It’s pretty much a given that you have to live with messes when you become a parent, but that doesn’t mean your car is doomed to being permanently covered in crushed Cheerios and sticky juice stains. You can have a clean car if you do some strategic preparation before your next trip with the kids.
1. Get an Organizer (or Two!)
The same over-the-door caddy you use in the closet to keep your shoes organized works great for stowing your kids’ favorite car activities. Hang one over the back of the seat, and use the pockets to hold coloring books, crayons, CDs, water bottles and lidded cups. If you’d prefer a more stylish way to organize, there are plenty of car organizers available with pockets of various sizes, some of which are made just for kid stuff. Switch up the activities from time to time to keep everyone entertained, and remember to put things back in the caddy when you get home from an outing!
2. Carry a Trash Bag
Whether it’s a hanging bag specifically designed for the car, a regular garbage bag or a plastic grocery bag, make sure you have something in which to put trash when you’re driving around with the kids. By
the end of the trip, they’ll inevitably have an empty package or wrapper from a snack and at least one napkin or tissue. Without a trash bag handy, these are likely to end up on the floor or wedged between the seats, only to be discovered weeks later when they start to smell funny.
3. Embrace the Cordless Vac
You can pick up a cordless or car vacuum for less than $50 from somewhere like Amazon, and you’ll be glad you made the investment. Even with a trash bag nearby, some of your kids’ messes will wind up on the floor and seats of the car. Miniature vacs suck up crumbs, seeds, bits of crayons, paper shreds and anything else too small to pick up by hand. Look for a model with attachments designed to go between seat cushions so that nothing gets missed.