House For Six

Day 25: Our {Mostly} Winterized Car...With Free Printable!

Deme Crinion4 Comments

It didn't take very long to come up with a plan to get our car stocked and prepared for the upcoming winter months.  A Google search for "winterize your car" yielded tons of great articles.  To build a checklist that worked best for our family, I pulled info from several of those Google articles, incorporated some tips I've heard through the grapevine, and some key things from our own experience

Once I had scribbled down a complete list of both items and maintenance points, I created a quick checklist that I could print off and keep in our home management binder (a constant work in progress).  And because I love you, feel free to grab one for yourself via the link below!

I started by including some basic maintenance items to address at the beginning of the cold season.  We don't live in an area with heavy snow, so just a few simple checks and quick changes are all that's necessary on our end.  We're due up for an oil change soon, so we'll be checking and replenishing all our fluid/air levels then, as well as taking care of any preventative maintenance.

Then I shifted my focus to the trunk where I planned to store most of our roadside emergency items.  I snagged this handy fellow at Target last year and it was the perfect organizing tool for this project. Plenty of compartments in the center and even more storage with the pockets on the outside. 

We used the larger opening for our jumper cables...

And on top of that, went our JJ Cole Outdoor Blanket.  We LOVE this blanket!  It's waterproof on the bottom, so it's perfect for watching a soccer game on wet grass, or changing a tire on a wet road. The top also wipes clean, and it folds up super compact for easy storage.  I'm also a huge fan of the shoulder strap, which makes it so easy to tote around.  We keep one in the car year round and have another in our backyard shed for summer picnics and play dates. 

The other side of this car trunk organizer holds water bottles, a travel potty seat with plastic bags (has saved us on numerous trips to the park with no bathrooms!), and a first aid kit.

I was able to slip a towel for messy clean-ups (think kid playing in a wet, muddy field or having to change a tire in the snow/rain) and a fleece blanket just behind the organizer.  The blanket will come in handy if we are ever stranded on the side of the road for a time waiting for help.  We can snuggle up under it to keep warm while we wait, and if you live in an especially cold city, then carrying an extra set of boots, hat, gloves and scarf in the car for extra warmth in an emergency is a good idea too.

The outside pockets were the perfect size for a box of granola bars.  We plan to add a few more emergency snacks to the adjacent pocket. 

We still need to grab some flares, an extra set of windshield wipers & fluid, and include an extra change of clothes (especially for the kids).  They'll come in handy for any unfortunate spills or accidents while out and about, a messy tire change or even as extra layers to keep warm in an emergency situation.

Even with those additional items, we still have over half the trunk available for groceries, the stroller or whatever else we may need to pack up for the day.

We're also fortunate that all the tools needed to change a tire are stowed in this covert little cabinet in the side of the trunk.

Moving to the front of the car, you'll find more of our everyday misc. items that we like to keep on hand.

Our center console has double compartments.  This shallow one on top conceals our garage door openers and keeps a couple of pens easily accessible.

The deep console below that holds a pack of wipes for quick clean ups and the following items:
The zip lock bag holds kid-sized bendy straws.  I love being able to pull out a straw whenever we discover that the drive thru has forgotten to give us one...or given us one too big for a kid-size drink...or when we've ordered an open bottled drink that I know the kids will have trouble drinking without spills in the car.

Unfortunately, this clear organizer wouldn't fit in the console, so we did a little rearranging and ended up with this setup. The small bowl corrals a small tube of hand lotion, chap stick, nail clippers and some hand sanitizer.  Next to it are two Kleenex packets and a flashlight.

There's actually even more storage under that ledge to the right of the can see the plastic bag with our straws peaking out from under the ledge.

Now, I realize this next one might put me in the "crazy lady" category, but I like to keep a small stash of my coffee sweetener in the car.  I used to use Splenda in my coffee but have switched over to Pure Via.  If a drive thru vendor doesn't have either of those two sweeteners available, I can just whip one out from my car and be set!
There is a larger cubby below this where we store our car phone charger and extra napkins we collect from meals on the go.

The glove box happens to have dual compartments just like the center console - score!  The smaller compartment on top holds our owner's manual, registration, insurance, and a tire pressure gauge.

Below that, we store sunscreen year round (it's definitely possible to get a sunburn in the winter!  Especially if you'll be in the snow that reflects the sunlight all day), a few extra diapers (which we also use in conjunction with the bags for the travel potty), and a small make-up bag that discretely holds a few emergency feminine care items.

The final addition to this effort to prep the car for winter, was a large basket for the kid's bulky coats.  All three of our children are still in car seats, so even on those ridiculously cold days, I have to take their jackets off to strap them in the car seats.  On cold winter days, I also warm up the car before we leave.  So, it's more important that we have the jackets whenever we get to our destination and not so much for the car ride.

We also end up taking off the coats as we buckle in to head home, so we just find it easiest to store them in the car.  Without the basket, they ended up all over the seats and floor.  Now it's very easy for the kids to grab their coats when we arrive someplace and just as easy to take them off and toss them in the basket when we get back in the car.  The basket sits on the empty seat in rear and is always ready for the next trip.

And that wraps it up, Friends!  If you've made it through to the end here, we would love to hear any tips you have on getting your car ready for the winter months!  And how about those day-to-day items - what do you keep in your car and how to you store them?