I never thought the day would come when I could look at the backseats of my car and not see one speck of trash. It might not always be like this, but for the most part we’ve come up with a system that really seems to work. I have three kids that are all under the age of eight, so between school and activities there are a whole lot of ways to get my minivan messy. Here are a few helpful tips that have made a big dent in keeping the car clean with three kids …
1. Designated Trash Bin
We used to have plastic bags in the car that we would use to fill with trash, but I found that then we would end up with plastic bags all over the car. Now we have two designated trash bins that sit behind the front seat and the middle seats. After the kids are done with their snacks, they can just toss the trash in there and we empty them out when they get full. I have found this made a huge improvement in keeping trash clutter to a minimum.
Buy one for $15.07 at Amazon
2. The Secret Handheld Vacuum
I saw my sister using this and quickly adopted the habit. Place a handheld vacuum under one of the seats of your car. Charge it once a week and then have it on hand to vacuum up any messes. This comes in handy especially when we have unexpected guests coming into the car. I have found that this really cuts down on the grime buildup that can happen from crumbs and dirty shoes.
Buy it for $26.72 at Amazon
3. Toy Treasure Boxes
To cut down on the amount of toys we accumulate in the car, I gave each of the kids their own toy treasure box. These are small plastic bins that can slide right under their seat. Inside each box the kids can fit a few toys they want to have in the car. Instead of bringing in new toys, the kids can play with the ones they already have and can trade them out when they get bored. I had the kids decorate their own treasure boxes too as a fun afternoon activity.
Buy them for $12.97 at Land of Nod
4. Keep Milk out of the Car
This was a tip I had to learn the hard way (more than once). After a good many spilled sippy cups of milk, I started to drop the hammer on bringing milk in the car. Bottles are one thing, but a sippy cup full of milk that can get everywhere can be a terrible disaster to have to clean up, especially in the Texas heat. It can spoil incredibly fast on the carpet and seats, which lets out an awful smell. Save yourself a day of cleaning by bringing juice or water instead.
5. Have the Kids Help
Now that the kids are getting older, they’ve been able to help out with keeping the car clean more. Along with keeping their toys and trash to a minimum, they also help me out by being responsible for their school and sports supplies. At the beginning of the day, go through the after-school activities. As you list them off, the kids can start packing up the car with their supplies. At the end of the day, they can bring them out to start new the next morning. This has been a huge help at our home, and it gives them a sense of responsibility of keeping track of their belongings.
Jacinda Boneau is a fabric designer and founding co-editor at Pretty Prudent, the premier design and lifestyle blog providing inspiration and instruction to help anyone create beautiful things, food, and experiences for their friends and family.