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Tuesday, April 23, 2013

92 Happy Travels! Auto Organization

Just like all of our organizing systems, how we travel as a family has changed and evolved over time.  It has been long time since I have done a post on the subject, yet it always seems to be a hot topic.


Some of the things we have done in the past is hang items from the backs of the seats and give our kiddos each individual travel bags.  Both systems have worked OK, but have always left excess unwanted clutter.  When each kiddo would bring their own bag on a car ride, the bags would instantly take up a lot of space and end up on the floor under their dirty feet.  It also meant that they were carrying things to and from the car each time we travel and potentially leaving it spread all over the car when we return home.  It also meant that we were always having to remember to grab special items each time we left home, when my organizing gut would tell me that a prepared mommy would just have all that stuff in the car, all the time.  I don't know about you, but I have an aversion to clutter, so when I open the door to the backseat and see things spread out all over and basic chaos, I get a little whiny.

Awhile back, one of my super sweet sponsors, sugarSNAP, kindly gifted me some of their organizing pouches, and I knew it was the perfect excuse to kick my rear in gear and take back control of our car.

I retired the boy's travel car bags to be used as their sleepover bags instead.  From now on, I wanted most items to live right in the car so we are always prepared or ready, whether taking a long drive across state or a twenty minute ride to pick up some groceries.


The first order of business was to find some sort of trunk organizer or caddy to hold all of our goodies.  I looked at traditional organizers, but they were all either too small or too flimsy.  Some were even quite expensive.  Since I wanted each boy to have their own blanket, I also wanted something that came with a lid, to avoid dust, dirt and dog hair from getting in the bin.  It is also nice to have a lid so that everything stays nice and contained, and because it is a woven material, it doesn't seem to slide around at all.  I found the basket at HomeGoods.


Inside the basket we have so many items, I can barely wrap my head around it.  Here is what you will find inside:
  • Three trays for snacking and drawing
  • Notebooks, activity books and coloring pads
  • A blanket for each boy
  • Movie case
  • Wipes
  • First aid supplies
  • Snacks
  • Picnic items
  • Outdoor lotions and potions
  • Markers


    Each one of the individual pouches holds oodles of items.  The pouches can either all be clipped together on a larger ring, or removed to be used individually.


    A few reasons why these work so great for car organization:
    • They are mesh so you can see the contents
    • They are heavy duty so they will withstand constant moving around and everyday wear and tear
    • They have durable plastic tabs so everything can be "filed" and labeled
    • They are sleek and compact
    • They have the ability of being left in the back of the car or brought to the front during travel.  They can also be easily transported inside between trips.  You can select which items need to come in, and which can stay in the car.  
    • They can easily tuck within a diaper bag, baseball bag, picnic basket, purse or tote. 


    Let's take a closer look at how I used each pouch.

    The first pouch received a bunch of snacks.  It never fails that when we get in the car, 10 minutes in, someone is hungry.  Again, this pouch can either stay in the car, or come inside, weather and time depending.


    For the next pouch, I took cue from my bloggy buddy, Courtney, and packed up some picnicking essentials so that they can either eat lunch on the road or at a park, without too much extra thought.


    By keeping the plastic trays in the car {which I originally found at Target last year}, the kids have a solid surface to eat.


    I decided that two pouches with first aid items would be best.  One with everything we may need while traveling, and another to easily take out of the car at baseball games and at parks.  First up, the larger set of first aid supplies.


    In this pouch, we have band-aids, anti-nausea medication, Tylenol, hand sanitizer, thermometer, ointments and cotton.  Enough to get us by if someone has a fall at the park or gets wheezy in the car.  Again, the pouch can stay in the car, or, if it gets too hot, can easily be stored in the garage or inside the home on a hook in-between trips.

    The smaller pouch holds all the other outdoor lotions and potions.


    Tissues, sunscreen, bug spray, hand sanitizer and stain removal wipes.

    Just when you thought we couldn't fit any more into a single basket, I still pull out two more pouches.  These are my sanity saver bags.  They hold the secret to quieter car rides.


    The first is a pouch with different travel games; dry-erase brain games, Go-Fish, United States flash cards and facts, Fun Things to do in the Car Cards, and a Rubik cube.

    The other pouch holds a rainbow of markers.


    Again, the tray comes in for the win to give the kids a surface for coloring, writing and playing games.

    All nice and compact in individual pouches to keep all the different items and categories separate and easy to grab from.


    The basket also holds a movie case, which just contains some of the kiddos movies that are rotated out from the collection in the house.


    And a large tub of wipes for quick cleanups.  Because when you travel with kids, wipes always need to be in the car.  Always.


