I want to introduce to everyone Sue Brenner, a new contributor to Unclutterer. She’s a mother, performance coach, and a writer living near Silicon Valley.
Just last week, maybe you tossed a business card from a new client into your car? You can look up the website on the Internet, but you would like to have the e-mail address and direct phone number of this hot new prospect. Is it under the ream of paper spilling onto the passenger’s seat? Wedged between the booster seat and the seatbelt? Or, is it mangled in a corner of the glove box?
Whether it’s a business card, your cell phone, or the extra pair of socks you need for the gym, it’s great to be able to find what you need in your car when you need it. The more you use your car and the more people who travel in it can result in your car becoming quite a clutter collector.
Use these tips to unclutter your car for mind clarity, fewer distractions, and, hey, you might just find the pen you need when you’re in the drive-through teller line at your bank.
If you envision your car exactly the way you want it, what would it look like? How would you feel when you got behind the wheel? What things would be useful for emergencies? What things would you want to keep to a minimum (such as trash, gym clothes, and popcorn kernels)? Start with the ideal in mind. You don’t have to create the perfect car setting, yet … but it’s good to have a goal to move toward achieving. With small steps, you can make it happen.
Divide and Conquer
Tackling car clutter can make you sweat. Divide your car into zones before you begin. Your zones might include: the driver’s quadrant, the front passenger’s side, the space behind the seats, and second-row seating. Unclutter one section at a time, and be sure to have a recycling bin and trash can handy for the apple cores and junk mail. Even uncluttering just one section of your car can begin to part the sea of clutter.
Do I Need This?
Let us say, hypothetically, that you find your old cell phone in a cup holder of your car. Do you keep it as decor or should you donate it to a charity that accepts cell phones? You will want to get rid of what you don’t need or what never should have found it’s way into the car initially. An extra pair of safety scissors? That may be a keeper for your car. Four coffee mugs? Probably not. (You can pass along used cell phones to Collective Good, a company that supports groups such as Red Cross.)
The 3-Bag Approach
This tip comes from my book The Naked Desk: Along with your trash and recycling bins, bring three grocery bags with you when you clean out your car. Label the first one “Does Not Belong Here.” Write on the next one, “Give Away/Return,” and label the final one, “Storage.” Each bag will serve as a receptacle for the variety of things that found their way into your car. The “Does Not Belong Here” bag, for example, would be good for tossing in the spoons, client folders, and other items you want to keep but don’t belong in your vehicle. Return these items to their homes after you’ve completed your car uncluttering project.
Junk in the Trunk
Depending on what’s in your trunk, you may need at least 15 to 20 minutes to free up space in this part of your car. Just like you did for the interior, you can section off your trunk into sections. Starting with one small area will help you sift through the jackets, dig out the suitcase from last month’s business trip, and take out the ski gear from January’s family vacation. Getting through a section will motivate you to clear out the other stuff jammed in there. Continue the 3-Bag approach to fully de-junk your trunk.
Try one or all of these tips and let us know which ones lead to a smoother, more clutter-free ride.