6 Easy Steps to Spring Clean Your Car or Van and Get it Ready for Spontaneous Summer Adventures

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Is your car or van looking like a winter storm of papers, hats, old fish crackers, and gloves?

It’s time to clean it out and get it organized so your ready for the warm weather fun to come.

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Step one: Clear out the Clutter

Take everything out that was on the floor and in the bins and cup holders, sorting out trash and bagging it as you go. Keep a separate bin for things to return to your home.

Return books, cups, papers, toys etc. where they go in your home and make note of what you find.


Step two: Clean

Thoroughly clean your car. Get it professionally detailed if you like, or at least get out the stains and smells with a portable steam cleaner.

Make sure you get a good car wash on the exterior and undercarriage to get rid of the salt and yucks from winter.

Then put in your favorite air freshener. I love these scented vent wraps that aren’t an eyesore, and the scents we have tried are really nice- not too overpowering and last a long time.


Step three: Spring Maintenance

Maintenance your vehicle and check for problems. Check out this mechanic’s top tips to prepare your car for warmer weather.


Step four: Storage and Protection

Think about how you use your car and, considering what you took out of the car when you cleaned it, think of the items that you and your family will be using in there.

Use this information to come up with storage solutions so things stay off the floor. You may also want to invest in protective equipment to keep the seats and floor clean.

Some storage and protective products that might help:

  • Over the seat organizers, kick guards, or seat protectors for under the car seats and boosters.
  • Heavy duty rubber mats to protect the floor from mud and make it easy to clean the car by pulling them out
  • Hooks or carabiners on the back of seats for purses, coats, backpacks, and umbrellas to hang and keep them from rolling around on the floor.


Step Five: Keeping up Appearances

Use hacks to keep the inside of your vehicle clean and organized

  • Keep an empty tote with handles in your car or garage to put things in you need to carry back into the house. This will keep all the papers, backpacks, and random shoes off the floor of the car and jamming up the cup holders. When you get home, load up the the tote, take it inside and distribute items where they go.
  • After you thoroughly clean your cup holders, put some silicone cupcake liners in there. This will catch future crud and will make clean up next time so much easier.
  • Put a grocery sack up front to use as a garbage bin. If you have room, you can put the grocery sack inside a cereal container to use as garbage can, or use this handy over the seat hanging garbage can. Make sure to store extra bags under the top liner so you can have one ready to go when the first garbage bag is taken out.
  • Put a non-slip  storage bin in the back of the car to keep necessities together. Some things to keep in your car: Paper towels, Emergency First Aid kit, Extra car fluids, Water, Hand sanitizer, Diapers and wipes, Shopping bags.


Step six: Get Adventure Ready

I’m a planner. And now that I have kids, I’m even more so.

If we are going to go on a family road trip, or even just a 2 hour drive to see the lake or to see a tree (they are few and far-between here in North Dakota :p), then I know my kids are going to need certain things to make the car ride bearable.

My baby is going to need his favorite teether. My daughter is going to need a few books so she doesn’t get bored, and my toddler will need two toy cars to smash into each other. And they will all need snacks and drinks.

My husband has a spontaneous soul, so sometimes a short trip to the bank on a Saturday morning turns into an excursion into parts unknown just to get out of town for a bit or maybe we just heard of a really fun activity that will take all day.

For me to be able to say yes and be spontaneous too, I prepare the car for spontaneity: I keep snacks, extra wipes, empty sippy cups or travel cups (we buy gallons of water at a gas station and distribute among the troops), hand sanitizer, and some small toys in the car at all times. Now, we can take all the last minute adventures all summer long making great memories and not having whiny kids at the same time.


Are a planner living with a spontaneous family? Keep the car packed with everything you'll need for you and your kids to have fun, go on last minute adventures, and enjoy a clean, organized car or van all summer long.

After your car is cleaned, maintenanced, organized and stocked, you will be ready to get out there and have fun this summer.



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