    Everything files away nice and neat inside of the basket!  I never knew I would swoon at car organization!


    The basket sits in the back of our SUV, but can also easily be moved the to trunk of our car, depending on which vehicle we are traveling in.


    For us, this is much better than having all sorts of random things floating around the interior of the auto, and keeps floors virtually clear.  We can select what items we want in the main portion of the car before we take off, and easily stop to grab out something if necessary.  That basket sure packs a lot of punch!  No more whiny mom here!

    My next step is to make sure I have all of the other important travel necessities.  You know, the not as fun things like umbrellas and scrapers and flares, oh my....

    What items do you find essential when traveling with kids?  Is there something you would never leave the house without?  How do you keep the inside of your car, calm and clutter free?


    Psssst!  Love the sugarSNAP files?  Stay tuned because later today I am giving some away!!!

    Psssst!  All opinions are mine.  I wasn't paid or swayed to write this post, I was just offered some sugarSNAP organizers to try out and provide an open and honest review.

    92 comments:

    1. This is so awesome Jen! I bet it makes car rides so much neater and more fun!!!

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    2. I have three picinic baskets that I have been wondering what to do with, they were wedding gifts 10 years ago- and we've never used one. This will be a perfect use for it! Thanks for the idea.

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    3. Jen -
      I absolutely LOVE your basket full of goodies. I now have an excuse to acquire another cute basket. :) The only other thing I might pack inside would be plastic grocery bags to use as trash bags. That's the one thing I always think about after the fact. It's so much easier to just put a couple stashed away in the car.
      Thanks!
      Ashlee

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      1. Yes! Great tip! We actually adapted this idea from Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/pin/129267451776365094/ and have been loving it like crazy!

        xo,
        Jen

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      2. Thanks for sharing that. I love that idea. What kind of container did you use?
        Ashlee

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      3. We used a Cereal Keeper container. Since it is airtight, there are no odors in the car, and it's the perfect portable size.

        xo!
        Jen

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      4. Love this idea! I was just about to throw out an old one that was too deep for my pantry. Guess where it's going now!

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      5. I keep a square empty tissue box in the car filled with grocery bags. It tucks easily into the car and I always have bags handy for trash, wet/muddy clothes, ripped grocery bags, wet umbrella, etc.

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    4. Thanks for the great ideas for traveling with kids! Random question, but where did you get the wipes you keep in the travel basket? The container is super cute - it's all about the packaging for me!

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      1. The container is Huggies and I found it at Target. It is meant to be reused and refilled, and I completely agree, pretty packaging gets me every time!

        xo,
        Jen

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    5. OMG, this is so timely! Absolutely wonderful!
      I needed the inspiration. Now I know what's on weekend list.
      Thanks again!
      I also like your photographs. You have an artistic eye.

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    6. How do you get the "goodies" when you are driving if they are all stored so beautifully in your trunk? Do you pull out all the sugarSNAPS before each drive???!!!

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      1. We have a few options. We can flop a seat down in the back and set it right next to the other seat so it is accessible to the person sitting in the back {it would be right next to them}. Or, we just grab what we need ahead of time {since we don't always need all the items in the main portion of the car, some things are there just in case}, and leave the rest in the basket.

        xo!
        Jen

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    7. I need these like, yesterday! I really hope there is going to be a coupon code!!

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    8. Jen, I look forward to your posts.they are soo refreshing , to say the least. My question is about drinks and water.also how about books to read?

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      1. Great question! We have refillable water bottles that the boys use. We keep them in the fridge and they can just grab them when we go.

        The great thing about the basket is we can always tuck a few books inside too, we still have some room to play with. I also travel with my iPad frequently which has a bunch of kids books loaded on it, which they enjoy reading/listening to.

        xo,
        Jen

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    9. I like to keep bendy straws in the van. Without fail, a kid while tip a drink and it'll be all over, so the straws save the day.

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      1. So smart! I think I will add straws to my picnic pouch! Thanks for the tip!

        xo,
        Jen

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      2. A great way to store them is in a travel toothbrush container :) I carry one in my purse for restaurants and also, for a toddler, bendy straws are quite captivating!!

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    10. My kiddies were little 20 years ago. I used shoe bags in back of car. One with snacks one with games and one with first aid etc .

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    11. How do you keep food and medicine from going bad when exposed to extreme heat? This may not be an issue in Wisconsin, but I live in Louisiana and weather really limits what can be left in my vehicle.

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      1. Hi there!

