5 Ways to Keep Your Car or Van Clean {on the Inside} | Organizing Made Fun: 5 Ways to Keep Your Car or Van Clean {on the Inside}

Friday, February 6, 2015

5 Ways to Keep Your Car or Van Clean {on the Inside}

Ok, so I hate to say this, and I never try to judge anyone by the appearance of things because I honestly am NOT in their position and have NO idea what is going on in their life....so I'm only here to encourage. Today I want to talk about getting your car cleaned out. Maybe you don't care to have a clean car. Well, this isn't the post for you. Maybe you are desperate to keep your car cleaned up and just need a nudge. Be encouraged!

5 Ways to Keep Your Car or Van Clean {on the inside} :: OrganizingMadeFun.com

What inspired me to do this post? Well, I am one of the volunteer moms who helps out in the morning at my daughter's elementary school. They have a program that is called "Safety Valet" where the cars pull up, the 5th graders volunteer on a team and open the door for the kids getting out of the cars and then close the door so that they are safely dropped off. The object is to help them go quickly and still be safe.

Kids Safety Valety :: OrganizingMadeFun.com

Well, what I didn't think about is that many of these kids climbing out their cars were literally climbing over so much stuff and trash and food -- just trying to get out and get to school. I'm sure you all aren't like that...but, just in case you have a car that needs a little tidying up, I'm here to inspire and motivate you!

So, first take a look at your car/van. Maybe you don't even need to -- you already know how clean/dirty it is. Next, really look and inspect it. Is it down right nasty? Is it grosser than gross? Or is it spic and span?

I'm all about preventing the cleaning. I'm not saying you need to get your car washed weekly {I'm lucky to wash mine once every other month} - and I'm sure with all the crazy weather some of you have right now that it's absolutely not possible. BUT, what I can tell you is that you can prevent your car/van from looking downright nasty inside with trash, trinkets, and stickiness. Here is what I do to keep my van from getting that way:

1. Take advantage of down time

If you're sitting in your car or van scrolling through your phone looking at updates while waiting on a kids, I say put that phone down and clean up. Organize, pull trash out, wipe down sticky stuff {with wipes I talk about below}, make a pile to go back in the house, etc.

2. It's YOUR car 

My kids have been told since the day I bought my 2005 Toyota Sienna brand new {and is now 10 years old} that it's MOM's car. I want them to be respectful of the things we have -- it's ALL of ours together to use, but it's still my car. They have the privilege of getting to use it but I like a clean car and so they have rules. No kicking the backs of the seats. Only water to drink in my car. And no eating - except on the occasions that we're on vacation or mom is feeling extra nice. Honestly, we try not to over do the activities but we're in the car a whole lot more than I'd like! But, even still, we rarely eat meals in our car. 

3. Limit Foods 

It's unfortunate, but many of us wind up feeding kids too much in the car. I'm not judging what you're doing, but most kids don't need to eat every time they get in the car. If you MUST have them eat a snack, find snacks that aren't crumbly or messy. Pick things that stay together and are easy for them to keep fairly contained. Have them drink WATER only in the car. That has always been my rule with my kids and they are fine. We also keep a trash bag in the back of the van and up front and empty it every time we get gas. 

4.  Set time limits

So, in my van I have a rule that they have to take their stuff with them when they get out. Of course they don't always follow that rule. So, I tell them that if their "xx" thing isn't out by "xx" time, it's mine! Now that they're older they can go in my van and get it out themselves and bring it inside. But even when they were little, we made sure whenever we got out of the van that everyone took their things with them. I let them keep a small box in the van with DVDs and a few things to do {which is different than dragging their entire set of Legos or American Girl trinkets every time they came and left}. 

5. Set yourself up for success

A few products I use to keep the car looking so nice ten years later are:

Rubber Floor Mats :: OrganizingMadeFun.com

Granted I don't live in a cold or snowy climate, but you can put in rubber mats on the floors so if water, drinks, and crumbs appear it's easy to just pull out and smack it a bit and it looks pretty clean! I got mine ten years ago at Costco and they are still going strong. You can purchase similar ones on Amazon, HERE. The carpet underneath these rubber mats looks brand new still!

