Why Try and Keep Your Car Tidy at All?
Good question. Kids are messy, and when we’re already knee deep in that Forth Bridge cycle of putting things away while our children follow behind pulling them out again, do we really need another space to tackle? Well the bottom line is that a tidy car, with fewer projectiles and distractions, is a safer car. But a tidy car is also a calmer, more pleasant place to be, so let’s have a look at a couple of quick and easy ways in which you can keep your car at least a little bit tidy even with the kids in tow.
Top Tips for Keeping Your Car Clean and Organised
To begin with, we need to have a clear out. Get three bags; fill one with rubbish, one with stuff that actually belongs in the house, and the other with things that will go back into the car. Try not to throw the wrong bag away, then spend a couple of hours giving the interior a thorough going over (or pay a local carwash to do it, it’s usually a cheap and quality job). Now read on to see how you can put your car bits back in a more organised and tidy fashion!
Invest in a Boot Organiser
A boot organiser is a multi-compartment carrier that usually hangs behind the back seats in your boot. It’s a fantastic way to store in-car essentials that you don’t want little hands exploring, without taking up too much valuable boot space (which should be for loading rather than storage). So what in-car essentials might you keep here?
A Change of Clothes
This way you’re prepared for any mishaps, accidents or changes in the weather that might occur. Nappy blowouts, chocolate smears, rainstorms… you’re ready for them. Keep the clothes in zip lock bags, and then you’ve got something to put the dirty ones in too.
First Aid Kit
No car should be without one of these! No need to go overboard, but make sure you have plasters and sick bags as a minimum, and scissors are also useful if you need to cut a seatbelt.
Blanket (in case of emergencies)
Again, this just makes good sense. Whether for late night / early morning journeys, or waiting for the recovery vehicle, a blanket or two will be very welcome.
Having a stash of non-perishable food items is a great idea if you’re caught short when the hunger monster appears. Things like dried fruit, nuts and biscuits in zip lock bags can be useful. And don’t forget the water - not just for drinking but washing, or even topping up the windscreen washer in an emergency!
Of course, there’s the dreaded breakdown scenario, but a torch is also a really useful thing to have around for finding lost parking tickets, runaway change… or campsite toilets!
Going out for dinner? Having a car picnic? Toilet stop didn’t come soon enough? Grab your baby wipes and clean up those kids. A few packets of travel tissues are worth putting in too.
With the amount of gadgets available for kids these days, it pays to be prepared for emergency charging. A power converter that allows you to connect three pronged plugs as well as USB devices can be really handy.
Invest in a Car Seat Organiser
Your car probably has several pockets, boxes and cubbyholes in the front for you to keep your cables, lip balm and emergency deodorant, but what about the passengers in the back? That’s where car seat organisers come in. They’re like carry-on luggage for the car and they attach to the rear of the front seats to be used for storing toys, books, snacks, tablets, drink bottles and so on. And you can pop in a few exciting extras (new felt pens or colouring book for example) to get a long journey off to a positive - and quiet - start.
Car seat organisers come in a range of styles and sizes, but even the smallest, cheapest option will be worth its weight on gold on longer journeys.
Top Hacks for Keeping Your Car Clean
To finish off, here are a few other tips for keeping your car clean and tidy.
- Use cupcake liners as cupholder liners and simply lift out and empty or replace as required.
- Make eating in the car something that happens on long journeys only. Set this up early and you’ll avoid a lot of the stickier, smellier mess.
- Sure, you have foot wells, but making an actual bin for the backseats out of a plastic cereal container will make a huge difference to your traveling experience.
- Remove items that don’t belong in the car each evening. Anything brought into the car, beyond the essentials, comes right back out again.
- Invest in a CD storage case, they’re super cheap and a great way to keep the family audio entertainment organised.
- Refillable car fresheners keep your car smelling fresh without you constantly having to buy new ones. Drop a little essential oil onto a pad, reinsert and you’re good to go.
- Install a few all weather car mats, which enable you to shake out and wipe up quickly and easily.
- Invest in some seat covers that you can stick in the washing machine. Even a towel or bathroom rug is better than nothing.
- Provide drinks in spill-proof bottles to guard against puddles, and make the car a water only zone to avoid sticky stains.
- Make each petrol stop a family stop where the kids’ job is to empty the rubbish into the bins.
- And finally, if you’re feeling a bit left out and could actually do with a bit more storage space yourself, go and treat yourself to a sun visor organiser.
For most of us with kids, a clean, tidy car is not high on our list of priorities. But making just a couple of changes can make your car experience much more pleasant, more efficient and safer too. There’s nothing in the world that would make me go back to life before kids, but that lovely feeling when you open your car door to a clean and tidy interior is a wonderful trip down memory lane.