This might be the most “unpretty” post to live up here on the blog, but I’m hoping it’ll help some of you as much as it has us! A few weeks ago over on IG stories, I showed the not so beautiful side to having a big car and four little kids - the mess. You guys, when I say messy, I mean fraternity after a Saturday night rager topped with the stomach flu. Like horrifying. Crumbs + water spills + old food + garbage + muddy boots + clothes + toys + books (ripped) and anything else you can probably imagine. Oh, and a Starbucks graveyard of cups. Let’s just say it wasn’t acceptable.
I asked all of you about your favorite car products/mom hacks/tricks/ect and am here to share all my findings (like an excellent reporter ;)
FIRST UP - the hacks/tips/tricks/strategies. Now, keep in mind: I have 4 kids under the age of 6 so getting them to keep their space clean under their own prerogative is a full-time job in and of itself. But, we set a few ground rules, thanks to you guys.
No crunchy food - things like goldfish, crackers, granola bars or anything that leaves crumbs is officially banned. I still allow things like applesauce pouches, fruit snacks and raisins (but with major limitations). I did put seat protectors under Norah’s carseat in case of godknowswhat substance and it has saved our leather seats after a few barf-o-ramas :) SO FUN.
Garbage doesn’t belong on the floor. I bought garbage cans for the back of the seats and am not about to let them stay empty. If your garbage ends up on the floor, you lose a privilege for the remainder of the day. So they use garbage cans and it already makes a huge difference.
What goes in, must come out - that means that if your blanket or toy or favorite book gets brought into the car (which I’m also very picky about but kids have a way of sneaking things under the radar), it needs to come out with you as soon as you leave the car. If it doesn’t - I’m taking it away and it might just end up in a goodwill pile if I’m feeling feisty. I did put a backseat organizer in front of Norah’s carseat which helps with keeping her stuff quickly accessible and easily stored!
CHILD LOCKS. Ok this one has really helped. My kids used to bust out of the car the second it stopped, which made cleaning up after themselves impossible because by the time I actually looked in the back seat, they were gone. So NOW - they’re locked in the car until they gather their shit and then once they’ve picked up trash, grabbed their toys or coats and hung their backpacks on the backs of the seats (another product I’ll link below!), then I release them from jail ;) It kind of forces the issue and doesn’t leave me trying to pick everything up.
Bins! I keep a bin on the floor for extra shoes because I’m a firm believer that someone will always need a backup pair, I keep a bin between the big kids in the back for toys, papers, books or whatever else ends up in the car and then I keep a basket in the front seat for things that have to be brought inside. This helps keep things off the floor which just makes the car feel cleaner.
Rubber Mats - We have the rubber mats that the car manufacturer makes (you can also get them made through companies like Weather Tech)- they’re basically on big plastic liner that protects the carpet from any spills, and are easy to take out and scrub. This has saved us more times than I can count - I highly recommend investing in these!
Emergency Stuff - I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not the mom that has my shit together with emergency kits / backup clothes and diapers / extra meds & food and all that jazz. We fly by the seat of our pants and hope that a Target is always near. BUT - I did buy a huge trunk organizer because I wanted to stock it with some stuff that is just good to have in the car in case of emergency. This makes it a lot easier to be prepared! I put diapers and wipes, an extra change of clothes for Norah (remember that one time I brought her to parent/teacher night with no pants on because she had a blow out and I was unprepared? Yeah, never again.) I threw a few snacks in there, a gathre playmat, some extra water bottles and paper plates and some hair bands (because God knows that’s an emergency kit necessity!)
PRODUCTS WE LOVE (click on the product and it’ll link you right through!):
Hopefully this helps you guys - our car is looking pretty spick & span these days and we’re going on a couple weeks! Definitely has helped the cause and though we’re not perfect, we’re A LOT better off!