I have been putting together a system for our car to keep me organized. We often will randomly decide to go to the zoo or to the park or somewhere that’s over an hour away from our home and I used to get really panicky and anxious that I would forget some important things (which I usually did) and I didn’t want to overstuff my diaper bag or pack a million other bags to take with us. I have had this dilemma multiple times and finally decided to look at an overlooked area with potential organization excitement… the car! We drive a Suburban and there are multiple little nooks and crannies to be filled! Even though we have 4 kiddos and often take our 130 lb. Great Pyrenees on trips with us, it is amazing how much you can pack in!
So I am going to share with you some tips and maybe it will be helpful. These are things that stay in my car all the time. And the very important thing to organizational success in the car is to make sure when you get home that you take everything out that is extra that you brought in (water bottles, diaper bag, food wrappers, etc.) and if you made a dent in any of these organizational areas in your car (snack bag, swimsuits, etc.) that you replace them ASAP. That way you will be ready for ORGANIZED SPONTANEITY!!! Often when we get back from a long road trip I take an empty laundry basket and go from door to door and throw stuff in it. Then I take it inside and sort and clean up. It’s best to do it ASAP so things don’t start growing!!!
Here is my dashboard. The gadget to the top R on the air vent is a $5 Target Spot phone holder. It is great for GPS when needed. The other little doodad is my bluetooth connector. It’s a little bit of a pain to use it everyday for your phone but if I’m on a long road trip and want to talk to a friend for awhile then I’ll connect it. Otherwise I use it to listen to audiobooks or kids music that I might not have cd’s for. Check out this post on my favorite free audiobook website and how I can catch up on my Jane Austen novels while cleaning the house! I keep gum, hand sanitizer and lotion in the bottom compartment and try to keep the other ones empty for anything I might need it for later.
This is the glove compartment. I got a pencil box holder and put a tire pressure gauge and one of those window hammer things if your car goes in the water and a small flashlight. I also have one of those small accordian fold folders that I put our registration and insurance as well as a vehicle maintenance log and my tire receipts for when I get our free tire rotations from Sam’s Club. I like it being in the box because then it’s not floating all over the compartment.
I try to keep our cupholders empty and add my coffee and water as I go : ) in between the cupholders are some pens/pencils and a nail file : ) I keep one of these wipes containers because it seems I am either always needing a wipe or needing to hand one to someone. When we get to the zoo or somewhere I take it out and strap it to the handle of my stroller for easy wipes access!
This isn’t very pretty but this is what’s inside the center console… At the back is an envelope with coupons and the front right is a small bag for garbage and I have a ziplock bag of suckers/hard candies to keep me awake if we’re driving for a long time and our blue zipper bag holds quarters and extra change for horse rides at the grocery store!!!!
This is a viser organizer from thirtyone. I downsized my wallet to a Vera Bradley wristlet which means I don’t have room for all the cards I own so I keep the extra ones that aren’t for everyday in here (IKEA member, walgreens, kids library cards, etc.). In the large zipper pocket I keep an extra charger for my ipod/phone/pad and one for my Kindle with an extra wall plug that can be used for both cords. This is nice if we stay the night somewhere then I don’t have to pack extra cords and worry about forgetting them. I also keep a pen that has a nifty pen light at the top and my chapstick.
Right behind my seat I keep extra disposable diapers for my 2 youngest as well as an extra changing pad. I have used this so much as I usually use cloth unless we go for a long day somewhere then I like disposables as I can go longer in between diaper changes. This way if I forgot to put some in my diaper bag and only have cloth then I can count on my car to provide! Underneath the seat houses all the straps and bungee cords that we use when we travel and need to strap things on our hitch hauler or bike rack or the roof. These have to stay in the car but are far less annoying when put in a bag and hidden under the seat. In the bright blue box houses socks for the kids, a light pair of gloves and snow hats for each kid (even though it’s summer let’s face it… it’s Colorado and we have on more than one occasion used them!) I also keep a light sweater for each kiddo here and a small blanket for Baby Jo. This box gets utilized a LOT!
There’s an up close of the blue box and Baby Jo’s little toy box next to it which is handy when he gets a little fussy.
Another view of our middle row.
This is another nifty organizer from ThirtyOne. I keep an extra water bottle on each side pocket and the pocket to the right is for wipes and has a nifty compartment where the wipes can hang out. I usually put sanitizing wipes here instead of regular ones. In the big compartment I try to keep fairly empty and end up filling it on long road trips with random things but there’s always a bottle of honey roasted peanuts for some snacking if needed!
And here’s just a view of our third row being utilized by our two oldest. We keep this one seat in the middle row folded down for easy access in and out of the car and then when Meema or Beepa or anyone visits and needs a seat it is really easy just to pop up.
All 4 kiddos’ seats
And now for the trunk : )
This is why we opted for a Suburban a few years ago… even with the third row up we still have all this flat trunk space! It’s great for our doggie!!
The green bag on the L houses an extra swimsuit and baseball hat for all the kiddos for random splashpad adventures! The green bag on the R houses extra paper plates, plastic utensils, bug spray, sunscreen and a quick first aid kit with tweezers, bandaids and neosporin. These bags are nice since our headrests don’t pop off but the bags are big enough I can just slip them off and hook them onto my stroller so I don’t need to take all the items out and put somewhere. Or you could sew some cute ones if you want to be crafty! The black bag is our snack bag with granola bars, PB crackers, fruit snacks, goldfish packages, etc. We use this bag ALL THE TIME. We seriously end up with crazy days and lots of random roadtrips and you never want to be out with hungry kiddos and no options so this is a MUST!! (Keep in mind not to pack with meltable items in the summertime!). The big green box on the left houses my bigger first aid kit as well as 2 fleece blankets (handy if you end up driving at night and the kids want a blanket to go to sleep with), my cloth grocery bags and my zippable picnic blanket. The red box in the middle has extra windshield wipe fluid, a gallon of water for refilling purposes, my on the go stroller bag from thirtyone, our zoo/museum maps and extra grocery bags. And that funky black thing is our Power Station… this sucker has jumper cables and can put air into your tires and has a large flashlight attached to it… it’s supposed to be able to jump your car so you don’t have to wait for someone to rescue you! And I always keep my umbrella stroller in the car. We have a single jogging stroller and a double stroller which do not stay in my car but get added in depending on what we’re doing. And you can’t see but behind all those things is a large golf umbrella and our snow scraper/brush. These never leave my car no matter what season!
And there it goes. Happy car organizing!
Oh I must say that some things will change for the winter… my swimsuit/hat bag will probably house some more snow items like waterproof gloves and maybe snowboots/pants. We will see!