It’s the messiest room that no one pays attention to: your car. It’s easy to forget about sprucing it up, because it’s outside your home and likely not part of your cleaning routine. But with the amount of time you spend in your car, shouldn’t you keep it nice? Your carpool thinks so. Here are five easy steps to help you tackle your unsightly vehicle.
Take everything out.
That’s right, time to remove the trash, food scraps, forgotten mail, toys, electronics, and miscellaneous junk. Then you have to clean. Dust and vacuum while the car is empty. This will take care of the grossness buildup and help you get into an organizing state of mind.
Ask yourself about the items you put back.
Don’t just assume you need everything that just came out. The kids don’t need fifteen toys and three pairs of shoes each. And isn’t there a better place (perhaps inside the house) to store your mail and receipts? Be conservative in what you allow back in your car, because the piles of random stuff accumulate quickly.
Install trash and junk receptacles.
You are now actively and earnestly trying to stay ahead of your bad habits. Keep an empty canister for trash in the front seat, and hang bags for trash on the seatbacks for rear passengers. Keep an envelope for receipts in your glove compartment, instead of just shoving them in. Keep a bin on the floor in front of each kids’ seat to house their toys and snacks (or a bin in between the seats if they’re too small to reach the floor). Keep an empty tissue box stocked with plastic grocery bags for everyday uses.
Allow but one CD wallet.
This is not an easy concession to make, but paring down the CD collection goes a long way toward keeping your car tidy. Loose CDs make their way into cup holders, door pockets, and onto seats. They easily break and become scratched this way, but it’s also dangerous for you and your passengers. Remember, in the event of an accident, loose items in your car may become airborne, and a CD is not the kind of thing you want hurling toward your face.
Invest in a handheld vacuum.
Keep a battery-powered vacuum in the car. There are several on the market in the $20-$40 range, and all offer a great convenience. Having the ability to clean up messes as they happen makes you much more likely to actually do it. Just bring the vacuum into the house every few days to charge, and you’re all set.
The car is generally the last place you think of to clean, and after taking care of household tasks, you may often lack the energy to address it. But with a few simple tips, you can improve your habits and keep your car looking great long after its initial cleaning.