Monday, July 23, 2012

Getting It Together - The Car

I mentioned last week the desire to share some of the organizing I've been doing - partly due to nesting and partly because I'm sick of the lack of homes for our stuff. Give the homeless stuff a home and maybe then it's got a better chance of being returned to its home. So goes the thinking...
You may have noticed that we got a new van. If you hadn't noticed, here it is:
As a 12-seater, it's pretty big, and because of its size, there will be some temptation to just dump stuff anywhere and kick things under seats. Because of the bench seats, there are no pockets on backs of seats, like in a mini van. Every vehicle has its own limitations, no matter how big, and this one is no exception.
So, this is what I did: First, I bought one of those shoe organizers that you can on the back of a door and cut the bottom 2 rows of pouches off. I then used my sewing machine to finish the raw edge so that it didn't unravel and made 2 button holes about half an inch from the top. Finally, I threaded some ribbon through, tied it in a loop and hung it behind the last bench seat so that it's accessible from the trunk.

It's currently holding our bug spray and sun screen, diapers and wipes, trash bags, a general cleanup cloth, hairbrush, sanitizer, and handy little plastic cups (like what the individual serving applesauce come in) for whatever.  As the needs change, so will the contents.
Likewise, I filled a small lidded box with clothing changes for each of the 5 kids. Each clothing change has a t-shirt, undies, pair of shorts and long-sleeved shirt - things that they don't wear often so it won't be missed, but something they don't hate so that we don't have a fashion breakdown in public. Each outfit is inside it's own gallon plastic bag, to minimize the need to root around, and, once again, as the seasons change, so will the contents of the bags. I used one of the bags just yesterday to change some wet shorts, and was so thankful I had them! The whole box slides very neatly under the back bench row.
Since we have a distinct lack of places for each kid to put the junk they want to take with them on various journeys, I've basically put a small plastic basket, about the size of a large shoebox, in each row. For now, I figure that should do them for a couple of toys, a drink each and maybe a snack or a book or two. When we start looking at longer car trips, I may have to reevaluate the need and make some adjustments, but for now, this will do.
The only other change I made was to add covers for the seats. We noticed on the old van that a child in a car seat would occasionally drop something that would sit and languish in between the car seat and the main seat = stains. To try to avoid that a little, I rummaged around in my sewing room, pulled out some old fabric and tucked it in across the bottom of the seat. I didn't stretch it across the back, since that doesn't seem to be such a muck-magnet and would have been harder to secure. As it is, it's simply a little barrier to protect against mucky feet and purple lollipops. My standards just aren't that high.
There you have it - my van, organized (for the moment). Any questions or suggestions? I'd love to hear 'em!


Pop said...

Amazing Kelly. Just one question though........... did you make a container to take the grubbiest things of all........the kids themselves!
And what about the front passengers? Don't they get organized too? :-)

Kelly said...

Fortunately, the van is set up to care of the front seat passengers well - pockets and cubby holes everywhere! As for the kids, they're nothing that a march through a car wash can't handle. :)

Zoanna said...

Clearly your ingenuity (engine-new-ity?) has struck again. Kudoes! Looks like a good system. I especially like your change-of-clothes plan.

Anonymous said...

Wowza! Can I be your friend? ... Oh yeah! I am. How creative and I love the fact that you just did it without worrying about perfection (it is of course!)
Donna - Mom of Nine