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Declutter Car Trunk {15 Minute Mission}

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Today's mission is to declutter your car trunk, removing trash and items that don't belong so that you aren't carrying around excess items all the time.

Car Organization Challenge
This mission is designed to be done while working on the Car Organization Challenge here on the site, which is part of the 52 Week Organized Home Challenge.

The steps for today's mission are pretty simple. Remove all of the items from your car's trunk or boot, or if you've got a van or SUV the storage area behind the back seats, and evaluate each item.

Throw trash away, put away in the house anything that should be there instead of in the trunk, and then only put back items into your trunk that actually should stay there, long term.

(These steps are quite similar to those we did yesterday when we got rid of car clutter from the interior of your vehicle.)

Only keep items in your trunk that you use consistently, or are important to have in case of an emergency.

To help you identify what you should consider keeping in your trunk I've created a list below to help you out.

How to declutter your car trunk, and list of possible items to store in your trunk for both emergencies and for convenience {part of the Declutter 365 missions on Home Storage Solutions 101}use this Pin it button to save to Pinterest

Photo courtesy of State Farm

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List Of Common Items To Store In Your Car's Trunk

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I don't actually think you should overfill your car's trunk. The point of the trunk, after all, is to help you haul things around that you need to transport, from luggage on trips, to groceries from your trips to the store.

If you've over filled your trunk with clutter and stuff you don't use regularly you can use it to haul this stuff around like you should, so that's why we're decluttering the car trunk in the first place!

But, on the other hand, your trunk is a great place to store some items that you do use frequently that make your life more convenient. In addition, it is important to carry some emergency supplies with you for when you or your passengers may need them.

As with almost all of life it is a balancing act trying to deal with these competing issues.

With that in mind here are some common items that people store in their trunks. This list is merely designed to help you identify what, in your trunk, should make the cut to get added back while you're working on this mission, or to even add a couple things if needed and desired to make life a bit easier for yourself in the future.

printable car emergency kit checklist
  • Car emergency kit supplies (use this printable checklist to read my full recommended list of what you should have in your car emergency kit

  • First aid kit (technically listed in the car emergency kit checklist but important enough to list separately here as well)

  • Donations (this is temporary, you shouldn't keep items you plan to donate in there long term, but I couldn't resist adding this, since we are decluttering 365 days a year! ;). Many people add the items they want to declutter straight to their trunk so it is immediately out of their house and when they pass by the donation center they can drop it off quickly.)

  • Stroller

  • Extra diaper bag supplies, like additional diapers, wipes, change of clothes for the kids, etc.

  • Chairs for watching participants at sports games (we keep these in our trunk during sports season, and then remove the rest of the year)

  • Umbrella and/or snow scraper (be prepared for the weather)

  • Reusable grocery bags for your regular grocery shopping, to replace plastic bags

  • Extra plastic grocery bags or other bags you can use to gather trash from your car
Can you think of anything else you might normally keep in the trunk of your vehicle? If so, tell me in the comments below.

Here's one photo sent in by a reader, showing what she stores in her trunk. Charlene said, "I keep my trunk like this pretty much all the time. I got the storage container last Christmas. It has my reusable grocery bags, grocery cart cover, emergency items, and blanket. I keep the umbrella stroller because you never know when you'll need it."

List of what to keep in your car's trunk for convenience and emergencies {on Home Storage Solutions 101}use this Pin it button to save to Pinterest

Top photo courtesy of Qfamily

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Before & After Photos From Readers Who've Already Done This Mission

How to declutter your car trunk and then keep it that way, plus a list of items to store in your trunk from now on for convenience and emergencies {on Home Storage Solutions 101}use this Pin it button to save to Pinterest

Here are a couple photos sent in by readers who've already done this mission, to get you inspired to work on this task yourself.

The before and after photos above were sent in by a reader, Karen, when she sorted her car's boot.

Before and after photos when declutter car trunk, plus a list of items to store in your trunk from now on for convenience and emergencies {on Home Storage Solutions 101}use this Pin it button to save to Pinterest

These photos were sent in by another reader, Brandy. She explained of the after photo, "Those mats are my winter ones. My summer ones are still in the car. Once fall gets here I clean my car and switch the mats."

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Room For Storage In Clutter Free Trunk

So how's this mission going for you? I'd love to see your results, so once you've done this mission make sure to submit your photos here to show off your accomplishments. The best photos will be featured here on the site.

