Years ago when my kids were young (and one didn’t even exist yet) we were searching for a new van. When we finally found one that we felt would work for us, we ended up choosing to trade in our old one. I wasn’t planning on doing this so I hadn’t bothered to clean out my old van. Well, it was quite embarrassing as we had to ask for a garbage sack and then another to clean out everything that was in our van. I was mortified at the amount of stuff that covered the floor, seat and trunk of that vehicle. Has this ever happened to you? Well, from that time forth I promised myself that I would never let my van get that bad again, EVER!
Over the years I’ve picked up a few tricks to keeping it tidy in between the more extensive cleanings. Now this doesn’t mean my car is always immaculate, it just means that if I have to give someone a ride on the fly, I am not embarrassed to do so.
1. A trash bag, or two. This is the first things I recommend. Not having a trash bag was my biggest mistake. My cup holders were my trash before and those could only hold so much, so then where did it go? On the floor. After getting my new van and making my new commitment to keeping it clean, I remembered that I had seen a cute trash bag at The Quilted Bear and decided, no matter the cost, I was gonna get one. When I went to buy it, the booth that I remembered seeing them in was empty. I asked about it and they told me that the person who made those no longer sold them. So I made my own, and now I sell them in my booth at The Quilted Bear in Draper Utah and on Etsy as well, find these trash bags for the car HERE. Yes, you can just throw a plastic grocery sack in your car for the trash, but I feel that sometimes you just need a little bling in your life and replacing an ugly old grocery sack with a beautiful, trash bag (which you can actually place your ugly grocery sack in, cause recycling is good) can bring a little smile to your face.
2.What goes in must come out-Vow to take something out of the car every time you leave it to go in your house. With little ones there are always toys and different things that they bring for the car rides and their stuff can pile up very quickly. If you take something out, and tell your child to do the same each time you leave it, your car will stay clean longer.
3. Window Wipes- Keep a package in your car. This one I picked up from a friend years ago when I was complaining to her about how much I hate, hate, hate the smudges on the windows that seam to appear from no where when you have little people traveling with you. Especially in the winter months when they love to draw in the fog of the window. I remember my parents getting on my case when I would draw on the windows, I didn’t understand why they were such party poopers. Funny how, once we have children of our own, we understand the why to things like that. So many times I would notice the smudges and I’d tell myself, “right when I get home I’m going to get the window cleaner and a rag and clean those windows.” But then I walk into my house and everything from the outside world is forgotten, because then I’m distracted with the mess before me and the list of a million things to be done. Consequently the windows in my van stay a smeared ugly mess. But when you have window wipes right there available, you can do it as you’re waiting to pick up the kids after school, just before you run into a store, or BEFORE you go into the house after running your errands. The wipes make it convenient to clean up the smudges at the time that you realize they exist.
4. Air freshener. Smell makes a big difference for me. I love getting into my car when it has a pleasant smell rather than sour milk or stinky feet. I think that when your home or your car smells good it can affect your mood for the better. For me it almost closes my eyes to the mess. I have tried everything from the “little trees” to the Bath & Body Works “scentportables”. Right now I have a scented sachet from The Quilted Bear which I have had since mid December.
5. Small broom and dustpan. This is the newest edition to my pursuit to a clean car. Earlier this month I was giving someone a ride and as I was taking the booster seat out to make space I noticed crumbs on the floor. Crumbs sure can make a car look icky. I don’t have time to vacuum my car every week. In the winter it’s even worse, the last thing I want to be doing is vacuuming my car in the freezing cold, so it just doesn’t happen all winter. I found myself trying to sweep them out with my hand and wished I had a little broom. So I bought one to keep in my van and it works really well for a quick crumb elimination. Of course it isn’t as good as a vacuum but it looks so much better than crumbs, crumbs everywhere. In some of the newer minivans they now have a built in vacuum- why didn’t they think of that before! Of course you could ban food from you car all together, but when you’re hauling toddlers everywhere you go, sometimes for your sanity, they need snacks in the car.
6. Surface wipes- weather you want to use these or just baby wipes, keep something available to wipe down surfaces of the car. Dust accumulates fast as well as finger prints. These are great for when you’re waiting in the car for kids, in line at the bank, or stuck in traffic. Do a quick wipe down. I really like these specific ones, they smell so good and really make the surfaces shine.
7. Folder for coupons. I tend to keep coupons in the car for unexpected stops to restaurants or other favorite places of mine like Joann, Micheal’s and Hobby Lobby. YES, you can eliminate clutter by just getting their apps, this has cut down a lot of the coupons I carry but places like Joann will let you use more than one coupon so I like to hold on to the adds. Keeping them in a folder keeps them together and helps your space look less cluttered.
BONUS TIP- Join a carpool. Being a part of a carpool where I pick up 5 other girls besides my daughter, forces me to keep clutter out. We use every seat in my van on the day I drive so before we head out to pick them all up I do a once over real quick, where I make sure the space is clear for them to walk/sit.
I hope these tips are helpful in keeping your car tidy between cleanings. Feel free to share, in the comments, things you do to keep your car from being a cluttered, embarrassing mess. I would love to see them.
SEE THE HAPPY!