Keeping the Car Organized

A classic Tip of the Week from August 22, 2004

Cars can often become one of the last frontiers as far as organizing goes, especially for those of us who use them often, have families, or simply have a lot of stuff we keep with us when we're on the road. 

The glove compartment is a great place to start, as it tends to be a catch-all for any bits of paper or random items that might enter the car. Try this trick (from Martha Stewart Living): use a check organizer or other small accordion file to store registration and insurance info, auto club information and numbers, the car's owner's manual, maps, and directions. You may also want to file the records pertaining to the car's latest check-ups and oil changes. 

In addition to an accordion file, I recommend keeping in the glove compartment a tire pressure gauge, a pen or two, a few moist towelettes, and an unmeltable energy bar or granola bar; a Ziploc bag will keep these things together and prevent them from migrating throughout the glove compartment. 

There are a wide range of products designed to help you maintain organization in the rest of your car, from dividers that attach to seat backs to those that strap to sun visors to flexible seat-top bins. You can find many of these products at your local hardware or department store, or try an online store like Stacks and Stacks. 

Finally, keep your trunk in order with a trunk organizer. Again, there are many to choose from, so you can select one that's small enough to fit in your trunk and large enough to hold what you need. The one I use tucks easily into a corner, features a strip of velcro on one side (to help it stick to the trunk liner) and a strip of reflective tape on the other (so it can be used to help others see me if I break down at night), and came packed with car-care basics, including flares, jumper cables, fix-a-flat, and a well-stocked first aid kit. 

Spend some time this week cleaning out your car and getting it organized; in less than an hour, you can make sure your chariot has everything you need to get where you're going.