Our cars put up with a lot of abuse. They’re one of the tools most of us use most often. This means the dirt, debris, shoe scuffs, leftover fast food bags — and that Barbie head that popped off one dark cold winter night and made your daughter freak out. Not to mention dog hair and sticky things like ice cream residue or chewing gum. Together, it can make a pretty impenetrable mess that can take a whole day to clean up. All the wear and tear on the carpet and upholstery, alone, can reduce the resale value of a vehicle. Can anyone say, “Dog paws?”
So, it makes sense to look for hacks that can keep the backseat cleaner and more organized while protecting it from the marauding effects of kids and pets. Following these tips and tricks means that the next time Johnny gets car sick, your car won’t get the worst of it.
Hacks in the Back Seat – Keeping the Car Clean with These Organizational Tools
1. The HappyChappy hanging car trash can has nearly a five-star rating on Amazon with reviews from more than 300 satisfied customers. That’s nothing to sneeze at, but if it happens, the HappyChappy has a tissue box and drink holder. The unit hangs from the headrest of the front or passenger seat and not only does it serve to hold trash, there are nifty little pockets to hold loose change, pens, or snacks. For $15.95 the average minivan driver may want to buy two.
2. Here’s a crafty tip: WomansDay magazine suggests just using one of those over-the-door shoe organizers. It works just like the Happychappy, but it actually seems to hold more stuff. For a long road trip with lots of kits and lots of toys, this may be a better solution. Pick one up on Amazon here (and don’t be afraid to check for Amazon promo codes or other discounts before checking out).
3. Line the floors with customized WeatherTech floor liners (promo codes here, here). The liners fit perfectly to the make and model of a vehicle — so much so that WeatherTech says they provide “absolute interior protection.” These liners fit right over the middle hump and floors and are made of a flexible material that won’t crack or get brittle even in the coldest temperatures. WeatherTech floor liners will help save wear and tear on the interior of any car, making them well worth the investment.
4. While the trunk isn’t necessarily the back seat, the JACO CargoPro Trunk Organizer can also provide some premium organizing and storage for the back of the van or RV. This handy unit is currently on sale for $28.72 on Amazon. It has five-starts and more than 300 customer reviews. The organizing unit collapses for under seat storage. It also has two big compartments to store all the loose stuff floating around the car. The organizer has carry handles and can be lifted in or out of the vehicle, making it a nice option for soccer practice supplies that need to be carted from the car to the field. Great addition to the organized vehicle.
5. Kids Activities Blog has a great, simple hack for keeping cupholders clean. Put a cupcake liner in it! Most people get all kinds of crud in their cupholders. So lining it with those paper cupcake holders is one of our favorite ideas; just change them out periodically when they get gross. So smart!
6. But perhaps the most important hack to consider is the WeatherTech Seat Protector. It’s a water repellent seat cover that protects upholstery from pets, spills, muddy feet, and so much more. The WeatherTech brand is absolutely top-of-the-line when it comes to custom-fitted car accessories designed to protect the vehicle. The WeatherTech website says these “car blankets” are created from a polycotton twill with a water-resistant coating. It’s held in place with strong straps and a non-slip coating on the back. It’s also designed especially for the make and model of the car. It can be washed, too.
7. Good Housekeeping had a good idea; for the parents traveling with multiple kids, organize their plethora of stuff with a portable shower caddy. Amazon has some good choices, but the frugal shopper could even consider one (or five) of the Colorful Oval Carry Totes found at the Dollar Tree. A few bucks (or even less, if you use a Dollar Tree promo code or coupon) could yield a lot of organization for the car — or the house, for that matter.
8. The Container Store is all about containing stuff, whether it’s in a car or in the home. These containers can make a long road trip bearable by packaging up colored pencils or providing paper trays to keep things neat. Just look at some of the choices available today in this cool, modern store designed to clean up the mess.
9. Not to be outdone, WeatherTech came up with a Cargo Trunk Liner to cover the area or trunk liner to protect the very back of the vehicle from mud, slush or anything that could harm the carpet of the car. Like all WeatherTech products, the cargo line was designed to protect the underlying features of the vehicles people own. The cargo trunk liner is custom fit to the exact measurements in the vehicle and they have a raised lip that keeps spills where they belong — off the carpet of the car. These mats, like everything in the WeatherTech product line, are durable, yet pliable. They can be pulled out and scrubbed or hosed down, which makes for easy clean up no matter the damage.
Life Really is Messy – So Follow These Hacks to Keep it Contained
While these are all great tips, we supposed you could just cover the back seat with plastic wrap, kind of like Grandma’s old slipcovers. But that isn’t nearly as durable nor as organized as the 10 hacks we included in this article. Protecting the car from spills and mud, pet dander, and wear and tear, will help preserve the longevity of the upholstery and carpets in the vehicle. In the long, run, the investment in any of these products is worth it. The ROI will be in an increased car value for resale.