The Organized Automobile (& How To Get One)

There are two kinds of cars out there: the kind that are kept neat, and the ones that are cluttered.

Today I am going to share with you the tip-top secret trick that everyone who’s driving around a pristine automobile knows. Here it is. Get ready. They take out what goes in. That’s it, that’s the secret.

Do not misjudge this secret as “unimportant,” “not actually a secret,” or “have you lost it this time, Annie?”

Obeying this one simple law will ensure that organization reigns supreme whether you’re cruising around in a hatchback, an SUV, or a bad ass mini-van.

But let’s start from the beginning by reviewing what should stay in your car, shall we? Here’s a list of the recommended basics:

In the glove compartment

– Registration and proof of insurance

– Owner’s manual

– Tire pressure gauge

– Mini flashlight

– Cell phone charger

– List of emergency contacts (insurance agent, local police, etc)

In the console

– Pen and paper

– Hand wipes

– non-perishable snack

– Gum/ mints

– Napkins/ tissues

In the trunk

– Umbrella

– Jumper cables

– Extra quart of oil

– Jack and lug (for changing tires)

– Extra fuses

– Gloves

– Flares or battery-powered warning light

Bonus points

– First aid kit

– Fire extinguisher

– Basic tool kit

– Bottled drinking water

Other car necessities will depend upon your particular situation. If you have kids, you may want to keep just a couple toys in the car. If you like to touch up your makeup, then maybe a wand of mascara. And so on.

The point is to establish your permanent auto-dwelling items, which are the only things allowed to stay in the car. Once you’ve identified them as such, allocate a specific place for them, whether it be a bin, a cubby, a compartment, or an added fabric basket thingy-majigger.

So here’s how this looks:

When you arrive home after a day of work/ a round of errands/etc, you collect everything that isn’t one of those permanent car items and take it inside with you. It doesn’t matter if it’s an extra toy, a wad of trash, a half-drunk can of Pepsi. Take it in with you.

So then you’re all like, “But what if I already have a bunch of stuff to carry in, like bags of groceries?” And I’d go, “Big whoop. No excuses.” Take your groceries in, then come back out to do a check of the car’s interior, making sure you haven’t left any stray boogers lying around. Alternatively, you can combine the two steps into one by throwing whatever items have been temporarily added to the car into your grocery bags. When you unload the bags inside, you’ll put those things where they belong, even if it’s the trash.

Or, you can make this process really easy by keeping a small supply of plastic groceries bags in your car. You can use an empty kleenex box as your dispenser, and pull a new bag out as needed. When you get out of the car, collect all the little accumulated goodies into the bag and carry it in with you. Tad-ah!

Every day, every trip, get it back to it’s starting point by removing whatever contents you brought into the car.

Your new auto mantra: Must maintain homeostasis. Must maintain homeostasis. Must maintain homeostasis…


Image credits: Hailey ClausonReal Simple, Jenkins and WynneGeek Sugar, Skyeblu PhotographyReal Simple, Land Rover

P.S. Good news for one of you, as one of the See Jane Work giveaway winners didn’t claim her prize. Let’s find out who are new winner is, shall we?

Congrats Lindsey! Contact me with your information!



  1. Love this! My head always feels so much clearer after I visit you. Totally going to print this out. My car is pretty organized because I live it the city and only use it on weekends but I do admit to using my trunk as storage. Especially for my beach summer stuff :) xoxo

    • livesimplybyannie says:

      Such a sweet thing to say, I love that it does! Get after that trunk girlfriend.

  2. Lindsey says:

    Love the post as always and so excited I won!!!!

    Thanks again!
    -Lindsey :)

  3. I carry a large basket with me every day. All car clutter goes into the basket – purchases, trash (in a bag), fabric samples, extra shoes, whatever. It all goes in the basket. I come home, empty the basket, and my car stays tidy.
    Now if it would only vacuum itself.

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