I love that new car smell.
To me it smells of the expectation of the journeys that I will take in it, like a new house or a new outfit give you a buzz of excitement when you first buy them.
Sitting in the drivers seat – the plastic looking all shiny, black and gleaming, the seats totally mark free, and no mass of toys and clutter lurking wherever you look.
There is simply a sense of peace.
BUT – Lets face it – a few days into real living and for most people this scene fades and in its place is the car that we all know and love. That trusted friend to get you from A to B – along with the clutter, mess, dirt and toys!
Get that new car feeling back
I get that “new car” feeling every time my car has been cleaned – and always, ALWAYS vow to keep it that way. But life takes over every time.
My car is my organising Achilles heel. Whatever I do, I don’t seem to be able to stay on top of it. If you’ve ever seen FRIENDS then you’ll relate that its like Monicas cupboard – the queen of being organised still had to have one space that held her mess – my car is mine.
(Whats your organising achilles heel – I’d love to know! – send me a message on facebook!)
Its not that I don’t try –
- I have a rubbish bag to collect litter, but you can be guaranteed that children in the back of the car will drop things, or that you are eating/drinking on the run and things get dropped by you too.
- I have a handheld hoover – bought with the express intention that it would be so much more handy to quickly nip out and get the car clean each week – but even that rarely makes it out there – preferring to stay and be a source of fun for my inquisitive daughter!
- I have tried to put everything in the right compartments, but as I often go to clients homes and have lots of paperwork, samples and catalogues with me, things get left behind for the next journey just to add to it….
I have the best intentions in the world – after all – when I pull up to clients homes I want to show a professional side, which my home definitely does – but my car is my downfall completely.
I am sure you have somewhere in your home that isn’t working at its best for you at the moment – one place where it seems to be OK for you to leave messy occasionally. My aim from now on (I can’t say for next week, or next month as these timeframes never seem to come round – better to start from now!) is to keep on top of my car.
How can you get your car organised?
I have collected all the tips from various books, online, magazines etc… on this topic over the years, and hopefully these will make all the difference….. well, we’ll see!
Good luck with whatever you choose to organise from now on…. !
So – here goes!
Heres whats my car looks like today – OH THE EMBARRASSMENT!
All areas look like a bin bag has been emptied inside!. My daughter has lots of toys and has eaten when we’ve been driving so loads of crumbs and food have found a way into all the nooks and crannies of the seating and floor – my life seems to take over the front seat – and as for the boot – well thats just anything that makes its way there, usually never to be seen again. Not great when I open the boot ready to put the monthly food shop into it! ARRRRGGGHHHH…..
How can I use the A.D.O.R.E. method to help get organised?
I will use my A.D.O.R.E method to try and make things easier….
A – Assess – What do I need my car for?
I need my car to be clean and tidy at all times so that I look professional when at clients homes.
I also need to have space for suitcases regularly in the boot (as I use these to store catalogues and samples which I take to clients homes etc…)
I need to have all the usual items in the car at all times, but have systems in place to declutter regularly.
My daughter is often in the car with me for longer trips to family and friends, so I need to ensure she has everything she needs to hand.
I also listen to lots of CDs about time management, business, self help etc…, and my daughter has several CDs to listen to in the car also – so CD storage is key for us.
D – Declutter and Clean
Right – So I need to take EVERYTHING out of the car and see exactly what I have – deciding what I need to keep in the car, what I need to keep but not in the car, and what is genuine rubbish.
Throw away all the rubbish, and reallocate the other things to their rightful places in the home – then I am left with just that which actually belongs in the car.
While the car is empty, this is the best time to give it a thorough clean inside and out (and a good chance to delegate this if you prefer! Valeting is always a good idea as a once off to really get the car thoroughly clean).
O – Organise
My main gripe is rubbish that accumulates – so
- Keep a bag/box or whatever suits you best to keep rubbish in one place. Drinks bottles, food wrappers, car parking tickets, receipts etc…. then create a habit of emptying this everytime you get out of the car at home (this should be easy for me as I get out almost next to the bin!)
