Organizing Challenge: Clean Out and Clean Up the Car

We’re rounding out week three of our 2014 Resolution challenge by moving slightly outside… well, to the garage or the driveway.  It’s “Clean Out The Car” weekend!

car clean out

I know that it’s kind of cold in a lot of places, and not all of you have the ability to work in a sheltered area, so I’ll encourage you to do it where you can, even if it means breaking it into parts (like cleaning out the trash while you’re at a gas station, or taking advantage of being at a parking garage at the mall while you’re out running errands.

It helps to think about car in different parts and attack the clean out in each zone.  There’s the driver/dashboard area, the passenger area, the back seats, and the trunk.  You’re going to want to have the right supplies with you, too. Bring some grocery/trash bags, maybe some gloves to help with collecting things you might not love touching, and a dust cloth to wipe down surfaces.  If you have a small hand vacuum that you can use, even better. (Bonus points for washing the windows.)

  • Collect the trash. Grab a trash bag  for this one, and this would be a good time for the rubber gloves.  You’re going to want to make sure you move the seats forward or back, and check in between the seats and the console, and where things can get shoved between the back seats.

  • Grab the items that don’t belong in the car, but belong somewhere else (the house, the garage, dropped off somewhere else, etc.).  Remove them from the car, and put them where they belong. If you have them in the car because they need to be dropped off somewhere, follow through on that to-do list as soon as you can.

  • Open the console and the glove compartment, and check the pockets in the door. Go through the items to identify toss vs. keep vs. move somewhere else.  Check items that have batteries (spare flashlight, tire pressure gauge, etc.) still have juice.  Make sure the chargers all go to things you currently own and regularly charge. Ditch the directions you printed out ages ago, the fast food and gas receipts, and the pens that dried up who knows how long ago.

  • The trunk may be a challenge… because you’re probably not going to completely clean it out, are you?  You’re going to keep items that you *need* with you at all times, car repair tools, emergency and first aid kit, etc.  So, you need to empty everything out, and then selectively put items back in.

  • After you’ve decluttered all the spaces, time to do a cleaning. Wipe down all the surfaces with the dust cloth.  If you’re the kind of person who likes to put a product like Armorall or on the dashboard, bring that with you, too.  An all-purpose cleaner and a soft cloth will be good for wiping down the other types of surfaces in your car. Vacuum if you can, the floors and the seats, but at the very least, take out the floor mats and shake them out well.

  • Finally, if your car could use a freshening , think about a spritz or two of Febreeze!




  1. Car Organization Organizing Challenge | Sabrina's Organizing - […] Organizing Challenge: Clean Out and Clean Up the Car by Kathy at Clever Girl Organizing […]
  2. Car Organization Challenge | Sabrinas Organizing - […] Organizing Challenge: Clean Out and Clean Up the Car by Kathy at Clever Girl Organizing […]

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