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!


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Click here to sign up for 52 Organizing Missions.

Image by Alan_D

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

  1. Vicki says:

    All done. Took 3 nights and probably 4-5 hours, plus oil, air, and water last night. Looks great, except for my lousy seat covers, which didn’t last more than about a month. Nice to have the glove box and console weeded out, and the trunk organized again.

  2. Jenni says:

    Wow! I’m exhausted because my car really needed some attention. The temperature outside might have had something to do with it too, but it was so worth it! Thanks for the motivation!

  3. Chris says:

    I had this 90% complete until school holidays…now it needs doing again! 😀 At least this time it will only take about 5 minutes to do.

  4. Lene says:

    Mission #6 1/2 completed. I have decluttered the car, but need to give it a good vaccum cleaning, will do this a day the weather makes it easier…. Still I find it was the mess that was the biggest problem in hour car,- not so much the dust.

  5. Doro says:

    My husband is really fond of our car and he’s a very tidy person anyway, so nothing to do here really. I just went through the CD collection in the car and only left those in there that we actually listen to. Done!

  6. Patricia says:

    Wow! Mission #6 was already done before I started. I always keep my car in great shape. It’s an old habit. Onto #7…

  7. Nancy says:

    Usually I have a handle on this one, but we’ve had a guest and much travelling to local sites, beaches, etc., so this mission came at a good time. One thing I have always tried to have is a clear backpack to store maps, first aid kit, cables, and emergency stuff. Everything is easily seen in one location that is easy to stow in the back of the car, and can easily be transferred to another car if you need to.

  8. Shannon Rodriguez says:

    Done! I discovered through this mission that my car was disgusting.

    I’m lucky to be alive.

    I do have a popup velcro trash can that i throw litter in. Got it at auto zone and it’s better than any of the other auto trash containers I’ve tried. If you’re interested:

  9. Le'Ann says:

    This one was easy. I can’t stand a messy vehicle, so I keep mine neat. I removed a couple of extra camp chairs from the back and threw away some expired insurance cards that were in the glove compartment. Done.

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