a few essentials, such as bandaids, a lint roller, extra tissues or napkins, and Dramamine--which is great for car sickness.
Oh and I can't forget this cute little air freshener I found at Target. Perfect for summer I thought. :)
I also occasionally use this seat organizer on my passenger side seat for anything extra that I may need access to. This can come in handy if I need to be in my car a lot or if I had to work out of my car.
I also like that it can be quickly turned around if you need someone to sit in the passenger side.
On the side of my door is a little compartment that is perfect for tissues (made to fit in a cup holder from Target) and a container of wet wipes. We use these daily.
Moving to the back (and more of my kids' domain) which has also been a life saver: the trash cup. This is simply a large plastic cup I found at Walmart. I like this versus a trash container made specifically for a car, for a few reasons. 1. It's super cheap. 2. It fits in the cup holder so it takes up no more room and is accessible to both the kids and myself. 3. It is easy to dump out and clean. I typically dump it out each time I get gas and then occasionally bring it in to wash out in the sink or dishwasher. Easy peasy.
Our car is also set up so that the kids can listen to their own music with the use of head phones. I have to say this has been a very nice feature. Even if it means they are then singing their music at the top of their lungs because they don't realize how loud they are, Mama gets to listen to her own tunes too. It's the little things.
So each kid has a pair of headphones and sunglasses in the mesh pouch on the back of the seat in front of them.
I found these chrome car hooks for the back of the seats, that have come in handy as well. We use them for all sorts of things: my purse, jackets, backpacks. It's just a way to keep things off of the floor and from being stepped on.
Here's a quick peek at the very back row. Nothing special back there because it isn't used unless we are car pooling or traveling. I do love having the third row with kids though. Just sayin'. If you're contemplating on a third row, I'd say do it. I'm a fan.
In the very back is a hidden shallow floor compartment. It is a perfect spot for a car scraper (not so much for summer but it stays in here year round), an umbrella, reusable bags, and my yoga mat. :) It would also be a great place for jumper cables but my hubs keeps them in his car.
I also like to keep a first aid kit and a few other essentials--especially in the summer.
Things like sunscreen, bug spray, and pain-free antiseptic all come in handy during the summer months and are kept in an insulated cooler bag to help from the heat.
These, along with other essentials like a flash light, picnic blanket, extra beach towels, and a frisbee are a tucked in together in a bin I found at Walmart. I liked this one because it 1. has handles 2. is open in the front for easy access 3. is stackable if I decided I needed more. Maybe one for groceries?
(Did you ever think there'd be so many things to think about when buying a bin from Walmart? I have to poke fun of myself cuz if I don't my husband sure will. I hope there are a few of you out there who can relate to my planning and reasoning.)
For now, one is doing the trick and keeps everything from sliding around the back of my car. And we're ready for what summer has in store at a moment's notice. And I know my kids and I love that. :)
Update:After receiving a few comments about my hooks being a possible hazard I decided to switch them to the back of my car. Check them out!
Now we can hang our bags in the back and keep them out of our way!