How To Keep Your Car Clean And Organized (Even With Kids)

Some days, the idea of having a car that’s clean and organized while still acting as a chauffeur for my kids seems a bit impossible. With just a few hours in the car driving back and forth to school and other activities, my car quickly looks like a hurricane hit it.  

Fortunately, I’ve discovered a few tricks to keep the car clean and organized, even amid school, activities, and the rest that life throws my way. They’re quick, easy, and they even make it easy for my kids to learn how to keep the car clean on their own, without the constant reminders.


Backseat Car Organizer

car backseat organizer

I know that not everyone loves the backseat organizer, but it works for us. Not only can we keep the water bottles in an easy-to-reach location without chance of spilling, but we can keep tissues, hand sanitizer, drawing supplies, emergency writing and homework supplies, and other entertaining resources for around-town trips and even long-distance rides.  

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Trunk Organizer

We also keep a separate organizer/box in the back of the car. That’s where we keep the emergency kit, the basketball for that on-the-fly stop at the park, as well as other miscellaneous maintenance items and supplies. I love the fact that it’s collapsible — it’s quick and easy to repurpose whenever I need a tote or storage organizer for road trips, or other needs around town. It’s also a great place to store snacks for those hangry moments between meals.  

SHOP – $19.99

Portable Trash Cans

Another challenge of keeping the car clean and organized is the trash. It’s not surprising, given the wide range of activities that tend to involve the car in some way. The challenge is to make sure that the trash makes it into our portable trash can instead of landing on the floor, under the seats, in the door, or in other quickly hidden spots in the car. The good news is that when the trash can is at the center of everything in the car, it’s usually easy to remember to put the trash in the right receptacle.  

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Mini Vacuums

We do try to keep the food out of the car as much as possible, but crumbs, sand, and other remnants still manage to make their way onto the car seats. And now we’re getting into the mud-and-snow season, so that’s even more fun for my never-ending effort to keep the car clean and organized. My mini vac always comes in handy whenever the crumbs, dust, sand, leaves, mud, or other debris become just a little too much. I can keep it in the back of the car to use whenever I have a few minutes to spare, and then recharge it as needed. It’s essential.  

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Insulated Cooler

It’s one of those items that we didn’t think we’d use that much, but our collapsible insulated cooler comes in handy all the time. Since it’s collapsible, it can easily stay in the car between uses, but it comes in handy for hikes, snow adventures, trips out of town, and a myriad of other uses. I even use it when I’ve got frozen and perishable stuff from the store. It’s just quick and easy to use while ensuring that my kids always have drinks and other perishable snacks whenever or wherever they need them.  

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Cleaning Supplies

It probably seems obvious, but keeping the car clean and organized involves more than just throwing out the trash and organizing, even though those tasks are important. Armor All really is the go-to cleaning brand for nearly every aspect of the interior and exterior of the car. There’s Glass Cleaner, Protectant, Multi-Purpose, and even Air Freshener. It’s everything we need to keep the car shiny with that fresh and clean smell. 

SHOP – $39.97

Detailing Kit

It’s easy to forget or ignore the fact that certain tasks are just accomplished much faster and more efficiently when you have the right tools. While you may not be willing to pay someone else to detail your car, you can do it yourself and have the kids help. They can be incredibly helpful when they have a goal in mind, and detailing the car can be a great way to focus their energy, particularly if you turn up the music and make it a fun experience.  

SHOP – $25.99

The Rest of the Story

Beyond these useful organizers and accessories, we’ve made the car a part of the chore list. Since we spend a good deal of time in the car, it’s got to be clean and stink-free. It’s a tall order some days, particularly when we’re all running in 10 different directions, but it’s important.  

If we let it, the car can become a garbage heap, which is embarrassing and unhealthy for all of us. Cleaning and organizing the car is also one of the household tasks that’s usually fairly easy to delegate to the kids, since it’s often their stuff that represents many of the items left in the car.  


How do you keep your car clean and organized? Do you have any tips for other parents? Share with us in the comments!

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