Get Organized Mission #6: Detox Your Car

Get Organized Mission #6: Detox Your CarWelcome to Mission #6 of our 52 Organizing Missions.

If you’ve completed our previous mission Get Organized Mission #5: Become A Smart Verbal Communicator, congratulations!

This week we’re about to tackle your chariot – a place you spend a lot of time and, if you live in a busy city, a place you might feel a lot of stress.

Whatever the traffic conditions outside, with this mission you can at least keep the inside of your vehicle a calm, pleasant place to *ride* out the hassles.

Remember – you only need 30 minutes for the basic mission. Extended Organizing Mission Options are below.

Get Organized Mission #6: Detox Your Car

Step 1: Car Interior

Empty everything out of your car and discard anything you don’t need there. That includes food wrappers, umbrellas, drink bottles, clothes and whatever sundry items have taken up nomadic residence.

Grab your cordless hand vacuum* and whip it around the floor. Use that long skinny attachment to get into all the crevices in the seats, around the fixtures and along the rear windscreen.

If you have items that genuinely need to live inside the car (perhaps a few kids’ toys or drink bottles) place them in a compact basket and stow it under the front passenger seat. This is usually the neatest place; if there’s somewhere better in your car, use it.

*I rarely recommend buying stuff, since my philosophy is that less is best – but this is one tool that makes being organized much easier. Seriously, get yourself one.

Step 2: Glove Box

Empty everything out of your glove box and discard anything you don’t need there.

Return and neatly arrange the essentials, such as:

  • Vehicle log book
  • Street directory or regularly needed maps (consider storing touring maps with holiday stuff)
  • Torch
  • Other necessary items for your location – eg sunscreen.

Step 3: Boot

Empty everything out of your boot and run the cordless hand vac around the floor.

Return and neatly arrange the essentials, such as:

  • Spare tire and jack
  • Basic tool box if you’re mechanically inclined
  • Snow chains or other weather necessities
  • Umbrella, extra sweater, etc
  • Gym or sports bag.

Step 4: Keys

This is a good time to detox your car keys.

  • Keep your garage and car keys together on your key ring.
  • Discard any keys you no longer need.
  • Have a regular place to put your car keys at home – eg in your bag, on a hook by the door, on the hall table. Make this a habit.

Step 5: Maintenance

Next, it’s time for a quick car health check.

  • Is your car due to be serviced?
    • Book a service now.
  • Are there other niggling concerns – brakes, clunking noises, tires?
    • Book an appointment now.

Step 6: Car Exterior

Appearance does matter. It’s a strong indicator of self respect – both to others and to yourself.

If your car screams low self-esteem, clean it! Go to a car wash, pay a neighbor’s kid or recruit your own kids – perhaps in exchange for driving lessons or by whatever means you negotiate chores in your family.

Of course, you can always make your own raunchy music video with suds and swimwear and wash your own car – but this option goes beyond your 30 minutes, so feel free to outsource it instead.

Step 7: Tunes

Your car’s starting to look pretty appealing again, huh?

The final step in the detox will make it an even more pleasant place to alphabet hop.

  • Grab some CDs to leave in the car. This doesn’t count as clutter as long as you store them in a neat case in the glove box.
  • Choose music that’s fun to drive to and avoids fights with other family members. You might also like to add a selection of audiobooks.
  • If you have an iPod-compatible car create some driving playlists or download podcasts.

Note: Forget anything too relaxing or meditative.

Voila! Your chariot awaits…

Dos & Don’ts

  • Don’t let your car lower your self esteem. Respect yourself by choosing to keep a pleasant mobile environment.
  • Do take trash and things that don’t live in the car with you when you return home. Make this a habit and your car will never need rehab again.

Extended Organizing Mission Options

Want to go beyond this 30-minute organizing mission?

  • If you have multiple cars consider detoxing as a household. Everyone gets a task – glove box, hand vac, etc. I call tunes!
  • Include your kids in the new habit of removing unnecessary items from the car with every trip home. Soon it will become a habit for them, too.
  • If you have driving-age kids, consider making car care part of the learning-to-drive and/or using-the-car deal.

Ready, Set, Go!

Remember – move quickly, act fast, don’t overthink.

Before You Go – Please Check In

You’re now accountable to your organizing mission-mates! Once you’ve completed this week’s Get Organized Mission please add a comment to let us know you’ve done your assignment and you’re keeping your commitment.

And see you back here next week!


You can get your weekly organizing mission delivered to your inbox.

Click here to sign up for 52 Organizing Missions.

Image by Alan_D

Michele | Get Organized Gal

Michele is into writing, books, simplicity, love, TV, productivity, and staying thin in a world of chocolate.

66 thoughts on “Get Organized Mission #6: Detox Your Car

  1. Crystal Biller says:

    I did this only two weeks ago… it was AMAZING how much junk was back in my car after only that long!

    Somehow, we’ve acquired cake decorating sprinkles on the floor under the baby’s car seat. I think a vacuum is in order too!

  2. Sally says:

    It’s taken 6 months, but the car is finally clean and tidy (relatively). Instead of annoying me every time I see it, I now get a boost from my lovely shiny car! I’m now back on track to continue the missions.

  3. Jan E says:

    This is one thing that I am very good about. My car rarely has any clutter, and if it does, like a wayward receipt, it never stays more than a few days.

  4. Carrie says:

    This one took me a WHILE! My SUV’s interior gets cleaned only a couple times a year, but I dare say the exterior might go a year or more before the hubs or myself gets around to washing it! I am not “allowed” to run my vehicle through a car wash, so I had to wash it myself. It took 2 separate 30-min washings to get her “clean” and then it took me another 30 mins to detail the weathered trim. She looks 5 years newer now! Love it! Now, I’ve just got to get a kit to work on my cloudy headlights and she’ll be as good as new!

  5. Karen Bain says:

    Good Morning! from sunny West Palm Beach, FL, USA
    My auto is a fine example of vehicular organization. Always been
    that way… always will be that way. It seems so simple compared to the other types of organizational missions we are on.
    Thanks! Love the 52 missions.

  6. Sue says:

    It’s a sunny day and perfect for getting out to do this mission.
    Our minivan didn’t come with a compartment between the front seats, just a net. So much stuff got dumped there and it always looked so messy. I finally measured the area and went out and bought a covered plastic container to hold what we needed in there. It looks so much better and it’s easy to find what we need now.

  7. Tess says:

    My car has always been the place to accumulate stuff. Definitely a good idea; it’s amazing how you can let it go to the wayside until, all of a sudden, a friend needs a ride.

  8. Amanda says:

    Too easy – no need to do – already done. I bought my kids double walled stainless steel water bottles so that there water bottles stay cold in the car.

  9. Amy says:

    This mission took me a week and a half. First part was super quick and it looked wonderful inside. Unfortunately I kept putting off washing the outside. Now the inside and outside match. Looks great! On holidays at the moment too, so the inside has not become re-cluttered with paperwork. 🙂

  10. karen says:

    Our car was involved in an accident this weekend so it is going nowhere fast, probably the cleanest it has ever been now that my mission is complete. Ironic

  11. Carla says:

    I love my car (Mini Cooper)… I strive to keep her clean and smelling fresh. Presently, my daughter’s in-between vehicles and (gasp!) I graciously let her borrow my baby. My daughter is less than organized and feeds the grandbabies in the car on the way to daycare and school. I don’t fault her for this; she is a single mom who works full-time. But…. she never cleans out my car afterwards.
    I miss my car and have promised her a complete spa day when she comes home to momma!

  12. sheila says:

    i was ahead of the game on this one. Only because i had to. My son had to have a ride to his homecoming dance and it had to be done.
    I enjoy it so much more now that its clean.

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