Organizing Hacks to Declutter Your Car

Clean Car!

Clutter afflicts vehicles of all stripes, and you’ll see it in everything from brand new BMW coupes to 10-year-old Hyundai hatchbacks. There are many reasons to banish clutter from your car: loose items and debris can be a safety hazard—a sudden swerve or stop could cause something to tumble and distract you at a critical moment. From a spiritual perspective, Feng Shui experts say clutter literally crowds out opportunities for expansion and development.

Clear a path to clutter-free, expansive living, even when you’re on the go, with these tips.

Keep, relocate or discard

There are three kinds of items that should be permanently stored in your car. The first are car-related documents such as your insurance and registration information. The second are items that you use on a daily basis during your drive (like keeping an extra pair of sunglasses in your glove compartment), and the third are the maintenance tools and emergency essentials that will help should you ever encouter trouble on the road.  

Everything else must go. Put all items that don’t fall into the “keep” categories listed above in a box to relocate or discard. Go through each item and find a place for it in your home. If you haven’t used an item for more than six months, or if it is damaged or broken, donate it, recycle it, or throw it away.

Organize your trunk

Congratulations—you’ve made it to the easiest part – the trunk! Let’s organize the essentials that belong in this area of your car.

All maintenance and emergency items belong in the trunk, and a trunk organizer is a great tool to keep them tidy. These organizers not only help reduce the clutter within the vehicle, they provide you with quick and easy access to important tools in an emergency. Look for one that will store items such as windshield wiper fluid, ice scrapers, jumper cables, flashlights, and flares.

Clean up your cabin

Inside the car, your paperwork belongs in the glovebox, while items you need during the drive, such as tissues, parking passes or change, should be stored in easily accessible areas.

Designate a spot for each item, whether it be the center console, the side of the door cubby, or the glovebox, so you can easily find it and put it away. Keep these necessities neatly contained with these hacks:

  • Put cleaned out baby food jars in consoles or cup holders to hold loose change
  • Keep kids’ books and activities in a travel-sized toiletry tote that can be stored under the seat or in the glovebox
  • Use an empty tissue box to hold plastic grocery bags and store it under the seat so you always have a bag to collect trash

For anything that doesn’t fit in these areas, a car seat organizer is a great solution. This organizer is mounted on the back of a front-row seat, and it provides a safe and neat home for your belongings. You can use a closet shoe organizer for the same effect.

One of the most important ways to be clutter-free in your car is to stay on top of it! Get in the habit of looking around you as you get out of your car each day, and clear out those travel mugs, stray wrappers, receipts, and discarded toys. Your spiritual self will be glad you did.

Warren Clarke is a consumer advice writer for CARFAX who loves to offer his tips and tricks for car buying and ownership. Going on 10 years with his own car, Warren has mastered the art of organizing and maximizing space in tight quarters.