The photo above was submitted by a reader, Alla, who worked on this mission. She stated, "2 beach chairs and a pair of flip-flops. That's about it."

Great job Alla! I would love to see some emergency kit supplies somewhere in there car though, but overall you definitely have room in your trunk so it can fulfill it's purpose -- to help you haul stuff around temporarily, as needed.

Want To Do More Decluttering Missions? Get Started With Declutter 365 Today!

Declutter 365 missions: 15 minute missions for your entire home

Once you declutter one type of item in your home I bet you'll want to declutter some more. After all, decluttering gives you a great reward for even a small investment of time and energy.

The Declutter 365 system is designed to help you declutter, over the course of a year, your entire house, with just 15 minutes of decluttering each day!

Hundreds of thousands of people use this proven system to get rid of their clutter, and bring peace and calm back to their homes.

Declutter 365 works to guide you to clear the clutter without overwhelm, focusing on just one small area at a time, and without making a huge mess in the process, so you see consistent forward progress without all that "messy middle" that makes it even harder to function in your home than before you started.

In addition to building a daily decluttering habit, the Declutter 365 program, along with the accompanying 52 Week Organized Home Challenge, teaches you the skills, habits, routines, and mindsets necessary to maintain the clutter free and organized state of your home from now on, so it'll never be as messy and cluttered as it is right now, ever again.

If you haven't already, make sure to get your copy of this year's Declutter 365 annual calendar here (it's FREE!), find today's date, and do 15 minutes of decluttering on the day's mission. Then, repeat again tomorrow, and again and again. Over the course of the next year, if you do this 15 minutes per day, you'll declutter your whole house!

Click here to take me to this year's Declutter 365 calendar

Check Out These Car Organizers

I've created a round up list of over 30 car organizers in my Amazon store (referral link) that you can check out, if this article has inspired you to get your car organized. Once in my Amazon store, scroll down to find the car organizer list.

30+ car organizers for road trips, short drives, kids, safety and moreuse this Pin it button to save to Pinterest

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Getting Clutter Free 15 Minutes At A Time Hall Of Fame

Go From How To Declutter Car Trunk To Home Page

Comments for Room For Storage In Clutter Free Trunk

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Trunk always full
by: Mary

Just had my vehicle detailed, so the trunk is empty. I am paranoid about my car trunk so I fill it with stuff. Anything and everything, so it is useless for anything. I feel that if someone tells me to get out of my car, and into the trunk I open it and tell them that we must first clean it out and while we are doing this I use my stun gun, pepper spray, whistle, scream, run. I have other weapons too, but everyone laughs about my trunk--except me.

more items to keep in trunk
by: Anonymous

Jumper cables just in case, umbrella, fold up snow shovel.

what I keep in my car boot
by: Lyn

I like to keep a bottle of water and a bottle of sunscreen in the car boot.

what I think should be in there
by: Anonymous

Beach blanket and chair
Laundry soap and fabric softener

by: Anonymous

A gallon of water, some snacks, sturdy shoes, emergency road kit.

Keep in car trunk
by: Anonymous

Ice chest - to put frozen foods and other grocery items that need to remain cold while in transit.

Water bottle.

One large plastic sheet (for new plants coming home from the nursery)

One large plastic bin to hold multiple grocery sacks from tipping over and the items scattering in trunk.

Usual stuff: Battery cables, a lantern, a jack and an old floor mat to kneel on if having to change a flat!

(First Aid kit is kept in glove compartment!)

by: Anonymous

Cat litter for winter months. Works wonders on ice if stuck.

Trunk Supplies
by: Cindy

In my box of emergency car supplies I keep a copy of a magazine titled, "Mind." That way I always know where to find my mind in case I fear I've lost it!

for your car trunk
by: Anonymous

Fix-A-Flat and Jumper Cables

Gym Rat
by: Anonymous

I like to store gym items (sneakers, extra workout clothes, sweatshirt, towel etc.) in my trunk so I can get a workout squeezed in when my days are the craziest.

Carry towels in the trunk
by: Anonymous

I live in Florida on the Gulf Coast and a common and helpful thing I always carry are towels. If not for sand and water they are very useful for wiping off red clay, a very messy but common road and parking lot nuisance.

