Minivan console Organizer

minivanA few years ago, I made the mistake of letting my husband pack our car for vacation. We had only been on the road half an hour when my youngest asked for a drink. “The cooler is in the back, ” my husband said. So I had to instruct my daughter how to climb in the back of the station wagon, move a few items and dig out a drink. Not only was this unsafe, but it was messy. When the next child asked for a snack, I told him to look in the grocery bag by his feet, unfortunately, there were only canned goods, bread and cereal in that one.

As a busy mom, I know what the kids would want during our 2 hour drive to the beach. My husband just packed the car and figured if the kids wanted something, they could either wait until we got there or they would bring it themselves. He was just happy that we got everything in one car! From that point on, my husband has let me pack the car for any long trips, and I have fine- tuned the art of strategically packing a car for three kids whether that is for a vacation or just our everyday running around.

Here are 5 tips for those of you who feel like you’re living out of your minivan:

1. Pack your car with essentials for both you and the kids. Consider the lists below:

Safety items

  • Gas container & funnel in case you run out of gas.
  • Road flairs in case your car breaks down.
  • Jumper cables
  • Cell phone charger that plugs into the car’s lighter
  • Ice scraper
  • Fix-a-flat®
  • Maintenance book for your car – to understand warning signals on your dashboard
  • Spare tire and jack – only useful if you know how to use it!

Convenience items

  • Blank deposit slips for the bank – make it easier to drive-thru
  • Maps of places you travel to often.
  • Baby wipes – not just for babies anymore, they are great for spills on clothing, seats and console area.
  • Loose change – if you need to pay tolls.
  • A snack, gum or mints – in case you get stuck and don’t have time to eat or want to freshen your breath.
  • Coveralls or a bright orange vest- in case you have to change a flat tire.
  • Sun shield for the side windows and the windshield.
  • Pen and paper

Baby Needs

  • Pacifier
  • Little toys
  • Diapers and wipes
  • Little blanket
  • Change of clothes
  • Baby food or bottle
  • Teething gel
  • Acetaminophen or ibuprofen

Toddler Needs

  • Snacks
  • Books
  • A towel – to wipe off playground equipment after it rains

Grade Schooler Needs

  • Drink or snack
  • Book
  • Hand held toy
  • A big blanket – great for settling them in on a night time car trip

Teenager Needs

  • Head phones for listening to their own portable music player

2. Categorize these items according to where they need to be in the car. Your things should be kept up front, items that the kids need within reach in the second seat and any safety items can be stored in the trunk or back of the car.

3. Find appropriate containers for each area such as the glove compartment or side door pockets in the front seat, a back of the seat organizer for the kids’ things, or a small diaper bag to leave in the car for the baby. The tools and car care equipment can fit in a tool box or a plastic milk crate in the trunk or back of the car.

4. Clean out your car daily so you don’t leave valuables or food in it. Ask the big kids to help. Give it a good cleaning weekly or monthly depending on how bad it gets!

5. Consolidate your purse and diaper bag and leave it by the door. Backpacks are great when you have little ones because they allow your hands to be free to carry a baby or to hold your kids hands when crossing a parking lot.

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