Confession: I hate riding in a dirty car. Another confession: That means I hate my car about 50% of the time. When the weather is sunny and warm, my car stays clean. When the weather turns cold or is overcast and rainy, my car tends to be a disaster. Okay. Maybe not a total disaster. But, disaster enough for me.
Have you ever pulled up beside a car in a parking lot and it had fast food bags, wrappers, and old mail in it? Yeah. Been there. Long, long ago in a Galaxy far, far away. When I was miserable. And, depressed. And, alone. Then I progressed to really being happy and keeping a fairly clean car. Then, I became a mom. My car wasn't perfect, but it also wasn't an embarassment. Instead of fast food bags (gave that up, too), you'd find modeling beeswax in the door (Waldorf moms understand), sand in the floorboard and sticks and rocks, also known as treasures, to be taken home and put on display. Though, they often didn't make it in the house and instead gathered like a little fairy village in the seats and floorboards of my car. Now, in this season of life, my days tend to be joyfully full and more often than not, we are able to keep the van (did I tell you I drive a mini-van) clean and organized, but there are occasional breakdowns in cleanliness. Like this week. But, seriously, it's been worse. It's been better, but it's definitely been worse.
When walking into this challenge I really thought of the things that make a difference for us each and every day. I truly believe that a huge aspect of how we view the world is based on what our EYES see regularly as we navigate our space. Looking into our purses a hundred times a day, coming and going from our homes, and getting into and out of our cars. I am in my car approximately 2 hours every given day. Sometimes it is more. It has to support my dreams and visions as it is a part of how I make magic each day for myself, my family, my friends and my clients. It is my Magic Carpet Ride!
I have a few ways that I organize my car. Seriously, there is no right or wrong. There are COUNTLESS options on car organization out there. Organization for business owners, moms, dads, kids, dog owners...what do you need organized in your car? You can find the product for you. In fact, after initially posting this, I made a Pinboard for cars. You can find all sorts of great, creative ways to organize. Just remember, sometimes LESS IS MORE (motto, time). When looking at other folk's pins, I am astonished at the waste and the items that surely no one needs (usually moms with kids). And, remember, no system is failsafe if you do not use it! Even within the organizing products I use, they are regularly cleaned out. In fact, I wash/clean out my car once a month from April through December. Those wintery months....it's hit or miss. Again, which is why I was determined to give it one last go before the cold becomes nearly unbearable for me. (Another discussion for another day).
Many years ago, probably right after I earned my Feng Shui certification, I purchased my first organizing book. It was Organizing from the Inside-Out by Julie Morgenstern, who is one of the most widely recognized organizers in the United States. Julie showed me early on that I had to create my own systems that work for me and my family and now for my clients. Organizing is NOT a one size fits all. With that said, here are some images of what we use in the car to keep us organized!
The bag on top is mine. I have had MANY incarnations of the "perfect" organizer in my car. This one wins, hands down. It is an open top Thirty-One All-In-One Tote (or whatever they call it now). It is small, measuring only the size of a standard manila folder, so basically 8.5x11 with pockets on the sides. It contains pens, scissors (sometimes you need them), a notepad, CD's and is generally where I store things that need to go places. For example, I just placed two books from our collection that I am donating to Arwyn's classroom library.
The second bag, the larger one, is Arwyn's. Arwyn is a child who needs something to do. We frequently listen to books on tape in the car, and during those times she is fine. The remainder of the time, not so much. I keep mints, gum, snacks and other "stuff" to keep her busy (and to hold off her major bouts with motion sickness) in this bag. Remember, I am the car 2 hours each day. At least one of those hours, she is with me. Again, we have tried crates, boxes, backpacks and other things to hold kid's items in the car. This one wins for us. Not only does it hold her things, it is easily transportable. If I need to throw this bag over my shoulder to take in somewhere to keep her busy, I'm ready to go.
There is a third bag in the "trunk" or hatch of the van that holds things like jumper cables, emergency ponchos, etc.....
Remember, this week is all about entry points and self-care. Taking care of your car is a major point of self-care. It is loving yourself enough to toss out the trash, get rid of the McDonald's toys (no one needs those in their life), and living intentionally by being aware of the space around you. Now, if you are in a warm climate, put on your sunglasses and bikini and get out there and clean out that car. If you are like me and in freezing temps, put on your thermal underwear, gloves and down coat and get out there and give your car some love.
PS....Watch for this to be revisited when it is not below freezing in Tennessee. There was a time that I kept bug-out bags in our cars and I feel that I need to do that once again.
I’m Dana Croy and I am a modern day mama. Balancing family and work is not always easy (not to mention a little self-care). Though being Mama to two fantastic kiddos is a huge part of my life, that was not always the case. I wear many other hats and invite to sit down and find harmony with me.