Stuff in trunk
by: Face Painter

All of the above is good. I have a couple of blankets and extra jackets. You never know if you have to walk a ways in the winter. My Mom nearly froze to death in the 30's and stressed that to me. She also made me keep an extra $10 in my wallet for emergencys. I have carried that same 10 for 55 years.

by: Anonymous

Growing up we did not eat in our car, groceries were carried in the back seat so we could get to the spare if we needed to. For the most part I have raised my family that way. However I do use the back hatch area for groceries. My husband bought me weather tech mats for Christmas last year to protect it from spills. I vacuum the vehicle twice a year and empty the trash bag as needed. If we carry it to the vehicle when we leave the house we carry it back in when we return. Simple. Never need to declutter.

Items to store in vehicle/not only trunk
by: Kim

Sunshade, trash bin, napkins in the console. pencil. I like the umbrella idea. Hadn't thought of that one.

What to keep in your trunk
by: Anonymous

I'm physically handicapped from a rare, degenerate, progressive, and incurable disease called Stiff Person Syndrome with parkinsonism. I carry AAA and have this app on my cell phone. My desiel mechanic told me not to use jumper cables because if the are used incorrectly it could blow your vehicle up. I keep a blanket, flares, a sign that I can put in my window that I need help, rain poncho which I can wear to help me stay warm, flashlight, something to knock the snow from my exhaust pipe. Since I would probably stay in my car, I would keep my window cracked. I don't want to be overcome by carbon dioxide. I would make sure that I fill my gas tank when it reaches 1/2 full/empty. Run my car only to warm it up. If I know that the weather is going to become bad, I'll stay home rather than risk my life. I don't have much trunk space because I drive a VW Desiel Beetle.

Extra items in car trunk
by: Marialice

In the summer I keep an extra tee shirt, pair of flip flops and sneakers. In the winter a polar fleece, gloves, hat, and scarf.

coupons in plastic bag
by: Anonymous

I still use paper coupons for fast food discounts. I have a special plastic bag with the coupons stored in it. I keep it in the trunk as it helps to 'think' about stopping for fast food and that saves me money. Also, it does not stay neat and tidy if I have it in the car interior.

Trunk clutter
by: Anonymous

I switch things around for the seasons. Summer, water, sunscreen, bug spray, normal first aid stuff, medical gloves. Blanket towel in case I take kids to parks. Winter, hand and foot warmers, jumper cables, heavier blanket with water rolled inside to keep it from freezing a few snacks that won't spoil.

More ideas for trunk
by: Anonymous

As a woman who wears flip-flops or sandals 99% of the year (I live in South Texas), I like to keep a pair of tennis shoes in the trunk in case I end up having to walk anywhere unplanned. I also keep a collapsible plastic box in there to put small items in so they don't roll all around in the trunk, or tip over if they are liquid.

Emergency supplies
by: Anonymous

I keep a rolling carry-on suitcase with emergency supplies. Rain gear for summer, snow gear for winter, and snacks, a sleeping bag, coffee can, and tp.

gardening gloves
by: Vee

A thin pair of gardening gloves. Very handy when changing a tire, or helping out a fellow passenger in trouble. Stops your hands getting oily, messy or scratched.

trunk stuff
by: djlocher

Jumper cable & blanket, roll of paper towels

by: Mary Mann

I travel with a small tool box as a single lady. Sometimes I need some small hand tools.

what I've got in my trunk
by: Helen J

I don't have children at home anymore so I carry a roll of paper towel and a few plastic bags for emergency dog cleanups. Plus a blanket.

Cups are a must!
by: Anonymous

I keep small paper/plastic cups. This lets me buy a big cold bottle of water and split it between the kids and myself when running errands. Saves me from having to get each person a bottle and having a car full of half drunk bottles or us drinking hot water that is kept in car for emergencies.

Emergency equipment such as
by: Anonymous

A couple of blocks of wood, to block car if you have a flat tire ~ if you live where it is hilly ~
Blankets in the winter if you live in a cold climate ~
along with sand or wood ashes if you live where there is a lot of snow or ice ~

additional items
by: Dianne

I keep a spare tire and a jack. I didn't see either one in the list.

by: Anonymous

A spray bottle of windex and a roll of paper towels.

