SO, I'm posting this, although I usually hide my OCD tendencies from people because of the relentless teasing. I've been stopped SO many times while loading my groceries by people who ask to take pictures, "pin" it, and/or ask questions, that i figured I had better post this so that I can direct all traffic here and save me the extra 30 minutes of oogling and questions.
I didn't take pictures of all the organization in my momma mini, but I've got the trunk, and I'll answer your most frequently asked questions...
What ARE those hanging things?
- They're actually shower caddy things you hang off your shower head. I got them at the local dollar tree (plus about 10 more, because I use them EVERYwhere!)
WOW. Is your house this organized, too?!
- Not really. There are parts that are, but other parts that more closely resemble HOARDERS instead of Martha Stewart.
Do you do this for hire?
- Ummm, as much as I'd LOVE to organize for a job, no. You hear about the idea that cooks don't cook at home, maids don't clean at home, etc., and I'm SO not risking the loss of my organization highs. :)
What to do: Just grab some labels and make spaces for all the things you need during your trips. We are a HUGE road tripping family, so we spend hours and hours and miles and miles in our mini, and these are the things that we need the most often that can easily be stored:
FIRST AID: Band-aids, antiseptic wash (foam version, which my kids love), benadryl spray (Ev is highly allergic to mosquito bites, and we carry this stuff like an epi-pen!). I also have an actual first aid kit in the car as well that has the other medical needs inside.
SUNBLOCK: Sunblock and Bug Spray. I also have extras of both under the seats in another pouch, which also includes the bracelets that repel bugs for impromptu lake trips. NOTE: I have heard that sunblock loses its potency when stored in heat. I have bottles I keep in the house that we use for the pool and grabbing to put in swim bags, but these are kept in my car for emergencies. If I forget to pack my SPF50, it's better that my kids get a less potent was-SPF50-now-SPF30 than nothing at all.
KLEENEX: Pocket Packs. We also have a box in the 2nd row organizer caddy that the kids can reach from their seats. My mini sunblocks and bug sprays have overtaken this pocket as well. :)
RAIN GEAR: Ponchos! There's been SO many times we've gotten somewhere like an OSU game, where an umbrella just doesn't cut it, and have had to stop in at an overpriced stand and buy ponchos. Now we have a half dozen - at least- so they have earned their own pocket.
WET WIPES: Yes. Well, if you can't think of anything that these would be useful for, you obviously have no need to organize your minivan - because you probably drive a two seated boxter or something like that.
SCISSORS & TAPE: Plus pens, pencils, a sharpie for last minute writing-a-name-on-your-kids-towel-because-three-other-kids-also-have-Lightning-McQueen-on-their-towels-too, notecards for who knows what you'll need to take note of, thank you cards for those "Oh crap! It's the LAST tennis lesson?!?! I didn't even get a thank you card!!" moments. (Yes, folks, stick a $5 bill in a sweet thank you and the world is happy).
GERM-X: Absolutely the most refilled pocket in my van, even though we have a large pump in the front seats, too. I'm obsessed, and it has trickled down to the kids. Sigh.
BARF BAGS: None of us get car sick, but Emma has a little friend who absolutely does, and a close call scarred me for life at the thought of throwing up on myself because of the smell of someone else throwing up in the car I'm piloting. SO, last summer during our gazillion trips to the hospitals and chemo rooms, I collected a small stash of barf bags for the car.
ELECTRONICS: Our van is da bomb. It has wall plugs and red/yellow/white input plugs, too. So I store extension cords here, and usually headphone splitters and earbuds for when the wireless headsets are minus batteries. There is also a small flashlight in there, a mini sized box cutter, and an all-in-one screwdriver. (I have batteries stored in one of the front seat consoles and a big spotlight in a side box.)
