I organize my car like I organize the rest of my life. I keep like with like, and I throw out whatever is not necessary. I don’t like trash in my car. I regularly throw out bottles that accumulate. You should vacuum out your car 3-4 times a year also. Car washes around that time are also nice.
First, my glove box is divided into two. A top and a bottom. Which I think every car should have! I picked this particular car because of that feature (along with the low mileage). In the top compartment, I keep the things that a police officer would ask me for if ever I got pulled over. In this top compartment, you would find an envelope with only these three things, and this envelope is the ONLY thing in the top compartment. If you have to keep this envelope in the bottom compartment, pick it in a unique color. I love the durable aqua Post-it Envelope Pockets from the Container Store. See the picture above.
Keep in mind that you do NOT want to reach into your glove compartment if you’re ever pulled over right away. The police officer does not know if you’re reaching for a gun. The first thing you do is turn on your overhead light in the car and then place your hands on the wheel until he is outside your window.
Also, keep in mind that if you drink while you’re out or you’re in a state where they card for credit card use, you’ll need your license in your purse, not in your car. If cars are prone to be stolen where you live (Hawaii, for instance), I would not keep my license in the car.
I keep all of my trash in the driver’s door. This includes straw wrappers or any thing I might find in the car. The best policy is to always take out the trash in your car as you make it. If you ate in your car, take your bags and drinks out with you. Good habits are better than having a cereal container as your trash bag because of the trash getting out of control. If you have kids, however, a cereal container can work for whatever trash they may make in the car. But the ideal policy is to have them wait to eat whenever you arrive to wherever you need to go. You don’t want to create mess in the car, by way of trash or spills. Good habits are superior to good cleaning and organizing skills.
Here are the other things I keep in the car:
iPod + charger
emergency kit (in trunk)
That’s it! All you need in your car is really those 7 things I’ve mentioned. The key to an organized car is a minimal car.