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Your organized auto

How many times have you offered someone a ride and first had to clear off the passenger seat, adding a bunch of stuff to the mess in the backseat? Heaven forbid you need to give three people a lift, right? Because we all spend so much time in our vehicles during the busy workweek, it’s easy to get behind in the clutter clearing.

A trash receptacle is a must. I have a TrashStash brand bag that hangs behind the passenger seat. It’s waterproof and easy to clean. Another idea is to keep a plastic bag in the car and gather and toss all your trash each day. Use a paper bag for your recyclables.

There’s no need to keep maps from every road trip you’ve ever taken in your glove compartment. File the maps in your home filing system and just keep a map of your local surrounds in the car. Your registration and insurance information should be easy to see and grab when (bummer!) needed. Your vehicle manual should also be in the glove compartment.

If you work out of your car, Case Logic makes a wonderful mobile office organizer that won’t slide off the passenger seat if you have to hit the breaks. Check it out at  www.ebags.com.

For the back seat, a square bin or basket is a good way to contain things like exercise equipment, a change of clothes and such. When things are contained, they are easier to move for unexpected passengers or groceries. You can also look into special backseat organizers at www.stacksandstacks.com or www.thecontainerstore.com. If you have kids, these organizers that strap to the front seats are a good solution to organizing their books, toys and snacks for the road.

A pet barrier is absolutely necessary for your pet’s safety as well as your own. Try  www.stacksandstacks.com to order one.

I’ve had two flat tires in the last two months, and luckily, my sweet husband was available to put on my spare for me both times. I don’t care what kind of fancy mat you have to put down in the road, a woman in a skirt and heels is going to have a hard time changing a tire, even in the best possible conditions. It’s dirty and it can be dangerous. Instead of packing around gloves and wipes and a mat, pack a slim little AAA card and a cell phone. Most guys prefer this method as well. Otherwise, you’d better practice taking a tire on and off a few times. It ain’t easy!

I don’t carry jumper cables either. I do carry a few back issues of The New Yorker to read while I’m waiting for AAA.