Decluttering the car

Have you ever had someone get into your car…but as soon as they open the door, you instantly have that moment of “oh no, the front seat!” or “just don’t look at the kids’ seats!” or maybe “let’s just not open the centre console….AT ALL!”

Well, this post should help a bit. Dealing with the clutter in your car doesn’t always have to be an afterthought. Or, you don’t always have to go out there and use up a whole afternoon making it sparkle, just to have the kids back in there messing it up again. Any time you are waiting for something while in your car, let’s say kid’s activities, or online orders with curbside pick up, maybe even waiting at a long red light. If you have at least 1 minute, you can probably declutter one small area of your car!

Don’t know where to start?

The glove box

Go ahead, open it up! Afraid? Are things going to fall out? Just open it! Look for garbage, old receipts, napkins that are too folded to recognize if they’re clean or dirty. You can double check that those insurance papers are there (if that’s where you keep them).

The centre console(s)

Some cars have more than one hidden space! As if one cluttered console area wasn’t enough! Again, open it up and really look in there. Look for the same stuff as in the glove box, receipts and garbage are the two that keep coming to my mind. Look for any opened food packages (thanks kids, I’ll get that for you…as I roll my eyes!) Try to sort like things together like pens, change, lip chap (best to keep this inside, so it doesn’t melt!). If you have kids, you might even have rocks, shells, feathers and sticks in there!! You know, all those super special things they INSTANTLY forget about!

Wipe Cleaning

Look for any coffee spills, or sticky messes. Keep Lysol wipes in the car for those quick cleans at stops. It’s amazing how clean the car will feel with a quick wipe of the dash and the cupholders!


Invest in a car vacuum! Why not? Especially with kids! Waiting for 5-10 mins for your grocery order to come out to your car, why not take some time to vacuum out one seat, or even the floor of one seat. It’s so handy!

The back seats

You can’t always reach the back seat when you are the driver, but you can turn your head around at a stop light to assess what’s in your car. Decide what items you may need to remember to take out of the car. You may even be able to reach hats or socks and place them on the passenger seat so that you actually see them, to bring them inside. Sometimes “out of sight, out of mind” does in fact hold true! AND it generally is a principle that adds to any cluttered space! I prefer “visualize to organize!”

The trunk

This is where the vacuum is great!!! If you tend to leave stuff in your vehicle, you may want to start considering opening your trunk before getting out of the driver seat. This way you are forced to look in your trunk! You can’t deal with the clutter you can’t see. Get back there and sort reusable shopping bags, or anything else that gets left in the car. If you have a car emergency kit, why not check on it from time to time and make sure nothing has come out of it, or make sure things work like flashlights. Make sure reflective stickers haven’t started to peal away.


Dealing with the garbage doesn’t have to end in a tipsy flimsy stacked pile of garbage somewhere in the car, AND it doesn’t only have to happen when you have all the doors open in the driveway with a shop vac and garbage bag in hand. Why not set up an ‘in vehicle’ garbage can. Use a cereal container from the store! You can either line it with a bag or not. That way there is always somewhere for the garbage to go. Then it becomes about training everyone to USE it!

Extra storage spaces

We have an extra storage space under the foot area of the back seat. It’s a huge storage area and we actually use it the most in the summer. BUT, that means, we get lots of mud, sand, and leaf debris under there. And it doesn’t always get assessed during the winter. I often keep extra granola bars or fruit bars in a bag under one side, because my kids are ALWAYS hungry, it’s like I don’t feed them or something! I keep a picnic blanket under there, that sometimes needs a wipe. I toss in some extra bathing suits (especially when the kids were younger and we would drive around aimlessly then stumble upon a splashpad). I keep a couple of small packable towels down there too, they are even useful if you get caught in the rain. I also keep some bug spray and sunscreen in there in a ziplock bag for those hikes, or afternoons that just take longer than I guessed. I use it as a back up mom-brain. If I forget anything critical in my packing for an afternoon, I hope I’ve got it stashed here!

The key to decluttering any of the spaces, is to see everything that’s actually in the space! So, without pulling it ALL out, you can’t possibly see the depth of the mess. AND, no matter how much time you put in…your car will always feel messy or cluttered; especially in those places where it’s easy to “hide” the mess!

Once all the clutter comes out of the car, then you can set up the magic of great organizing! To solve great organizing problems, you need to know what kind of stuff accumulates, and where. From there, you can determine where you need containers, bags, or maybe bins to master your car’s organization!

No more excuses for that messy car now!

Thanks for coming home!


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