Clearing Clutter In Cars

The average American spends 15 hours a week behind the wheel, according to a 2003 study. So it's not surprising that many of us treat our cars like a second home, clutter included.

The editors at Real Simple magazine have some "real simple solutions" in their current issue for clearing out messy automobiles.

Real Simple's Kris Connell shares on The Early Show the following easy tips and tools to keep vehicles organized.


Front Seat
  • Problem: You can't miss calls in the car, but you don't want to swerve into oncoming traffic to answer the phone either.

    Solution: Seatbelt Cell Phone Holder (Axius, $5)
    For those of us in states where you can still talk on the phone in the car, this cell phone holder fastens to your seatbelt strap to make answering the phone much easier and safer. It slips onto the shoulder strap of your seatbelt, so you always know where your phone is, and don't have to take your eyes off the road to look for it. It also keeps the phone in a good position -- close to your head -- to use the hands-free set.

  • Problem: Your soda bottle is rolling under your seat or you can't find your map. Basically, everything is a mess!

    Solution: Passenger Seat Organizer (Lewis N. Clark, ebags.com, $15)
    Connell says the passenger seat organizer is a terrific solution if you're driving alone. This organizer straps into the front passenger seat, keeping everything you need readily accessible and at your fingertips. It is perfect for storing drinks and snacks, a map and CDs.

  • Problem: Many love to listen to tunes while driving, but it isn't always easy to access CDs. And generally, the CDs in your car are all over the place.

    Solution: Visor CD Holder (Case Logic, $10)
    This CD organizer transforms your visor into a CD storage rack that holds up to 12 CDs. There's also a mesh pocket for toll money or receipts. And it flips up, so the mirror is still accessible when you need it.

  • Problem: You're driving into the sunset and you need your sunglasses, but can't ever find them.

    Solution: Visor Sunglass Clip (from The Container Store, $5)
    The shade shock eyeglass holder keeps your sunglasses at the ready on your visor, so you always know where they are when the sun becomes a problem.

  • Problem: Trash from all those meals on the go.

    Solution: Collapsible Wastebasket (thebusywoman.com, $14)
    This garbage bag solution is weighted at the bottom, so it won't tip over. You can also close the top to prevent spills from getting all over the car.


Back Seat

The back seat can get messy fast from children and all their belongings. But with some easy tips and tools, you'll be able to whip your back seat area into shape.

  • Problem: Giving children an after-school snack without making a mess.

    Solution: Back-of-Seat Cooler (Lewis N. Clark, ebags.com, $20)
    This handy cooler hangs on the front or back of any seat, keeping drinks and food chilled and easily accessible throughout the ride.

  • Problem: You wish your car were more like a plane, with a tray that can hold your kids' snacks, drinks and books.

    Solution: Back-of-Seat Tray Table (Axius, $18)

    Perfect for keeping the kids occupied, Connell says this back seat travel tray has a fold-down tray that creates a steady work surface, just like on an airplane. It stores fun activities, like puzzles or coloring supplies, along with snacks and drinks.


Way Back or Trunk

Connell says car drivers often stuff the trunk or back area of the car with objects that can't fit in the rest of the automobile. Organizing this area can prevent your groceries or your child's sport equipment from rolling about.

  • Problem: Your milk carton is rolling around with your child's soccer ball.

    Solution: Cargo Net (cargogear.com, $20)

    This highland three-pocket storage net keeps everything from rolling around in the back of the car.

    Connell says it is perfect for storing kids' sports equipment, grocery bags or other items that shouldn't tip, like small plants.

  • Problem: Your groceries leak because they've been rolling around in the back, but you don't have the space to attach the cargo net.

    Solution: Grocery Bin (Driverwerks.com, $40)
    This grocery bin is the modern upgrade of the cardboard box. It has firm sides to keep grocery bags from toppling over, and even has adjustable section dividers so you can customize it to your individual packages.

  • Problem: Finding all the things you need in case of emergency can be difficult if you haven't stored them in one specific area.

    Solution: Trunk Organizer (Axius, $11)
    Most drivers may think they're ready for any roadside emergency, but if a flashlight or jumper cable can't be found amidst the mess, you're in trouble. The Axius trunk organizer helps neatly corral all the stuff that keeps a car going.
  • Rome Neal

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