Hacks You Might Not Have Thought Of   

 As a mom of two busy kids, I spend a lot of time in my car. We run from dance class to tennis to preschool to the store…it seems like we're always going somewhere!  Because I spend so much time in the car, I like to make sure it's a pleasant place to be. Clean, organized, and smelling great - this is how I like my mobile command center to function. Here are a few easy and cheap hacks to keep your car looking and smelling great, without spending a ton of time or money! 

1. DIY Air Freshener 

My kids eat in the car, which occasionally gives the car the aroma of old french fries. They also love to take off their shoes and socks, and even though they're little, the smelly socks add to the potpourri of aromas that isn't quite pleasant. I love air fresheners, especially those that clip onto the dashboard, but they can be pricey, and the smell isn't always what we love.   I solved this problem by making my own. I couldn't believe how easy this was. I used one cotton ball (craft store pom poms also work!), a paper clip, glue, and essential oil. First, glue a paper clip into the cotton ball and let it dry completely. I've used both a glue gun and tacky glue for this step, and both have worked fine. Make sure the "clip" side of the paper clip is on the outside. Once this is secure, drop a few drops of your favorite essential oil on the cotton ball. Finally, slide the paperclip onto a dashboard vent. That's it! You now have your favorite scent in the car, and when the scent fades, a few more drops is all you need to refresh.

2. Cupholder Protectors

I love how many cupholders my car has, but I don't love how easily they attract mess, and then how hard it is to get them really clean. After one particularly frustrating session of scrubbing with a q-tip and a toothpick to get all the crevices clean, I started protecting them instead. Just as you use a floor mat on your floor to catch the mess, using a silicone muffin liner in your cupholders can contain any mess. Tuck them right into the holders and use as your normally would. When you notice the liners getting grimy, pull them out and give them a soak in the sink, or even wash them in the dishwasher. Any coffee drips, crumbs, or sticky residue will come right out, and the cupholders in your car will stay clean.   

3. Trash Collectors 

If my kids don't have a place for their wrappers, they end up on the floor of the backseat. We tried using plastic bags, but those usually ended up getting stepped on and lost in the kid clutter, and paper bags stood up well, but didn't hold up to dripping juice boxes.  What did work was a simple plastic cereal container. I lined it with a plastic bag, snapped on the top and stood it up between the two carseats in the backseat. Both girls can easily reach it, and the mess stays contained. Sometimes, a simple hack is all you need to keep your car clean and smelling great!    

About the Author: Meredith Napolitano blogs at FromMeredithtoMommy.com, where she writes about raising kids while keeping her own identity as well! From kids's activities to organizational products, from parenting tips to suggestions for Mom's Night Out, she's got you covered! Follow her on Facebook!

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