        I chatted about that in the post. During hotter months or days, I may have to bring in a few of the pouches. But, since they clip together, I can just hang them on a hook inside the door so I don't forget them next time I head back out.

        xo!
        Jen

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    12. Wow, you're so neat, and every pocket has its own label, it must easy for you to find your stuff.

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    13. Useful and beautiful, as usual! Even your wipes look cute!!! I can't get enough of your perfection!

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    14. Cool system! I have just 1 kiddo, so we get away with just using a backpack, though I'm looking at getting a thirty-one tote for the car instead. It's always preloaded with crayons, coloring books, fruit snacks, baby wipes, a small first aid kit, fruit snacks & goldfish. Then we add the LeapPad2 or 3DSXL and his tag reading system to the bag before we go along with a small blanket and a pee wee pillow pet. See why I'm looking at a thirty one tote? It's getting cramped, lol.

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      Replies
      1. This is a great idea - a backpack! A tote would work well for me, with plastic pouches, etc. I could hang it right inside the house on our entry hooks. Hmm, now you've got me thinking there is hope for my car!

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    15. OMG, the quilt you took the photos on! It was so pretty I almost forgot to look at what you were photographing. Great ideas, I think I need to travel more so I can use these ideas.
      Ros

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    16. I love HomeGoods, great find on the basket. I snagged $10 trunk organizer from Bed Bath & Beyond and it makes remembering to use my reuseable grocery bags much easier. Life is so much sweeter with an organized & clean automobile.

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    17. This is a brilliant idea. I especially love the blanket idea as we are heading into winter here. My kids alway claim to be bored on car trips, despite taking toys, so this may be my ultimate solution. The rubic cube is something I would not have thought of. Thank you Jen for ANOTHER great idea I can do :)

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    18. I really like this idea - I too hate when my car is cluttered. However, I live in Charleston, SC, so keeping some of the items, i.e. medicines and snacks, in the car all the time is not feasible for me considering the heat conditions. Medicines are meant to be stored at normal temps, and most snacks are too. But other than that, this is great...I can always keep grab-n-go bags somewhere near the door for the things that can't be left in the car!
      -Morgan of Style Oyster

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    19. Something we ALWAYS have in the back of the van is a cheap little plastic potty. This potty has saved our bacon so many times; at the park when there's no bathroom in sight and on car trips when a little bladder just can't hold on another minute. If the weather is cold and miserable outside, we just set our daughter on the potty on the floor of the van, discreetly dump it outside, wipe it out with a wipe and wash ourselves up with a wipe and hand sanitizer. Easy Peasy!

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      1. I just line the potty with a shopping bag the just tie it up and no need for washing out the potty on the road

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      2. That's a great idea. My youngest son has just been potty trained. My oldest plays baseball and I was planning to take the potty with us to tournaments this summer. I never thought to line the potty with a bag. Genius!!!!

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      3. We have these for road trips (see link below). My kids have long been toilet trained, but the younger is still small enough that he needs to hold himself up on some toilets. It's a great sanitary item for those dirty gas station stops (or 2nd class overnight train in Thailand, where I was VERY glad to have it). Not sure what it's called in the US, but I know they exist under a different name. Very light weight.

        http://www.mamanshopping.com/s/2162_10614_pot-de-voyage-potette-plus-reducteur-de-toilette-pot-potette-plus

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    20. We just had our 5th baby and I was trying to figure out how to get everything in the diaper bag. We now have 4 ages 4 and under and 3 of them in diapers so it can be pretty cramped. I so want a set of those bags for my diaper bag and another for the van! So useful and cute to boot!

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    21. Where did you get those pouches that clip together? Love them!!

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      1. Lol, did you read the post or just look at the pictures? She talks about where everything is from in the post :)

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      2. She got them from sugarSNAP. there is a link up above towards the beginning of the post. :) They are pretty neat, aren't they!!! :)

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    22. I have just stumbled across your page today and I love it! Thanks so much for your fantastic ideas. I follow a number of organization blogs, my favorite (at the moment) being www.getorganizedwizard.com but your site has some fab ideas for the kids. Anything that helps me stay organized with them is great with me. :)

      My boys are still quite young so I need handy access to tissues and wipes. I also use disposable diaper bags regularly as garbage bags in the back of the car. And for any little accidents I keep a change of clothes in the back. I'm not as neat as your pics though so I have some work to do! Thanks Jen, you've inspired me!

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    23. I just purchased the Family Travel Organizer from One Step Ahead. Its only $25 and black. It sits perfectly between 2 car seats and has adjustable dividers, various pockets on each side and 2 drink holders. We put in favorite books, a zipper pouch for crayons, a stuffed toy for each kid, wipes, a couple diapers, a dvd case, tissues for each kid and their water bottles. We drove from Atlanta to Houston for 1 week and then Houston to Orlando and then back to Atlanta. IT worked great. Oh yes, and the top snaps off to make a tray for one of the kids!!! Highly recommend!!

