With more of us hitting the road this summer, I thought I’d talk about organizing your car. There’s lots of car organizing products out there and every car is going to have a different layout. So I am going to focus on the most universal car features and organizing needs.
1. Trash option
One of the most consistent needs in every vehicle is a trash receptacle. They just don’t come as a standard feature. I guess no car look’s sellable with a built-in trash bin. But if you don’t have a place for your trash to go, guess what. You can guarantee that it is going to go in the wrong place, usually the floor.
A great position for a trash bin is on top of the divider in the back seat. I like this product. It’s not very big. You can really only fit in one big cup. That’s actually a good thing, because it sets a limit. The point of a car trash bin is not to hold a month’s supply of road trash. The point is to offer a solution that’s better than the floor.
This one is easy to clean and it offers up some handy compartments as well. I’ve seen this larger variety, which hangs from the back of the seat. It has a greater capacity, but beware of the option to use for trash or cold drinks. Pick one or the other. It’s hard to stay organized when items don’t have a dedicated use, particularly in small spaces like a car.
2. Glove compartment
The glove compartment should be reserved for the most important car documents. Besides the registration, I like to keep my insurance card and AAA info in a clear envelope. Always store it on top of your glove compartment contents.
Other essentials that belong here are a fully-charged flashlight, owners manual, and pens. For fellow business owners I also recommend a block of business cards.
3. Console storage
Most vehicles have some sort of console storage. As these tend to be rather tall, I think it makes sense to reserve this for items that can store vertically. That way these items are less likely to get buried in the depth.
4. Door storage
Many vehicles have door storage. These are right at your fingertips. So they should be reserved for just a few smaller items that you need to keep super handy. For example you might keep parking meter coins, napkins, lip balm, mask, and clear envelopes here.
This follows an organizing rule from my book, The Circulation Solution, which is frequency merits facility. The more often you access something, the easier it should be.
The clear envelopes I mentioned are for coupons and gift cards for brick and mortar stores. I’ve got an entire one just for Bed Bath & Beyond coupons, which we visit frequently. These will do you no good piled up on your dining table, so keep them in your car.
5. Trunk storage
You may have a hatchback, SUV, or station wagon, or a sedan. Whatever the case, there will always be some sort of back area for transporting larger stuff. So it’s important to choose organizing solutions that will enhance the space, not fill it up.
Emergency items should be limited to a trunk bag like this, where they can stand up and be seen rather than cover the trunk floor.
I find these vertical containers useful for cleaning supplies and for shopping bags,
As a general rule, when organizing your car it’s best to avoid filling up compartments just because they are there. The more you can use them with intention the easier it is to keep your car clean and organized.