For years my car has looked like a cross between a mobile dorm room and a pile of trash. Between piles of books, papers, pizza boxes, and random things that belong in a garbage disposal my car was becoming a less and less friendly place to be.
One day I developed a system for keeping the car tidy, smelling fresh, and a pleasure to drive in. I even took steps to turn it into a university on wheels when I developed a system to eliminate a 48 hour commute.
Why curiously strong? Because at the root of my system is the trusty altoid box… you know, the curiously strong mints.
Decluttering Your Car
- Box The Change. Coins come from everywhere, and for a long time I tended to horde in my car, in a not so organized fashion. At one point, when I reached the end of my altoid box, I started to put all my coins in it. This allows me to have coins easily accessible for tolls, parking, and other necessities.
- Just One Bag. I keep 1 empty bag in my car. I just leave it on my side inside the door. All garbage, water bottles, etc. go into this bag. At the end of my driving day I take it right out, so that my car is clean and ready for the next day. Leaving trash in the car will saturate it with foul odors.
- Organization Crate. I’m still a student, so I have binders and text books with me all the time. I now keep a plastic crate in my trunk, where I keep a couple of books, an umbrella, a sweater, some water bottles, and a first aid kit. The crate keeps everything from falling all over the place, making clutter, and getting destroyed.
- Bare Necessities. If you’re an avid driver you will notice that certain things come handy when you’re on the road. Some kleenex tissues, water bottles, mints, and writing utensils just to name a few. Most of these little things can be kept out of sight in the globe compartment.
- Music and Audio. I generally keep most of my audio tucked away digitally on my iPod. However, when I borrow from the library I get CDs. For the few CDs that I own, I keep them in a CD case, so they are organized, and not getting scratched up.
- Fresh Smells. I like it when my car is an appealing, even delicious, taste to it. I love when people complement my car on being clean and smelling good. For this I either keep a bottle of one of my colognes, or a little bottle of air freshner. If you use principle 2, and throw away your trash, you shouldn’t have to worry about odors.
- Bi-weekly Scrub. Whether you do it by hand, or take it to the car wash, your car would really appreciate a good cleaning. I don’t put wax or anything on my car, just a regular wash, and an interior vacuuming. I think it’s 5-7 bucks well spent. If you’re lucky the cash in your curiously strong box could potentially pay for this cleaning!
- Keep It Covered. Especially if you are leaving your car outside for extended periods of time, it is a good idea to put a cover on it. This helps to prevent weather and sun damage, which can wreak havoc on your paint, and will keep your car looking shiny and new.
- Wipe It Off. The car surfaces tend to accumulate lots of dust. A good solution I have found is to use auto-wipes. They work a bit better than just paper towel with water, because the shine lasts longer and it also tends to protect against sun damage. You can get them practically anywhere.
- No Food Rule. This one is a must. In the past when I’ve been busy rushing around I would grab something to eat while I’m driving. This has always resulted in crumbs and food smelling up the car. The worst is a spill on the seats. Those may get stuck there permanently.
What are your tips for keeping your car clean?
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