50 Essential Items to Keep in Your Vehicle

This article was originally published on my blog, Muses of a Mom, and reposted here with updates and additional information for the reader.

If you want to have less stress in your life, it’s important to be organized and plan ahead for those little emergencies.

When I was a homeschool mom and frequent traveler, I saved myself stress and frustration by being more prepared with essential items available in my minivan.

If you are a mom of young children, then you know that having certain supplies on hand is a timesaver on days when the unexpected happens. There is relief instead of irritation. 

If you are a frequent traveler, you realize that a well-organized vehicle with necessities proves to be a lifesaver when something happens on the road. It also saves you money from having to purchase needed items at more expensive prices from convenience stores. 

If you drive many miles for work, having extra essentials in your car or truck will save you time when away from your home office.

A well-organized vehicle makes me feel safer: there are fewer things for me to remember and allows me to carry a smaller handbag! Some items I stored in my minivan that I hadn’t expected to be necessary, but were a blessing on some days:

  • Sunscreen and an extra hat when we were on a hike.
  • Bug repellent when outside after dark.
  • Towels for an impromptu stop at a water feature in a public park.
  • Repair kit to fit glasses that were a requirement for driving.

Over time, I have devised a checklist of 50 essential things you need to keep in your vehicle, which you can download HERE.

Here is how I organize: 

What to keep under the seat or in the glove box: 

I used a small container to store all those little, yet handy items under my seat, (since the van’s glovebox was incredibly small). These are the items I like to have on hand but don’t want to carry in a purse or backpack. Because they aren’t used every day, I store them here instead of the middle console.

Included are: Post-Its, a mini first aid box (with adhesive bandages and individual alcohol swabs), eyeglass cleaners and fit kit, miniature tool kit, sunscreen, disinfecting wipes and stain remover. This is a good place for feminine products too. (Keep in mind that lotions, sunscreen, or medicines need to be replaced regularly due to breakdown from heat.) 

What to keep in the trunk or under seat compartments: 

What’s great about minivans is the hidden storage under the middle seats. 

This storage perfectly fits a mid-size Sterlite bin.

Stored in this bin are rain ponchos (great for going to outdoor ball games), extra umbrella, heavy-duty shop towels, latex gloves and masks, large roll of Ace bandage, Duct tape, insect repellant, and a light plastic tarp.

Also in this storage area is a travel blanket, complete first aid kit, jumper cables, and tire pump

In the fall season when I lived in Michigan, I would add weather-related items such as an ice scraper, a small shovel, kitty litter, and weather gear such as heavy-duty boots, an extra scarf, gloves, and hat.

And for all seasons, if you have small children, then you know the importance of keeping extra weather-appropriate clothing items on hand!

Of course, have the spare tire (or Fix-a-Flat), jumper cables, and carjack stowed in the trunk, or another designated area of the vehicle. If these items haven’t been used for a long time, it’s best to do a safety check now to make sure all items are in working order.

One of the best helpers for my van I have found invaluable is this Weather Tech Universal Phone Holder for the upholder. 

This is adjustable for any size phone and fits in any size cupholder.

What NOT to keep in your car:

With all the things that you should have in your vehicle, there are items that you should never keep in your car:

— Money or change
— Debit / Credit cards
— All electronics
— Anything else of value that is hard to replace.

It doesn’t need to be said that anything out in the open is an invitation to car thieves. The best thing to do is to have vehicles always locked, even in your driveway.

The car item many don’t keep safe:

When it comes to safety, be extra cognizant of garage door openers. If your garage door opener is the main entry into your home, keep it hidden! We put ours on the unseen side of the visor and keep the car doors locked.

Don’t forget to download the free list of the 50 Most Essential Items to Keep in Your Vehicle!

What do you keep in your car that you can’t live without? Let me know in the comments. 

5 responses to “50 Essential Items to Keep in Your Vehicle”

  1. This is such a great post! I also include a roll of toilet paper and a cup. Where I live, travel involves mountain passes that close often and unexpectedly. Sitting in your car for eleven hours on a freeway, with no bathroom and the treeline off behind a fence and in deep snow, a cup for pee is essential!

  2. Wow, that is a very comprehensive list! I am an avid solo traveler and have just about everything you mention. I joke that I even have the kitchen sink in my trunk. I also like to keep a swimming bag with a suit, beach towel, flip flops, and sometimes of the year even a blow up flotation device. Also, extra hydro flasks and different types of bags (clear plastic stadium bag, tote, and extra plastic garbage bags). Thank you for sharing.

    • These are great ideas to add! I also keep 2 beach towels and a small case of water in our trunk when we road trip around in the summer.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: