Drivers are averaging more time in their cars than ever, and they’ve turned their vehicles into a home on wheels. It is where dad makes calls, the kids eat, and where mom fixes her hair and makeup. Soon, the car starts to have a lot of stuff in it – mobile phones, pens, sunglasses, wallets, tissues, and lose change.


Clutter, like cans and plastic bottles may look innocent enough, but when the car is in motion these items can roll forward and lodge under the brake or accelerator pedal, preventing the driver from operating the vehicle properly. Loose items on the dashboard can go flying reword go flying, causing the driver to lose concentration on the road.


Car buyers have consistently highlighted the centre console as one of the top frustrations for drivers because it either isn’t big enough to store items like a purse, or just doesn’t provide the slots that people want for small gadgets.


The Ford Motor Company of South Africa would like to offer the whole family the following handy tips on keeping the car free of clutter and safer for the driver and passengers:


Five tips to declutter the car

  1. Keep an errand basket on the floor or in the boot. This basket is for the “to do” items you need to take care of during the day, be it taking clothes to the dry cleaner, collecting a parcel from the post office, or getting food for the cat. This will keep all these miscellaneous items organised in one place.


  1. Trash is inevitable as we spend so much time in the car. Have a ready supply of plastic grocery bags in the car to keep used tissue paper, sweet wrappers, and empty cans stored. Empty the trash when you refuel or when you arrive home.


  1. If you eat in the car, make sure you vacuum stray crumbs or deal with messy areas right away. This will help keep your upholstery and carpet in tip-top shape. Keep a pack of baby wipes in the glove box for cleaning up an unexpected spill or wiping sticky hands before they smear your car’s interior.


  1. Declutter when you get home every evening. Do not just shuffle the miscellaneous items and trash from one part of the car to another but deal with each item as soon as you touch it. Picking up after yourself (or your kids or pets) daily will prevent a mess from building up.


  1. Every car should have an “essentials box” in case of an emergency. Items include drinking water, high-energy snacks, a flashlight and extra batteries, jumper cables and so on. Pack them properly into a box with a well-fitting lid and keep it in the boot.


Towards a smarter interior

The best way to keeping the family vehicle looking ship-shape is to get familiar with all of the car’s storage capabilities, and use these wisely. Cars like the Ford EcoSport were developed with all the special nooks and crannies car passengers need for their everyday items.


Ford engineers put in 20 smart storage spaces in the EcoSport. Drivers can put their coffee cup in the centre console (where there’s enough space for two cups), pop their sunglasses into the overhead console, plug in their USB stick for some music, and keep their mobile in a nifty space in front of the shifter – while charging it via the 12-volt power outlet.


There’s also a drawer under the front passenger seat that is big enough for a purse or a laptop. Some moms even store an extra pair of shoes in it. And, when driving through parking or toll booths, the tickets can be tucked away tidily under a strap on the driver’s sun visor.


To keep everyone hydrated during the road trip, front door bins can hold either 1.5-litre or 600ml bottles while rear door bins can hold 600ml bottles. Map pockets on the back of the front seats are just as useful for stashing snacks. For a truly refreshing break, the Ford EcoSport owner can hand out chilled drinks from the glove box that can keep up to six beverage cans cool.


Rear passengers also get an exclusive storage space – small bins by the side of the seats. These are extremely handy for parents with small children. One of those bins comes with a 12V power outlet, which has been the lifesaver of many a parent on long trips by keeping handheld computer games or DVD players charged. Once back from the holiday, Ford EcoSport customers can simply plug in a small vacuum cleaner into the power outlet to clean the SUV of sand, dirt or crumbs.


Keeping your car clean and clutter-free can take time and discipline. But if you already have a vehicle that houses your belongings neatly and safely, you’re well on your way to a car interior that even mom would approve of.

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