One uneventful Tuesday morning, I parked at preschool and began to unload the tiny humans. As I opened the car door, a sock, a granola bar wrapper, and a used tissue fell out. Not one to usually care what people think, I was surprised by my own embarrassment. My mom-mobile had become a traveling trash-mobile. A graveyard for hair elastics, doll shoes, and empty applesauce pouches. I glanced briefly at the other parents’ cars in the lot. Sure, there were 1 or 2 like mine, but for the most part they seemed tidy and organized.
I made it my mission to get my car clean and organized. After all, I’m always after my kids to clean up after themselves, then I pile them into this mess on wheels? I need to start practicing what I preach.
Here are my most helpful tips for keeping my mom-mobile clean and organized:
- Get a car trash bin: I prefer the type that buckles around the front passenger headrest. This allows me to reach and toss things into it as I drive without taking my eyes off the road. Be sure this bin is added to the bins that are emptied each week before the trash truck comes.
- Get a car organization basket for the trunk: Select one with two or three compartments to store your reusable grocery bags, spare jackets, first aid kit and other mom related items.
- Only allow car-friendly snacks: This is a tricky one to implement, but it makes a big difference. Only allow sippy cups with water in the car. No milk or juice because spills will happen. Try for the least crumbly snacks. For us, it’s fig bars and pita chips. Nothing that spoils, is too wet or too small if spilled.
- Line cup holders with silicone cupcake liners: You’ll thank me for this one too. First of all, my cup holders are already gross and difficult to clean. The silicone liners give you a fresh start and an easy out for future cleanings.
- Have a toy basket in the back seat: Your children will insist on bringing things with them into the car. It’s kind of cute really. They see mom carrying a purse, a coffee traveler, and a set of keys, so they too feel compelled to be carrying something when they exit the house. Have a basket in the backseat to store the things they bring in the event they grow tired of carrying them (and we know they will).
- Clear it out at the end of the day as a part of your daily routine: Kids who are old enough should be tasked with emptying at least 1 or 2 items from the car when they get home. At the end of the day after the kids have gone to bed, make one trip out to the car to retrieve the items of the day. Dirty clothes go into the laundry, shoes into the closet, and cups into the wash. Doing it just a bit at a time is much more manageable than spending an entire Saturday afternoon rectifying a month’s worth of abuse.
There you have it. These are the simple tips I’ve established to save me from the pangs of embarrassment the next time I drop my daughter at preschool and a fellow mom stops me as I am about to drive off. As moms we spend too much time in the car to hate the environment, so let’s spruce it up a bit, shall we? Cheers, friends.