I hesitated calling this post "Quickie Car Organization" because while the organizing part of this process was quick, the entire process, which started a few weeks ago when I took advantage of a nice day to clean my car, wasn't so "quick". Very much needed, though, and it was great to have an organizing/cleaning project that allowed me to enjoy nice weather outside for a change, rather than just being inside the house with the windows open! Since I haven't shared any of that, I thought I'd start at the beginning, but in honor of the "quickie week" I seem to have started, I'm keeping the name as is. ;)
A month or so ago when the hubby and daughter were out-of-town, I enjoyed a productive weekend at home. That Saturday wasn't so nice out, as I recall, but Sunday was GORGEOUS. It was the perfect day to clean my car, which is something I always forget about until I'm driving somewhere or have other people in my car and find myself apologizing for the dirtiness. Brad periodically vacuums for me and washes the outside, but what I really notice is the DUST. With multiple little kids and constantly changing Midwest weather, the carpets get dirty again fast, so it seems almost worthless sometimes to vacuum. But I love a freshly Armor-All'd dashboard. So shiny and clean! Maybe it's because that's what I stare at when I drive, but a clean dash to me is a clean car!
I spent about four hours that afternoon vacuuming everything, cleaning the leather, and applying Armor All to clean the dash and inside of the doors. It's not perfect (I have a 2006 vehicle that, as I said, gets a lot of use transporting kids), but I'm no longer embarrassed by it. More recently I spent part of another nice afternoon cleaning the windows. And then finally yesterday I finished the organization!
When I have all my daycare kids in the car and my 3rd row seat is in use, I only have this much cargo space left. Not. Much. In the past I haven't even attempted to store shopping bags or anything else because I figured every time I opened the rear hatch that they'd come tumbling out. But I stuffed all my bags in my big thermal from Thirty One (that size is no longer available), and they stay in place really well! I also added a travel changing pad with wipes now that I'll have a baby in tow again. And the Thirty One Keep-It-Caddy on the right nicely holds my blankets. The blankets are nice to have in the car. I found out at least once last year that you can't always count on picnic tables to be available at a park, and we like to picnic for daycare, and blankets in the car are always a good idea. You never know when you'll need a soft, dry spot to sit, a warm blanket to cover up with, or when you'll get stranded in the snow!
Underneath those items, there is a hidden storage area where I store a roadside emergency kit and another blanket.
Moving further up in the car to the 2nd row seat, I swapped out my old droopy backseat organizer for a thinner one that stays closer to the seat better. It doesn't hold several books and things like the other one, but adding one more child to daycare again means making more space available in the car, and more needed foot room. I love this organizer from, yep, you guessed it, Thirty One, because it has just enough pockets without being a catch-all sort of place. (The fun coral color doesn't hurt, either.) My daughter's Leap Pad fits in the top clear pocket, even with the gel skin on! I figured that would be great for her to watch movie apps that she has, though it sits maybe a tad too low for that so she'll probably still have to hold it when in use. It is still a good spot to store it when traveling. There's also a great spot for a water bottle, paper or a couple thin books, and another clear pocket for crayons, a granola bar, or whatever you need to store. (Keeping that pocket free for now.) The bottom pockets could hold some lightweight toys or snacks, but we're using them for baby wipes and tissues. A mom's always got to have those handy!
Eventually I want to add one of these to hold books and car toys for the kids again, and for Faith to use on long trips. I won't have the daycare kids in the car as much over the summer, so at least for that purpose we have some time.
Moving up to the front seat now, my car has a deep center console that has a lot of room for storing stuff, but it's also so deep that it can become a mess quickly and then it's tough to find things. I cleared out what I didn't need, and reorganized the essentials. I currently carry a small notebook and pens in the car, so that if ideas come to me when I'm out-and-about, or I decide to work on a to-do or grocery list while waiting at school, I have paper available. I also added an index card with daycare parents' information, so that if we're ever in an accident and I can't locate my phone, I have that information available. That orange thing is a mini (BRIGHT) LED flashlight.
I also recently added a mini cleaning kit. I purchased this Norwex Travel Pack a while back along with a small spray bottle from Dollar Tree. I filled the bottle with water, and with the four color-coded cloths, I'm ready to clean up anything from kids to the car! The water bottle hangs nicely on the removable compartment on the top of the center console.
Down lower, in that dark area that you can hardly see, I have a lint roller, an umbrella, a first aid kit and first aid tools (tweezers, scissors, etc.).
Underneath the center console of my car is this open storage area. I've never quiet known what to put there. I think it's intended for a purse so that a would-be-thief wouldn't see it sitting out, but it's not very deep and kind of tough to get a larger purse in-and-out of. I used to have tissues in the bottom of that center console storage, and it's worked well (have to use a square Kleenex box), but I decided that space could be better utilized and this was a great spot for tissues! Pretty regularly I need to hand one to someone as I'm driving, so this spot makes them easy to reach and I don't have to open anything or dig.
Once Mya starts next week and I have a package of diapers for her, I'll stick a couple of those in the pocket of the door or with the baby wipes so that I always have back-ups. I'd love to keep sunscreen and bugspray in the car, too, but those aren't good things to keep in high heat, so I'll just have to remember to grab those!
I'm feeling really good about my clean(er), summer-ready car! Bring on the picnics!