Car organisation and how I keep it clean and organised with two young kids.

Today I wanted to share with you how I have recently organised my car and how I keep it clean and tidy with two young kids.

If you were to ask anyone who knows me and who has seen our car – especially my Dad – they will tell you that our car is a total mess 100% of the time. As embarrassing as it is to admit it, they would be absolutely right. Ever since I started driving I have never been able to keep my car tidy and in order. When I was younger the boot and back seat would slowly fill up with clothes and bags as I hopped from one friends house to another each weekend. It would get to the point when my passengers couldn’t put their feet on the floor and only then would clean it out, vacuum and wash it. Each time I vowed it would stay this way……it never lasted long.

This cycle continued when I had my children. I’m sure all the Mum’s out there can relate. When you have a newborn screaming to be fed or a toddler screaming about……well everything a toddler screams about, cleaning out the car after every trip it the last thing on your mind when you finally arrive home. Each trip it gets a little worse – until its the kids who can’t put their feet on the floor.

Almost 2 months ago I finally hit breaking point. My daughter had lost not one but two pairs of shoes in the black hole that was our family car. It was time to stop this cycle, take off my slob vision glasses and dive in.

I was on such a mission that I forgot to take a before photo. Although I will be totally upfront and say that even if I had taken a before photo, it was so utterly shocking, embarresing and disgusting – I probably wouldn’t have put it in this post anyway. #truth

I will tell you that this was a 2 day process. Seriously, it took me two days to finish cleaning our car. I filled three laundry baskets with jackets, kids clothes, toys and books. I filled (to the brim) a grocery bag with rubbish, old notes and receipts that had been thrown on the floor.

With a bucket of water and eucalyptus and microfiber cloth, I dusted and cleaned the interior including the vents, doors, steering wheel, dash, console, glove box and the windows from the inside. When I had finished I then went back over the dash with the ArmorAll Protect and Shine.

 

I then removed the kids car seats. #OMG #IHAVENOWORDS

Only a parent of toddlers can truly understand the horror that lies beneath a car seat…..and on the car seat…..and in the nooks and crannies of the car seat. The covers came off and got a soak in hot water and the seats were hosed off and left to dry.

I pulled out our old vacuum and got to work. It took 2 hours and 10 minutes to vacuum every inch of the carpet from one end of the car to the other. The dirt, crumbs, leaves and sand was unbelievable. I had that old vacuum working so hard that it overheated and cut out twice.

And now for a little side by side…..

 

So much better!

After stopping for a late lunch with the kids and a quick rest (it was hot that day) I dug the leather cleaner out of our laundry cupboard and got to work cleaning the seats.

We actually purchased this leather care kit when we bought our couch 3 years ago. It is a two step process where I used the sponge and cleaning solution to really give those seats a good scrubbing. I then rubbed the leather conditioning cream all over. If like me you have never cleaned your leather car seats properly before, I highly recommend doing it at least once a year. They looked like they were brand new. This whole process took another took another hour but it was absolutely worth it.

At 5.20 PM we called it a day.

That night when the kids were asleep I left hubby at home and snuck down to out local 24 hour Kmart to pick up a few things that I needed to organise the car the following day.

 

Many years ago when I was thinking about starting my blog I actually organised our old car. At the time my Son was about 8 months old and as any new Mum would do I set up the biggest most obnoxious car kit that had enough stuff in their to prepare us for any emergency that may arise. I’m sure the 1st aid kit everything except the defibrillator. I had enough spare clothes, nappies, wipes, water and snacks to last us a week if we were to break down on a back road in the middle of nowhere. There was even an inflatable “high chair” seat that strapped and secured baby safely to a regular chair. Needless to say it took up so much room.

Did I mention that it takes 10 minutes to get from one side of town to the other and my entire family lives in the same town. I had prepared us for survival of a week stuck on the side of the road – and I had 30+ family members a 5 minutes drive away. #FirstTimeMum

It was ridiculous. Too big, completely over the top and my son outgrew every spare outfit and nappy before using any of them.

This time around I took a very minimalistic approach. I made a list of what we get stuck without regularly and was very realistic about what we would actually use. So I using the pencil cases and made two very small kits for the car.

The following day I grabbed the bucket and sponge and scrubbed our car from top to bottom with my little helpers of course. I then gathered up all the bits and pieces and went and organised the car.

So let me take you on a little tour.

In the glove box

In our glove box I have the car manual, our two kits and of course baby wipes. I do not know a mother that does not have a packet of wet wipes on hand. I popped in a bottle of insect repellent because our son will get eaten alive by mosquitos without fail, every time we leave the house. The black pencil case was what I had originally used for our first aid kit. I later found another little case I already had that fit everything a lot better. So let me show you what are in my two little kits that I put together.

Mumma’s Essentials

In the pretty pink pencil case I gathered a few fairly obvious items that I though would be convenient for any woman to have on hand.