TRASH BAGS: In here are bags for our two trash cans (one in front and one in the 2nd row organizer). There are also dog poop bags in a roll that I used for dirty diapers, but now use for our porta potty, which stores below the 3rd row seats. There is a roll of scented ones in the sliding door cup holder also, and a folded reusable shopping bag lives in that pocket, too, which comes in handy at the farmers market on Wednesdays.
SILVERWARE: You know you've gone through the drive through and came away with a melting sundae and no spoon. We all have, and it only becomes worse when it accompanies a freaking out child. This started off holding the kids little silverware sets, sorta like these, but with actual reusable silverware, not plastic. Sameish case, though. Now that they're both bigger, it's grown to include plastic ware and chopstick cheaters, for asian restaurants.
ACCESSORIES: Em has long hair, We are ALWAYS in dire need of a hairbrush or hair tie. This brush stays in the van at all times. I also stick any extra pairs of sunglasses I find lying around in that pocket, too. I'm a stickler for keeping eyes protected, since they don't have a lot of good eyesight on their genetic trains down the track...
DRINKS: A couple capri-suns and 2 reusable, flat water bottles hubby brought home from a conference. (He goes to the BEST swagtastic conferences, I tell ya! BEST!). These get thrown at them when they are "sooooooo thristy I could DIE", lying limp in the seat, tounge out. The way I see it, if they don't want a warm capri sun that's been cooking in a 101 degree van all day, they're not that bad off. And the water bottles are great for cheer practice (oops! I forgot to pack your water bottle!!). I have a gallon of drinking water in the trunk as well, just in case.
NOTE: I have heard that some drinks kept in the heat can spoil or have bacteria growth. Luckily, my kids go through these pretty fast, and they usually don't stay in the car for more than a week at a time, but after making a few calls and such, I have found that bottled water does not go bad, even with an expiration date, and capriSun drinks are commonly used in backpacking and hunting trunks because their wrapping makes them pretty resistant to basically everything. My theory was that the warehouse they're stored in or the trucks they are delivered in are hot, nasty, and stale (maybe even more than a minivan!!), and the drinks are never refrigerated then, so I figure it's cool...but use your own theory. :)
SNACKS: Fruit snacks, chip bags, granola bars. Whatever they get post-soccer game for a snack and don't need because we're headed to lunch goes in here for a day when they replace the dying of thirst with the dying of starvation. There's also a large collection of the table toppers stuffed in this pocket, too. Invaluable when stopping at rest areas to eat (especially once you read the carvings on the table tops! *shudder*). Which reminds me, I also have toilet seat covers in the under-back-seat pouch. Also a must-have for rest areas!
BLANK: Right now there's a fruit juice bottle in there, but through the years, many-an-item has found refuge there before moving on. It's a good place to keep your old digital camera so that when you forget yours (or God forbid you get in a collision), you can grab it and document the event.
Hanging on the bottom: 1.Umbrellas - the big golf size. Pink for girls and blue for the boys. :) 2. Our first aid kit 3. a "spare clothes" pouch for each kiddo. This started out as they potty trained, but now more for getting in an impromptu water fight at the park or falling in Gradad's pond while fishing kinda deal. Make sure you add a swimsuit for the summertime, and change out the clothing for the winter!
In the trunk: A collapsible trunk organizer that folds out to two compartments (the BEST swag from conferences!!!). Inside I keep a roll of paper towels, a picnic blanket, gallon of water, and a pouch that holds our jackets for cold restaurants and nights. (I'm ALWAYS cold!). I also have a collapsible rolling tote. This has payed for itself tenfold with the number of times I've had to drag boxes of cupcakes to a school party, library books to the return chute, or day-at-the-lake items to our spot.
There are so many cubbies and spaces in my van to store things, it's always a suprise when I don't have something we need, but it happens! I just jot it down on my list and add it when I get home. I also don't use the third row much, so I leave the seats reclined as far back as they go, that way if something terrible happened at high speeds, the contents in the trunk don't fly around the cabin space. They are confined to the trunk.
Any FAQ's I forgot? Ask away, my friend!