Is your car full of trash, wrappers, and empty soda cans? Do items pile up, like jackets, hats, and books? If so, it’s time to get organized and develop new, clean car habits.
If you’re like most people, you live a busy life. Between your job, appointments, and running errands, you probably don’t have time to take extra items back into the house. It seems innocent on the surface, but a continually messy car could be an extension of a disorganized home.
Being disorganized can wreak havoc on your life. For instance, researchers from Princeton University Neuroscience Institute published a study proving that clutter restricts the brain’s ability to focus on and process information. The brain’s visual system competes to process multiple stimuli in the environment, and if you’re surrounded by clutter, you’re going to be unproductive and exhausted.
Emergency supplies aside, try these tips for maintaining a clutter-free, organized car:
- Take a leadership course
What does a leadership course have to do with maintaining a clean car? Everything. Many advanced leadership courses have participants clean out their homes and cars as part of the required coursework. Most people don’t realize their efforts to become better people are thwarted by clutter.
Clutter is an overload of stimuli for the brain. If you’ve ever felt agitated, frustrated, or angry for no reason, it might have been because of clutter. Taking a leadership course that instructs you to de-clutter your life will help you create new habits so you never slip back.
- Take great care of your car
If you don’t care about your car, you’re not likely to take care of it. When was the last time you washed your car? Got a tune-up? Rotated your tires? If it’s been a while, you’re not in the habit of taking great care of your car. When your car isn’t a priority, it can become a trash can and an extra closet rather quickly.
To ward off the collection of clutter, start taking better care of your car. Take it to the car wash, or pay some neighborhood kids to wash it for you. If you don’t have a garage, cover your car in winter and summer to protect it from the elements. Take it to Walmart to get a cheap oil change and tire rotation. Treat the backseat as a backseat, not a closet. If you must keep items in the car, move them to the trunk so you don’t have to awkwardly shuffle things around when you pick up friends.
- Organize your trunk
When you organize your car, you won’t like clutter. It will be difficult to just toss a sweater into a neatly organized trunk. You’ll feel like something’s wrong. You’ll want to fold it first and tuck it neatly away.
A highly disorganized trunk means the items you need access to are always in a different spot. Have you had to dig for your oil, antifreeze, flashlight, or other tools? It’s not fun. An organized trunk cuts down on clutter and makes finding things – when you need them – easier.
There are some items you need to leave in your trunk, so try these simple tricks to maintain order:
- Put all empty grocery bags and garbage bags inside of an empty wipes canister. The dispenser may not work for plastic bags, but it will keep the bags contained and easy to access.
- Look for car accessories specifically designed to organize items in a car. Some organizers are designed to hang over the back of the front seats, but you can lay them flat in the trunk. If the organizers are too expensive, try using a shower caddy. If all else fails, get a toolbox for storage.
- Put everything in a duffel bag. This isn’t the best way to access items you need on a regular basis, but it does get things out of the way and it’s easy to move if you need trunk space.
- Commit to not leaving trash in the car overnight
The biggest component to staying organized is committing to maintaining that organization. Commit to removing all trash and extra clothing items from the car each night. This simple action will eliminate the potential for clutter to accumulate.
Organize your vehicle for safe driving
If you spend a significant amount of time in your car, the clutter could be distracting you without your awareness. Since driving requires absolute focus, and clutter is distracting, it makes sense to maintain an organized vehicle.