Last updated: 03:00 AM ET, Fri June 26 2015

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  • Michelle Bucher | June 26, 2015 3:00 AM ET

    How to Keep Your Car Organized While Road Tripping

    How to Keep Your Car Organized While Road Tripping

    PHOTO: If your road trip car starts looking like this, it's time for a reorganization stop.

    I’m not ashamed to admit that our car can get very messy within days of us hitting the road. It’s so easy to fall out of a regular routine of staying organised while road tripping. One of the biggest factors that contributes to our messy car is driving for days at a time.

    We don’t often stay overnight in hotels, so our days and nights sometimes blend together. This means we don’t always have a regular morning routine of showering and getting dressed every morning. Although I do love road tripping in my PJ's, having that regular morning routine really helps me mentally prepare for another day on the road, and helps minimize the amount of clutter that accumulates in the car.

    Doing some preparation in advance and staying organized while road tripping can really help keep your car clean and clutter free.

    Here are a few tips that we’ve learned from our years of road tripping:

    Make a place for everything

    We often keep blankets, pillows and snacks in the backseat of the car. The cooler and our clothes go in the trunk, along with non-essential road trip items like glow sticks. We have days where we change in our car, and just leave the clothes in the back seat of the car.

    This may not seem like a big deal, but after a few days, that clothes pile really adds up. Staying on top of the clothes pile really helps with the clutter. We once lost a loaf of bread in the back seat of our car, it took us two days to find it because of the mess back there.

    Have a garbage bag

    This really is a must for longer road trips. Small bits of garbage can really pile up, and somehow we always end of up with tons of garbage in our back seat, and never know how it gets there. Keeping a garbage bag in your car will help keep the car clean. There's some great recommendations on Pinterest about using a plastic cereal container to help keep the garbage contained.

    Make a road trip book

    We often stop at the dollar store and grab a small 200 page notebook to write down destinations and attractions that we want to see on our road trip. I generally use this book to write down addresses of places and things we want to see, that way we can just plug the address into the GPS while in town.

    I also use this book to write down things like admission fees for places we want to see, road tolls that we should know about, food places we want to check out, and how long it takes to get from one town to the next. That way we know how long we’ll be on the road for. Having everything you need written down in one book will help eliminate the need for multiple papers getting lost in the car.

    Keep the map in your glove box

    I can’t tell you how many times we’ve lost our map while road tripping. We’ve learned over the years to not only store our map and road trip book in the glove box, but also to put it back in there when we’re done using it. Otherwise it generally gets lost in the back seat, and we don’t see it for days.

    Bring plastic totes

    We love using plastic totes for our road trips. This is a great place to store things like your fork and spoon, because once you lose those in your car or trunk, you may not see them again until you clean out your car at the end of your road trip.

    Plastic totes are also a great way to keep your stuff organized. You can even use one as a junk drawer to store random things you accumulate along the road.

    Have a reorganization session

    Pull over from time to time and have a reorganization session. We often do this when we stop at a grocery store to restock our cooler. This is a great time to pull everything out of the car, find random garbage that’s made its way under the seats, and maybe even find lost items that you haven’t seen in days.

    As much as road trips are supposed to be fun and carefree, road tripping in a cluttered and messy car is no fun. Stay on top of the clutter/mess and you won`t have such a big clean up to do down the road.

    What`s your best organization tip for road tripping? Leave your comment below. 


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Michelle Bucher Road Rules From the Road Trip Blogger

Michelle Bucher Michelle Bucher is an avid road tripper, travel writer and social media marketer from Vancouver, British Columbia. Michelle has spent the past six years on various road trip adventures around North America. She's road tripped through 48 states, 10 provinces and several other countries. Michelle runs a fun travel blog,, showcasing stories from her random road trip adventures.
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