All my stuff...just in case
by: Anonymous

In the trunk
Small bag with feminine products, extra hair ties, bug spray, $20 bill and 5 $ in quarters (so we don’t spend on the day to day)
Reusable bags
Emergency kit
Small blanket
Window breaker/seatbelt cutter on everyone’s keychain
Chargers for phones
Lots of change in cubby
Flash light stun gun combo in door
Food coupons, paper pad & pen above visor
Outlet covertor in glove box (turns cig outlet to electrical outlet)
Bottle of water or Mt. Dew 😀
Book & puzzle book ( in case I’m stranded or waiting)
Reading glasses & xtra pair sunglasses
Couple salt pkts (gotta have salt on my fries)
Body spray (in case I’ve been sweating)
2 small umbrellas in seat pocket (can’t always get to trunk without getting wet)

Earthquake Country
by: Ahall

Comfortable walking shoes.
Sleeping bag, Tire pump that plugs into cigarette lighter.

Trunk Supplies
by: Alicia

I like to keep extra water, a blanket, extra hats, gloves and a hoodie for each family member, as well as oil or other fluids that my car seems to use a lot of. I have an older vehicle so its easier to keep the fluids on hand then hoping I make it to the store for them without incident.

Ice Chest
by: Esther

I have to keep an ice chest constantly. Especially in the summer. I never know when I will buy some grocery's that need to be kept cool. Since I don't usually get all of my groceries in one day.

Additional trunk items
by: Lisa B

In addition to the items in your list, I keep a cooler filled with reusable bags and errand items, like returns. I also keep two collapsible crates for storing purchases or extra items I might need for the day.

I don't know where to begin.
by: Anonymous

I have a full size SUV and it's so cluttered I am overwhelmed. There is barely room for my son to get in and I constantly have stuff falling over while I'm driving. I don't know how to post a picture on here but I would love to do before and after pictures. It's going to be a drastic difference. I also clean for a living and I always keep my cleaning supplies in there too. Going on a family trip next week and I have no where to put my boyfriend, his son, and our luggage. 😫😬

Clean car
by: Melsie

I like to keep my car as neat as possible. I have a hatch back and you can order nice storage items made for them, they are light weight and fit on the back of back seat. Please be careful of heavy objects such as strollers, etc. If in accident items become very fast moving objects. Many people have become victims of this. Please secure a stroller or anything down that could injure your family.

Car trunk storage
by: Anonymous

I also have a bag of teaching items as I travel between jobs, work with families to learn Sign Language. Only things beside this is now a bag of shopping bags and umbrellas. There is already a spare tyre and jack in their own storage space of my car. When the lockdown (in Sydney, Australia) is over, I like to keep a few folding chairs and a picnic blanket along with hats in the car for those times when I take the kids to the local park for a play.

Things in my car
by: Anonymous

I keep an extra pair of glasses in my car -- my vision is terrible lol and I can not drive without glasses. I had mine suddenly break before so now I keep an extra pair in the car.

Something else I didn't see anyone mention of is I keep an emergency contact paper in my car as well also on my phone. I know that phones can easily get lost in a car wreck and I want responders to know who to reach out to if something were to happen.

Car cleaning supplies
by: Becky

I keep a few car cleaning supplies so that if an accidental spill happens or if I’m passing by the car wash, I can clean up the inside too.

Decluttering your trunk
by: Anonymous

First of all I wish I could get a ticket to whatever Paradise you're in thinking those are the only items you need in your trunk??! First of all the most important items that should be in a trunk are what is needed to change a tire! A four way, about a small set of tools. Screwdrivers, pliers, socket set....fluids like oil, transmission fluid, steering fluid, brake fluid...or how about a change of shoes, blanket, maybe one change of clothes according to season....I live in the country and all listed above have needed in the past.

my must haves for the trunk and car
by: Jenn

Living in Canada, I always like to have a blanket and snack items in case of being stranded. (Not just the winter.)

My biggest trunk issue is too many reusable bags (that I too often forget). Or how to best store them because inevitably, when I put the all inside another one, I need THAT one that the others are in.

In the car I usually keep a few goodie bags for those people at the lights asking for change (socks, food item, hygiene products, some change etc). I will go back to your article to decide on another garbage can option because the Tupperware container isn’t working and I hate the plastic bags in the front.

Expanded car suggestions welcome 😎

Instead of jumper cables
by: Anonymous

There is now a small device that you keep charged and it will start the car with a press of a button. It does have cables but tells you when you have them on wrong. So much easier than jumper cables and well worth the extra $. No more waiting for AAA.

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