The car of the future will be self-driving, electric, and fully autonomous.
And it still won’t be able to stop you from collecting unnecessary receipts, empty coffee cups, stray french fries, and pennies.
We spend a lot of time in the car throughout our lives, yet it’s the one area that seems to chronically end up at the bottom of our to-clean list. How does 45 square feet accumulate so much junk?
Decluttering your car is quite the task, but with these 16 spectacular tips and tricks from MakeSpace, it’s a one-and-done chore. Cruise through this list to get your car more organized than ever, and never get caught riding dirty again.
This the the first 8 tips: (click on links to see photos)
- Divide the car into cleaning zones
https://www.flickr.com/photos/albargan/11384780774/in/photolist-im2YFG-fXbHUJ-9fs5c5-oEYaAP-9sdK7J-7BHmSX-6R9Vb-fMTFbe-8vkMS9-ikK9iG-azZMy4-cEUGum-4ySATm-c2UH9J-gdRS1X-p1HwWj-88kBmp-9DocEh-eCdKA2-qyMu4a-4DcDH2-chgHb9-pRanjD-p4TnLt-6QeQDC-7CeBKN-nKrAso-9LkAN6-5wAAhH-da7K5J-8kyLWp-6WEWwq-pbpkgi-pvAHxi-8Fqcax-8vBRez-g1QH4c-9hMzFK-e6rjHA-hr4eHc-7BM953-dK8bpS-p9Vwpg-iTTNo1-mxdrn8-dcgPeU-irQEUL-7ZkCkU-EfZ7J-ijpTKg (Flickr/Abdullah AlBargan)
Whether you’re decluttering a coupe or an SUV, diving into the process without a plan can be overwhelming.
Make the mess more manageable and divide your car into zones. Start in the driver’s seat, then move to the front passenger’s side, the back passengers’ seats, and finish in the way back or trunk.
Don’t move on to the next section until you’ve finished uncluttering the previous one. Whether or not you achieve this in one afternoon or spread it out over a series of weekends, you’ll make visible progress as each zone is cleared. Plus, who knows what crazy stuff you’ll find under the seats.
- Deep clean
After eliminating the clutter, grab the vacuum, clear the grime, get on up, it’s Clean Car Time.
Remove all mats from the vehicle and shake off dust and fast food crumbs. Vacuum each one and let them air out as you clean the rest of the car. Attach the crevice tool to the end of your vacuum hose to get into those tiny spaces between seats and along edges.
To help remove stains and odors from upholstery, whisk together a simple DIY car seat cleaning solution. Work this solution into the seats in a light circular motion to remove any set-in grime. Once you’ve cleaned every surface, wipe the seats with a towel and leave the doors or windows open so everything can thoroughly air dry.
For the dashboard, use a spray bottle containing mild soap and water. Lightly spray all surfaces and then wipe them down with a soft towel or microfiber cloth.
Stubborn sticky mess from an unfortunate Mocha Frappuccino spill?
Make a paste of baking soda and water and use a small toothbrush to scrub away tough stains from even the smallest of crevices. A final wipe-down with a dry cloth and you’re ready to ride.
- Trash the trash
Your car is now super clean. Let’s keep it that way!
To prevent trash from re-accumulating, designate a place to collect any scraps. A plastic cereal container with a recycled grocery bag liner is slim enough to stay out of the way, but is easily accessible when you need to dispose of road trip snack wrappers.
- Store cleaning supplies in your door pocket
Is the small slot in your car door the go-to spot for dropping half-full water bottles and old parking meter tickets?
While this is convenient in the moment, over time, the door pocket can become a clutter catch-all. One that is rarely emptied, no less.
Give this spot purpose by using it to store small cleaning supplies. A travel pack of disinfecting wipes, a few dry cloths, and a small spray bottle filled with multipurpose cleaner are all you need. You’ll be able to tackle small messes as soon as you park, or give your interior a quick touch-up in between deep cleans.
- Store important documents in coupon clutches
https://tiffanykeetch.smugmug.com/photos/i-msBWj3n/0/XL/i-msBWj3n-XL.jpg (A Day In My Life)
You’re a model citizen who obeys all traffic laws.
Of course, nobody’s perfect, and in the off chance you need to hand over your license and registration, you can at least be an average citizen with model organization skills.
Use an accordion-style coupon clutch to store your registration, insurance, and other important documents. Instead of rifling through a crumpled mess in your glove compartment, each paper will be safely and neatly stored for easy access.
- Organize the back seat with a remote control caddy
Attach a remote control caddy to your backseat to help maximize in-car storage without creating unintentional clutter.
The pockets can hold markers for kid’s entertainment or travel brochures for future reference.
- Install a pet hammock
Pets are great companions and even better road trip partners.
Their fur, slobber, food, and chew toys are a different story.
Protect your clean seats and give your furry friend a safe place to relax during a car ride by installing a backseat pet hammock. Simply hook it to the front and rear headrests and you both can enjoy the trip. The hammock prevents pets from tumbling into the floor in the event of a sudden stop. It will also keep messes contained until you reach your destination.
- Use carabiners to corral accessories
From a decluttering and a safety standpoint, it’s best to keep the area around the driver’s seat clear.
Keep your phone close by for emergencies (not for texting while driving) and stash the rest of your belongings out of the way.
Use carabiners to secure your purse, lunch bag, or umbrella to the back of your seat. Everything will be easy to unhook when you arrive, and you’ll avoid having the contents of your purse strewn about the passenger’s seat after a sharp turn.
All it takes is some planning and perhaps a few MacGyver skills to shift into organization overdrive. The receipts and french fries will continue to collect. But buckle these tips in, and cleanup will be such a smooth process, you’ll swear your car did it itself.
This post was written by MakeSpace, a full-service storage company that picks up, stores, and delivers your stuff so you can hit the open road without a detour to a self-storage unit. They conveniently serve LA, NYC, DC, and Chicago.