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      1. Ooooh, I have seen those and yes, they pack so much organized and storage punch! Love. The only reason that didn't work for us is because we travel in our car a lot, and the three boys take up all three seats, so I needed a system that could be versatile enough for both vehicles. Thank you so much for sharing!

        xo,
        Jen

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    24. Love these! I might have to look into these before our 12 hour trip to visit our home state!

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    25. Hi Jen!
      Thanks for the awesome tips! I was wondering, where do your boys keep their DS now? I remember that was one of the things you used to keep in their travel bags.
      Thanks :)

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      Replies
      1. Awww, yes, the electronics. :) We keep them stored in the house in their cubbies where their charging baskets are {http://iheartorganizing.blogspot.com/2012/08/back-to-school-our-organized-entry.html}. They are only allowed to take their devices on longer car trips.

        xo!
        Jen

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    26. Love this. I am going to look into ordering some of these handy bags. Thank you!

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    27. How clever! I really need to re-evaluate my system and you've given me alot of ideas. Thanks!

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    28. That's amazing!! Can't wait for a giveaway!

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    29. LOVE these and cannot wait to order some! Thanks for sharing!

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    30. Love this. My family and I are getting ready to leave for vacation in two weeks and will be traveling 15 hours in the car. I need to put something like this together for our trip. So smart and so pretty too! Two thumbs up!

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    31. Super cute! We do the same thing here. I implemented this system a couple years ago and it works great.

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      1. Love to hear that! We have only been doing it for a short while and it's been working great so far, but it's always good to hear when it is working for others too!! :)

        xo,
        Jen

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    32. Fantastic! My home is organized, but my car is down right embarrassing. It's my file cabinet (I tote a lot between home & work), its the dog hair express, and the back floor is always full of the rocks that my son dumps from his shoes every day after school. The baby doesn't contribute to the mess (yet). I often put off scheduling my mobile car wash appointment because there's too much crap in my car for them to even vacuum it. I'm glad you added the weather permitting clause, because in the Arizona desert there are nearly 8 months of the year that we can't keep lip balm in the car, lol. These pouches are a fantastic idea. You have inspired me to come up with a similar system. You are full of great ideas. Thank you!

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    33. These ideas are wonderful! I will definitely be using them this summer. I have four boys and traveling with them can be a crazy mess! (my previous comment doesn't seem to be appearing so I am trying again) :) Thanks!!

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    34. Those organisers look good, although we don't take very much with us in the car. My child is 11 and we go on long road trips for our holidays, all she has in the car with her - for several hours every day usually - is a notebook and a pen. She draws stuff and counts things she sees - horses, camper vans, different types of animals. And looks out of the window. And then we just have some food and drink in the car with us, everything else in the back.

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    35. Wow! I am so impressed. What an awesome storage space with so little space actually used!

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    36. You're such a good mom, you think of absolutely everything for your boys! Love the tips. x

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    37. I picked up a set. I hope I get them in time because we are leaving for Disneyland (12 hour car drive) in just over a week. I have 5 kids ranging in ages from 4-13. While I am out of the baby stage, they all still like to have their stuff! But I think these pouches will be great not only for the car, but to put in our backpack at Disney. We always need first aid stuff and snacks! Thanks for letting us know about another great product Jen!

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    38. I have been looking for the perfect containers to use to organize our big first aid kit into "mini-kits" by type of injury--one for burns, one for cuts/scrape, one for insect bites, etc--to make them easy to grab and go in case of an emergency (by my definition or my dramatic kiddos' definitions).

      These would work PERFECTLY. I love that each one can be labelled. Definitely looking into these. Thanks for sharing!

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    39. This is an incredible idea! I have so many mommy friends who would appreciate it too. I love the pouches and the basket. They even look pretty, and this is coming from a woman who won't leave any items in the car.
      http://thegrassskirtblog.com

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    40. I love it Jen! What brand of bug spray is pictured (in the silver bottle)?

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      1. Thank you!

        We have been trying out the Honest products lately: https://www.honest.com/ and the bug spray is part of their product line.

        xo!
        Jen

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    41. Where did you get the Dry Erase Brain Games? Those look great.

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      1. Hi Kerry!

        I found them last year, I believe Target. :)

        xo,
        Jen

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    42. Perfect timing with this post! We are planning our summer vacation at the moment and I will be stealing some of your great ideas!! I created a Vacation Binder where I put our hotel confirmation, directions, maps, fun facts about the sites we will see, an envelope for receipts, and any other information we need for the trip. The binder goes in the front seat with me for easy access.

