Inside: Got a messy vehicle? Implement my 3 T.L.C. tips to keep your vehicle neat and clean with very little extra time or effort! I’ll show you how.
Over the weekend, we went through the somewhat annoying but necessary process of removing the car seats and boosters from both of our vehicles, vacuuming both vehicles, decrumbing the car seats, and putting everything back in place again.
I suppose I don’t necessarily love the process, but I do enjoy the end results of a thoroughly deep-cleaned van. So, it’s one of those to-dos I put on my list a couple of times each year.
For the rest of the year, however, we utilize 3 simple steps to maintain the interior of our vehicles with almost no extra effort.
Besides some sand, dirt, and a few cracker crumbs, the insides of our vehicles are almost always neat and organized — even with multiple children, snacks, drinks, blankets, bags, books, craft supplies, tissues, wipes, etc.
Want to know my “secret”??
It’s just a little T. L. C.
If you need a little motivation to clean up the inside of your vehicle (and a simple plan to KEEP it organized), consider this my pep-talk to you!
T = Trash
Is it just me, or are you also shocked by the amount of trash your tribe can produce while on the go??
We keep a plastic grocery bag “tied” to the back of the passenger seat so I can easily reach the trash from the driver’s seat and the kids can easily deposit their trash as they exit the van.
I have 1 or 2 extra plastic bags rolled up in the back of that seat pocket so we always have replacement bags ready to go when it’s time to change the bag.
I honestly don’t know what I’d do without a dedicated trash bag in our vehicles.
It’s such a quick, simple, and frugal fix for messy car interiors but it’s a crucial factor in maintaining a semi-clean car.
L = Leave the vehicle neater than you found it.
This is another very simple, but very effective trick we utilize to keep our van neat and organized almost all the time.
Every time we arrive home (and I do mean EVERY time), we take everything out of the van that doesn’t belong.
For example, the kids usually take a snack cup and water bottle in the car… and they all take them back into the house again when we get home.
When I used a diaper bag, I brought it into the house and immediately restocked it with necessary supplies. The same goes for the kids’ backpacks.
And of course, any groceries always come into the house right away as well.
I also usually do a once-over of the vehicle to see if there are any stray papers, receipts, pieces of trash, etc. that can be removed before I head inside. It takes mere seconds and makes a huge difference.
As with most spaces in my life, I’m calmer, less stressed, more relaxed, and happier if my surroundings are relatively neat and organized.
Taking a few minutes (often just 1 minute) to leave our van better than when we arrived is more than worth it for me!
C = Create a space for items you keep in the car.
We keep a surprising amount of stuff in our van at all times — which means less stuff for me to lug back and forth every time we get in and out.
However, we have designated storage spots for all this stuff so it’s not sitting out, looking cluttery, or sliding around the van when we drive.
Below are a few examples of things we store in the van, and where we store it (I share more detail about our van storage in this post).
Blankets and Neck Pillows:
Each child has their own car blanket and neck pillow — which they use quite regularly.
The blankets are wedged next to the child’s seat. The neck pillows are looped around their headrest or armrest.
Paper, Pens, and other Craft Supplies:
We have a little organizer (similar to this one) that hooks onto the headrest and provides lots of storage space for pens, paper, crayons, stickers, books, etc. etc.
We currently have the organizer hanging from the headrest in the middle of the back seat.
Towel, Wipes, Sanitizers, and other Baby/Kid Supplies:
Even though we’ve been out of the diaper stage for almost a year, I still keep a big container of wipes in the van at all times. And I always keep a small hand towel in the van in case we have a big spill or visit a park with wet toys.
I also keep a pump bottle of this foaming hand sanitizer in one of the cup holders so the kids can quickly sanitize their hands whenever they get back in the van.
Since I don’t use a designated diaper bag anymore (woo-hoo), I keep a few spare first aid supplies, chapstick, lotion, gum, and candy in the center console.
I store all my reusable grocery bags in the trunk (I fold them all and put them inside one of the bags).
Umbrella, Snow Scraper, Blankets, and Tarps
I store 2 umbrellas, our snow scraper, our favorite car blanket, and a small tarp in the “stow ‘n go” part of the van below the bucket seats.
I use the blanket for picnics, hanging out at the park, sitting on bleachers, or just to keep warm in the spring and fall.
I use the tarp whenever I haul plants or anything that’s a little dirty.
Paperwork and coupons
I store all our vehicle’s paperwork and manuals in the glove box — along with various coupons and gift cards.
By practicing a little T.L.C. we’re able to keep the inside of our vehicles neat and organized (almost) all the time with very little extra effort.
Here’s a recap…
T = Trash – have a spot for it!
L = Leave the vehicle better than you found it.
C = Create a space for items you keep in the vehicle.
Hey… come to think of it, this T.L.C. concept could improve almost any space in your home! 😉
Maintaining a fairly neat and organized vehicle truly doesn’t require all that much time or energy, especially once you implement my simple T.L.C. routine.
Give it a try the next time you’re coming or going… I think you’ll notice a big difference!
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