Keeping a car clean can be nearly impossible with the added stress of constantly being on the go, chauffeuring kids, or even transporting animals. I am here to share with you a few tips and tricks to keep your vehicle clean and organized in the midst of chaos!
Below are my top 15 rules for vehicle organization. These have been perfected over the years and can absolutely make a difference in your home on wheels.
15 Rules for Keeping a Car Clean
1. Keep your vehicle healthy with protective products stocked.
Setting your vehicle up with easy to access protective products is a great way to keep everyone healthy. I prefer to have stations in my vehicle that are stocked with essential products. The side of the door or center console is a great area to store hand sanitizer and disposable masks.
I also like to have hand wipes available in the side door compartments to make clean up a snap for messy shoes or any sticky situations that might arise.
2. No food in vehicle.
I did not grow up with this rule and often found that with four siblings it was nearly impossible to keep the car clean. Now with my own children, I have adopted this rule and it has drastically cut down on the mess in my own vehicle.
I do keep a small stash of semi-healthy snacks that my kids can grab if they are on the run. The trick is to limit these snacks to be as mess-free as possible. Granola bars are a great snack to keep on hand since they store well in a cold or warm car. Plus they produce fewer crumbs when compared to crackers or Goldfish.
Another tip would be to store snacks in an area that your kids do not constantly see (and of course want to eat them) like a trunk or under the passenger seat. Try this container to keep them neatly stored and organized in the trunk or tucked under the seat.
3. Weekly vehicle clean.
Most people hate cleaning their vehicle because it is not done frequently and can become overwhelming. However, getting into the habit of cleaning it once a week will greatly decrease the time spent on maintaining it. I personally only take 10-15 minutes per week to clean my vehicle out.
Weekly clean out for me includes vacuuming, wiping down the dash and console area, and wiping down the windows. This car vacuum plugs right in to your vehicle and makes cleaning up messes simple. I keep mine in the trunk of my car to have it on hand for anything that comes up. Another great product is this detailing dust remover gel that makes cleaning vents a snap.
Car Vacuum- $34.99 Dust Removal Gel- $6.99
Another tip would be to utilize garbage cans in your car. I make a habit of emptying these containers every time I fill up on gas. I love these containers because they have a sleek design and a light to make them easy to use. Another great option for limited space would be this garbage container that fits in side doors or in a cup holder.
Car Trash Can- $17.78 Mini Car Trash Can- $10.99
A great item to keep your car clean is the Drop Stop Seat Gap Filler. This product is great to fill in the dreaded gap between the seat and the center console. For anyone that has dropped their phone, french fry, or loose change, this is great to keep that area clean and save your hand.
Drop Stop- Seat Gap Filler- $22.99
Speaking of loose change, why not consolidate it all into one area of your car. This coin holder allows you to easily access and put away random coins. No more searching to find loose change for a parking meter!
If you maintain a weekly car clean out, once quarterly deep cleans will become less of a pain and can be completed quickly. You will be amazed at the difference.
4. Schedule quarterly deep cleans.
Set a reminder in your phone or put it on the schedule to complete a quarterly deep clean. Whether you complete it yourself or task your whole family with the project, this is essential to keeping your car clean and organized. Plus, I have found that kids especially respond to keeping their area tidier in the car when they have the responsibility of helping to keep it clean.
There are always some wonderful local options for car detailing for those of you that do not have the time or desire to deep clean their vehicles. Supporting local businesses and getting the job done is a win for everyone.
Whatever way you get it done, give the quarterly deep clean a try!
5. Air fresheners are a must so your car smells like a Hawaiian Beach and not stinky cleats.
I am a huge scent person and love burning candles or having air fresheners in my house. There is nothing worse than getting in a stinky car. Even if a car is clean and organized, an old odor can make a car ride unpleasant. There are so many different types of car fresheners on the market today. I have tried many different options and here are some of my favorites. For the standard around the mirror, I love these Yankee Candle fresheners. They are a snap to hang up and offer a fresh scent to your car for months.
Yankee Candle Air Freshener- $10.99 Febreze Vent Clips- $13.99
Another option would be this vent clip by Febreze. These are some of the best because they allow you to change the intensity of the freshener which is great for people that are most sensitive to smell or if you really want to amp up the scent to overpower football practice.
Lastly, this option is amazing for people that love essential oils or want to have the option of making their own scent. This mini USB diffuser humidifier has two modes and can continue to spray for 4.5 hour which is great for diffusing your favorite oils. Plus, in the winter months it can be used with just water as a humidifier.
