I need to start by saying that I thought I’d be the last person ever writing this post. Up until recently my car mostly stayed littered with random toys, wrappers, socks and other trinkets. It was where toddler junk went to die and basically, it was a total disaster. Though I cleaned it out and vacuumed it regularly, somehow it would end up trashed again before I knew it. The cycle had to stop.
I found my muse in the form of my friend’s car. She has two young kids and I knew if she could do it, then I could to. It would just take a little firming up of our car rules.
For starters, the back stays sparse. Not to be confused with spick ‘n span. After all, there is dog hair back there that will never, ever come out, despite how I vacuum. However, the only permanent items include my Ergo (which I still use for Kaitlyn), Hailey’s dance bag and my stocked car bag.
Right now I have bottled waters too, just for back up. I like the keep this cleaned out for groceries, bags and to have a place to change Kaitlyn’s diaper. When she is done with diapers, I’ll keep a travel potty back here too. Mom life is glamorous, y’all.
So that’s the back, which the kids mostly stay out of, so let’s switch gears and chat about their territory- the middle row rules.
No drinks other than water. I’ve let lemonade slide before, but trust me, you don’t want milk or other beverages in the car. Inevitably something will spill and you won’t be able to get the stickiness and stench out of your car seats. It’s just not worth it.
If it comes is the car with you, it leaves the car with you. My girls got in terrible habits of packing up bags of junky little toys to bring in the car. They would play with them, throw them around, then they’d stay there, flooding the floorboard. No more. If you bring it in, then you take it out when you go.
The kids can choose one item from the basket at a time, then it goes back where it came from. We don’t do TV or screens of any kind in the car unless we are going on a long trip (3+ hours). I do, however, keep a basket of rotating books, coloring books and notepads. Hailey is super into writing right now and loves the blank pages of the notebook. We have tracing books too in which she can practice letters and numbers. For Kaitlyn, there are coloring books and picture books and of course our beloved Boogie Board.
All trash gets handed forward. Tissues, wrappers, stickers that lose their “stick” – they all are to be handed to me so I can keep them in a cup holder or plastic “car trash” that I empty every time I fill up with gas. Having one spot to clean out makes life so much easier.
Vacuum out the car at least once every two weeks. Honestly, I’d prefer once a week, but it doesn’t always happen. I’ve found, though, when I take the time to regularly vacuum it out, I’m much more likely to keep it all clean. Opening the car door and finding it tidy always has me breathing a big sigh of relief.
I can’t tell you what a more peaceful place this has made my car. The kids even seem to like the order and cleanliness more. I’m no longer embarrassed for a friend to poke their head in my car and I feel at ease whenever I get in, which let’s be honest, I’m hopping in and out of the car quite often!
Do you have car rules that keep your car from getting chaotic?
Or any other tips to share?