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Declutter Your Car

Quite possibly your home away from home, you might spend hours in the car each day or barely ever drive. Either way, cars are notorious clutter collectors. Keep it clutter free with a few simple tips.

Declutter your car in 3 steps, pin

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When I feel my clutter getting out of control, the first thing I get in order is my car. There are a couple reasons for this:

(1) Manageable

Unlike the massive overwhelm of decluttering your garage, basement, or entire house, cleaning out your car is a manageable task. It’s a small, contained space that can be handled in a short amount of time.

(2) Cleaner, Longer

Your car is your own. You can control what goes in and out of it more easily than some other shared family spaces. When it’s clean, you can keep it that way for longer than a minute! While a car does require upkeep, it doesn’t require the same attention as, say, your kitchen with a string of dishes constantly flowing through or a bathroom full of boys. A thorough declutter, a little organization and upkeep about once a month can keep your car in good shape.

(3) Professional Help

While I don’t have a cleaning service for my house, I do seek professional help for my car. Usually, I handle the inside and roll through the $8 car wash, but from time to time I spring for the $24.99 deluxe package with the vanilla scented spray. Hey, I’m worth it. Plus, having it look and smell really good makes me want to keep it up even more.

When you feel your clutter taking over, start with your car. Set aside a time or just run out there and get started right now!

Here is my no-fail, three step system for getting your car looking fabulous in a very short amount of time:


Take everything out. Everything. Yes, even the stuff you know you’ll be putting back in. Get every piece of trash, every cup, every lost baby sneaker, and even the fuzzy dice hanging from your rear-view mirror (you still have those?) out of the car.

Toss the garbage, recycle the water bottles, and put everything else in a laundry basket to sort through later.

Take your car to be cleaned or vacuum and wash it yourself. If you’re doing the cleaning, make sure to use wipes and cleaners designed specially for your car. Don’t use kitchen cleaner! Kitchen and bathroom wipes will dry out the polyurethane material on your dash and doors and make them appear dull and dusty.


There are a million-and-one ideas about organizing your car so you have everything on hand when you’re away from home. Resist! Organized clutter is still clutter.

You do not need an over-the-seat organizer to store boxes of band-aids, full size bottles of hand sanitizer, a family size box of tissues, and giant packs of baby wipes. Instead, grab a small first aid kit to keep under your seat and refill as needed. Purchase travel size items for a single pouch or leave the clean-up supplies at home and wash your hands in a bathroom.

5 minute fixes to keep you organized:

Install a trash can in your car. If you’re using plastic bag liners, stuff a handful down in the bottom so you’ll have one on hand when it’s time to change it.

Put a chap-stick, pen, phone charger, and any little things you need in a single travel makeup bag or pouch in your car. Think small – travel size.

Ditch the diaper bag and put a handful of diapers and a small baggie of wipes in a plastic gallon Ziploc bag. Keep it under your seat or in your center console for emergencies.

Organize the paperwork in your glove box into a folder or pouch, and trash all the expired registrations and insurance cards in there.

Take out all the snacks. Leave the snacks at home.


Keeping up your car is at once simple and challenging. Simple because your car is just a small space that could be easily controlled. It’s a challenge because clutter creeps in and our cars are not at the top of the priority list.

Store frequently used items next to your car – Create a hanging space in your garage, mud room, or front closet for sports equipment, reusable grocery bags, and other items you need only sometimes. Bring them with you when you need them and take them out when you don’t.

Make a clean sweep – When you notice clutter gathering in your car, take two minutes and collect all the trash, toys, and paper you can carry. Bring it in and put it away or toss it out.

Park next to a trash can – This is my favorite tip. We keep a plastic kitchen trash can outside for diapers which is an incredibly convenient place to toss car clutter. I have a hard time bringing stuff into the house – my hands are usually filled with keys, bags, a baby, coffee cups, and water bottles. Having a conveniently placed, small trash can makes it so much easier to keep up with the clutter and packaging that creeps into my car.

Make upkeep a priority – Take that 30 minutes a month and give it a good, deep cleaning, or take it to the car wash and let the professionals have at it.


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