After I got my first car, my high school teacher warned me that I would lose my life in that car. I laughed nervously as I scampered off to search for a continuing list of things I had coincidentally lost in my car. For a small space, I am still shocked by what items get lost: candy, pens, sunglasses and other items that slip between the seats unnoticed. I even lost a library book under the passenger seat. After I tried unsuccessfully to convince the library I didn’t have the book, I had to sheepishly return (and pay a large fine) the book with my tail between my legs. I still blame my car.

While your car can become a vortex for lost items, there are some essentials you should keep in your car, especially if you spend a lot of time in there. And I’m not talking about jumper cables, registration or an emergency kit. Those are all very necessary, but are often just in case of emergency. These items you will use daily, or at least every time you get behind the wheel.

  • Sunglasses. Your shades are not just for making you look cooler behind the wheel of your car. Sunglasses are one of the greatest eye protectors. Bright sunlight can block your vision, making it difficult to drive safely. And think about what you do when it is bright outside. All of that squinting will result in early wrinkles. And you don’t have to spend a lot of cash to get good shades. Pick up a fun pair at the dollar store or gas station.
  • Music/radio. My driving trips seem infinitely longer without anything to listen to. While listening to music can sometimes be seen as a distraction, I see it as a lifesaver. Anytime I feel drowsy while driving, turning up the music and singing along is the only thing to keep me awake. To make sure your music listening to is safe, preset your radio stations so you don’t have to fiddle when driving. If you use an iPod, get a dock that will allow you to safely navigate the mp3 player without looking down.
  • Air freshener. An small, enclosed space is bound to get stuffy. Combine that with fast food and a gym bag, you are in serious trouble. Air fresheners can be purchased for a few dollars at any gas station or mechanic shop.
  • Trash can. My car fills up with trash. Gum wrappers, gas receipts and other small pieces of garbage add up quickly, making your car look like a mess. Get a small plastic container at the dollar store and fill with an old plastic grocery sack. Once the container gets full, you can easily take out the plastic sack and toss in the garbage.
  • Car duster. My cleaning philosophy is a little every day will keep things clean. The same goes for cleaning your car. Keep a micofiber cloth in your car to dust the dash daily and to clean up any messes.

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