Order out of Chaos: The Car (Slideshow)

Senior editor Jen Sinkler shares what she learned during her car decluttering experience.

  • Before back seat
    BEFORE: Back Seat

    Jen’s car was a mobile locker packed with clothing changes and fitness gear. A fast stop was all it took to send everything tumbling.

  • before trunk
    BEFORE: Trunk

    An impressively stocked gym-on-go was located in the trunk. Finding desired items often required a serious dig.

  • before backseat
    BEFORE: Well-Heeled

    Wow! Thirteen paris of shoes and boots had been living in Jen’s car, along with a few singles. Just two pairs (gym shoes and rain boots) went back in after cleaning.

  • organizing
    MID-SORT: Organizing

    Placing things in sorting bins makes clear-outs quicker and far less daunting.

  • sorting
    MID-SORT: Bins

    Yes, all of this was in Jen’s car.

  • Jen with razor
    MID-SORT: Discovery!

    Jen finds a razor that was hidden on the bottom of her car. Good for emergency leg shaving.

  • shuffle and sort
    MID-SORT: Shuffle and Sort

    We moved everything from Jen’s car into bins, then sorted the items on folding tables. Working on a raised, even surface (rather than the ground) made everything easier to see and handle, saving our backs and speeding up the whole process.

  • sorting loose items
    MID-SORT: Loose Items

    We used small metal bins to keep personal-care items and other glove-box necessities neatly separated.

  • CD collection
    AFTER: CD Collection

    Jen was psyched to rediscover an entire Fleetwood Mac CD collection in her back seat. The discs found a home in her console.

  • glove compartment
    AFTER: Glove Compartment

    It’s easier to pull out a bin and sort through it in your lap than to lean over and dig through the glove box.

  • front seat
    AFTER: Front Seat

    A clean and clutter-free front seat welcomes Jen and a passenger for the next road trip.

  • clean back seat
    AFTER: Back Seat

    We hung a net bag for clothes on the back of the driver’s seat and a trash receptacle on the back of the passenger seat, and we placed a basket on the floor for shoes and small gear, making it easier to take these items in and out of the house.

  • trunk
    AFTER: Trunk

    We organized loose goods into soft-sided bags and plastic bins, which are quick to remove when Jen needs to make space for her luggage or other large items. Jen chose red for the emergency kit (de-icer, maps, blanket, lighter); green for sports-related gear (shoes, socks, straps, etc.); and yellow for miscellaneous items (canvas grocery sacks, doggie-cleanup bags, etc.).

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