  • A few hair elastics and bobby pins
  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Lip balm
Basic First Aid Kit

You can purchase very inexpensive first aid kits like this one at Kmart for just $10. I didn’t actually realise that they sold them until a few days ago. So I had already put together a little kit with all the basics to keep in the glove box. It included the following:

  • Bandaids
  • A few larger band aid style patches
  • Alcohol wipes
  • Scissors
  • Eye drops / wipes (for flushing sand out of eyes)
  • Pawpaw cream
  • Antiseptic ointment (not pictured)
  • Panadol and nurophene (adult)
  • Dissolvable children’s Panadol (not pictured)
  • travel sickness tablets (for me….not the kids)
  • Hand sanetiser
In the centre console

I tried to keep our centre console fairly empty but I did put the phone charger and aux cord in there as well as a pen.

Drivers side door pocket

In the door pocket I keep my cd wallet, a torch and a few plastic bags on hand for gathering any rubbish. I didn’t want to shove a huge bunch of grocery bags in the door all crumpled up but I remembered seeing this folding technique on pinterest which is actually pretty great for keeping the plastic bags small and tidy.

So I can hear you all asking, will I now go and fold every plastic bag in my kitchen into tiny triangles?? No way in hell!! But for the purpose of saving space in the car and keeping it tidy, I will make the effort.

In the back seat

 

I used the small blanket to cover the seat and protect the seats as well as  to catch any sand or dirt that may fall down the side. I have heard that putting a blanket on the leather will effect the look and cause it to go shiny. I’m not sure if this is true – I guess I will find out soon. I will say one thing though. If it came down to cleaning the horror that was under the car seats before and a few shiny spots – I will take the shiny spots on the leather any day of the week.

Now For The Rules

I then sat with the kids and explained the new car rules. The first one was that there would be no more eating in the car. We live in a small town and it doesn’t really take longer than 10-15 minutes to drive across town. So from now on the kids can wait until we arrive at our destination before cracking open the snacks.

Of course if we are taking a long trip, we will make an exception but this happens rarely so we will cross that bridge when we come to it.

With the food issue addressed I pulled out the little bags that I found at kmart. Rule number 2 was that if it doesn’t fit in the bag, it doesn’t get put in the car. These little bags attach so easily to the head rests with velcro. They are actually marketed as garbage bags and are lined with plastic so they dont leak. This is a fantastic idea to begin with but I didn’t buy them to contain the garbage, I bought them to contain the toy clutter. I painted their initial on the front of their bags so there is no fighting over them. I just LOVE this idea and it is definitely my favourite improvement that we made.

Let me tell you this has been such a game changer when it comes to “stuff” in our car. I’m kicking myself that I hadn’t thought about this sooner. And for only $3 each, it was an absolute bargain.

Let me give you a run down on what it cost to organise our car.

 

So how is it all working out?

It has now been 10 weeks since we organised our car. I’m so happy to report that it’s still as tidy as the day we cleaned it. I have vacuumed my car 4 times in those 10 weeks, 4 times!! It is the quickest job now because of our car mats. While I’m on the topic of car mats, they have been worth every cent. It is so easy to just pick up and tip the sand and dirt off and they will save our carpet when the rain sets in. The kids are much more aware of taking jackets and school bags inside each time we arrive home. Probably because I’m constantly one step behind them nagging reminding them to take care of their belongings. I also make it a priority to dispose of all the rubbish in the car as soon as we pull into the driveway.

The main thing has been forcing myself to check the car and empty it out after each trip. It has already become second nature in such a small amount of time.

It is always so much nicer to travel in a clean car, no one can deny that. Although I don’t want to jinx myself just yet…… I think I’ve finally conquered the car clutter once and for all. I hope this inspires you to to the same and get your car a little more organised.

 

Simplifying My Life In 2017

It’s hard to believe that January is over and we are well into February already. How does the time go by so quickly? I find that this is the time of year when we all begin to settle back into our regular routines and start getting a bit of normality back to our lives. If you are reading this, then I’m guessing that you are interested in the idea of simplifying your life. The mere thought of this is extremely overwhelming when you feel like you are living in chaos. This is pretty much how I am feeling at the moment.

I love my husband to death but when he is on holidays I get absolutely NOTHING accomplished. Please tell me I’m not alone on this one?

Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love having all of that extra family time together. Day trips to the beach and extra activities with the kids have been wonderful and of course the little ones love having their Daddy home so much over the break.  In saying that, I’ll admit that I find it very hard to keep everything in order when the four of us are home together all day everyday for a month straight. Routines get thrown out the window, there are way too many late nights and every day is like the weekend. And if I am to be 100% honest with you I get quite lazy myself – if everyone else is on holidays why can’t I join them?

February is also the time of year that I really start to act on my goals for the year. I know I’m a little late in regards to this topic – I realise that the new year began over 6 weeks ago.

