29 September 2011

Keeping the car clutter free

Have you seen the movie where car that is so full of rubbish and junk that there's no room for passengers?  Sorry but the name escapes me at the moment although I'm sure there is more than one.  Well I don't know why it is but our car is a clutter magnet too.  Driving in a dirty, cluttered car isn't my idea of fun so cleaning the car is on my list of Thursday jobs.

Like all chores, if it's done regularly it only takes a few minutes and is easy.  Let the clutter and rubbish build up and it becomes a horrible job that takes ages.  Over the years I've developed a simple routine to keep my car (it's really our car, but I drive it most and I clean it so it's "my" car) in tip top shape.....

We have tried all sorts of different ideas over the years to keep the car neat and clean inside.  Our car is a major purchase and while we'll not be selling it for a long time yet, when we do I want to get the very best price possible.  Regular maintenance will help me get that best price so ten  minutes or so once a week is well worth the effort.

When the kids were little there was a strict no eating or drinking in the car rule. Littlies can't help but drop crumbs or drip drinks and they are the things that stain car seats and get squashed into carpet. And getting those car and booster seat covers off to wash was just plain hard work.  It was easier to stop and have an impromptu picnic.

I also tried having a rubbish bag in the car all the time. It was more trouble than anything else. There's nowhere in the car to hang it or store it so it's easy to reach but not in the way. It's just easier to gather any rubbish at the end of each trip and put it straight into the bin.

Someone suggested keeping some wipes and a duster in the glovebox so they were always handy, then I could clean the interior  while I was waiting. Yeah, right. Like I'd pass up the chance to chat with other mums at pick-up time to clean the car.

One thing that does work for us is all bags and backpacks go into the boot for the journey, even if it's just the school run. That way there are only people in the car.  We did a lot of travelling when the kids were little, one of the joys of living 500km from family and they were allowed to have one book or toy at a time with them. They swapped them each time we stopped for a break.  It kept the stuff in the car down to a minimum and they didn't really have time to get bored either. 

Nowadays when we travel it's often just Wayne and I and perhaps Hannah but we still keep everything in the boot. It's become such a habit that I even keep my handbag in the boot. I had to show my license for ID at a gatehouse a couple of weeks ago and I had to get out of the car and get my bag out of the boot. The fellow on the gate was amused, the guy in the van behind me wasn't!

We have made it a habit to take everything that doesn’t belong in the car inside after every trip. It really helps keep the car looking clean. If you have children, have them take their items inside. Make it a rule and it will be easier to follow. Make it fun and the children will enjoy cleaning out their belongings from the car.

Because we do a lot of travelling we have quite a collection of maps. The glovebox isn't big enough to store them and there are too many to store in the pockets on the back of the seats. Instead we keep the map we are using in the door pocket and the rest of them are in the boot. I made a simple organizer that runs along the back of the boot. It has five pockets in it and the maps and anything else we want to have in the car slip in there.

It was easy to make, two simple rectangles stitched around three sides and then in equally spaced sections to make the pockets. I stitched a length of elastic to each of the top corners and it ties around the  points in the boot to keep it in place. You can buy the same thing but they are around $30. I made ours out of old jeans and recycled elastic for nothing.

Lastly, a good tip is to clean out the car weekly.  Then give it a quick wipe over with a duster, shake the mats and if you have time vacuum the carpets.  Wipe over the windows with a microfibre cloth and the job is done. As I said, do it regularly and it's not a chore and your car interior will always look it's best.

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