The Organized Car: Staying sane on road trips

If you are anything like me chances are you’re getting in the car to drive somewhere for Christmas.  Whether that trip takes 30 minutes or 3 days, the last thing you need is to be fumbling around the car for a snack for hangry passengers or a toy to placate a whining child (or adult).  

Even if you’re not travelling this holiday season having an organized car that is prepared for emergencies, like unexpected traffic at dinnertime, can be a life-saver.  I spend a lot of time in my car, so I have learned about the benefits of that being an organized space.

Much like the Boy Scouts motto the best thing is to “Be Prepared”. Really think through what your needs might be in the car and try to take the necessary steps to avoid problems.

Snacks.  My kids are always hungry. ALWAYS.  Especially if I am solo in the car I need easy to open, accessible food.   Granola bars, squeeze applesauce, crackers (messy but effective),  trail mix and candy (for bribing the hungry children) are some of my go-to snack items.  To keep it all handy I have this great car organizer. I bought last year with mesh pouches and pockets, but before that I just used a sturdy plastic bin.  Both work great.

If you’re planning a longer trip I highly suggest bringing at least one car-friendly meal.  While you’ll still have to stop to pee and get gas having a meal handy means you won’t be stuck eating crap and that you’ll be the hero with delicious food when everyone is starving and you’re in the middle of nowhere. My favorites are pepperoni bread (basically a sauceless calzone, delicious and travels well), cut up veggies and hummus, cheese sticks, yogurt drinks and fruit. I bought these great little trays for the kids that have a spot for food, drink and has built-in cutlery. Add in a closable trash bin that you hacked from a Dollar Store container and you’re good to go. I’m not saying this is a completely mess-free solution, but it helps.

Now that you are all well fed we need to deal with the boredom of being in a car.  So after you have gone through a few rounds of “I spy” you may want to pull out the big guns. The IPad.  We only have one, so to avoid fights I rigged some stretchy headbands with the tablet cover so that they can both see it but not touch it.  Make sure you have everything loaded on your tablet before you leave.

For some lower tech choices I like having some of their favorite books in the car, even if they can’t read they love to look at the pictures. A magnetic drawing board, new activity/sticker book, car-friendly games and puzzles can also help kill the time. 

Staying sane and organized for a road trip really boils down to planning and knowing your passengers. While you obviously can’t prepare for every situation try and think through some of the pitfalls you have encountered in the past and think about how to prevent it moving forward.

Wishing you safe & sane travels!

Do you have an organizing question that you want a Professional Organizer to help you with? Email Allison at We may feature your question in an upcoming post!

As a Professional Organizer and owner of Everything In Place, Allison Weigensberg has a passion for a minimalistic approach to organization and decluttering. She loves to share the tips and tricks she has implemented in her own life, with her clients and Suburban readers.