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Car organization basics for road trips and everyday trips.

I hope that everyone has had a great summer! This was the first summer I have been off with the girls since I was on maternity leave with my youngest. Holy smokes did it fly by!!  While I’ve focused my attention on those two nuggets, we were also getting ready to take a road trip, and I thought this would be the perfect time to talk about organizing your vehicle.

Road trip basics for car organization.
The family is packed into the car and ready to go!

Since having children, it often feels like we spend more time in our vehicles than our actual home. Between practices and running my kiddos here there and yonder, I know our family is always on the go. Usually in the summer, and because we live close to the beach and pool, we have a tendency to just leave our pool toys etc in the back, which also makes it interesting when it’s time to buy groceries. (Everyone grab your float!) However, when it’s time to go on an extended road trip, well it’s a whole other story.

First things first, I decided to look in my glove box. Wow!

Road trip basics for car organization.
Hot mess in the glovebox.

I pulled EVERYTHING out… Of course I had the normal vehicle registration and insurance, which are “supposed” to be in the glove box. Aside from that, I found maps, lots of them. Don’t ask me why, especially in the world of GPS and other trip tracking apps. Never mind the fact, they were all for where we used to live, not even for the current state where we are living. Those went straight into the recycle container.

Road trip basics for car organization.
Maps for days, but these are for Ohio and we live in South Carolina now. Goodness

I also had straws,  because you and I both know we’ve been in the situation where they promised to be in the sack… and they WEREN’T. (This and oatmeal cookies disguised as chocolate chip, are the reason I have trust issues.) These items followed by napkins, tape, pens, markers, vehicle manuals, first aid kit and so on and so forth.

I then pulled everything out of my center console. Holy CD’s taking up valuable space! This would be the best time to consider a family road trip playlist. I’ll spare you from the randomness this compartment held and let me just emphasize it was RANDOM. And yes those are drink koozie’s because here in the south, you can never be too prepared 😉

Road trip basics for car organization.
What random stuff do we find here?

Once I sorted through the junk and the stuff that needed to be thrown away, I started thinking of what needed to live in this space. Since we did find ourselves in our vehicles a lot with day to day activities as well as road trips, I wanted to only put items in there that would be considered essentials in our make-shift “mobile home”.

The Office
I can’t even begin to tell you the number of times I’ve needed a marker, some tape, piece of paper… who would think to keep these things in your car?!? Unless you do a lot of business out of your car that is. A couple of years ago I snagged one of the plastic pencil boxes my kids brought home at the end of school year and filled it with these goodies. It has come in handy especially if I have one child in an activity and the other is working on their homework. Just need to add a tiny stapler and it would be perfect.

Road trip basics for car organization.
Believe it or not, our family has needed these items on more than one occasion.

Traveling Nurse
I am pretty sure that our children are obsessed with bandaids. I know we’re not a lone on this.  And it NEVER. FAILS… we could have JUST left the house and they mysteriously have a gash that needs immediate attention. I keep a little zipper pouch with bandaids, stomach medicine, alcohol swabs- you know for the gash, antibiotic ointment- again for the gash, and travel pain reliever. I put them all in a cute little zipper pouch.

Bandaids, medicine for headaches and stomach aches, alcohol swabs... for the little emergencies.
Bandaids, medicine for headaches and stomach aches, alcohol swabs… for the little emergencies.

Everything but the kitchen sink (and only because it wouldn’t fit)
I do have a couple of forks, napkins and of course straws. Being a family on the go also means that we eat on the go. Yes we eat fast food, don’t judge, but we do try to make healthy choices. Oh and let’s not forget hand sanitizer. To round things out I also keep a stash of plastic bags to round up trash whenever we get out of the car. I moved this to the center console to be more centrally located and easier to access by everyone in the vehicle.

Road trip basics for car organization.
The center console is where we keep all the stuff we use the most.

All the comforts of home
My kids are FINALLY at the point where they like to sleep on road trips. That’s how I was as a kid, only would wake up to eat and go to the bathroom.  I like to keep a couple of light weight blankets and a couple of travel pillows, even when we’re not traveling distances. I mean who doesn’t like to snuggle? When they decide to play on their electronic devices, I keep a couple sets of ear buds in a handy case that was once one of those pre-made first aid kits.

Road trip basics for car organization.
Earbuds in a container so the cords aren’t everywhere.

After I had most of the essentials in their new spaces, I tried to think of where would be the best place to keep the remaining items. I relocated the insurance and registration to a more convenient location closer to the driver. Thankfully the vehicle we have includes lots of nooks and crannies as do most vehicles it seems. The glove box is where I decided to keep the first aid kit, the manuals, tire pressure gauge, and also the new office kit. Oh, I also popped in some gift tissue paper and a small gift bag. It’s like a mini gift wrapping station in our car.

Road trip basics for car organization.
All the things you may need, but doesn’t need to be in arms reach.

I keep the blankets back with the kids and they usually just keep them in the seat beside them or under the seat in front of them. I also used what was meant to hold pool toys, to hold snacks. It works out really well and if it gets gross, which with kids is a strong possibility, I can spray it down and wipe it out.

Road trip basics for car organization.
Not just for pool toys, great for hold snacks in the car!

Since the kids have gotten older, of course our needs have changed, and we definitely carry less stuff than we had to in years past. As with our homes, and also our vehicles, it’s fun to look for different ways to use things. Sometimes you have to think outside the glove box.

I would love to hear other ways you organize your vehicles!! What other items you may keep in your vehicles?

Keep it tidy,






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