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For a solid 2 years I practically lived in my car. Between going to school full time and working 60 hours a week, I was rarely home. I was fortunate at that time to work somewhere I could bring my boys (dogs) to work with me, giving me even more reason to hardly stop by the house. I had accumulated a wardrobe in my trunk, complete with shoes and accessories. The boys had toys, leashes, even food tucked away in a bin on the back seat. The passenger seat had become a catch all for my hair brush, hair ties, blow dryer, straightener, empty bottles, makeup, etc. And I was ALWAYS embarrassed about giving rides to friends (or visiting my parents…). The thought of decluttering your car can be overwhelming if your card looks like mine!
Needless to say, it’s not uncommon for our cars to become an extension of our home (especially if you’re a busy person like I was who might as well just live in your car). The fact is, our cars are not our homes, and shouldn’t be treated as such. It’s alright to keep a spare outfit or your gym clothes if needed, but it’s also important to ask the question: What do you realistically need?
Do you need your hair straightener, blow dryer, and complete toiletry set in your car? Unless your job requires it, then no.
Do you need your complete library in your car? Nope, one or two books should be plenty if you read them often.
Do you need five extra outfits, three pairs of shoes, a couple belts, and maybe a hat or two in your trunk? Unlikely.
Don’t “live” in your car. Only keep what you absolutely need in your car. After I fully assessed my current career and my schedule, I narrowed down what I realistically needed to keep in my car. Currently, my car houses a single bin in the trunk for my gym clothes, one extra outfit (I’ll admit, I’m terribly clumsy), and a few necessities for the car (jack, flashlight, jumper cables, some tools, and a patch kit). As I take my boys to the park frequently, I have their leashes in the car as well. Two blankets sit folded on the backseat for when the boys are in the car (to keep it covered). An umbrella sits behind the passenger seat, and a single hair brush sits in the glove compartment. That’s it.
How to declutter your car:
First, evaluate what you realistically need to have on hand. Use your schedule, work, etc. Try to avoid keeping “just in case” items; narrow it down to what you actually need to keep for an emergency. My car emergency kit is slim, but I also live in a very warm city, rarely leave the city, and have AAA, so I keep only what I need in an absolute emergency.
Next, empty everything out of your car and do a full scrub down. I find that when my car is kept clean I tend to keep it that way and don’t want to clutter it. Plus, it’s so much nicer to drive guests around in a clean car without having to explain why it’s a mess.
If you have kids, you can still keep your car clean. Understandably it may be a bit trickier, but the same two steps above apply here as well. Only keep what you know you need and limit the clutter. We recommend this essay for living simply with kids – 10 for 10 Minimalist Living Challenge: Healthy Family Lifestyle
Do you have any other tips for keeping your car clutter free? Join us on Facebook and let us know!
For tips on how to begin your decluttering journey, you can Start Here, or snag a copy of the 30 Day Challenge (our Minimalism and Decluttering eBook).