By: Lianne Hofer, The Clutter Consultant

Lianne Hofer The Clutter ConsultantIf you are like me, your car sees you more than your dog does! We spend an average of 16,000 days of our lives driving daily. No wonder our cars have become extensions of our kitchen, family room, homework stations, offices and lives.

Our cars have crumbs in and under the seats, and sometimes we even end up wearing that quick meal we grabbed at the Chic-Fil-A drive thru. Our kids keep favorite toys, and pillows and blankets in the car since they spend so much time running to activities. Some of us have mini offices in the car! These smaller version of home need some attention! Here are my cheap and easy tips for keeping your car clean and organized:

  1.  Keep an easily accessible shop vac in your garage and vacuum your car regularly. Just 5 minutes a couple times a week will keep the grass, dirt and crumbs from taking over. It also keeps the old food smells away!

  2. Keep a few plastic bags in the car to collect trash as you go. Store them in a square tissue box, or just keep a few bags stuffed in the pocket behind the passenger so they are easy to reach. When you get home or stop at the gas station, toss it! These bags are also handy for containing purchases and small items collected during errands and even wet clothes from jumping in the pool on a hot day!

  3. Cup holders are one of the most difficult parts of a vehicle to keep clean. They collect dust, crumbs and grime like a magnet and are hard to clean with a vacuum. Line them with cupcake liners or silicone baking cups that can be easily removed and cleaned or replaced.

  4. Does your car double as a closet? Keep a drawstring bag for each family member in the back of the car with a change of clothes, a pair of flip flops or their favorite sporting equipment.

  5. Keep things handy…..Hang an over-the-door shoe holder behind each seat to contain toys, homework supplies, sunscreen and more. Keep baby wipes in the car door to clean up sticky door handles, fingers and faces.

  6. Contain those grocery bags! Nothing rolls around in the car better than full grocery bags after a trip to the store. Not only do you risk bruising the fruit and cracking the eggs, you also risk loose items rolling under the brake or gas pedal, putting you and your passengers at risk for a crash. If your vehicle does not have a cargo net, use a simple cardboard box or an old milk crate to hold the grocery bags. Or use a bungie cord looped through the bag handles and secured on both ends to the head rest or cargo hooks to hold the bags upright.

It only takes a little time and effort to keep the car tidy and organized. Not only will it keep your car clean and help reduce your daily stress, it will keep you and your most precious cargo safer on the road.

Lianne Hofer is an organizational expert and consultant.  Learn more about her at www.TheClutterConsultant.com.