Friday, March 22, 2013

It's spring -- time to clean the car (ugh) {Quick cleaning tips}

While my family still living back in PA dug out from snow and was likely cursing Punxy Phil, I noticed that spring had indeed sprung here in Virginia.  Sure, we had a few flakes and (gasp) a snow day earlier this week due to sleet, but a peep at the budding hydrangeas and maple tree outside tells me that spring is here.  My oak trees out front are now nearly naked, finally at last shedding the last half of the leaves that still clung to its branches through the winter months.  When the tree is finally bare, it means spring is here.  Besides that, I noticed that the back yard could use mowed in some spots. 

Spring also means it's finally time to put off cleaning out the car.  I hate, hate, hate to be cold, so I tend to put off cleaning the car in the winter.  Who wants to stand out there freezing while pulling out kid clutter?  Not me. 

Somehow a quick run through the car wash makes the outside look clean, but it's the inside that suffers.

It's spring --- time to turn over a new leaf on keeping my car clean.  Here are some strategies to employ to keep your car squeaky clean now that you won't get frost bite giving the interior some TLC.

1.  Keep grocery bags stashed under the seat --- this is a must for quick clean ups, barfing kids, kids that spill, used tissues, etc.  If you keep a quick receptacle of trash in the car, you are more likely to not think, "Oh, I'll get that next time."

2.  Park near trash receptacles --- I tend to park near cart returns, which tend to have trash receptacles.  Take the opportunity once you put your car in park to look around for any trash that's easy to toss on your way into the store.

3.  If you can, adopt a no eating in the car rule ---  I'm far too lax on this and as a result, I end up with smashed Chex Mix all over the back floor.  If you can't do that very easily, adopt the when you leave the car, your trash goes with you rule.  (Refer to number 1 and hand them a grocery bag...)

4.  Cheap rug ---  Our used minivan did not come with factory floor mats in the rear.  Replacing them with factory spec would have been very costly.  So, we went to Lowe's and bought floor mat type rug right off the roll and custom cut it to fit our van.  The kids have spilled and it's time to take it out and buy new.  Plus:  Hubby can use the old one as a template to cut the new.  Cost was very cheap - less than $20.  Get the one with rubber backing.

5.  Keep paper towels in your car --- Great for spills and barfing kids, these can be a real life saver in getting to messes quickly.  They can act as napkins -- better than those you get at a fast food joint. 

6.  Clutterbust ---  Take a moment to clutterbust your glove box (which, by the way, is a complete misnomer.  Do you have gloves in there?  Didn't think so!  I don't either).  Remove any old registration cards, insurance cards, and other clutter.  Less is more.  Having gotten totaled our a few years ago, I was shocked at the sheer amount of stuff -- and not all belonging to the kids -- that was housed in that van. 

7.  Make a date with your car --- Put a date every few weeks in your calendar to actively keep your car clean.  Schedule time to vacuum it and wipe down the interior.  One of the biggest things that can lower the resale value of your car is a dirty car that's not kept up.  Referring back to the totaled van from a few years ago, the adjuster actually lowered the value based on dirty seats (that would have taken 10 minutes to clean). 

Do you have any quick tips for keeping your car clean?  I am all ears!  Any tips to save time and energy  are appreciated.
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