It is that time of year again. Time to organize the car and get it ready for those road trips, trips to the pool, or just trips to get the kids out of the house. One thing those trips have in common? Trash in the car. If not trash, then most definitely the kids toys, art supplies, or anything else you used to keep them occupied. It can be a struggle to keep it all organized and clean. Thankfully we have some great ideas to keep your car organized and your sanity intact.
Buy a cheap makeup bag to keep art supplies in.
You could use a bag or even a plastic case but makeup bags can be pretty good for all art supplies. They are a little bigger, zip up nicely and most of the time have two zippered pockets. The best part? They have plastic lining to protect against melted crayons and other art disasters. You may not be able to save the bag but you saved your car floors and seats. Plus they can be cheap. Most dollar stores sell them for around $2.00. You can stock it with pencils, crayons (or colored pencils) a small notepad, and eraser. Plenty of room and it stays organized.
Hang a small shoe organizer over the back of the seat.
It may not be the most fashionable thing but you can get a children sized shoe organizer at the dollar store and organize small items. It is great for wipes, a sippy cup, lotion, extra diapers, dvd’s, etc.
Buy a bead container for snacks
You can find these at a craft store or even Walmart. They are square containers that have spaces to put beads. Another good use for them is to organize snacks. You can put different snacks in each compartment. This keeps snack size bags, boxes, etc. from littering your car floor. Plus it gives your child a choice in snacks and may ward off the “But I don’t want that” cries.
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Get your car ready to go
Check your tires and make sure they are properly inflated, wiper blades, work, fluids are topped off, air conditioning works, and hoses are in good working order. Check all your lights and turn signals. Remove any “excess” baggage to make the car lighter. Also check your spare tire and make sure it is inflated and usable. Don’t forget jumper cables and a jack.
Have an emergency kit ready and in the car
Sometimes something will happen on the road and you may need something. Pack a mini tool kit, extra cell phone charger, flares, paper towels, drinking water, first aid kit, work gloves, and nonperishable food. That way if you are stuck on the side of the road you have the essentials. Also it may be a good idea to pack an extra set of clothes just in case you have to change a tire and get the ones you are wearing messed up. It seems like a given but make sure you have a cell phone to call road side assistance, 911, or a tow truck if needed. We actually keep a prepaid cell phone in the car for emergencies. Just make sure you charge it before leaving. If you have a service such as OnStar make sure the bill is paid up and you have minutes for phone calls.
Also, please, please buy a window punch and put it in the glove box. If anything happens and you are trapped in the car this is a must needed tool to break the window and exit the vehicle. Every car should have one.
Know your way
GPS is wonderful and a great invention for road trips. It is great to be able to just enter in a destination and go. But sometimes they are not reliable. I remember one time we used the GPS in Florida and it took us to a not-so-safe neighborhood. Study your route, get to know it, and figure out stops along the way. That way if the GPS has you turned around, you will be able to figure it out. Also, bring a paper map. People used paper maps for hundreds of years and found their way. Technology is a tool, nothing more.
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Spring is right around the corner and it won’t be long until we can drive with the windows down and the wind in our hair. The winter can be dark, dismal, and downright depressing. It can also be a workout in snow covered areas. All that shoveling, throwing ice, and cleaning off your car can build some big muscles. If you are tired of winter can you imagine how your car feels? All that nasty weather can be really hard on your car. Spring is a great time to check all those things you couldn’t in the winter and get it all ready for those summer vacations and spring drives!
Get rid of road salt on the undercarriage
Snow can bring some messy roads and that brings out the salt trucks. If you look on the bottom of your car after driving salted roads you will see grime and dirt. Easy enough to wash but can you imagine what your car looks like underneath, where you can’t see? To get rid of that all you need to do is attach a sprayer to your garden hose and spray under your vehicle. This will loosen the salt, dirt, and grime. Since you will be using a lot of water, I suggest doing this on the lawn so the water is not wasted.
Change your windshield wipers
Your windshield wipers go through a lot in the winter. After an especially snowy season they can look like they just went to battle, and lost. It is a good idea to replace your blades for spring. Measure them before you leave to insure a perfect fit.
Check Your Tires
Spring is the perfect time to check the tread and condition of your tires. Not only can driving on salted roads damage them but the damage left behind by plow trucks can wreak havoc on the treads. Check for wear and also air pressure. Warmer weather can make them a little softer, so top them up if needed. It may also be a great time to get them rotated.
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