How to Declutter Your Vehicle

Jon Fesmire | January 6, 2020 @ 7:14 AM

We write a lot about cleaning and organizing homes and offices, but what about your vehicle? Even those of us who keep our homes in order sometimes drop trash on the floor of our cars or leave items in our back seats and trunks. It’s as if our cars are combination trash cans and mobile storage.

At some point you’ve got to tackle the heap of stuff in your trunk. Here’s a great way to declutter your vehicle.

The Cab and Trunk

Start with the main interior and the trunk. If there’s a fair amount of trash, get a garbage bag and shove the trash into it. Hey, you’ll get no judgment here. One can get so preoccupied with life that bags and papers just pile up.

Once most of the trash is out, get two boxes or bins and another garbage bag. You can then either take everything out of the car and start sorting, or just put items one at a time into these receptacles. The bag is, of course, for any additional trash. One of the boxes is for things that will go back in the car, and the other is for things that will go in your house or in storage.

Once you’ve done this sorting, throw out the trash, put the car things back in the car, and put the house things in the house.

The Glove Compartment

Wait, you’re not done cleaning! It’s time to streamline the glove compartment. Things that belong inside are your car owner’s manual, proof of insurance and car registration, roadside assistance papers, plus a pen and notepad. You may also want a small first-aid kit in there.

Your napkins, tissues, and a flashlight go best in the center console. This is also a great place for a phone charger.

Time to Vacuum

The initial cleanup will take care of the big things, but you’ll want to get up all the dust, food particles, small pieces of paper, and so on. Use your vacuum cleaner hose to clean all that up from the floor, the seats, between the seats, and the trunk. If you don’t have a vacuum or can’t use it outside, go to your local car wash and use the outdoor vacuum there.

Then, Wash Up

Next, clean your cup holders and other surfaces with wipes or a good kitchen cleaner. Spot clean the seats with a mix of mild detergent and water. You may also consider hiring an interior car cleaning service to get the inside spotless.

Prepare the Car to Stay Clean and Decluttered

With all that cleaning done, you can now make a few small changes to your car interior to help you keep it clean.

If your car doesn’t have bluetooth for your phone, get a phone mount. There are different types and many are inexpensive. Some are magnetic, while some clip to the fan vents and keep your phone where you can easily see it when using your GPS.

Get a car trash can or keep a small garbage bag for trash by the front passenger seat. Empty either of these whenever you get home.

If you have children, get them in the habit of throwing their junk in the interior trash receptacle as well as bringing their things into the house when they leave the car. As for the trunk, keep only what you need in there. New parents might keep a stash of baby outfits, wipes, and diapers in there, while a writer might keep a box of their books in the trunk in case they meet someone who wants to purchase a copy. You can keep these sorts of things in a plastic bin. Make sure there’s enough room in the trunk at all times for groceries.

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