Our house may not always be in order, but one thing I pride myself on is the state of my car. I spend a lot of time in there, and I work very hard to keep the clutter down despite having 3 kids.
One way I keep things in order in the car is to require the kids to get their things out of the car when they arrive home. It’s a struggle sometimes, but I’m trying to teach them the value of putting things away promptly so you know where they are. Doing so also reduces the chances of backpacks being driven away on an errand or to a sibling’s sports practice when it’s time to do homework.
Another thing that helps me keep order in the car is to go through it quickly while I’m at the gas pump. I throw away any trash that may have accumulates and gather any stray items into a grocery bag, or at least a pile to be returned to their proper place.
However, my need for order in the car sometimes conflicts with my need to be prepared for whatever comes my way.
When the kids were small, I carried everything in the world in the car: you name it, I was prepared for it. We could swim, go skiing, make crafts and eat for a week, all from the trunk.
Over the years, I’ve learned to pare down, and now I like to think of my car trunk as prepared, yet efficient. I still spend a great deal of time in there, and sometimes the kids’ sports events take us far from home, so I still like to be prepared, especially when I’m going to be outside.
Some of my must-have items I keep in the trunk:
Folding chairs - they’re not just for sports, I’ve used these in several situations and I’m always glad when I have them. They usually fit way back in the trunk, and aren’t really in the way often.
Nylon-backed picnic blanket - this type of blanket has been handy for just hanging out, it’s been a spontaneous table cloth and it can even keep you warm when it gets cold unexpectedly.
Duffel bag - I keep automotive supplies in here such as jumper cables, rags, extra oil, funnel, tools, a flashlight, gloves, rain poncho, fix-a-flat etc. in it. It’s nice to have it all together, and it’s easily relocated if needed.
I also keep paper instructions in there about how to jump a car because I can never remember, but I don’t like to let people see them because I’m a grown-up and I’m supposed to know these things.
Tote bag: this has the reusable grocery bags, a couple of blankets, a towel, an extra jacket, a travel pillow, a multi-plug, a couple of small umbrellas and a few other items.
This was born of the fact that I’m often waiting for kids at various places and I hate it when I’m unprepared, especially during transitional weather. I also hate loose items in the car.
One thing I’m planning to add is a pair of shoes or boots. I know that’s standard for some of you in the north, but I never thought a lot about it until I was snowed in at work last winter here in the sunny south and I was faced with walking home in my party shoes in the snow.
I’m curious, what kinds of things do yo keep in your car trunk (besides “the bodies”, smartypants)? Do you have things you never leave home without, or am I the only one over-thinking this?