However you do it, start using an air freshener in your car to make it smell amazing like you.
6. Clear out the clutter. Essentials only. Bring it in, take it out.
Now is the time to adopt the less is more approach. I try to keep things to a bare minimum in my cars since our family will inevitability bring multiple items in and out constantly. A standard rule of bringing things in and taking them out when reaching a destination helps to keep things organized.
Labeled Mesh Zipper Pouch- $16.99
A tip for longer car rides is to keep a small travel bag for kids that is easily accessible to keep items secured in one area when not in use. My daughter uses a small backpack that easily zips closed.
7. Keep designated storage containers to keep things organized.
Storage containers are a must in your car. When deciding what to pack in your car on the regular, ask yourself who travels in the car? What would I need in an emergency? What would I love having for a long car trip? For example, if you have a baby then a container with baby essentials like wipes would be a must for you.
Here are some examples of things that could be packed in your car in a storage container:
Whatever your needs, it is important to be prepared, but also keep things to a minimum to not over fill your car with nonessentials. Picking up travel sized options are a space and money saver for these products.
9. Create a system for the center console.
The center console is one of my most used areas in my car. I like to keep things here that I utilize frequently. Over the years I have found, that depending on the size and shape of your console, using a system of multiple pouches or an acrylic organizer can be the most practical.
This clear acrylic organizer can easily fit multiple items perfectly and makes finding things easy. Plus you can get these in multiple shapes and sizes.
The other approach is pouches. Having specific pouches that are designated to certain categories makes keeping this space easily organized and finding a particular item a breeze. These pouches come in multiple sizes and allow you to easily separate items.
Another item to try for additional space would be these car hook hangers. They can easily be utilized on the back of any headrest and give you additional storage. I love to use these to hang my purse and they are great to have on hand for hanging delicate items.
10. Initiate electronics organization.
For anyone that has been without a charge on their phone or in desperate need of an outlet, now is the time to make a system for electronics organization.
One of the best things that I put in my car was this USB port car charger. I love that it has such a sleek profile so it does not get caught on anything and it makes plugging in cables hassle free.
I also have an electronics pouch that keeps extra lightening charging cables for an Android, iPhone, and tablets just in case someone might need one.
Another thing that is a must is this car charger converter that I keep in my glove box. I love this one since it is compact and can easily fit into a small space when not in use. It offers the dual function of an USB port and a three prong outlet. It is great when you are making those final changes to a presentation in the car while waiting for a kid’s pickup.
Phone Charger Mounts
Utilizing a phone mount is another great way to get easy access to your phone for music or directions. There are so many options on the market for these and I personally love this one that is magnetic and works with most phones or this one that can wirelessly charge your device.
Magnetic Car Mount-$19.99 Wireless charging mount- $42.70
11. Create a System for the Glove Box.
When reorganizing my glove box, I added in some simple solutions to keep things easily organized.
I utilize this small accordion file to keep track of all my essentials in clearly labeled sections like my car registration and insurance information. I also keep an updated list of medications or important medical information (like medical insurance) in here just in case it is needed in a pinch.
Expanding Accordion File Organizer -$21.99
Another item that I added to my glove box was an automobile maintenance log from NeatandTidyDesign. This is a great way to keep track of car maintenance.
I encourage you to set a reminder in your phone or put it in your planner for when you might need to renew your license, registration, or change your oil.
12. Always be prepared in an emergency with organized supplies in the trunk.
In case of an emergency, it is always great to be prepared. I like to keep emergency supplies in the trunk of my car in the trunk organizer. Below is what I keep consistently in my trunk just in case.
Waterproof picnic blanket- $26.99
Having a blanket on hand is so useful in an emergency. I love this picnic blanket that is completely waterproof, sand proof, and warm. This is a great upgrade to the traditional blanket because it can be utilized in numerous situations and cuts down on the need for additional items in your car.
Car Battery Starter- $99.95
For anyone that has ever had a dead battery or hates using jumper cables, this car battery starter is a must for any emergency kit. This starter can be used without the assistance of another car and is able to jump start a vehicle 20 times on one charge. It can function as an emergency flashlight, a traffic hazard warning signal in the event of an accident, and has a built-in compass. Perfect for new and seasoned drivers.
This charging device is great for emergencies because they are small and convenient to carry. Easily charge a phone or device in a pinch. Keep your phone from dying during car troubles for up to four hours. Plus this company has a no cost recycling program.