By Guest Blogger, Art Gould
The other day, one of my co-workers was telling me about his second home. It wasn’t the first time I had heard about it either. He has a small beachfront cottage that he uses as a getaway almost every weekend in the summer. I have always wanted a second home as an escape from my day to day life. I have to admit that this latest time, when I listened to him talk, it sounded so inviting that I started to become more then a bit envious. That is when it hit me; maybe I already have a one!
It is located in my car.
Let me explain. I’m a division manager for a busy self-storage company. My job requires a lot of travel to and from our various remote facilities. I am constantly traveling and for most of these trips, my car becomes for all intents and purposes my second home. In fact, I spend so much time in my car that I am hesitant to sit down and calculate the comparative number of total hours I spend in each of my “houses” because I am afraid I won’t like the answer.
There is one significant difference though. Unlike my primary home, my mobile abode lacks the storage and organization space. I need to (a) store my wardrobe (not to mention my passengers’ stuff); (b) maintain a traveling office, complete with paperwork, files, folders, and supplies; (c) keep (and consume) snacks and drinks for the road: (d); entertain guests; and (e) maintain tidy and clutter-free surroundings. Therefore, I need to find a way to construct the following: a closet, a work cubicle, a kitchen, a living room, and a showroom; and somehow make them all coexist within the confines of my automobile.
So I rolled up my sleeves, put my thinking cap on, and went to work. After several modifications and a large dose of trial and error, I came up with a mini-strategy centered on five fairly simple organizational concepts that can help anyone transform a car from a mobile mess to a motorized manor.
- Make use of storage containers. They come in all forms, shapes, and sizes. CD organizers, many of which attach to the car’s visors, are widely available. Plastic containers can also work not only for CDs but for other small objects as well. Place small items that you use sparingly in a re-sealable bag and store that bag in your glove compartment. Loose change can be kept in a second re-sealable bag located in the side pocket on the driver’s side where you can easily access it.
- Manage your litter. Keep one or more designated waste bags and be sure to use sealable, leak-proof bags. Choose convenient spots in your car to put them (e.g.; side panels or bottoms of back seats) and fasten them with Velcro or other temporary adherent. Make sure you throw away every piece of junk you no longer need. Most importantly, be sure to remember to empty your trash bags regularly.
- Compartmentalize your stuff. Put everything in its proper place. Things like your car manual, registration, insurance information, and maybe a small flashlight belong in your glove compartment. Maps and other directional information are probably best located in the side door pocket on the passenger side. An expandable file folder for important papers and documents should be located in an accessible spot. Trunk organizers serve a threefold purpose: they keep the car clutter-free, organize items into compartments, and keep everything secure and upright during transit.
- Institute a continuous “keep the car clean” system. Start by promising yourself never to put anything on the floor! Then make sure you maintain a box of baby wipes under the seat that you can use whenever you need to clean up a spill or food stains. Remember, in addition to regularly washing your vehicle, to vacuum the interior as well. Keep one or two tote bags or canvas bags in your car to carry items from the car to the house. By being able to carry the items comfortably in one trip, you will avoid the temptation to let clutter accumulate in your car.
- Locate items strategically. Everybody has different priorities and certain items are more important to some of us than others. As a salesman, for example, I need to have my contact list handy. For many of us, pen and paper, or cell phones need to be easily accessible. Sometimes, our priorities change with the seasons. Ice scrapers are high-priority items in the winter, but they can be packed away and re- located in the summer months. Whatever your situation, take stock and determine which items are most important and make sure to locate those items close by.
Following these simple strategies will not only keep you organized, but none of your guests will ever suspect that they are “riding” in your second home.
Art Gould is a division manager with Self Storage Company, which operates a group of websites, including a Tennessee self storage locator. Art often travels between sites, from Texas to the Washington D.C. self storage site, and in doing so has developed several strategies for staying organized while on the road.