I used to drive 400 miles a week around Los Angeles for work. As a child therapist working in people’s homes, and usually racing between appointments, I had a trunk and back seat full of art supplies, puppets, paperwork, games, and sensible shoes. All of which slowly crept into every corner of the car!
Whether your car is your portable office, or just a place where you need to be prepared for anything, you can tame your ride on the cheap with a few frugal organizing hacks (free or cheap solutions).
Here are 8 car organizing ideas:
1. Sunglass visor clips: First, get your shades up and out of the way. You can purchase visor clips for sunglasses for usually between $1-5 online or in drug or sporting goods stores. Or you can repurpose a pair of binder clips for the job. Just fit two clips together in opposite directions, clipping one to the visor and leaving the other free for your sunglasses. If you’re worried about scratches or need to reduce the size of the opening, you can cover the inside of the clip with electrical, duct, or washi tape.
2. CD visor flat “catchall”: CDs may be going the way of the dinosaur, but you can pick up a CD visor organizer at most dollar stores. For a buck, you now have a device that will hold just about anything flat or small floating around in your car. Pens, notepaper, business cards and flyers, maintenance records, tire pressure gauge, mail, receipts… just remember to clean it out every once in a while!
3. Elastic visor catchall: Though it takes a little bit of sewing, here’s a great idea for a homemade visor catchall using cardboard, thick fabric, and elastic. The varying sizes of elastic holes make it perfect for holding items of all sizes, including cords, and two elastic straps on the back secure it to your visor. Materials would cost just a few dollars at a fabric store.
4. Trunk catchall: You can easily purchase a car organizer box (usually covered in fabric) for your trunk or back seat for $15-30, but you can also use a plain old box. Book boxes and boxes from warehouse clubs (such as Costco) are sturdy and roomy enough to throw in your trunk for miscellaneous items and safety necessities, such as jumper cables, extra oil, emergency blanket, water, and first aid kit. You could also reuse a small duffel bag or purchase one from Goodwill if the size/shape tucks into a nook and cranny better. Check out Leann’s portable first aid kit (using a Crystal Light container) over at blog Organize and Decorate Everything.
5. Grocery bag storage: I used to have a trunk full of reusable grocery bags (which I inevitably forgot to take into the store with me). I cleaned out my driver’s door slot (previously a “map pocket” before everyone had GPS) and currently have it loaded with stuffable grocery bags and the stiffer, folding type bags. Now I see them in my field of vision when I open my door at the grocery store. Extra grocery bags go in a small cereal box underneath the driver’s seat (reached from the back seat).
6. Important documents: After one embarrassing instance of having to rifle through my whole glove box to find my registration, now I keep all my important vehicle papers in a coupon organizer from the dollar store (still in the glove box).
7. Tissue box trash: Instead of a garbage bag in my car, which hangs awkwardly and is hard to fill, I use empty Kleenex boxes. They’re low and stable, and the plastic slit over the opening keeps my trash inside even if the box slides or tips. Since I rarely have passengers I keep one on the floor of the passenger side, but an upright box may fit in the storage compartment between the seats.
8. Homemade “Drop Stop”: Once your car is clean, you want to keep it that way, right? My husband found the Drop Stop on Amazon, which fits between your seat and the center console to prevent dropped items from sliding into that space, never to be seen again. Great idea, but $25?! I filled an old pair of black knee socks (good socks… no holes!) with lentils and sewed off the ends (you could also tie) and threw them into the space. You could also use rice, but it would be more likely to leak out if a small hole were present.
How do you keep your car organized?