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The holiday season is absolutely insane around here. My Husband and I went on our Honeymoon at the end of November and also celebrated his birthday. Then of course there is Christmas, our Sons birthday, New Year Eve celebrations. Add to that “Party Season” as all of Master B’s little friends birthdays fall in December and January as well as my birthday! To say it’s been impossible to start anything new during this time is a massive understatement.

But now is the time! Hubby is back at work and Master 5 has just started kindergarten. My aim is to simplify our routine so that we can enjoy our day to day activities. I’m also trying to create  a new routine with just Miss 2 and myself at home. I know this will be a major adjustment not just for me, but her as well. She misses her big brother so much.

I don’t know what it is about the beginning of a new year. It’s a fresh start and a whole world of possibilities. As you all know, I love having a decluttered and organised home. While it has taken me many years to get to where I am at this point, I am far from finished I really want to take it further.

This year I chose one word, call it my theme for the year. LESS. I have always aimed to use less, have less, spend less, waste less. In the past I have tried when I remember to, but this year I’m determined to take it to the next level. I’m really excited to share with you my goals for the year.

It’s time to start simplifying my life

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I have officially begun my journey to minimalist living.

Now let me just say that I will never be a “true minimalist”. We will not be selling all of our furniture and electronics. We will not be swapping our couches for bean bags or our beds for a mattress on the floor and we certainly will not be replacing toilet paper for washable cloths.

Yes, I have recently learned that this is actually “thing”. #omg

I have been learning lot about minimalism over the last few months. My time has been spent reading many articles and I have been listening to a lot of podcasts on the topic. I have joined quite few facebook groups where everyday people share their progress, as they begin living with less, simplifying their lives and living with purpose. Let me tell you, the benefits seem to be life changing for some people. I want to be one of those people!!!

There are many interpretations of what minimalism actually is. To me, it’s only keeping things that you need, use and love. Everything else is not needed. I love the idea of living a much simpler life, getting rid of the unnesacery and only having what we need. I truly believe that happiness is not measured by the amount of possessions you own and more importantly I want to teach my kids the same thing. This is incredibly difficult to do these days any way.

During my year of culling I will not be stopping at household items. Minimising waste of food and money by meal planning and budgeting is high on my list of things to improve. As well as cutting costs anywhere I can in the everyday running of my home.

It may come as no surprise that having less stuff makes keeping your house clean, tidy and under control a much easier task. Having too much stuff causes stress and creates so much more work when it comes to running the household. I’m going to tackle it all. Every inch of my home is going to get the minimalist touch and I will be sharing my progress on my facebook page as well as monthly updates here on the blog.

I am so excited about this change we are making and I can’t wait to see how it impacts other areas of our lives.

The Year Of The House

The second goal I wanted to share with you are the projects we have planned for our home. It is really going hand in hand with our minimalist goals. My husband and I have renamed 2017! Yes, you read that correctly, 2017 is now known in our family as the year of the house. Our plan is to do as many updates and improvements to our home as possible. This will include DIY projects and organising projects. If you have seen my Back To School Series part 1 and part 2,  work has well and truly begun.

We have been in our house for eight and a half years now. We have painted a little here and there and made a few changes along the way but we have a long way to go. With our kiddo’s aged 2 and 5 it has been extremely hard to find the time to knock all of these projects off the to do list, as I’m sure many of you out there can relate to.

Truth be told, over last year I have realised that we are very quickly outgrowing our home. Before we bought our house, my husband and I had been renting a tiny two bedroom unit. So when we moved into our 3 bedroom house it felt huge, like seriously huge. Add to that another dog, two kiddos and all the extra stuff that those little people need and we are close to bursting at the seems. This is another reason we will greatly benefit from a more minimalistic life.

Moving will not be an option for us any time soon, so for the time being it’s about making the most of the house that we have. I had so many plans for our home when we first moved in and somewhere along the way it has all been pushed aside. So decluttering and setting up systems to make the most efficient use of the space is at the top of the to do list.

I think of all those years we totally wasted the space in our entry way. It was always a mess because there wasn’t enough storage and with our entry project not only has it completely transformed the way it looks, but it has totally changed the way we use that space.

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On Our To-Do List
  • Laundry update – better storage
  • Declutter while simplifying storage in kids rooms
  • Closet organisation in all bedrooms
  • Finish painting inside
  • Front patio update
  • Garage declutter
  • Garage organization
  • Purging every room
  • Photo Organisation

I’m sure there a million other areas that will need some kind or re-organisation and I’m sure they will be added to our never ending list.

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So this is the starting point. I’m ready for a more simplified life. I’m so excited to get started on ridding our home and lives of all the unnecessary stuff that has no purpose and only having things in our home that we truly need, use or want.

So here’s to a tidier, cleaner and less cluttered 2017!