Organizing the van | Organizing Made Fun: Organizing the van

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Organizing the van

My van is my second home. I spend a lot of time in my van carting kids to and from activities and therapies. So, keeping it organized is of utmost importance to me. Keeping it CLEAN is also important. Today I'm going to share with you how I organize my van and keep it clean {most of the time}.

My van is now over six years old. I don't plan on getting another van/car for many more years {hey, it only has 57,000 miles on it}. Even though I {fake} my immaculate home, I'm pretty picky when it comes to my van - even six years later!

I got this fantastic trunk tray that holds all the necessary items that we need. {You can also see many collapsible ones in my Amazon store, too}. 

It holds the following items:

  • Two {beige} towels
  • One bag full of shopping bags
  • Small tray of kids' items
  • First Aid kit
  • Umbrella

The two towels are there for various reasons. I lay them across the entire back of the van whenever I have plants or messy goods to put back there. I use them to wipe up stuff, which you just never know what might happen. I use them for kids if they get wet or cold. It's really been invaluable to keep them in there - but be sure to keep them clean and put them right back!

The bag full of grocery bags is for my grocery shopping, and quite honestly, useful for many things. My grocery store gives me extra "credit" if I use my own bags. When I finish putting my groceries away, I fold them all back up into the main bag and set right by the front door {or blocking it since I'm very forgetful} so when I head out to my van again, I will put them right back.

The first aid kit has come in very handy. Just nice to have it there for that band-aid need or whatever small emergency might come our way. And the umbrella isn't the best one, but a small one that I use in case of a surprise storm {although here in So. Cal. we don't have a whole lot of those}.

The kids small tray is actually from Ikea. It's the small Trofast storage tray, made for the storage unit. I used a bigger version of this in my daughter's closet, as you may remember. This tray is great because it fits right between the kids' seat and is most useful on long road trips.

The kids' back seat area has a trash "can" that I hung from the hook behind the passenger seat with a luggage strap. There is a magnetic road game in one of the pockets behind the driver's seat. They also have Wet Ones wipes that fit into the cup holders for when we have yucky hands - especially when we go to the recycling center, yuck!}.

In the back, just behind the kids' seats, I also keep water bottles and more Wet Ones. I am the carpool mom once a week, so the back seats are then flipped up to fit more kids. But usually I keep our Blessings Bags behind my daughter's seat, just in case we need to grab one easily.

In the front, where "Momma rules the roost", I actually don't keep a lot of stuff up there. It's like my purse, I just don't NEED a lot of stuff so why keep it in there? The middle console I have a small pad of paper, pen, and some breath mints. Then, under that part is a deeper console {I used to keep DVDs in there} which I put extra batteries, hand sanitizer, and power cords. I have a side panel on the passenger side that the dealership gave us that holds all the owner's manual and another small first aid kit and all my insurance and registration forms. I also keep a pop-up sunshade {for our HOT weather} folded up next to the console.

I also have a van old enough that it was before "Ipods" were popular so my hubby ran this thingy in there that hooks up to my van Ipod in one of the cubbies. The glove compartment doesn't hold much either - a couple of CDs, and extra DVD remote, and some bank envelopes. I have a built-in GPS on my van so I don't need a map or anymore paper stuff like that. I keep another trash "can" on the purse hook {which I don't know who's purse has a strap that short} for our trash. I keep some spare change in case I need it too. And that's it! Now, how do I keep it clean? Let me tell you, I have RULES!

  • No food or drinks {only water} allowed in my van {I make exceptions on long travel or vacation because I get the van washed when I get home}. The kids seriously get giddy that they are allowed to eat in there on vacation!
  • If they MUST eat, because of time constraints, I pick snacks that don't have tons of crumbs or aren't super sticky {i.e., granola bar or rice krispy bar}.
  • Whatever "stuff" the kids bring into my van MUST exit when they get out and go inside the house. If it stays more than a couple of days, Mom will toss it!
  • Rubber mats. We don't live in the snow, but we visit the snow a couple of times a year. I bought two sets of  THICK rubber {all-season} mats years ago. Seriously, my carpet underneath still looks almost new!
  • Place trash "cans" in the back and front seat and empty them every time you get gas in your car/van.
  • If you are able, leather seats are just the best and easiest to keep clean. If you don't have them, try getting seat covers that you can wash. When I had kids in car seats, I bought a seat protector that fit under their car seats. I could easily clean it and keep the seats protected.

So, I'm pretty protective of my van. My kids have been told "it's Mom's van and these are my rules. When you get your own car, you can do what you want." I want it to be clean. I don't like sticky, crumbie messes in my van. I only get it washed maybe once a month {if I'm lucky}. I love that my trunk tray can easily be moved around if I have lot of groceries. It can also be taken out easily and put in the garage if we need to put a big load in the van. I also realize that what I put in my van is different than what you need. When my kids were babies, I kept a small bag of extra diapers, bottles, treats, and clothing {or undies}. Because I've taken good care of it - and required all who enter to do so - it looks great for being six years old. Happy Organizing!

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