10 Car Organization Tips That Actually Work

Need a system for keeping your car organized? Check out these car organization tips that will help you make your car more organized, comfortable, and clean!

trunk of van with organized bag, dog, kid, to demonstrate car organization tips

Car Organization Tips

The Mom Mobile. The Chaotic Caravan. The shuttle bus.

We may have endearing terms for our cars, but that doesn’t stop them from getting messy.

Chances are, you spend a lot of time in your car.

Our cars are an extension of our homes.

And since we strive for home organization, we should want car organization too, right?

Let’s chat about how to make and keep our cars organized!

Contain the trash

The first rule of car organization is to get the trash out.

And since you probably have kids that basically create trash from thin air, you also want a way to keep the trash out.

There are many options for small trash containers.

You want something that’s easy to clean and large enough to contain the trash.

You also want to be intentional about where you put it in your car. 

If your kids are old enough to put the trash away themselves, you can keep the trash container on the back of the front seat.

If not, I’ve found that a good spot is on the floor of the front passenger seat.

It’s out of the way, but convenient enough for you to put the trash into the container.

Instead of all over your car floor.

Related: De-trashing: An Easy Way to Start Decluttering

Quick cleans 

Instead of stressing about making time to deep clean your car every week, do quick pickups frequently.

This helps the mess stay more manageable.

Find yourself with five minutes parked in the school pickup time?

Grab a plastic bag and toss in any trash you can.

You can keep car wipes or cloth in your car for times like this.

It may not be a full clean, but picking up what you can reach will feel good. 

However, a deep clean weekly or monthly might still be a good idea.

Get the kids involved

You want your kids to see the value of taking care of things.

This doesn’t just happen at home.

But transfers to our car organization, too.

Talk openly with them about appreciating what you have and being grateful for it.

In an age-appropriate way, you can remind them that cars cost us money and that we must take care of what we have and spend money on.

It’s important to teach our kids responsibility and stewardship at any age. 

And the thing that drives them to places they want to go is no exception!

Use baskets or bags

Just as you do in your home, you want to contain things.

If items have a “home,” both you and your kids can return them to where they go.

Keep a basket in the middle of the backseat for larger items or an organizer in the trunk.

You can try seat organizers for smaller items or reusable bags in the console.  

Related: Make a Beauty Kit for the Car

Emergency supplies

Since you’re likely in your car a lot, make sure you have emergency or backup supplies there.

These things may come in handy in a stressful situation. Or could help keep you safe in an emergency. 

Some things to consider having in your car: 

  • First aid supplies: bandaids, gauze, disposable ice/heat packs, or a small first aid kit.
  • Flashlights, glow sticks, or emergency roadside flares
  • An extra blanket, towels, or rags
  • Change of clothing for kids/adults
  • Diapers/wipes
  • Ice scraper
  • Extra water and non-perishable snacks
  • Air pump/tire patch kit

Think outside of the box

Have you considered using items like suction cups on the windows for children’s toys or tools?

What about lining your cup holders with silicone cupcake holders to keep crumbs and leaky drinks from gunking up your car?

Don’t want a box of tissues getting stepped on on the floor? Try this tissue visor holder instead. 

These solutions may feel unconventional, but they are a way to contain items that could end up on the floor. 

Try the laundry basket tip

Have you heard of the laundry basket in your trunk tip?

This simple hack is exactly what it sounds like.

By keeping a laundry basket in your trunk, you can easily carry groceries or other items from your car into your house.

As opposed to having things all over your trunk, this keeps them organized and makes it easier on you when transporting items from the car. 

Don’t forget the out-of-sight areas

Your glove box, middle console, and under-trunk storage (if you have it) are often overlooked storage spots.

Unfortunately, “forgotten” spots can mean “messy” ones. Use these spots to your advantage.

In your glove box, you want a way to organize important documents.

This is a necessary part of car organization.

Here is where you should keep your registration and insurance.

And while you hope to never need them in an accident or when getting pulled over, you want them to be easy to access.

Try using a small file folder or durable envelope.

You won’t want these documents to tear or wrinkle.

But you especially don’t want to lose them! 

In your middle console, put everyday items you might need.

For example, pens, chapstick, sanitizer, or tweezers.

If you have an under-trunk storage space, consider using this spot for emergency items.

Since you hopefully don’t often use these items, they can be kept out of sight.

Consider keeping your blanket, flashlights, or non-perishable snacks here.

Have a toy system

Don’t forget a system for toys, books, or other activities that your kids might want access to.

Even if you aren’t road-tripping anytime soon, kids enjoy activities in the car.

You’ll want some kind of organizer, especially for smaller items. 

Try using these mesh bags, an old diaper caddy between seats, or seat-back car organizers to keep toys contained.

This makes it easy for your child to reach their items while keeping them off the floor and organized.  

Reassess car organization often 

Depending on the season, weather, your children’s age, or life circumstances, you may need to reassess your car’s organizational systems every so often.

For example, in a colder climate, you’ll have things such as an ice scraper or a heavy blanket.

But during summer, you’ll want to swap these items out for pool towels, a picnic blanket, or a change of lighter clothing.

With babies or small children, you’ll have diapers and wipes.

But for older children, you won’t be needing these items.

Don’t forget to consider the needs of those in your car and reassess as needed. 

Got your car organized? Great! Here are some garage organization ideas to try next! 


Image of organized car trunk. Text says Practical Car Organization Tips.

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