Has summer done a number on the cleanliness of your car? Kids’ activities, road trips and visits to the beach and dog park can add to interior dirt. With the weather turning cool and winter on the way, now’s the time to give your car’s cabin a thorough scrubdown. Start by grabbing two garbage bags, A Mess Free Life suggests; use one for trash and the other for things in your car that really belong elsewhere. Then “go to town” with the vacuum cleaner to get into cracks and crevices, the article says, and wipe all surfaces. Finally, clean the glass with a cloth or newspaper, using a reach-and-clean tool for slanted windshields.
If you’re like most people, the open road is calling you. Summer is the time to take a road trip, and whether that trip is long or short, to locales familiar or exotic, and with family or friends, your vehicle is likely to attract the clutter and detritus that comes with travel. To avoid it having that lived-in look by the time you return, plan ahead.
First, start with a clean slate. In addition to performing operational maintenance such as checking fluid levels and tire pressure, remove anything you won’t need for the trip from the car. Keep your vehicle registration and proof of insurance handy inside the car, as well as chargers, toll change, tissues or baby wipes, and other necessities.
Now, clean and vacuum the car’s interior thoroughly. Once the car is spotless, get ready for your trip by installing a temporary trash receptacle; a plastic grocery bag is the most likely choice. Hang it from a headrest or put a passenger in charge of collecting cans, wrappers and other items, and empty and or replace the bag at every stop.
Carryalls are a great idea if you’re on a long trip, especially with kids in the car. A bin, basket or hanging organizer can contain backseat essentials such as books, games and sunblock. Professional organizer Bridgette Rappe advises that floorboards are for feet only; things can get lost under seats and broken underfoot easily.
For a family road trip, careful packing is essential, Huffpost says. Encourage kids to pack their own bags to help them “take ownership” of a specific space in the car. Bring a duffel or laundry bag to collect all the dirties. And keep a bin of emergency equipment such as a flashlight and valuables well-hidden in the trunk.
To eat healthy on the road, you’ll need a cooler. Organization also pays inside that small space. Use reusable freezer packs or pre-frozen bottles of water to keep other items cool without taking up extra room, and plastic storage containers to keep foods dry. Arrange items so items can be grabbed quickly without disruption.
The longer the trip, the more lived-in your car may become. But with planning and organization, you can keep the clutter at bay, along with the stress it can bring. And that will make your road trip — and the memories you make while on it — that much better!