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Nancy Collins

Professional Organizer

Road Trip this Summer? Tips to Organize Your Car
road trip

Don't be afraid. Nancy can help create more calm and less chaos.

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Sanity Saving Road Trip Tips:

One of the highlights of summer can be a road trip. Finding new places and making memories is something your family can remember for a long time. Gas is expensive, but road travel is still a lot cheaper than any other way to get around, and time spent in the car is a great way to download from screens and really get to know new things about each other. Going on a road trip can be relaxing rather than exasperating with a few tips to organize your trip ahead of time. Most importantly: PLAN AHEAD. Put together a family plan ahead of time: include everyone in the discussion. What do you for sure want to do? Everyone should have a say, we always let each family member pick one place on the route that they wanted to see. Plan for the unexpected stops too: remember that Weird Al Yankovich song  about the Biggest Ball of Twine in Minnesota?  One year our family drove by a small town outside of Fresno that had their water tower in shape of a huge teakettle. Of course, we had to scope it out. A stop at the Jelly Belly Factory outside of Fresno was a big hit, too. The raisin factory, however was a bust. We still laugh about that. All  were impulse stops. Allow for that, but know where you are going, then allow for “what the heck is that thing”? stops too. 

Let's look at these simple ideas:

paper map
Road Trips Make Great Memories!

Organize Your Car For A Road Trip

You’re going to have much more stuff in your car than usual when you’re on your road trip. Instead of letting yourself get overwhelmed by everything, controlling the  clutter lets you focus on having fun. 

Make sure things like drinks, food, toys, chargers, and pillows are easy to access. Even for adults! You’ll also want a way to securely store those items when they aren’t needed. Don’t be afraid to invest in storage solutions to maximize space, like trunk organizers and storage bags with handles. A trunk organizer from Amazon is an inexpensive way to keep some of that stuff corralled. It also doesn’t hurt to have an extra one actually IN the back of the car to hold extra things like baby wipes, extra chargers and headphones, and tissues.

A few things to always bring along with you:  

shower caddy snacks

Give each person their own inexpensive shower caddy told hold snacks, books and games, and electronics. Ones like these can be bought at the dollar store make it easy for family members to keep their own things their own things, transport items in and out of the car, contain them IN the car, and the bonus? When you get home if they are trashed you can toss them because they cost, well, a dollar. Hint: each person in the family can have their own color caddy to make sure there’s no confusion.

Binder clips (those big black clips): they can help close chip bags, keep receipts or other papers together, clip things to your visor like a parking pass.. keeps loose papers from floating around the car or out the window (yes, that has happened to us more than once on a road trip).

Empty metal containers (think the kind that mints come in) come in hand to control things like loose change, paperclips, loose buttons that come off, etc. 

Plastic bags: sandwich size baggies, gallon size baggies, and small (think bathroom size) baggies can contain messes, helo cleanup, be a quick way to stash wet clothing or suits, Should someone in the car not feel well, they can help with those kinds of messes too. 

A First Aid Kit. We can’t stress this enough. Life happens. Band-Aids, first aid cream, alcohol preps, an inexpensive thermometer, pain reliever—trust me, you are going to need one at least once or twice on your trip. I always kept a plastic container with a wet washcloth in it in the car too—sometimes its easier to use those to clean up a spill, or calm a too-hot forehead. Of course each person should have a ChapStick or lip balm too. 

A final safety tip: loose items in a car can become projectiles in a sudden emergency stop. Each family member should keep their loose items contained as best they can. 

road trip

Keeping your car clutter to a minimum can make for a much more enjoyable road trip. Don’t forget to relax and enjoy yourself while making those precious memories. You’ll never get that time back, don’t waste it trying to find stuff in the car. 

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