Whether it’s hockey practice, piano lessons, jazz, tap or modern dance class, our kids’ active lifestyles keep us on the run – and in the car. For most of us, connecting with other parents to set up a carpooling schedule is a lifesaver! Eliminating even one drop-off or pick-up allows us to catch our breath during busy weeks. But, be forewarned: carpooling can be a nightmare for the interior of our cars. Snack wrappers, banana peels, water bottles or someone’s forgotten gym bag can quickly make your car feel and smell like a dump. Stop the mess in its tracks with these golden rules:
- Be strict. Only low-mess snacks can be eaten in the car. These include fresh fruit, fruit leather, carrot and celery sticks, cheese strings and smoothies.
- Eliminate waste. Don’t allow single-use plastic water bottles or juice boxes in the car. Encourage your pool to bring refillable water bottles on the journey. Consider investing in a 2-gallon water jug so you can refill water bottles for thirsty kids. On colder days, avoid the drive-thru by packing a thermos with hot chocolate and reusable mugs for the kiddies, and a tumbler with tea, coffee or apple cider for the adults.
- Never leave home without a cleaning kit. Basic necessities include garbage bags, a microfibre cloth and a cleaning solution to clean up messes as they happen. Find our favourite DIY cleaning spray below. For those who are time-crunched, grab a cylinder of brand name wipes from the store specifically for use in the car.
- DIY first aid kit. A first aid kit is a necessity in the car, especially if you’re carpooling children to and fro. You can find pre-packaged first aid kits at pharmacies and grocery stores, but it will cost you less to create your own. The added advantage of making your own is that you can customize it to meet your family’s specific needs.
- The boomerang rule. A good rule of thumb for any car expedition, the boomerang rule demands that anything you bring in the car is taken out of the car during the same trip. Any garbage, reusable water bottles, reusable coffee and tea mugs, all lunch kit items, any electronic gadgets or fan wear must not be left behind. No exceptions!
- The daily 2-minute miracle. Do a quick clean of the car during those moments when you’re waiting for kids between drop-off and pick-up. Using three reusable cloth bags, separate items accordingly: trash in one bag, recyclables in another and the third bag for items that don’t belong in the car and need to be re-routed.
- Keep it fresh. Lots of smelly things get stored in the car – sports equipment, rubber boots, spare running shoes and the dog’s towel, to name a few. A simple solution is our DIY peg air freshener (see below).
MOLLY MAID DIY Car Cleaner
Equal parts water and vinegar with a few drops of lavender and/or lemon oil works great against spills in the car. Lavender oil has calming properties, which helps with stressful, rush hour situations and long commutes.
MOLLY MAID DIY Air Freshener Hack
Apply five drops of your favourite essential oil(s) to a couple of wooden clothespins (found at your local craft depot). Store in a plastic sandwich bag in the car and when needed clip into heating/AC vents to diffuse. Peppermint, citrus, and tea tree oils have cleansing and beautiful aromatic properties, which diffuse stinky, moldy and dank car smells.
Photo by Diana