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At least once a week, I notice that someone forgets something and I say “You left home without ____?” I have learned to be prepared! Now, I’ve found my favorite 10 things to keep the car. Sometimes we will even grab our snack hack and take that with us, too!
I made this list of 10 must-haves for the car, when you have kids, a few years ago. I have found that even though our kids are now older, the things that I keep in the car remain the same. 🙂
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We have four kids, so we are ALWAYS trying to find things in the car. When emergencies pop up, we like to be prepared. It was mostly “learning through experience” that brought us to this list. I’ve been caught without many of these too many times and I’ve learned my lesson! Our car is not “ready for anything” (most of the time, anyway!) Plus, Our kids are young and we need a little more than families with older children.
1. Coats or zip-up sweatshirts in the trunk.
I do this because our kids are constantly cold, especially in restaurants, so if I can have a coat handy, it works out great. I even do this in the summertime because this is when everyone has their AC on full blast and our kiddos get extra-cold if we are out to eat.
2. An extra pair of flip-flops
I can remember several times, when our kids were toddlers or young preschoolers, that they had just forgotten their shoes. Don’t ask me how I overlooked that little detail while we were getting into the car, but somehow it happened more than once.
I’ve also had each of our four kids break a flip-flop at least once during an outing.
Oh- and muddy puddles. How did I forget those?! When my kids were young, they stepped in plenty of puddles and they were left with soaking wet shoes.
Having an extra pair in the car is always a good idea. It may seem weird, but trust me… there is a reason. 🙂
You never know when you’ll need one.
4. Power Converter – my FAVORITE thing to keep in the car!
This little box turns any normal plug into a car plug. I can charge anything using this and I use it all of the time! I’ve used this on my laptop, portable DVD players, a cooler that works with a little air conditioner that’s powered by an outlet, the kids’ tablets on a long trip (since our back seat doesn’t have the right outlet for their devices), and so many more things.
This is life-changing for me! (I keep this & all of my chargers in the little-hidden console under the dash). Here is the power converter that we have.
5- Extra Grocery Bags
We always have stuff that needs to be thrown away when we are out & about (antibacterial hand wipes that I made them use after we left the last store, wrappers, broken pencils, paper, empty water bottles) and these grocery-store bags are the perfect way to get rid of it. When we stop to get gas, or when we are going to walk into a store, I will just grab one of the bags from the dashboard and pass it around. The kids toss any trash into the bag and we carry it to the nearest garbage can.
I try to keep a few snacks in the car because sometimes plans change, and that trip that should have taken one hour is now approaching its third hour.
It just makes it easier if I have a snack to pass back to the kids. Plus, this stops everyone (including myself) from asking if we can stop for something to eat.
7- Sunglasses (extras!)
A few years ago my Mom & I were shopping at Michaels and they had their sunglasses on clearance for 50 cents. We bought about 6 pairs. I have lost most of them by now, but I still keep a few spare pairs of these sunglasses in the car, just in case I lose my regular sunglasses. My kids have also used them when they have forgotten their sunglasses at home.
Oh- I try to stock up each year, at the end of the season. They are always discounted.
TIP: You could even order a cheap pack of 12 and just keep them in the car, under the front seat.
8 – Water Bottles
I keep 3 water bottles in my trunk (in a tote bag). It seems to be a cure-all when we have sticky hands! (NOTE: It has been found that they can leak chemicals, so you might not want to do this. I keep them in there because we use the water to wash up when we are in a bind, but we usually have fresh (new that day) water to drink because the kids grab a new water bottle from the refrigerator in our garage before hopping into the car in the mornings.)
9- My “Restaurant backpack”
This is a backpack that I keep just for going out to eat or going somewhere like that. I keep hand sanitizer, disinfecting wipes, coloring books, crayons, some small toys & a few other little things. When the kids were young, I kept a high-chair cover and disposable bibs in the bag, too.
WHAT TO KEEP IN YOUR CAR: READER SUGGESTIONS
- Scissors (in case you need to cut a seatbelt)
- An extra pair of clothes for the kids
- Ziplock bags (for new clothes & then dirty clothes)
- “barf bags” using disposable diaper genie refills.
- Sticky Notes made FOR YOUR VISOR (love this idea!)
- If you have a potty trainer, keep a mini baby bjorn travel potty in your car.
- A coloring book (we love our Potty Training Coloring binder that we made).
- A bag of books
- Decorate a shoe box as their special car toy box- let them pick the toys that go in it.
- Keep a roll of toilet paper in a plastic bag in the trunk
- 1/2 a roll of paper towel (takes up less room, but does the job.)
- Car laundry basket. Everything goes in there and then into the house (sports stuff, etc…)
- Spare change
- A towel, in case you get caught in the rain (or jumping in puddles!)
What else can you think of?
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