Do you know how to declutter your car? Is your car a rolling trash can on wheels? Can you easily find what you need in your car?  Are you losing gas mileage because your car is so loaded down with stuff you aren’t using?

Today’s blog was inspired because I found a diet coke bottle under the front of my car seat. I gave up soda on January 1st. so it apparently had been a while since I had cleaned my car. Now, the truth is I can clean my car out in 10 minutes because I don’t have a lot of junk. And we do our annual trip to the beach this month and we take my car.  We each have a suitcase, but we also help transport food, games, etc. so we will need all the room. And a good car feels nice. Especially if you are traveling.

Car driving off road in the mountains.
Does Your Car Need to be Decluttered?

Summer is here and you may have trips coming up so great time to get the car in shape. Oftentimes, we overlook the car.  We throw trash on the ground and it is an afterthought. If your car isn’t too bad, you can definitely get this done in 10 minutes. If you have a lot of junk, it might take you longer.  It may take some of you 10 minutes just to do the trunk or back of the car. If that’s the cake, break it down into little 10 minute chores throughout the week. At the end of the week, your car will be clean.

FYI: An extra 100 pounds in your vehicle could reduce your MPG by about 1%. The reduction is based on the percentage of extra weight relative to the vehicle’s weight and affects smaller vehicles more than larger ones. I didn’t take the time to figure out what you would be saving, but my philosophy is it all adds up. And it’s better for the environment.

How to clean the car

I’m going to suggest pulling the car out of the garage to make this easier.  Get a tarp or blanket to lay stuff down as well as a garbage bag and your recycling bin.   Empty everything from the car. Do this section by section. Driver’s seat, passenger seat, next row, trunk, back of car. Make sure you get underneath seats where soda bottles or trash may be hidden. Guilty party raising her hand.

As you are emptying, you should be able to immediately throw away trash and place recyclables like soda cans in the bin.  What doesn’t go there lay on the blanket. 

Once you have emptied the car, take the time to vacuum, scrub off any stains, and wipe down the car. You can always take your car to the car wash if you don’t want to do it yourself. Don’t do this until you have purged everything so they can vacuum well and get everything clean.


After the car is clean, put back items.  The garbage and recycling is already done.  Go through and really ask yourself if you need to put that thing back in the car? Did you listen to that cd or use that tool? If not, find a home somewhere else.

Put like with like, for example all of your reusable bags together.  Utilize the pockets and glove compartment. Maps are great in the pockets and keep your registration, manual in the glove compartment.

I also keep an emergency bag in winter in case I get stuck in a storm.  I once had a trip that took 15 hours instead of 6.5 hours due to a winter storm.

If you have time, check the air in your tires and see if you need to add any. Also a good time to check if it is time to service your car or get the oil changed.

Take actions from today’s blog on how to declutter your car:

  • Pull the car out of the garage.
  • Remove everything from the car.
  • Throw trash away, recycle recyclables.
  • Sift through and put only what you need in your car.
  • Organize all the items in your car that you have left.
  • Purchase anything that might help you organize the car.
  • Consider creating an emergency kit.

When’s the last time you cleaned your car? How can you declutter your car? How can you organize your car after you’ve decluttered it?

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