Cleaning out car clutter

Published 3:43 pm Tuesday, April 12, 2011

By LISA PHILLIPS / Guest Columnist

With today’s hectic lifestyles, we often find ourselves in our cars more than at our desks or in our homes. No longer is the family vehicle used just for driving to work and school. Our automobiles have turned into mobile offices, dining rooms and homework stations. A quick change of clothes can happen in the back seat when running from one ball field to a doctor’s appointment. We can be in a carpool line and still close sales deals. We have all eaten a hamburger while on the highway and have dropped French fries under the front seats, where they stay even though we tried squeezing our hands between the seat and console to get them. With more and more time spent in our cars, it is important we take the time to declutter our mobile areas just like we do our homes. This five-step approach is the same “decluttering” method used for your kitchen and your kitchen counter on wheels!

-Sort: Put like items together. Ketchup packets, straws, napkins, ink pens and loose change are a few of the things that overwhelm a small space.

-Purge: Throw away dirty napkins, bent straws and expired coupons. Make sure all the ink pens work. Remove everything that is not needed for the season. Ice scrapers and pool toys can rotate a spot in the trunk. Sports gear also requires removal from the back seat at the end of the season.

-Assign a storage place: Keep any papers that have to do with the actual car maintenance such as car insurance, registration and the owner’s manual in the glove box.

-Use containers: Trunk organizers are perfect to corral loose items like jumper cables, gloves, and extra tools. Use a small basket in the front seat to make exiting the car easier when carrying in purses, briefcases, packages, mail, etc. Consider giving each child their own tote to keep homework supplies, movies or games that will keep them occupied for long stretches in the car.

-Enough is enough: Once you have plenty of ketchup packets, do not ask for more at the drive-thru window. Keep a trash bag handy to remove the crumbled grocery lists, homework papers, tissues and hand wipes.

Next time you say, “We can take my car,” you will know that the front seat is inviting and clear of football cleats, file folders and half-empty water bottles.

Lisa Phillips, owner of SimpleWorks,, 981-7733.