To many of us, a car has several other identities aside from being our main mode of transportation. Some might even refer to it as their second home, their office or even a personal entertainment centre. With our cars playing such a vital role in our life, it is not surprising to see how there are just so many random items left in the car “just in case” we need anything. Car clutter is a real headache-inducing problem for everyone, but there is no reason to stay overwhelmed by this mess! As most people know, the easiest way to keep your car clean is to lay floor mats. They keep bacteria from growing due to dirt, food and drink that you track in your car or spill if you happen to eat in your car often. For good quality floor mats, check out car mats uk. But, there are many other things you should be doing to keep your car spick and span. Take a look at this handbook on how to keep your vehicle tidy and organized.
Clean all the gunk out
First and foremost, we need to deep clean the car. Set aside one to two hours along with some garbage bags to divide everything into 3 categories: to bring back to the house, to the garbage, to stay in the car (it should be a small pile).
You need to be ruthless while you purge the car. Check your backseat, trunk, glove compartment and even the space under the seat where loose change collects. Pull out car seats to take out any organizers placed at the back and remember to check the centre console too!
Once the purging is completed, immediately throw away the garbage. Items such as loose change, papers, extra clothes or random toys back to the house and deal with it later. Things that should stay in the car can be brought back to the house temporarily as we proceed with the deep cleansing.
As the sorting is done, the deep cleaning will now commence! All surfaces should be vacuumed and wiped. Remove all the floor mats and give them a good shake while you give the rubber mats a good rinse. If you find stains on your car seat, this is the time to spot treat it to bring it back to its original condition.
A vacuum can sufficiently clean the dashboard and consoles of the car, but use a thin object like a butter knife wrapped in a damp cloth to reach into the cracks of the console and dashboard. Meanwhile, use a window cleaner to wipe the glass surfaces to achieve a shiny, reflective surface and be mindful of your fingerprints!
As you wipe the doors of each side, do keep a lookout for any leftover wrappers, bottles or pieces of paper that are left on the door’s cup holders and pocket. A damp cloth is sufficient to wipe the window buttons, handles and other touchpoints.
Relook into your priorities
Congratulations! You’ve cleared the most tedious part — the cleaning. Now it’s time to look through the pile of things you want to bring back into the car. Question yourself if this item is something you truly need and before bringing it back.
But this doesn’t mean you should be underprepared for any unforeseen happenings. We suggest you leave two tote bags stocked in the trunk for winter and summer respectively. For the winter tote, things like an extra pair of gloves, a furry sweater, a fleece blanket and an ice scraper are good to pack. Meanwhile, summer essentials such as sunscreen, flip-flops, an umbrella and a spare shirt sound about right for the latter tote. Both bags should contain an extra garbage bag (that can be a poncho, seat protector, etc), a packet of wet wipes and some cash.
Having a car emergency kit can be handy just in case anything happens. The kit should include jumper cables, an old towel and for those in winter, countries should prepare a deicer, mini shovel and a heavy-duty blanket too. Additionally, having a car manual and tire gauge helps you become more prepared for emergencies. Keeping important paperwork such as your car’s insurance information and registration is good practice too.
Moving on to the miscellaneous items, tissue and first aid kits (that should contain rubber gloves, rubbing alcohol pads, bandages and pain relievers) should belong in the centre console. Storing some chocolate-free (no melt) granola bars along with a reusable shopping bag will be useful in the future.
Don’t use your car as a storage space
Car clutter can be easily avoided if you choose to bring home everything you brought into the car. When we say everything, we mean that all your extra sweatshirts and shopping bags should be taken back home. This effort is to fight the “car as storage” mentality and once you take up a good habit of bringing things home, it will help to preserve the vehicle’s cleanliness.
Implement a “no food in-car” policy
No matter how much you vouch that you will be careful, eating in the car is still the main reason for a messy and dirty car. We understand the temptations you get when you collect your takeaway food from the drive-thru and the journey home seems like forever. But it is nearly impossible to not leave a crumb when you are eating in a moving vehicle. Instead, by abiding by the “no food” policy we realised that it encourages people to slow down and spend time sitting together to eat.
However, if you really need to consume food, choose dry and non-sticky snacks (e.g. pretzels) and drink water rather than soda or juice as they can get sticky. Getting a spill-proof travel mug is a good consideration too!
Prepare yourself for emergencies
For drivers with children, random accidents are inevitable. In a split second, these little creatures can spill their drink or even have chewing gum stuck in their hair. The best remedy here will be to keep an additional towel and fleece blanket in the trunk (as we shared earlier). These two cloths can be easily spread out on the car seats and can even soak up spills.
While for pet owners, it is crucial to keep your furry pals inside a carrier for both of your safety. Firstly, this prevents your pets from distracting you while driving and also keeps them secure in case of a sudden break. Additionally, keeping them in the carrier significantly reduces the amount of pet hair left in the car. Pet owners should be reminded to always bring their pets with them and never leave them alone in the car, even for a short duration. The temperature in the car can jump anytime and this exposes your pets to danger.
Set reminders to make this a routine
By setting a recurring weekly reminder for yourself to do some spring cleaning for your car is a good practice to maintain the vehicle’s cleanliness. You just need to dedicate 10-15 minutes of your time each week to clear any garbage, shake out the carpets and wipe any spills and this saves you from the tedious two-hour-long deep cleaning sessions.
Having a clean and organized vehicle makes you feel like you have control in your life. Rather than stepping into chaos, your car can now be your relaxation zone that lightens up your spirit every time you drive. Consistent efforts go a long way and once these conscious choices turn into a habit, you will never have to drive in a messy car again!