Challenge #20 – The Car

Organize the Car. Today we head outside for a quick clean up of your car.

Bundle up! Today we head outside for a quick clean up of your car.


Let’s face it: many of us spend a lot of time in our cars. And anywhere we spend time, we accumulate clutter. Here’s how to get the car under control.

  1. Go through the car and remove all trash. Remember to look in the glove box, the center console, and under the seats. Throw all trash away. A quick tip for keeping the trash at bay in the future is to empty it from your car whenever you pump gas.
  2. Remove all objects which do not belong in your car. Put them in your “Elsewhere” box (see below) to be carried in to the house at the end of the task and put in the appropriate location.
  3. Move “emergency objects” (flashlight, blanket, ice scraper, umbrella, first aid kit, etc.) to a back storage area, such as the trunk or cargo hold.
  4. Remove any sports/recreational equipment that is out of season and move it to the garage.
  5. Make sure you have current registration and insurance paperwork in your glove box. Shred any expired paperwork.
  6. Gather “entertainment items” (e.g. stuffed animals, rattles, earphones) to a cloth box/bag. Secure the bag so items won’t fly around.
  7. Wipe surfaces with a warm, wet rag. Vacuum the floors and seats if you can.
  8. Take your “Elsewhere” box and redistribute items to their rightful spaces in your home.

Want to make your car even more user friendly? Here are a few inspirations…

  • Hang a Command Hook to the side of the passenger foot area for a trash bag.
  • Use coasters or silicone baking cups to line the cupholders. These keep small items from shifting and are easy to remove for cleaning.
  • Use a plastic, zip-top envelope to hold retail coupons in a pocket or important papers in the glove compartment.
Glove Box and Coupon Organizer

Minimizing the clutter in your car not only makes for a more pleasant ride, it also keeps your car safe from flying objects in the event of an accident.

Does your car need this? What tips have you found helpful for keeping your car in order?

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If you are new to the challenge, here’s a review of the process we are using all month:


1. Gather your supplies: (you can reuse these same supplies each day)

  • Boxes or bags labeled with “Donate”, “Elsewhere” and “Store”
  • Trash can and recycle bin
  • Damp rag/wet wipe

2. Remove everything from the area (yes, everything) and wipe it clean with a damp rag.

3. Sort the items into these categories: (The Seana Method’s R.E.D.D.S. system)

  • R- Restore: these are the items going back in
  • E- Elsewhere: these are items to keep, but that don’t belong in this space
  • D- Donate
  • D- Dispose: trash or recycle
  • S- Store: items you want to keep for sentimental reasons, or perhaps for a long-term future use, but which you don’t regularly use. These items will eventually need to go into a bin/box in an attic, basement, or closet.

4. Keeping the “Restore” items out, and put all other items into the boxes/bags you prepared.

5. Move items to their final destination:

  • Put the “Restore” items back into your designated area.
  • Carry the “Elsewhere” box/bag around your house and redistribute its contents.
  • Move the “Donate” box/bag to the car to be donated.
  • Trash/recycle the “Dispose” items.
  • Put the “Store” items into a container and move it to a remote location for future access.

20 thoughts on “Challenge #20 – The Car”

    1. If you don’t have an attached garage… and live anywhere that winter is hitting, it can be tough to do a thorough cleaning. But even a quick “trash run” can make a difference. And you can always dream about fun tools to buy come spring:)

    1. Yes, terrific idea! They are so wonderful, and there are now so many varieties, colors, and sizes that they are extremely versatile. And then when you don’t want them, off they come. I think I’m something of a “junkie” 🙂

  1. Love these suggestions. The two I like the most are the paper bag for garbage and using the removable hooks and what to do with all those coupons … especially Bed Bath and Beyond. Thanks.

    1. That means a lot coming from a fellow organizer, Regina! Trash in the car is always a challenge, right? And since Bed Bath and Beyond is kind enough to always honor all my coupons – expired or not – I like having them at the ready:) Thanks for reading!

    1. Thanks so much for the share, Carolyn! I also lose things in the cup holders… and then the drinks drip and it is a tough space to get down into to clean. This seemed like a great solution:)

    1. I had a giggle when I went through the glove box in my daughter’s car… I probably shouldn’t say more:) Trunk organizers are great for the heavy stuff. It isn’t a good idea to having stuff rolling around back there!

    1. I also love the Card Cubby for reward cards. The alphabetical tabs make it so easy to locate the right card. Isn’t it great to have so many options?

    1. Great idea, Ellen! Might as well clean out the trash while you are waiting for the tank to fill, right? A pop up can is a good idea because it is so light weight and can be easily disappeared if you want to:)

  2. Seana, looking at your daily challenges so far makes me wish I had done this. I know I can go back and I might very well be doing that because everything I have read so far seems very do-able and not even very time consuming. I do need some sort of emergency kit in the car and it does need to be cleaned out. I’ll wait till its not quite so cold…I’m holed up in the house anyway right now. But this is great!
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    1. I think we are supposed to wake up to 6 degrees tomorrow morning, so I don’t think that will be the best day to clear out the car. But Wednesday we may hit the upper 30s – gonna feel like summer:)

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