- People whose car always looks brand new
- People whose car always looks like a tornado just went through
My parents are in the first group. 100%. I have, unfortunately, been in the latter group but I’m working on it.
There is a decent amount of stuff that I need to keep in my car for safety reasons. With some organization, I’ve found that I can keep what I need in our car without it looking like a disaster.
So, I wanted to share the essentials that I keep in our car and the simple ways that we keep it organized.
A huge amount of people don’t have jumper cables in their car. I bought some a few years ago and I’m glad I did! We’ve needed them a couple of times and have been with other people who needed them and didn’t have them.
Spare Tire + Tools
Most cars have what you need to change a flat in the trunk but it’s good to check to be sure.
Car Escape Tool
I just bought one of these this year and now I think everyone should have one. It’s a combination window breaker/seat belt cutter.
I sure hope that I never have to use it, but how horrible would it be to need it and not have it?
Paper Towels and/or Tissues
Having something to wipe up a mess with or blow your nose with comes in handy all the time.
Austin is a bit of a germaphobe, so we keep hand sanitizer in our car. I use it all the time too, though!
It’s nice to have, especially when you stop at a grimey gas station or want to clean your hands before you eat in the car.
The trash bucket is the secret to keeping your car clean! We just use a gallon ice cream bucket that’s been washed out, so it was free.
We try to be diligent about putting trash in the bucket and emptying it regularly. You can also use a cereal container that’s easy to pop the lid open on (like this).
- Phone charger
- Insurance and registration
- Reusable shopping bags
- Rope… Just in case.
If you live somewhere that gets snow in the winter, there are some extra items to add.
I have a hat and gloves for each of us in the car, plus a blanket.
We are usually pretty good about wearing weather appropriate shoes but if I’m going somewhere in dress shoes, I’ll throw my boots in the car just in case something happens and I have to get out and change a tire.
We keep a container of kitty litter in our car in the winter. You can pour it under your tires to help get traction if your tires are slipping and you’re stuck in the snow.
If you have a dog, don’t forget about supplies that they might need too.
We usually bring water bottles when we go somewhere. It’s nice to have a small bowl in the car so that we can easily give Mozzie a drink too.
Mozzie’s nose often gets the best of him and he doesn’t always come when called, so we keep a tie out cable and stake in the car.
When we go to the river or if he wants to be outside at my in-law’s house, we can set him up so that he can hang out.
Since we only ever use this when we’re not at home, it’s easiest to just keep it in the car.
Other Dog Stuff:
- Dog waste bags
- Spare leash
- Baggie of kibbles
We have a tiny car (Honda Fit), so I try to organize all of these things so that they take up as little room as possible.
For the items that are more “emergency items”, I have a bucket with a lid to keep everything in. It’s actually a portable file container but it’s the right size and I already had it sitting around. I used to keep it all in a crate, but then the crate would tip over and everything would fall out so a container with a lid is best.
We keep anything we use regularly within reach of the front seat.
Our trash bucket and a roll of paper towels are behind the front seats. The hand sanitizer is in the door. Sunglasses and the phone charger are kept in the glove box.
There are a lot of other things that we could keep in our car. The only things that stay in our car year round are emergency supplies and the few things that we use constantly.
When we go somewhere for a day-trip, I pack a tote bag of extras and bring it back in the house when we get back. Snacks, water bottle, and suntan lotion would all come in handy but don’t survive well in the extreme temperature our car is exposed to throughout the year.
It’s helpful and important to keep certain things in your vehicle. But your car doesn’t have to become a disaster zone if you employ some helpful organization.