Car Organization Ideas For New Parents

Keep your car clean and organized even with kids, whatever their age. Needs that go beyond graduating to a larger car or booster seats change as your child grows older. At Pottery Barn Kids, we’re all about making life easier for new or experienced parents. We have plenty of ideas to help you organize your home, but we also have tips on how to keep your car organized. We share our top car storage ideas to make every drive you take with your child a smooth one, from infancy through the elementary school years. 

Car Organization

Organizing for Eating

The first guideline of the road for infants, toddlers and school-age kids: have food, always! Even if it’s a five-minute drive, your child might want a food or a drink. Or, your infant will know it’s almost feeding time. It’s always wise to be prepared. For toddlers and older kids, there’s a solution for messy eaters. Find a plastic bath caddy with a handle. Place food in the compartments for easy holding and eating. Make frequent use of a small can cooler that sits between the front seats (if there’s room). For longer trips, a small, portable food cooler/warmer that plugs into the front outlet keeps snacks and beverages a safe and constant temperature.

Organizing for Essentials

Your diaper bag is a helpful companion on a drive. And, it’s one of the best car organizers you’ll find. It’s easy to open and access, and it’s spacious enough to hold plenty of essentials. Keep it close by you when driving so everything is at your fingertips. It’ll be positioned in such a way that you can use one hand to access the contents. Your front-seat diaper bag, reserved for necessities, holds items such as nursing essentials, bottles, bibs, pacifiers, changing pad, plastic bags, small blanket, an extra onesie or outfit, sunscreen, diaper rash cream, small emergency kit and emergency information with doctor’s names and family contacts. That’s in addition to what you have in a purse or wallet.

Also, remember extra chargers for your phone and devices. Bring an extra shirt, top or outfit in case your baby spills or spits up. Better yet, have a spare and essential-filled diaper bag already in the car trunk in case you forget your primary bag.

If you’re toting along your stroller, make detachable stroller organizer accessories work double duty in the car. Use a small, collapsible fabric bin in the front seat area. It’ll hold together the stroller accessories that are already packed with essentials. You can pop them back on the stroller once you’re done driving.

Organizing for Comfort  

Life with a baby can be unpredictable at times. Be prepared for surprises by having extra blankets of a couple of different weights handy. Keep them in a collapsible bin in the trunk or one nearby on the back seat.

For longer trips, take along extra clothing. Also include pajamas, a robe and slippers to entice your baby to slumber while you drive. Keep clothing in a bag and in the main part of the car, not the trunk, to keep the items warm. This keeps your child comfortable.

Organizing for Entertainment 

Infants have the luxury of almost instantly falling into nap mode when in a car. For toddlers and older kids, the solution is hanging a fabric or plastic shoe holder, jewelry or cosmetic organizer from the back of a seat’s headrest. It makes the perfect car organizer because the pockets hold a multitude of activities to entertain your child. Plus, it’s all at arm’s length. Find holders with various sizes of pockets and with zipped compartments to hold contents together. For older kids, hang a favorite backpack off the back seat that’s stuffed with activity books, dolls and stuffed animals.

Organizing for Trash

Regardless of whether you have a newborn or toddler, wrappers and other garbage is an inevitable part of driving with kids. Put a plastic cereal container with a lid and lined with a plastic bag on board to collect bits of garbage. For larger disposable items like diapers, use a collapsible bin in the trunk. There, stash an abundance of plastic bags and baggies that are large enough to tie closed.

Organizing for Bathroom Breaks

Take a tip from seasoned parents: have a portable potty on board. Depending on the style of your car, carve out a potty area complete with diapers, training pants, wipes and trash bags. Include a changing pad for infants and toddlers in your tote bag. A portable potty area saves the day even for those short trips when there’s no restroom in sight.