Then, storage (what and where) is second:-
- Keep only what you need in your car. I am forever storing everything but the kitchen sink in my boot – it just adds up slowly – but I didn’t realise how much effect this has on your petrol useage, and with todays prices, we can’t fritter our money away like that anymore. Decluttering the car is the answer. You should only have the necessities (and also have them in the correct place in the car – its no good keeping a car park pass in the boot if you need to get our of the car every time you need it – better to keep it in the glove box). This is what I think is required in my car, and where I would like to put it:-
GLOVE BOX (easily accessible while on the move)
- Car Park Passes
- Sunglasses for driving
- Maps or Sat Nav
- Vehicle Paperwork
- Hands Free Items
- CDs – One way of organising them would be a Sun Visor Organisor For Car Interior **– which utilises the wasted space perfectly!)
- Breakdown company details
CENTRAL STORAGE BETWEEN FRONT SEATS
- Phone Charger (theres usually a cigarette lighter inside which you can use to charge it)
- Spare Change (for car park fees, toll roads etc…)
- Tissues / Wipes
- Pens and Small Notepad
BOOT (I have a small hidden storage compartment under my main boot where I like to keep all the essentials that are listed here – leaving the main boot area relatively empty)
- First Aid Kit
- Change of Clothes
- Bottles of water and snacks in case of breakdown
- Windscreen Wash
- Spare Tyre
- Snow Scraper (If winter then this will probably be in the glove box)
- Small Spade (if winter – to move snow from road)
- Shopping bags (bags for life work well as they are sturdy enough for most shopping)
I have tried to keep enough space in my boot for a large food shop, or to buy larger items, or for suitcases for my work – that way I won’t get stressed when I have to cram things in!, I like the idea of having a small storage facility in the boot for items as well
I have also considered my daughters needs in the car, and what storage they require: –
Even her car seat has two drinks holders that pull out which are useful for drinks (!), and for small pots of snacks etc…
I chose a back of seat organiser as this would work best for our needs, we also regularly have more sitting in the back seat than just her, so a “middle of seats” organiser would get in the way a lot.
I chose an organiser that could house magazines and books easily as this would be what it was most used for (lots of organisers have different arrays of storage compartments so worth considering exactly what you want it for.
LAST BUT NOT LEAST!
- I have tried wherever possible to ensure that the items I am going to store in my car are hidden from view – so as not to attract thieves.
SO – this is what I am now left with…..
Better – I hope you agree!!! (and yes – got it valeted a bit!). I have added a small car bin under the drivers seat which will be handy to add any rubbish to as I go – and easy to empty into the bins in my drive when I get back (you can see them outside the drivers door if you look hard enough – no excuse!). In the centre picture you can see the CD storage in the car visor -handy and out of the way, and in the back seat my daughters toys are now off the floor and in storage that she can reach. All in all a great change that I am hoping I can keep up!
R – Real Life
- Schedule in your diary time when you will clean your car inside and out. Make it at least once a month, whether you do it yourself, delegate, or pay someone , it doesn’t matter – what matters is that it gets done. I love the fact that at my gym there is a valeting service right outside. This leaves no excuses and I started a couple of weeks ago to leave it with them while I went inside. Time management and multi tasking to perfection! The best thing is that they gave me a 50% off voucher for next time as well! No longer will a dirty and untidy car get me down.
- Keep your car well maintained. Services should be kept up to date (reminder in diary a couple of weeks before its due is a good idea), check lights are working, tyre pressure etc…. regularly. If you leave things until the last minute you may have to delay a long journey unnecessarily.
- Some garages offer service packs for MOTs and Servicing, and will pick your car up for you to save you hassle and time. These are worth considering. I started using mine when I had my daughter as it spread the cost over the year, there was no worries about waiting around the car when I needed to feed her, and I could pick a day when I didn’t need to use my car anyway so it really wasn’t noticed that it was gone.
- TIP – I also always try and tell someone where I am going, what route I am taking and when I am due to get back – so they don’t worry, and so that they can be more informed should I have any troubles or don’t return. Better to be safe.
E – Evaluate
Evaluating whether this system works should be easy – as it will stay clean and tidy the majority of the time. If it doesn’t then I need to ensure I stick to the 3 main habits I need to stick to (rubbish taken away often, car cleaned inside and out every month, storage space for everything).
I will report back!
Hope this method helps you to stay on top of your car. If you have any great storage ideas, or anything to add to my list of things to keep in the car, I would love to hear about them!