by Mimi Tanner
One of the easiest and best ways to declutter your life is to start with your car. This has many benefits:
– It makes you feel good immediately
– It’s easy to declutter a car, compared to decluttering a home
– It encourages you to declutter more areas of your life
– It impresses other people! You’ll be surprised how much!
After all, what really belongs in your car? Very, very few items belong in your car.
Driving should be a serene and safe experience – not a time to get down on yourself because of a messy car. Decluttering your car takes only minutes, in most cases.
Decluttering your car is very habit-forming. Here’s how to start.
Get a box and a trash bag. Throw out all trash, such as old receipts that you don’t need, old cups and food wrappers, and any junk mail. Don’t worry about vacuuming the car. That will happen later when you wash your car. Just get that trash out now.
Next, put everything that is in the car – and I do mean everything – in a box. Empty the entire car of “stuff.”
Yes, the spare tire, tire changing tools, and children’s car seats can stay! Those are not clutter problems but necessities!
Wash your car or take it to be washed and vacuumed, inside and out. Now it’s clean and clear of all items. It looks great.
Now it’s time to put back just a few special items in your car. Here’s what:
First, a flashlight and jumper cables. Then, make sure you have your car insurance information and
registration papers in a safe place.
I recommend keeping these things in the car:
– scissors and tape! These two items can really come in handy, especially when you need to wrap a last-minute gift
– 2 pens and a pencil, plus 2 envelopes
– extra straws for drinks
– your sunglasses!
– a power cord, the kind that plugs into your lighter
– your favorite CDs or cassettes – but no more than 5! Change them every month or as needed.
Most of the items listed above can fit in your glove compartment or in a small caddy.
But wait! Are there other “must” items you need to keep in the car because of your work or family? Not to worry.
For anything extra that needs to be in your car, use a special box that you keep in your trunk or in the very back of the car. A sturdy colorful plastic box works best. This will keep the extra items “contained”! That will contain both YOUR sanity as well as your safety.
That’s everything! Anything else in your car should be there because you planned it. Driving will now be a far more pleasant experience!
Train your school-age children to put their backpacks in the trunk when you pick them up from school. That is both a space-saving habit and a matter of safety. You don’t want heavy objects flying in the car in the event of a sudden stop!
Now here’s the hidden payoff. You’ll be amazed over and over again at how many people will marvel at your clean and clutter-free car when they see it. Why is that? It’s because most people allow the junk to just pile up without ever even trying to declutter. Every time they see their junky cars, it
stresses them out a little more. This is so needless! Having a decluttered car feels fantastic.
If you ever need extra supplies in your car for a special purpose, such as a trip, it’s no problem – just provide yourself with another special box or bin to hold the extra items – and everything will stay orderly and easy to reach.
The secret is to make sure everything stays in the SAME AREA. Don’t allow items to creep all over the car. Confine the items to one designated area, such as the trunk or the rear of the car.
What if your school age kids don’t want to clean out their messes in your car? Perhaps they are leaving candy wrappers and books and “stuff” in the car and want to make it their “spare” bedroom?
Here’s a solution for that: good-naturedly say, “I’m not going to open the front door until you clean up your candy wrappers and get your CDs off the car floor!” Smile, but let them know you mean it. They may groan, but they’ll get their stuff out of your car!
Make sure children’s car seats get wiped down with a damp cleaning cloth often. When you can’t vacuum the car seat, a small whisk broom makes cleaning a car seat very easy.
We all have so many errands and spend plenty of time in our cars. Make riding in your car a source of pleasure for you.
From Sarah: Mimi Tanner is a well known relationship expert, helping women attract great men, and handle every aspect of being with them to get the results they want – and – she also happens to be an expert at organizing! I was researching organizing sites and “decluttering” books – and found Mimi’s to be one of the clearest, most tip-laden, and the deepest as far as the emotional issues of clutter are concerned. Take a look at her site to get all kinds of free help and tips->