pulling it together
Whether it’s a mini-van with a “Soccer Mom” sticker in the back window, or an obscenely-expensive-but-so-worth-it luxury sedan, for many of us our cars aren’t merely a mode of transportation, they are a mobile extension of our living and working space.
Even if you live in a highly-evolved city like New York or San Francisco, where public transportation is a viable option for everyday commuting, chances are you still need a car for getting around outside of the city. And just as your home and office run more efficiently when you’ve put some thought into what you need and where you need it, your vehicle can also benefit from an organizational strategy better thought-out than simply tossing a ballpoint pen in the glove compartment.
As you may or may not know, See Jane Work is based in Southern California. We So Cal residents spend a lot of time in our cars, usually moving very slowly. Heavy traffic gives us time to think. Sometimes it’s about moving to Nebraska, or anyplace less congested, but most of the time it’s about ways to be more productive and find simple solutions to everyday challenges. So it is thanks to a traffic jam on the Ventura Freeway, that you have today’s list of necessary items for the car.
You’ll want to tailor this list depending on the amount of time you spend in your car, and whether or not you use your car for work. But to get you started here are a few suggestions from See Jane Work, on ways to make drive time less exhausting.
Jane’s List of Must-Haves for the Car:
- A First Aid kit and a flashlight. Unless you happen to be a paramedic, don’t bother with those bulky, elaborate kits that include everything from smelling salts to a sling. A small First Aid kit such as our Minor Emergency Kit (also available in a Sewing Kit) should suffice, or make your own by putting a few adhesive bandages, some antiseptic wipes, and a small bottle of aspirin in a Barcelona Travel Bag. Make sure to check your flashlight’s batteries from time to time even if you haven’t used it.
- Trash container. You’ll want one in the front seat and one in the back. The plastic sleeves that newspapers come in make perfect trash bags for the car. If your newspaper is delivered online, try a small department store plastic bag or a resealable storage bag. Empty your trash bags whenever you stop for gas.
- Cash. I read somewhere that Jackie Kennedy always kept a dollar zipped in her purse in case of an emergency. A dollar wouldn’t get you out of very much trouble in today’s economy, so I recommend keeping a $10, two $5 and five $1 bills in your glove box. If you spend it, put it back as soon as you can, and if your husband or children know it’s there, plan to replace it frequently.
- Health and hygiene items. It’s surprising how many little things can go wrong during a 20 minute drive. Your latte dripped on your blouse, you put your heel through your hem, and you chipped a nail, all before you got to the parking structure. The Working Girl Survival Kit contains 22 health and beauty essentials, including stain remover, a mending kit, and an emery board, all in a compact aluminum case.
- Something to eat. You worked through your lunch break and you were on your way to meet a client when you started to feel a little woozy. It could be the flu, but more likely your body is telling you that it’s running on empty. A bag of nuts, an energy bar, or some trail mix could make the difference between a successful meeting and a poorly timed mood swing.
- Office supplies. While I wouldn’t recommend taking a conference call in rush hour traffic, there are times when you’ll arrive at an appointment unfashionably early and wish you could check a few things off your To Do list while you wait. The Office on the Go set includes a pen and pencil, paper clips and a stapler. Mark pages and jot down notes with See Jane Work Post-Its, and highlight documents with the handy 5-tipped Marker Wheel highlighting pen.
- Trunk Organization. Avoid having your back seat look like a mobile rummage sale by keeping loose items neatly contained. If you’ve got a trunk, a sturdy cardboard box is really all you need. We hate to brag, but customers frequently comment on the high quality of our See Jane Work shipping boxes. Place an order with us, and we’ll send it in a “cardboard trunk organizer” at no extra charge. You can do your part to reduce waste by using and re-using Foldable City Bags instead of bags from the store. When you get home with your purchases, fold your bags back up and store them in the trunk for next time.
- Storage for your SUV or Minivan. Sorry, but if the rest of the world can see into the back of your vehicle, the cardboard box thing might be a tad too casual. (Think jeans at a cocktail party.) Jane Marvel Nesting Cubes are a great style solution. They come in sets of two, one big and one medium. If you’d prefer to be even more discreet, Jane Marvel Zip Boxes feature double zippers that wrap around the sides and front to open like a suitcase.
- Storage for your discs. Keep CDs and DVDs from sliding around in the back seat with a Discus CD Case. Fill one with the kids’ favorites, one with your favorites, and one with classical music that you can pull out when you’re driving with clients.
- The perfect gift. Keep a set of blank note cards and a couple of store gift cards in your glove box and you’ll never be the only one who showed up at the boss’s birthday luncheon without a gift. Our Seaside Note Cards are pretty enough to give to a woman, cool enough to give to a man, and fun enough to give to a child.
- Roadside assistance. Most of us have towing service included with our auto insurance or vehicle warranty. However, if you live or drive in isolated areas, you might also consider purchasing a roadside emergency kit that includes a set of jumper cables, flares and a gas can.
So, as my husband likes to ask when we’re ten miles down the road, what did we forget?
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