Get Road Trip Ready by Organizing Your Car

It’s summer! Time to step on the gas and find adventure out on the open road. From day trips to weekend escapes to cross-country travel, your car becomes the center of your world. Keeping it neat and organized can go a long way to helping you feel “at home” wherever your journey takes you.

Your car holds everything you need, goes everywhere with you, and can quickly fall into disarray. Here are a few tips and useful tools to organize each section of your car and help you get ready for that next road trip.

Section 1: Center Console

When organizing your car, put yourself in the driver’s seat, as that is certainly the most important space to organize.

Organizing your car front console

The front console can easily get cluttered. I like to keep it clear for beverages, and to hold a few other things there, like my mask or a multi-pronged cable charger for my phone, an iPad, my son’s Samsung, and other family devices.

It’s the armrest console where your organization can really shine. I have found that clear, plastic photo cases, like this found at the Container Store, are the perfect solution to corral and contain all of the myriad of little items that get stuck in this space.

I have three cases for:

  • Office-type items, like pens, sharpies and post-it notes
  • PPE, hand sanitizer and extra masks
  • Personal items, like tissues, toothpaste, dental floss, lip balm, Advil, and those oh-so-important coffee lid stoppers to prevent spills in the car

Organizing your car arm console with plastic organizers

With that, your driver’s seat compartment is fully organized and ready to go.

Section 2: Glove compartment

Organizing Your Car glove compartment

The glove compartment space always seems to be getting smaller. I use it to keep the essentials, like your car manual, paperwork for insurance and vehicle registration, and maybe an extra pair of sunglasses. If there’s space, having an emergency flashlight – even a small one – easily within reach can be useful.

Section 3: Trunk

For your trunk or the back compartment of your SUV, I highly recommend getting a trunk organizer, like this one found on Amazon by Drive Auto store. It’s collapsible but, when put together, it has sturdy sides, lots of pockets, tie-down latches to keep it from moving around, multiple compartments inside to contain a variety of items, handles to carry it to and from, and lots of little mesh pockets outside to corral anything that could be floating around in the car.

Trunk Organizing Items

Items for Your Trunk Organizer
The sky is the limit for what could go inside your trunk organizer. I would recommend starting with these items:

  • car blankets; maybe even a picnic blanket for that roadside picnic
  • a few reusable bags
  • car towels for spills or dirty hands if you have to jump your car
  • flashlight, or even a headlamp if you have to change a tire in the dark
  • multi-purpose tool, small toolkit and/or tire changing kit
  • umbrella
  • sunglasses
  • windshield sunshade – If you’re traveling in warm weather, help keep your car cool while you park and explore your surroundings or take a little roadside nap.
  • technology – Include all of that extra tech gear that you might want to bring along, such as an external battery or a Bluetooth speaker.
  • first aid kit – to have at the ready for bug bites or falls while you’re outdoors
  • beverages for hydration – When you’re hiking, make sure you have lots of water, water bottles and extra Igloos to keep things cold.
  • plates, utensils, cutting board, knife, etc. – For that roadside picnic, I love using plastic plates and disposables utensils, and even bringing along a cutting board and knife to cut that cheese and apple.

Feel free to include any additional items that you’d commonly use. Then place the trunk organizer and other items back in your trunk. Make use of any side compartments of the trunk, or storage beneath the trunk, including any designated areas for toolkits and tire repair kits. This is a great time to ensure that all of your emergency kits – roadside tools and first aid – are complete.

Trunk Organizing completed

Having your car regularly organized and outfitted with useful items makes it much easier to plan a trip, since many items you’ll need will already be packed and waiting for you.

Final Items for the Car

Once you know your next destination, add any tools and gear that will complement the trip and the weather you’ll be traveling in. You may want to add travel pillows and comfort items for those who are not driving, as well as car entertainment or games if traveling with children.

It’s always good to keep on top of your vehicle maintenance and visit a trusted mechanic before a long trip. Also, check that your flashlight(s) work and batteries are good.

Lastly, remember to add a physical map of your route and destination(s) because you never know when your GPS may be temporarily out of range.

With that, you are road-trip ready and cleared for take-off onto the open highways!

I hope these tips have inspired you and given you a few ideas on how you can get your car organized for that next road trip. If you’d like to organize your car along with me and see the storage organizers I use, watch my latest YouTube video on Car Organizing and Car Storage Tips >>

Happy trails!

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