You’re a mom now and moms are constantly on-the-go. You may have had to ditch the convertible or two-door sports coup for a more practical mom-mobile. What was once a joy ride to your office has become your mobile office of sorts. And in your office you carry all the things that you and your kids may need for your daily excursions. But between mashed-up goldfish, a pile of “keep the baby occupied” toys, and all of the emergency supplies you just might need when you’re out-and-about, a mom’s car gets messy, fast.
We’ve discovered that the key to keeping your mom-mobile tidy is having an organizational plan and a cleaning routine. The first step is to create a baseline. Clean your car to the core to get a fresh start. Take everything out – including car seats – and vacuum, scrub and throw away all the trash that your car has collected. Then you can re-construct your car in an organized fashion.
We recommend investing in some supplies: all-weather mats to protect your car’s carpeting; a car trash bag in a central location; and several large bins or an over-the-seat car organizer for each person who regularly rides in your car. Also, lay some ground rules such as all food and drinks must be in lidded containers. Or all trash must be thrown away before you exit the car. Make a habit of dumping out the trash bag each time you fill up the car with gas.
Keep the bins or car organizer in a position that is reachable to each child. Allow them to select toys, books and games that they want to keep in the car, but discourage things with small pieces that can scatter everywhere. Don’t allow them to keep food items that spoil or melt in their bins.
Make sure mom has a bin too. You can keep yours in the passenger seat floor or in the trunk. In fact, you may need several – one for cleaning supplies like wipes, hand sanitizer, paper towels, tissues, etc…, another for emergency supplies such as sunscreen, bug spray, pool towels and bottles of water. If you are breastfeeding, have a separate bag or bin for these supplies including your pump, extra bottles, cooler, nursing cover and a snack. The last thing you want to be doing when your baby is hungry or it’s time to pump is digging through your diaper bag for this stuff.
Have a routine of bringing everything in from the car that you no longer need each time you return home. Otherwise, items will pile-up quickly. Also have a regular cleaning schedule. Maybe it’s once or twice a month you spend 20 minutes vacuuming out the crumbs, sand and dirt. Try to get to stainable spills quickly to avoid permanent damage. While you’re at it, use a natural fresh scent fabric spray to eliminate nasty odors and allow everyone to enjoy a more pleasant ride.
If your kids are old enough, hold them responsible for keeping the car clean and set a good example. Explain to them that this is a new era and you need their help. Kids are naturally helpful and will most likely want to please you. And they probably spend as much time in the car as you do so they have a vested interest in making it an organized and fun space too.
Good luck keeping that mom-mobile clean and tidy!
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