a key to
• Secure bins of books, toys
and papers in the back seat or
trunk with Velcro or spring-cord
cables, or stash them under seats to
prevent items from flying forward.
• Use a cargo net in the
trunk to contain groceries and
By Wendy Helfenbaum
EVERY TIME YOU take your eyes off the road
to reach for a cell phone, coffee mug or CD
while driving, you are nine times more likely to
cause an accident, according to a recent Virginia
Tech Transportation Institute study.
Why are we reaching for things while
driving? Because we can’t find anything. For
many of us, our cars have become the kitchen
junk drawer on wheels. But driving in a cluttered car can be hazardous to your health.
The National Highway Traffic Safety
Administration estimates that 80 percent
of car accidents involve distracted drivers,
accounting for more than 6,000 deaths and
half a million injuries in 2008.
Not only does rooting around for a piece
of gum in an overstuffed glove compartment
put you in danger, but loose objects such as
umbrellas, water bottles or groceries can
become deadly projectiles that could strike
you or your passengers if you brake suddenly.
Between moms and dads chauffeuring
kids to activities and a large mobile workforce, we’re using our cars differently, and not
in a good way, says professional organizer
Collette Robicheau, owner of Organize
Anything in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
“People are on the go, and the car is not
Pick up a new habit: picking up
looked upon as a priority,” explains Robicheau.
“But we have to remember that we’re operat-
ing heavy equipment. Things [should be]
readily accessible so we’re not trying to do
crazy things while we’re driving.”
Here are some easy ways to organize your
car and put good routines into place.
• Purge broken toys, old newspapers,
food wrappers and seasonal gear.
• Designate a daily in/out bin: Keep it in
your entranceway packed with items needed
for your upcoming day, such as library books
to be returned. At the end of the day, pack
your bin with stuff from the car that can go
back in the house, such as empty water bot-
tles, coffee cups and sports equipment.
Use spare time wisely
“Parents waiting to pick up children from
activities can organize the back seat, take a
peek at what’s in the glove compartment or
organize the trunk,” suggests Robicheau.
Keep it simple with smart
• Visor organizers keep CDs at your
• Over-the-seat totes or shoe bags are
perfect for children’s games, snacks or wipes.
• Stash a container under the front passenger seat for things you don’t use every day,
such as extra baseball hats or sunscreen.
• Purchase a console unit or portable file
box to hold your mobile office.
• Put maps in side door pockets; car
insurance, accident forms and owner’s manual in the glove compartment; coins for tolls
in the ashtray.
Secure loose objects
• Make sure cans of soda, tennis balls
and toys are safely put away so they don’t roll
under the driver’s foot pedals.
The Costco Connection
Most Costco warehouses and Costco.com
carry car accessories and organizing supplies
(bins, over-the-seat tote and litter bags, cup
holders and consoles) to help you keep your
car safe and clutter free.
Junk in the trunk?
“Does that bag of hockey
equipment need to live there [in the
trunk]?” asks Robicheau. Keep
emergency road supplies, such as
jumper cables, flares, a flashlight
and a first-aid kit, in a plastic bin.
Get rid of whatever you don’t need.
“Run your car the way you
run your house,” says Robicheau.
“Think, ‘Is this the right place for
me to be putting this?’ ” Keep you car organized so you can minimize distractions
while you’re driving. C
Wendy Helfenbaum is a writer and television producer in Montreal.
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