I'll be honest: I've never really been great at keeping the inside of my car clean. Once when I was in college, my car broke down in the middle of an intersection, and I made my roommate help me shove all of the stuff from the seats and floor into the trunk so that the tow truck driver and mechanic wouldn't see how messy my car was. It took us at least ten minutes to move everything.
Now that I have kids, the mess has multiplied. Plus, since I'm carting around two kids and all of their stuff, we've had to upgrade to a vehicle that's a bit bigger than the '94 Nissan Sentra I was driving in college, so there's more floor space that seems to magically attract junk. I've been meaning to clean my minivan out for a while now, but then I started thinking about all of the benefits of having my vehicle piled high with crap. So in case you're like me and are putting off emptying out your car, check out this list of reasons that having a messy car can actually be a good thing!
1. You're prepared in case of emergency.
When I was a new driver, my dad used to tell me that I should always keep a blanket and some water in my car, especially during the winter. That way if I got stranded somewhere during a blizzard or because my car broke down, I'd be warm and hydrated until help could reach me. And now that I drive my mom-mobile, I've always got blankets and water. And Cheerios. And apple sauce pouches. And toy cars. And stuffed animals. And empty plastic bags. And seven mittens that don't match each other. Sure, the water is mostly contained in 14 half-empty sippy cups, the blankets are baby-sized, and the Cheerios are as old as the minivan. But the point is, if we got stranded in the middle of a snow storm, my family and I would be set for at least a week.
2. No more last-minute stops at the store on the way to events.
Have you ever been on your way to dinner at a friend's house or a work gathering when you suddenly remember that you were supposed to bring something? If your car is full of stuff, you've almost definitely got items that will work in a pinch for just about any situation. Forgot to bring a potluck dish? Here are six packs of sandwich crackers! Will the party have a white elephant gift exchange? A book about going to the potty will be a great conversation starter! Need a hostess gift? Everyone loves juice boxes and a handful of fast food napkins!
3. You can eliminate the need for a diaper bag or purse.
When my son was a newborn, a well-stocked diaper bag was a must on any excursion. If I forgot to refill it or - even worse - forgot to bring it altogether, I was in big trouble. One time we ate dinner in a restaurant with my son wearing only a diaper and a windbreaker because he had a diaper blowout right after we were seated, and I'd forgotten to put spare clothes in his diaper bag. But now my son is nearly four years old, his sister is one, and there are enough clothes and diapers in our vehicle to dress at least half of the children in any given neighborhood. My van also contains approximately 17 partially empty containers of wipes, no less than four boxes of tissues, and enough change in the center console to buy each of my kids at least one meal at a restaurant (assuming, of course, that the restaurant has a dollar menu.) I can leave my diaper bag and purse at home, since the contents of both are strewn throughout the back seat.
4. You're less likely to be detained for suspicion of car theft.
Let's say that someone in my town has their minivan stolen, and it's the same model and color as mine. I might get pulled over just to make sure that I wasn't driving said stolen vehicle. But just by showing the cop the things that were on the floor and shoved under the seats, it would only take about 15 seconds for me to prove that the vehicle was actually mine. Look - here's a picture of me with my grandpa! And fourteen pieces of junk mail addressed to me! And some Christmas cards with pictures of my family on them that I forgot to mail last year! I mean, yes...my license and insurance card would probably clear it up pretty quickly, too, but you can never be too careful.
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