OK, full disclosure, I don't actually own a car. But all of my best friends do, and every time I step inside one of their vehicles I'm struck by the fact that, well... everything is kind of a mess. And this inspired me to look into hacks to keep your car clean and organized. I figured if basically all of my friends struggle with keeping their cars clean, it must be a pretty common problem out there.
Plus, clutter and disorganization in any area of our lives never feels great — regardless of where it comes from. According to Psychologist Dana Gionta, Ph.D. in a piece for Psychology Today, clutter and disorganization makes us feel less in control, and this is important because the more control we perceive we have, the less stress we feel. This means that getting into a messy car to drive to work each day probably isn't putting you in the best mental zone to tackle the day ahead. And since the average American spends almost an hour a day in the car, it's not so crazy to think that a clean, zen car space is good for our mental health.
If your car drives you insane every time you get inside it, or you're just looking for ways to declutter your life in general, here are nine organization hacks that will majorly help you out.
1. Use Hanging Compartments On Seat Backs
Multifunctional Vinyl 12-Pocket Hanging Organizer, $12.99, www.houzz.com
A compilation of car organization hacks for Good Housekeeping listed this as one of their top tips. Simply place a hanging organizer over the back of your car seats to hold things like extra shoes, tissues, umbrellas, and any other odds and ends you don't want rolling around on the floor.
2. Get A Basket For Safety Gear
Braided Water Hyacinth Cube, $39.99, TheContainerStore.com
Another super simple tip from Good Housekeeping was to simply get a wicker or plastic container for your trunk to keep all of your safety essentials, like flashlights, extra blankets, and water. This will ensure you have everything you need in the case of an emergency without any of the unnecessary clutter.
3. Line Your Cup Holders
Chicago Metallic 12 Count Silicone Baking Cups, $4.99, Target.com
A piece on hacks for your car on Krazy Coupon Lady, a site devoted to lifestyle and money-saving tips, recommended placing silicone cupcake liners in all of your cup holders to make cleaning crumbs and debris super easy. And bonus, you'll probably need to vacuum way less.
4. An Old Gum Container For Lose Change
Eclipse Sugar Free Gum, $2.96, Jet.com
The Krazy Coupon Lady also suggested grabbing an old jar or gum container for loose change. And the best part is it'll fit right in your cup holder!
5. Cram Plastic Bags Into An Old Tissue Box
The DIY site DIY & Crafts suggested filling an old tissue box with plastic bags so you always have a place for your random trash. Never again will those fast food bags need be rolling around by your feet!
6. Use A Shower Caddy For Essentials
Neat Life Shower Caddy, $10.49, Target.com
DIY and Crafts also suggested keeping a shower caddy on hand to keep the odds and ends you reach for most often, like hand sanitizer, lotion, and tissues. This will keep everything in one, neat-looking place and will mean you never have to waste time digging for something you need.
7. Keep Important Car Documents In A Binder
Case It 2" Binder, $15.99, Target.com
Corporate organizer Shelly Morton recommended getting a binder for all of your important car documents on her organization site Straighten-up-now.com. She also suggested keeping your papers in plastic sheet protectors in the event that certain repair and maintenance records have grease and oil on them.
8. Get A Purse Pouch
Purse Pouch, $9.88, Walmart.com
A purse pouch is especially designed to make sure your purse is always within arm's reach, and also ensures that your purse contents never spill out onto the floor. And while I may not have a car of my own, I know from many a road trip that that's pretty darn useful.
9. Keep A Container For Recyclables
Freddie and Sebbie Car Garbage Can, $29.97, Amazon.com
This last one is a personal tip. I know I already mentioned keeping plastic bags on hand for miscellaneous garbage, but it also makes sense to keep a bag or container on hand just for recyclables, like glass and plastic bottles. Now when the bag is full you can just grab it and toss it into the nearest recycling bin instead of letting things pile up in the back seat.
Keeping your car clean shouldn't feel like an impossible task. In fact, much like with your kitchen, bedroom, or bathroom, a huge part of keeping things neat and organized is simply implementing a few basic organizational systems. And from there, it's easy.
Image: YouTube (1); Courtesy Brands