Organizing cars & kids!!!!

anrsazJune 4, 2006

I have one child. I think she feels comfy with every toy out around her, including in my car. I can open the passenger door and her junk will fall out! She'll be 6!

I have yet to find any decent organizer for a car? We live in the boonies, so every trip is at a minimum 40 minutes one way. She's in a booster seat that sits in the middle so of course wherever we put a bucket or such it's on the wrong side of getting in and out of the car. And being in the middle, we always have to walk around the otherside to belt her in. So what I'm saying both sides of the rear doors are used.

So with that said, do you have anything that works for toy organization in a car. Hanging things don't work.

What have you used that works? I wish I could find a plastic bucket, like a rubbermaid, that had a divider in it. One for toys, one for paper and pencils.

This is one of those constant nagging, yelling topics in our house, I'm I'm tired. Haul it in, haul it out doesn't work, because we usually have other stuff to unload. If I could find a bucket like this, when I fills, we could just bring it in, empty it and put it back.

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I have the same problem about the toys falling out except I have three kids across in booster/car seats and less room.

My friend was telling me yesterday about her solution. She has something that hangs on the back of the seat. I'm attaching a link. It drops down in front of the kids so they have a surface to draw on. You can keep paper/pencils and a few small toys in it. The kids know to zip it up when she starts the car. The drawback would be if you don't have something like a seat back to hang it off since your child is sitting in the middle.

I think if you designated that your dd get in/out on the side with the seat belt, you could use the other side for toys and fun stuff. My arrangement with my two boys is that they get in on the side with their booster seat and I stick dd in the middle and toys go at her feet. If I'm parked someplace where I have to be more concerned about safety, all three kids get in on my youngest ds's side and we try not to get upset if something gets stepped on. I have to go to both sides of the vehicle to get the seat belts fastened anyway.

Here is a link that might be useful: Car Valet

    Bookmark   June 4, 2006 at 4:01PM
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Don't forget when looking for storage containers, that everything in a car becomes a projectile with a sudden stop. You don't even have to be in a wreck to be injured by the flying objects.

While your dd might like to have everything close, you need to look at the safety factors and decide what items will do. Softer toys could be on the seat, but if you put them in a hard plastic case, you have the projectile problem again.

We have mesh bags built into the back of the seats. Items are stored there. If she enjoys drawing, I've seen clipboard which have a storage space for paper and markers. They easily slip in the mesh bags when not in use. We also live in a cold climate, so for 6 months out of the year we are in and out of the vehicle with wet boots. Storage on the floor in one habit we can't do.

If stuff is falling out of both sides of the vehicle, I really think the items needs to be pared down. Then decide on a couple of storage containers.


    Bookmark   June 4, 2006 at 5:39PM
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Well at 6 barring issues she should be belting herself in, my almost 5 year old does

No other solutions other than being firmer with her about what she can take (I have 5 kids and very few toys hang out in the car. I discourage it for fear of losing something special

    Bookmark   June 27, 2006 at 3:14AM
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My situation is not exactly like yours, but I do have a lot of experience being in the car/van with children. I have 4 kids, ages 4-13. We're in the 'burbs, so most of our trips are very local, but there are a lot of them. There are trips to activities and practices, so the kids are often waiting for a sibling and need to stay occupied. We drive to Ohio or Florida a few times a year, 8-10 hours one way. No DVD player in my van. So they want toys with them.

I let each kid have a toiletries bag. If it doesn't fit in there, they can't take it. Even if the trip is for a week or longer. (It's not forever, all the other "favorite" toys can wait til we get home). It has lots of pockets and zippers to separate, and avoid the little things on the bottom of the bag problem. The pockets are clear so they can find every thing. It it a style with a zipper wrapping around 3 sides, like a mini suitcase, so it will open flat on their laps. It has a handle so it's easy for the kids to carry (I do not carry toys). And it's a good dimension to slide under the seat when we need it out of the way.

So I suggest get her one of those, they come in so many sizes and styles you'll surely find one that makes you both happy. One with storage configuration that will work for you. I bought ours at Target years ago, and they still carry the same syle, for about $17. She can even use fabric paint to put her name on it or decorate it if it's too plain. Then help her pick appropriate toys to fill it. Small, of course, and a variety. Then it stays in the car. Every few weeks let her swap out some things. But try to leave it in the car, so choose things she agrees to leave there for a little while. Get some new things (like a coloring book, colored pencils) that are just for the car bag. Then there is no scramble for toys or argument over what goes or stays every time you leave the house. A few minutes before you arrive, call a clean up time to put all the things back in their pockets. There is no reminding/nagging to bring toys back in the house. It's all waiting for her next trip.

Some of the things in my kids' bags:
Polly pocket dolls
small animals
finger puppets
small activity coloring book
colored pencils
hand held games
puzzler activities ("manipulatives" i.e. the numbers you slide around to get in order)
and any other favorite small toys
personal cassette/CD player and headphones
travel size versions of board games

They repack them when their interests change. The night before a long trip always requires extra attention and thought to what to put in it. They seem to actually have a lot of fun packing it for a long trip. Whatever they want, as long as it fits in "The Entertainment Bag" (and doesn't come with 100 pieces). If they want one large item that fills the bag, so be it, but nothing else goes. I know it sounds like a very limited amount of toys, but this has really been working for us for years. My kids were very excited about them, it's become a rite of passage to get your own bag for the car- it means you're too big for a diaper bag!

IMO, though, if there are enough toys in the car to require storage containers, there are too many toys in the car. We just can't take the proverbial kitchen sink on car trips.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2006 at 11:20PM
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I just got one of these modular hauler systems from the Container Store and find it very useful. I like the fact that you can lift each bag out separately.

Good luck.

Here is a link that might be useful: Modular Hauler system

    Bookmark   June 28, 2006 at 9:59AM
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I'm going to have to get to Target, Stephanie, and find one of those bags. If you get a chance to spot it on the website, would you steer me to it? Otherwise, I'll just go look. Hopefully our NYC Targets will have as big a selection as the ones out of town (they aren't always the same).

Is it in the cosmetics/toiletries section of the store, as opposed to luggage, etc.?

    Bookmark   June 28, 2006 at 1:30PM
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Tally Sue, I really wanted to add a link so I searched online yesterday when I explained the whole thing and could not find it. There just isn't much selection on the website. I would take a picture of ours, but I have no idea how to post it. But I did find it with the luggage rather than cosmetics. The first time it was a bit of a quest, I knew what I wanted to do with it and I had to find the one that would work best.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2006 at 3:26PM
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Thanks for the tip! That'll save me looking in the wrong place.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2006 at 6:21PM
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I saw those bags at Big Lots if you have one near you. When my kids were little they carried those soft lunch boxes. They played with all those little toys so it worked well for them. I also like the drawing centers with the cup holders on them. My kids were always wanting to draw in the car.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2006 at 7:03PM
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Maybe moving the booster to one side will help somewhat, because putting "stuff" on both sides is no longer an option? We moved our 6 y.o. out of the middle a couple years ago. He actally likes it better, because he's right next to the window (which is full of finger prints). I prefer having him on the passenger side, that way if only a driver is in the car with him, it's easy to reach back to him.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2006 at 3:55PM
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