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I’m currently on a mission. To de-clutter our lives, mentally and physically.
I’ve been on this mission for quite some time. Let’s just say, me and clutter have a complicated relationship.
But, as I gradually clear surfaces, empty boxes, throw away random trash (where does it all come from??), I find I am becoming calmer and more resilient.
With three kids, this is not just desirable, it’s a necessity.
I had never realized quite how stressed being surrounded by mess made me, until I started to create corners of tidy in my life. From a spotless coffee table on which to put my mug of tea, to an empty kitchen table ready to sit at. It all makes a difference to my mood, and quietens the shouty mum within.
Then, I get in my car and find myself in a confined space with three bickering children and the results of their somewhat (completely) relaxed relationship with ‘stuff’. Shouty mum is no longer quiet.
So, the car needs to become part of my mission.
Now, I don’t expect our rather well loved Explorer to magically feel like a new car. But, I would love it to not feel like a giant trash can. To that end, we have a few new rules…
My top tips for a tidy car
1. What goes in, comes out
I’ve always limited toys in the car. The fear of the upset that would be caused by the loss of a favorite has been enough to keep most toys at home. However, for longer journeys, a cuddly friend or a distraction can be welcome. But, if it goes in, it comes straight back out when we come home again.
2. No food
When the kids were younger, I will admit that I gave into the clamor for snacks. Anything to keep the back seat from turning into a war zone. Now they are older, they can survive for ten minutes without food. For a road trip? They can survive between one meal and the next! They might not believe me, but they can.
3. No juice
How many times have you put your hand into something unidentifiable and sticky? Assuming it’s not a lost candy, it’s likely to be the result of an enthusiastically squeezed juice box, or a carelessly closed drink bottle. No more. As above, they won’t die of thirst for the ten minutes we’re in the car. And for longer trips? Water only!
4. Baby wipes
I’m far removed from the baby stages now, but what did we do before baby wipes? I use them for everything. And, I always have a packet in the car for emergencies. The faster something is wiped up, the less permanent, or sticky, it will be. Paper towels can also come in handy for mopping up spills.
5. The Plastic Box
If like us you are cursed with kids prone to travel sickness, do not leave the house without a plastic box (and a lid!). Once the kids were old enough to manage to vomit into a container, life became much easier. And far less revolting. It’s one of those milestones that no one tells you about.
6. Trash bag
We keep a trash bag by the front seat for all those tissues and receipts, and random leaflets that always seem to make it into the car. And, we empty it regularly. We also keep a few extra bags in the trunk for emergencies (like vomit covered clothes and wipes!).
7. Dust pan and brush
Whether it’s mud caked cleats or sand covered boogie boards (or stray crumbs from the snacks we try to ban), a quick brush out of loose dirt keeps things looking fresher and stops it building in to a layer of grime. A brush can be stored safely in the trunk, along with your wipes and paper towels.
We definitely focus most on stopping the mess before it begins, but there are lots of clever ways to tame any necessary clutter and manage a messy car. Whether you use storage bins, over the seat bags or floor covers. Start as you mean to go on, and your car will thank you.
What are your top tips for a tidy car?
We were compensated for this post, however all words and opinions are our own.