I have spent so much of my time in my car over the years taking my kids from place to place that my car is like my second home and office. Our car has such a presence in my family's life that I even included it in the title of my recently published book: ParentPreneurs: A Decade of Deals From A Messy Minivan.
I could not imagine a more perfect duo to offer up car organization tips than Clea and Joanna — moms themselves.
They gave me some tips that I think will help me get my car in order, something I've found to be so important. Just like my house, a well-organized car helps me feel in control since I am spending so much time in it.
Clea and Joanna told me to think of the car in three parts — the glovebox, the console, and the trunk. Here are their tips for getting those three areas of the car organized:
Clea explained to me I needed to think of my glovebox as the center for all of the important, essential documents and items. She suggests using pouches to keep paperwork and items separate and organized. For instance, use one pouch for items like car registration and car manuals, and a separate pouch for store receipts, coupons (and of course your CertifiKID vouchers!)
I had one big question I was dying to ask Clea and Joanna. Do they let their kids eat in the car? Clea said she doesn’t let anyone eat in her car but her husband does let it slide sometimes. Here are Clea's recommendations if you DO allow food in your car:
1. Use a removable trash receptacle
2. Get back seat holders for storing snacks and cup holders where kids can keep snacks and drinks.
3. Invest in a mini vacuum.This allows for a quick and easy clean-up if (when!) a mess does end up on the car floor.
Joanna explained how the console is for the “just in case items” and said she considers it the “most expensive real estate” in the car.
She likes to use the console for anything that you might need immediately such as pens, phone charger cords, mints/gum, disposable masks, sample-size makeup products for touch-ups, hand sanitizer, tissues, and more.
They also recommended a car seat gap filler, which I didn't know existed, and jumped on Amazon to order right away. I have dealt with the stress too many times of my credit card or phone falling between my seat and the console and getting lost. The car seat gap filler fits between the front seats and the console, adding additional storage, and most importantly, preventing thin items like phones, loose coins, and credit cards from falling into the gap and getting stuck under the seat. I loved this idea!
Clea and Joanna consider the trunk as sort of your car’s closet. This is where they recommend putting things you don't need immediate access to, but rather items you keep in your car as a "nice to have," like jackets, emergency supplies, and a blanket. They highly recommend getting a trunk organizer to keep these items out of the way and from sliding around.
Before we said goodbye, I asked Clea and Joanna what advice they had for other entrepreneurs starting their own businesses so I could share their words with our Macaroni KID publishers.
They shared with me everything they did wrong at the beginning (including going right into business together after a blind business date!).
But what they do recommend that worked for them and they believe was a key to their success? In the early days, they said 'yes' to every opportunity that came their way, not knowing what anything would lead to. They hit the ground running on day one and never looked back, while working super hard and taking every opportunity they could. Clearly, as the success of their partnership shows, they made it work!
Thanks to the Home Edit and Jiffy Lube teams for helping me take a new look at my "messy minivan!"
Jamie Ratner is the CEO of Macaroni KID and CertifiKID. She lives in Maryland with her husband, Brian, and their two children. Jamie and Brian's book about their entrepreneurial journey, ParentPreneurs: A Decade of Deals From A Messy Minivan. was released in August.