Car Trash Can :: OrganizingMadeFun.com

I keep these in the front of my van and in the back seat by the kids. They actually use them. Every time we go to the gas station, we empty them out. If it needs it more frequently, we just do it at home but usually they are just overstuffed until we get gas! I got mine at the car wash, but you can also find them on Zulily or Amazon.

Wet Wipes for your car :: OrganizingMadeFun.com

These are have life savers -- and I realize that for some of you who live in a the super heat that they would dry up too quickly, but even in our 100+ degree heat in the summer they do fine for me -- but I love having these in the car for the times you need something wet to clean up messes. Or, if we go to the recycle center and our hands are YUCK, we have these to wipe off the yuck. They even fit inside your cup holders, too. You can find them at Target or on Amazon, HERE

Trunk Organizer :: OrganizingMadeFun.com

I have a couple of these, actually. I have one that's a hard plastic for keeping the stuff I need to keep in my van on a daily basis and another soft, pretty one like pictured above that I got on Zulily, for groceries and bags of stuff that I load and unload. You can also find them on Amazon, HERE

Smart Phone Holder for your car :: OrganizingMadeFun.com

I use mine daily and love it! It's not a necessity but it's hands free and I can plug in my phone and check stuff when I stop without having to hold my phone. I got mine on Zulily but they also have them on Amazon, HERE

Document Organizer for you car :: OrganizingMadeFun.com

If you have no idea where you insurance card, or your registration, or the car handbook are than it might be time to have something in the side pocket of your car or glove box to keep them organized. You can find them on Amazon, HERE.

6  Organized Products to keep the inside of your car clean and organized :: OrganizingMadeFun.com

Are you ready to take charge of your car and get it cleaned an organized? The hardest part is the maintenance. Get it picked up and cleaned. You can do it!

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  1. Those mats are awesome. I have some for my 13 year old SUV and the carpet still looks great underneath. Totally worth it! I also like to keep plastic trash bags, like small grocery bags, in the car. I still have a potty training child, so it's great for wet clothes, but also for any sticky or wet trash.

  2. I'd add a rubber mat for under carseats -- for potty accidents and frequent spillers. We also keep a beach towel or 2 around in the back for any accident larger than wet wipes can handle. And we keep a roll of TP in an empty oatmeal canister tucked in the back as well! (I had 3 in diapers for a while...)

  3. Oh this is a big one for me. No matter how often I clean the car, my daughter leaves stuff everywhere in my car. My son and my daughter have left sticky messes in the door handle cup holders. I don't even know how to get that stuff out. It is like baked in there. My floor mats... they are trashed. I have taken them out and tried to clean them, but they are going to need something more Any suggestions on the floor mats? They are plastic bottomed, but they are like carpet on the top.

  4. I love this post. My husband recently started traveling a lot more for his photography career and it's hard to keep it all together in the car. When I show up at an organizing client's house I need it to look tidy! I'm going to invest in some of these options! Thanks for the ideas!

  5. I spend so much time in my car commuting to and from school, keeping it clean is essential. I like the trunk organizer, I'll have to look into that!


  6. I like the small trash can. I have a very similar solution that I employed in my own car. I covered an old diaper box with pretty contact paper and I line it with an 8 gallon trash bag. I just keep the whole roll of bags in the box under the liner and we toss everything in there. When it's full, I grab the whole bag and toss it in the nearest bin (gas station, work, home, etc). Trash contained and if someone has a diaper explosion or bathroom accident, I can grab an extra trash bag off the roll and contain the stink until I can get it home. We spend a lot of time in our car due to our commute and this is by far the best thing I've ever done toward keeping the car cleaner.

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  8. You have share really useful tips. Check them for wear and cracks and replace them if necessary, think about doing this each spring and fall.



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