Do you want to know the secret to keeping the car clean with kids? It’s really feasible, and not overwhelming at all. Are you ready for it? Every time you get gas, get all hands on deck to clean out the car for the 2 minutes you are at the pump. I’ll break it down for you today, and I think you’ll find that staying on top of picking up the car at the gas station will make the task very manageable .
* Affiliate links provided for your convenience. Anything you purchase through these links helps to support Meaningful Mama and the free resources I provide. Thank you for choosing to support us.
If you are like me, you have great intentions about keeping a clean car, but kids are sneaky. You don’t realize they’ve pack all of the crap they own into a tiny little backpack they’ve somehow managed to smuggle into the car. You don’t know that things are showing up in their backpack from school and slowly being released to the floor of the car. You weren’t aware that the snack pack was opened and dumped upside-down rather than being consumed by your child. The mess can creep up and get out of control. I want to help you get the car back under control by giving you the keys to the quick-gas-pump-clean-up-extravaganza.
- Keep a Garbage in your Car and Perform the Garbage Mass Exodus – I have a rectangular plastic bin that fits perfectly under the console between the two front seats of my minivan. You could also find a fancier version like this car litter bag. I try and encourage my kids to hand things up front to get the garbage into the garbage can. Inevitably, not everything ends up there. Every time I am at the gas station, the rubbish container gets emptied. Every time! While I’m emptying the garbage, I have my kids gather anything that didn’t quite make it to the bin, and I take another load to gas station garbage can. My kids are set with the task of checking under chairs and mats for anything that might be hidden.
- Keep a Reusable Grocery Bag in the Trunk – Those earth-friendly, re-usable grocery tote bags are kept in the back of my van, and they come in handy will I’m pumping gas. Everything that should be returned into our home is gathered into one or more of these bags. These bags are removed from the car when I arrive home.
- Car Travel Toy Clean-Up – If you are like us, you probably have an array of travel toys. Perhaps you have some favorite books. You may have a coloring travel tote. We love travel Bingo and have both the old school set and the newer Melissa and Doug version. Melissa and Doug also have a fun travel memory game for kids. You might be fancy and have a car organizer like this or like this, but as organized as you might be, things don’t always get put back where they go – or maybe that’s just my world. If you are like us and these fabulous travel toys end up all over the car, this is the time to get them back into the car pockets and organizers where they belong.
- Wash the Windows – That wonderful gas station has made it really easy for you to wash the windows while you are waiting for you car to fill up. Take advantage of that. It’s simple and quick, and the thirty seconds it takes you at the gas station will save you time at home trying to get all the materials out at home.
- What about Vacuuming? – Some gas stations do have vacuums you can pay to use. If you have one of those gas stations available, I’d encourage you to take an extra 5 minutes and vacuum while you’ve got all of the things off the floor. Lord knows it won’t stay like that for long. If not, vacuuming may or may not happen when you get home. I definitely don’t do the vacuuming step every time we have our gas station clean-up, but some of you more on top of it moms might work to make it happen.
- Trunk Organizer – This has nothing to do with my quick-gas-pump-clean-up-extravaganza, but it does get an honorable mention. I love having a trunk organizer in the back of my van. I think it’s a super place to keep spare clothes for the kids, a couple blankets, our homeless packs and our roadside emergency tool kit.
It is easy to take the time at the gas station to look at Facebook or twiddle your thumbs, but I really encourage you to use that time wisely. Get your kids on board with helping, and the dirty car situation won’t get too out of hand.
I hope you find it helpful. For more helpful mama tips, check out my parenting tab. I also encourage you to stay in touch with the Meaningful Mama community through Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Google+ and Instagram.