31 Days {Day 5} – The Van

31 Days {Day 5} – The Van

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Welcome back to the 31 Days of Mary, Martha, & Sparta! If you missed it, here is the link to yesterday’s post!


Today is going to be a lot lighter than the last few days!

It’s fall break for us, and I mentioned that I don’t want to just make it a time of doing all of my chores. So I’m trying not to make it all about projects and to-do lists.

However, there is a quick little problem that just can’t wait – my van.

While it’s still a million degrees in Arizona, I refuse to vacuum out my car. I’ve been just resigned to the fact that my car will be unvacuumed for the summer. We had a minor rice spill recently, and just…whatever.

But when no one can walk around the car without stepping or sitting on a bunch of junk, it’s time to sweat it out for a few minutes to pull it back together.


The thing is, we kind of live out of my van a lot. We live about 35 minutes from even the nearest Target, so errands, church, school, social activities, and sports are all quite a drive away. Plus, we usually don’t travel lightly (this is why people call me “Mary Poppins” – I always have so much stuff in my bags).

I know some parents have a rule about not eating in the car, but I’m not one of them. My kids eat breakfast in the car every single school morning. If we couldn’t eat in the car, we would be so sad. And hungry.

But because of how much we live in the car, I have to have some quick organizing ideas for the space.

So here are the things that help me to keep my kids entertained, but my car at least livable, even if it’s not crumb-free.

Trash Can

In my old van, I would just hook a grocery bag from the armrests of the front seats, but in this one, the console is moved to far back. This has actually turned out to be better, though. I bought a tiny trash can from the dollar store, and it fits perfectly right in front of the console.


I just keep an old baby wipe box full of grocery bags in the car, and change them out whenever I get gas (or before, if needed).

Door Pockets

I use all of the space on the van to my advantage. I keep things that I want close to me in the pockets of the driver-side door. I also keep some things in the passenger door.

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Here’s a list of the things that I keep in my doors:

  • Pens
  • Paper
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Escape Tool (this has a sharp point to break windows, a razor to cut seatbelts, etc.)
  • Umbrella
  • Lotion (I’m always so sad when I forget)

Baby Wipes

These are good for wiping down hands and wiping down the car while I’m sitting in the passenger seat or when I’m waiting somewhere. I will never stop buying baby wipes. They’re magic. And bonus, they sit nicely on the box of grocery bags! (Disregard the rice spill…)



In the console, I have a change jar and things that will make eating in the car a more pleasant experience. I have napkins, straws, and utensils. I don’t need these things all the time, so the console is a good place for this stuff. It’s hard to contain, so out of sight is good enough for me. *There’s also an empty popcorn bag I can refill for free at the movie theater. I can dream that I might just decide on a whim that I want to go to the movies. Don’t wreck it for me.*



We have some time to kill on some longer drives. Sometimes up to four times a week, we drive an hour or more to run errands or to see Ty’s parents. My kids love to color in the car. It’s a good time killer. We have some coloring books that we keep in a box all together.


But what to use to color? Crayons melt in the car even in March around here, and losing marker lids irritates me to no end. Colored pencils are the perfect solution.

For the colored pencils, I tried using a pencil box, but it was clumsy for the kids to color in their laps and hold the box. We spilled the pencils five minutes into the drive on the regular. Instead, I decided to use a cup that would sit right in between the kids. We also have a hand sharpener so we never have an unsharpened pencil problem.

The Seats

In the back of the driver and passenger seats, I keep books to read. I change these out every once in a while so they don’t get tired of the books. On Aidan’s side, I usually keep “Where’s Waldo” or other picture-heavy books, since he isn’t a fluent reader yet. He can still look at the books on his own. For Noah, I usually put easier, shorter reading books, so he doesn’t get bored.


I also keep a pair of tennis shoes and a pair of flip flops in the car for each of the boys. They tuck nicely under the seat in front of them. I can’t even tell you how many times this has saved us. Though, on the days leading up to Sunday apparently I dropped the ball, and Aidan ended up at church with no shoes. All I could think was, “This is why I always keep shoes in the car!!!” Oh well…


The seat in between the boys also folds down and has cup holders in it. God bless Honda. They know how critical cup holders are. This van has 14. We max those puppies out. You can see that I use one of them for the colored pencils.


You know that the back seats fold down and reconfigure however I need. I use that feature all the time, depending on where we’re going and who we are taking with us. It also has so much storage, in addition to the potential additional seats. Right now it has two extra seats in the back now that carpooling for T-ball and baseball practices is in full swing. I’ll say it again – God bless Honda.

What tips do you have that help you to organize your car? I would love to hear them! I’m a sucker for a good organizing tip!!


To view the next post in the 31 Days of Mary, Martha, & Sparta, check it out here!

1 Comment


about 4 years ago

Love love LOVE my van!! Just cleaned mine out tonight. We could have lived in there for a week. Ugh so gross. I have pretty much everything you mentioned except the change jar and coloring stuff. Good ideas :)


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