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Best Car Organizers
If your family car looks anything like the photos we've received for the Messiest Car Contest, try these Parenting magazine-recommended car-organizing products to make moms' driving life a little easier.
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- Before you do anything, take EVERYTHING out of the car -- not just the stray juiceboxes under the seat -- empty the glove compartment, the door pockets and the trunk so that you can figure out what you need and where you need it.
Front of the Car:
Since your kids are most likely going to be riding in the back seat, make the front seat an oasis for mom or dad -- whoever is doing most of the driving.
Reserve the glove compartment for the items that need to stay in the car at all times, but need to kept safe from soda spills and exploding packets of ketchup. Items like vehicle registration, EZ Pass consoles, maps, car owner's manuals, etc. should be stored in the glove compartment -- it shouldn't be overflowing with baby wipes, CDs and stray toys.
Keep napkins, wipes and empty plastic bags out of the way, but within easy reach -- in the side door pockets -- so that you'll be able to clean up spills and trash before they become a sticky mess.
Attach an organizer to the driver's side visor (left) to keep important documents, phone numbers, directions and maps overhead for easy access while driving. A padded pocket protects sunglasses and a zippered pocket houses loose change. ($9.95, traveloasis.com)
5 Pocket Visor Organizer
- If you have an iPod, pick up an inexpensive car charger to play your tunes from your car stereo, and get rid of all the empty CD cases and stray discs littering the floor of your car. If your car doesn't have an iPod port, dump the jewel cases and keep your CDs organized with a visor CD organizer on the passenger's side. ($8, CaseLogic.com)
- Attach a small carry-all to the dashboard for the items that you use most often -- pens, cell phone, parking pass, etc. ($4.49, caselogic.com)
- If your car sometimes doubles as an office on wheels, don't try to work out of a briefcase. The Mobile Office organizes what you need to work on the road, with open pockets for office supplies, a laptop pocket for computers and a smooth surface to write on. It securely attaches to the seat so that you won't have to worry about your important documents flying out the window or slipping under the seat. ($29.99, containerstore.com)
- The Backseat
The backseat can look like a war zone, especially if you have more than one child -- which can mean two car seats, dozens of toys, snacks, DVDs and endless junk. The key to keeping kids happy in the backseat is to keep their stuff within reach -- and then make sure that it doesn't go too far!
The Bottle Nanny easily clips onto a car seat, keeping a dropped bottle from rolling underneath the seat -- making it easier for mom to find and give back to baby while driving. ($16.95, babydoodads.com)
Similarly, the Sip N' Snack (left) attaches to a car seat, enabling your toddler to have a snack in the car without the mess. The no-drip lid on the cup ensures no spilling, and when it's time for a snack, just find the opening in the bottom and twist. ($5, mommyshelperinc.com)
- For kids prone to backseat squabbles, use a backseat cooler and organizer to act as a barrier in between passengers -- just buckle it into the middle seat belt and use it to store drinks, snacks and all the toys and activities that kids will want to have in reach while on the road. ($26 each, keepyourcooler.com)
- Give kids easy access to all their favorite DVDs and videos with the Entertainment Organizer. Seven sturdy pockets are specially designed to hold video games, CDs and DVDs, and smaller mesh pockets are great for storing smaller things, like crayons and snacks. ($14.99, stackandstacks.com)
Car Entertainment Organizer
Keep jumper cables, flashlights and emergency gear in one place so that you know exactly where everything is when you need it. The trunk organizer from Case Logic allows you to fold it three ways to get the most storage room possible. Also included are zippered compartments for smaller products and added security. ($39.99, caselogic.com)
Deluxe Trunk Organizer
- Tired of having your groceries spill out everywhere or your children's sports gear rolling all over the ground every time you open the trunk? The Highland Three Pocket Storage Net stretches from one side of the trunk to the other, with storage compartments to keep gear organized. ($20, cargogear.com)
Three-Pocket Storage Net