5 Ways to Keep Your Car Clean When You Have Kids

How to Keep Your Car Clean When You Have Kids

After having kids, I knew the messes were inevitable. After 7 years, I finally feel like I’m able to control the clutter in my life, but it hasn’t been easy. It’s taken a lot of time, energy, and effort to keep things clean and tidy in the space around me and I finally feel like I’m getting this down.

One area that I have struggled with keeping clean for the longest time is my car. My car gets out of control fast. With two kids and one on the way, I felt that I needed to figure out how to keep my car clean and organized. When I pick my kids up from school, we have backpacks, jackets, lunchboxes, school papers, blankets, stuffed animals, etc. I do allow my kids to eat in the car, so they usually have a snack in the car when I pick them up from school to keep them satisfied until dinner time. Add food and juice boxes or sippy cups, plus other little odds and ends that they bring into the car such as books, crayons, electronic devices and more. It all adds up fast.

For the last few months, I’ve been working very hard to keep my car clean and it has made a huge difference. Hopefully these tips will come in handy for you, too.

1. Add a small trash can.

This is my number one tip for keeping my own car clean. It took me years to actually think of this and I feel it’s one of the best ways to control the trash in our car. I purchased a small trash can at the dollar store and small trash bag liners and placed it behind my console where the kids can access it easily. Without this trash can, they didn’t really know where trash went, so trash went on the floor, on the seats, under the seats, you name it. This was my biggest pet peeve when it came to keeping my car clean and the trash can saved my sanity. Once the trash can gets full, we toss it and replace the bag. My kids now know where to place their trash.

Browse the selection of car garbage cans at Amazon.

2. Keep 1-2 laundry baskets on hand for all of the “stuff.”

We keep two laundry baskets handy in the garage for those moments when the stuff needs to just leave the car and we are pressed for time. My kids help me clean and tidy the car, so I’ll place an empty laundry basket on each side of the car and have them transfer all of the loose items in the car into the baskets. This helps to get the clutter out of my car quickly. We eventually put away the items in the baskets in their appropriate places.

3. Use an organizational car tote.

Keep an organizational car tote in your car to help contain all of the odds and ends that collect around your car. This will help to keep it in one area instead of being all over the place.

4. Tidy your car at the gas station.

How many times do you stop at the gas station for gas? I stop at least once a week. During this time, I like to tidy up my car after pumping my gas and before leaving the station. I go around and collect any loose trash and toss it in the trash cans placed near the pumps. I also try to collect any odds and ends and place them in the organizational totes mentioned above.

5. Run your car through the car wash.

When I was little, I remember my mom always took very good care of her car. With four children, she had to. We didn’t have time to wash it at home, so she would stop and go through the car wash. I’m not sure why I have such vivid memories of this, but it was something I enjoyed and remember well. If you don’t have time to wash your own car at home, or if it’s too cold to get outdoors to wash your car, take the kids through the car wash! Most automatic car washes run anywhere from around $6-$12 depending on the add-ons you choose. If the weather is nice out and if you have the time, get the kids involved and allow them to help wash the car at home.

What tips do you have for keeping your car tidy when you have kids?





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