There are many reasons to declutter and organize your car: reducing the number of things that fall out when you open the doors, improving access to storage space, finding the missing library book and getting rid of the funky smell created by the hidden banana peel or bag of fast food trash. An often-overlooked reason for decluttering your car relates to safety. Did you know that an estimated 13,000 injuries a year result from loose items inside a vehicle that become projectiles in an auto accident? A 1-liter bottle of water can fly through the air with almost 45 lbs of force. A tote bag or backpack filled to 20 lbs can hit you with a force of 1,000 lbs. Studies show on average there are 25 unsecured items in an automobile that can become airborne in an accident.
Here are some tips for decluttering and organizing your car with a focus on improving the safety of your interior space:
- Start your decluttering process by taking everything out of the car. Include the glove box, center console, door and back of seat pockets.
- Sort it out: trash, keep in the car, return to where it belongs, etc.
- Reduce what you regularly carry in your car. Take a look at what you’ve pulled out. Aside from emergency supplies and equipment, consider not toting around things you’ve not used in the past 2 weeks.
- For things that need to stay in your car like emergency supplies and equipment and empty shopping bags, make a home for them in a secured container in your trunk or cargo space.
- Contain personal items and car-related paperwork in clear pouches like re-sealable plastic storage bags and store them in secured spaces underneath seats, in seatback pockets, side door pockets or the glove box.
- Have kids? Contain toys and supplies with pocketed seat-back covers or in under-seat containers.
- Keep your car safely decluttered by getting into the routine of taking out what you put in. If you can’t commit to it everyday, make it a weekly habit.