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How to Keep the Car Decluttered and Clean

How to Keep the Car Decluttered and Clean


Keeping a vehicle clean and free of clutter can be a challenge (especially with multiple kids!)  if it’s not in your normal routine. In order to make the shift and get cleaning out the car into your daily or weekly routine, pick a trigger to help you remember the task.

Before you choose your method- do a good thorough clean out and start fresh. Decide that your vehicle is not going to resemble a trash can.

Remove everything you can. Vacuum it out, cleaning out all the crevices. Wipe clean all the surfaces. Put back only what you need.

In our car we have:

I was one to carry a first aid kit, extra kid clothes, and lots of misc. But, the first aid supplies would go bad, and the kids would grow out of their clothes and everything would still be a jumble in the back of the car.

No more of that!

Ok, now, on to: How to Keep it Clean and Decluttered

Pick one suggestion and stick with it: put it on your weekly cleaning chart so you can check that box. Or if you have the kids do it, give them a monetary reward for taking care of it each week.

Triggers and rewards cement habits. A trigger is something that makes you think of something else when you see it and a reward it, well, I shouldn’t have to explain a reward. 🙂

Here are a few examples:

  1. Every time you fuel up. Clean the car every time you stop for fuel. Take advantage of the fact that you are standing next to your car and next to a trash receptacle.
  2. Clean out your car on trash day. Make it routine to clean out the car on the same day your garbage is picked up.
  3. Each time you come home. Don’t allow trash to build up in the car, instead, each time you get home, get the clutter out of the car. If you have children, have them grab whatever trash that came with them and throw it away. Don’t allow any sort of drive-thru, receipts, etc.
  4. Include “Car Cleaning” on the kid’s chore chart. For our family, this was a paid job. They culled the trash, put any items away that needed it and vacuumed.


 Want more decluttering suggestions?



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About the author, Rachel

Hi there! I’m the Joyful Space Specialist. it’s my desire to help others create a joyful space of their own and enjoy their time spent at home.


  1. Amanda on 08/07/2014 at 10:03 AM

    I totally agree with the suggestions. I’ve always kept the same items…down to the picnic blanket! I do have a console that I keep napkins, pen, paper, hair brush, hand sanitizer, etc. which I regularly put to use. I make it a point to take small trash out as I’m walking into stores and utilize their garbage cans outside. It takes no extra time and keeps things nice and neat.

  2. Seven on 01/27/2015 at 10:04 AM

    In Germany, we are required by law to have a first aid kit (and replace it after the “use by” date).

    • Sarah on 02/01/2016 at 10:47 AM

      Once the first aid kit from the car has expired, we simply use it for our needs in the home. Maybe that could be a solution for you? 🙂

  3. Jennie Smith on 03/03/2016 at 1:06 PM

    I used to have the habit of doing a clean as I sat in line at the bank drive through every week. Now we bank online so I have a rule that everybody grabs something to throw away or put away every time we come home from being out.

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