I used to be the kind of person who turned her nose up when a car was dirty or cluttered on the inside. Cars are not for accumulating fast food cups! Cars are sanctuaries! They should be clean and orderly and people should be able to get in and sit down without having to move a pile of trash to do so!
And then I had children. They, apparently, exploded in my car.
I’ve discussed before how my kids are weird little trash factories. Why does it still amaze me, the sheer volume of STUFF they leave in their wake?
On Saturday morning I will load up the car with snacks and books and games and toys and CDs and anything else I can cram in there that might distract from the inevitable “are we there yet?”s and drive for about seven hours from Here to There. Here, it will be Spring Break. There, it will be All Grandparents, All The Time.
In order to fit the proper accoutrements into the car, the car needs to be emptied of the accumulated crap.
Also, although I cannot find my way back to my hometown (where I lived for sixteen years) without printing out directions (every single time) (shut up) because I appear to possess powers of observation rivalling those of your average fruit fly, I am incapable of taking a road trip in a cluttered car. It would be wrong.
[I also cannot leave on vacation without changing sheets and making beds, first. There are vacation preparation RULES, people. I don’t make them, I just have to follow them or my brain will melt.]
So, this afternoon I cleaned out my car.
First, the cargo area. Hmmm. Folding chairs that I bought at Target on clearance about six months ago and never removed from the car. Not really anticipating needing those; they can stay in the garage. Large tote bag containing our ice skates. Hmmmm, I guess now that it’s April I can probably take those out as well. Two crumpled-up towels. No idea. Out they go.
Next I did the front seats. I scooped up a pile of stuff from the passenger seat and just dumped it inside. Most of it was probably garbage, but I suspected there was some mail in there I needed and I resolved to go through the pile later. (This means that I will leave the pile in the mudroom for several months and eventually throw the entire thing out without ever going through it.) I took the snow scraper out and left it in the garage, and rolled up my umbrella and stuck it in the door storage pouch.
I took a deep breath and headed into the backseat. Toys. Papers. Church bulletins with children’s activity sheets. (Unscramble John 3:16! Which disciple is not like the others? Color in the burning bush!) Candy wrappers. A sock. (Just one.) Napkins. Books. Crayons. Pens. Rocks. Pinecones. Acorns. Unidentified plastic objects. Straw wrappers. Pennies. Something that might have been an ossified pop-tart. It was like dumpster diving. Only IN MY CAR. I kept pulling stuff out–ON the seat, UNDER the carseats, off the floor–and more kept appearing. Finally, I thought I was done, and then as I was readjusting the floormats I found still more piles buried under the front seats. It was horrifying.
After removing a metric ton of junk from my poor car, I lugged my vacuum outside and sucked up all the dirt and dust. Then I topped off the windshield wiper fluid and wiped down all of the plastic and fake leather surfaces inside the car.
It’s SO CLEAN in there now. I’m going to make the kids sit on the roof rack on the way to school tomorrow. I want to maintain the illusion of the car being orderly for just a little bit longer.
Also, basking in the glow of my freshly tidied car will distract me from the fact that I’ve decided to drive seven hours, outnumbered by children, with no DVD player. Oh! Look over there! Something SHINY!