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    43. Where did you get those Sun Chips mix ups?! They look amazing and I've never heard of them!

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    44. What a genius idea! I'll be spending most of the summer in my car and these would be sooooo handy. These would help save my sanity.

      Thanks for all of your great ideas!

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    45. Some great ideas. I was given a bag last year that also holds picnic gear. Great thing is it is detachable and can be used just with the plates, cutlery etc or the whole bag. Plus it is a beautiful red taken bag!

      I have found it fits everything I need for a car journey. Plus it has a insulated section for all the cold stuff. It has worked wonders.

      My car has side compartments for the kids so I stock books in there. Not a big fan of pens in the car yet as they are still little. But do need to source some puzzle books.

      My car also has a secret boot compartment so in there I store re useable bags for groceries and the extra blankets, coats etc.

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    46. I wonder if we can customize the labels???

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      1. Different products on their site offer different options. Some come with pre-labeled tabs while others are blank and come with stickers you can select from or you can just use your label maker to create your own. :)

        xo,
        Jen

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    47. Jen! You did it again!!! LOVE THIS! I am so happy to see that you use the Honest products too! Don't you just LOVE them?!
      Question? Do you leave all the goodies in the car at all times? Do they ever get swapped depending on the weather?
      I will be adding this to my to do list... just finished my home management, finance/budget, and daily planner binders all from you! Can't wait to send you pictures!

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    48. Awesome idea and glorious colors!!!! I am praying/begging for a discount code!!!! <3

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    49. Can I get the dimension of the basket?
      Thanks!!

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    50. I also always keep gallon ziploc bags in the car for those unfortunate car sick moments!

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    51. Looks great. I need to become that organized. Can you tell me where you got the DVD case? I've been bringing all the DVD's in their original boxes and it takes up way too much space.

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      Replies
      1. I think I found it at Target, it was a long time back. Target and Walmart both sell media storage in their electronics departments. :)

        xo,
        Jen

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    52. Where did you find the blankets? They look like a good size.

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      1. I love the blankets! They were only a couple of dollars each and are so perfect for the car. I found them at Ikea :)

        xo,
        Jen

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    53. Is there any other place to get the bags? Retail? They are on the spendy side.

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    54. Love your idea using the tray's for snacks/coloring. The look like they are the perfect size. Do you know what section of Target you got them? I'd love to find some.

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      1. Would they be in the plastic dishes/dinnerware?? I have the big ones from IKEA. They are almost too big though.

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      2. Hi Sadie!

        I found them on an end cap in the kitchen/dishes section. However, unfortunately it was last year sometime, and I have been praying they bring them back because they are the perfect size for so many things and they were only a couple of dollars each.

        xo,
        Jen

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      3. Can you tell us the dimensions of your trays? I too wish target would just carry these again, but alas I will need to find an alternative. It would help to know the size of yours to see what's worked in the car with kiddos.

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    55. Jen, this is a great post!! Even though my last two are 15 and 6, I will be implementing some of these tips. We are heading to Door County this summer. So these will come in handy!! :)

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    56. Great post. The thing I would add that was the best $20 bucks EVER spent in mommy hood history is the Kalencome Potty Potette. It is always in the van and has saved me from so many accidents with my 5 girls I couldn't even begin to count. No worries about taking my newly trained little one in the car without a trainer on and even my 11 year old was forced to use it in the middle of the night on a 9 hour trip with no rest stop in sight for 40 miles. The liners have an absorb ant pad so nothing sloshes around and you can even put it ontop of a public toilet or nasty port a potty so they can sit comfortably on something clean....wipe it down with hand sanitizer and keep it moving!

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    57. This is such an inspiring post!! My car is always so messy but for some reason it's always clothes, scarves, shoes etc!! Any tips for how to keep those items neat other than of course, decluttering every time I get out of the car?! :) www.jacqfruit.wordpress.com

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    58. Thank you SOOOO much for this!! My car is embarrassing!!

      What are the dimensions of the basket you used??
      I'm ordering those file bags ASAP!!

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    59. I keep a pair of sun glasses and a hat for my four year old for those times we are driving straight at the sun or stop to play for a moment. He's sun sensitive, so these are very important for us. They are currently in the glove box, but they will be going on my basket. I also travel with dogs, and I think I will make one for them as well. Love this idea!

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    60. Where do find the pouches?? I live the idea

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    61. Hi Amber - You can find them here: http://www.heysugarsnap.com/ xo!

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