Here are three tips I use as a minimalist to keep my car clean. I’ll also share my co-pilot cleaning undertaking during our drive home from “town” the other day… and by other day I mean in summer.
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You Know I Like Starting with the Common Scenario
I cannot tell you how many times I’ve had to drive someone, or worse, offered to drive someone somewhere and my car is not clean – is a complete disaster.
You know, when you’re literally scooping it all up out of the front seat and throwing it in the back while frantically looking up and around seeing how much time you have before the person gets to your car.
If you’re lucky, by the time they arrive you’ve already thrown it all back there and very inconspicuously covered it with a sarong that’s been in there since last Summer.
You’re somewhat lucky if you only have a water bottle and a pair of ballet shoes so you look somewhat normal with only a few things to toss in the backseat.
Why is a sarong and ballet slippers in your car? Only God knows, but if I were to guess, you decided your ideal self dances again and maybe were going to do some pirouettes at the gym. Then because all that dancing was burning all those calories you thought you were skinny enough to pull off the sarong when you went to the beach.
If you’re unlucky, they see it all. And then we all know what’s next, the apology for the mess.
If this has been you, if you’ve apologized for the state of your car too many times, these three tips will REALLY help you keep your car clean(ish)!
1. Get a trash bin
These handy dandy little things are truly life changing. No more straw wrappers on the ground, no more receipts, water bottles, you name it. I hang mine on my passenger seat and it’s very easy to reach over and throw your gum wrapper away. If I can do it, I promise you can do it too.
Here’s one like I have one: Car Trash Bag
Here’s one I might buy in the future because I think it’s cuter: Humble Bear Car Trash Can
2. Whip out a wipe
Baby wipes that is!
Keep a container of them in your car at. all. times. I’m astonished daily at what a wipe can accomplish. Now, I am a parent and I have small children so, of course, they get used for their intended purpose but they can do so much.
Need a tissue? Wipe!
Make up remover? Wipe!
And now, professional car detailer! A lot of times since we now live in the country and it takes 20 minutes to get anywhere, if I’m driving with my husband, I will grab wipes and wipe everything down.
They’ll get the dust on the dash, the grime in the cupholder and build up on the knobs – I know this for sure. You can stick the wipes under your chair so they’re ready to go when you notice the dirt.
I don’t think it really matters what brand you use, but I would recommend non-scented. If we can keep a little bit of chemicals out of our lives easily, let’s do it!
Only need a few? Nice ‘N Clean Baby Wipes, Sensitive Skin, 56Count
3. Take a Type Rule
The Take a Type rule is choosing one type of item to pick up and put away. For example, if you’re in a bedroom, you can decide to take all dishes to the kitchen sink.
You decide to take all the toys out of the kitchen into the family room and put them in the toy bin.
You take all clothes out of the living room and take them to the laundry room or to the nearest hamper.
…I could go on for a very long time because this is the story of life.
Now that we know the principle, applying to the car is easy. When you come home, or go anywhere, choose one type of item to bring into the house with you to put away immediately.
This is why you only do one type of item! You could choose clothing because you can get that sarong outta here. You could choose papers (that are not trash) and put them in your pile to go through.
Shoes, backpacks, tumblers/dishes, lots of trash, just choose one type, grab and go.
Whew! That was a lot…
But, wait! There’s more tip to help keep your car feeling ultra clean!
I actually do have one more BONUS tip! I’m seriously obsessed with this one but it isn’t fundamental so I didn’t want to include it in the main ones.
After you’ve wiped down the dash, use Armor All Ultra Shine. They come in either prepackaged wipes (winning!) or a spray bottle (frugal!). I’m telling you, this stuff is so shiny you almost wonder if it’s too much.
But then, two weeks later and it still looks like your car is clean even though there is definitely a little layer of dust on top of it, you will thank me. I just really really love this stuff.
Armor All Ultra Shine Wipes: Armor All 10945 Ultra Shine Wipe – 20 Sheets
The Sad, True, and Totally OK Reality
Will my car be clean all the time? NOPE!
I’m a messy person! It’s inevitable.
BUT! Following these tips, it’s not embarrassing. I can invite someone into my car and it just kind of looks like a mom’s car; not a slob’s car.
I know that’s not a win for everyone, but it is for me.
Small victories lead to big ones.
As always, I hope you’ve found these tips to be helpful and maybe brightened your day a little bit.
Until next time,
P.S. If you’re wondering whether at one point I did in fact have ballet shoes and a sarong in the car at the same time, I did. I absolutely did.
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