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Easy rider

Author: Canadian Living

Travel

Easy rider

On a typical day you go to and from work, pick up a gaggle of kids from soccer, hit the drive thru for an after-school snack, drop Rover at the vet, stop for groceries and dry cleaning and then race home to get dinner on the table. In the mad rush, the car has morphed into hell-on-wheels — a morass of sports equipment, take-out wrappers, CDs, backpacks and dog hair. Sound familiar? With busy modern lifestyles, it seems like the whole family is constantly on the go. We spend so much time in transit that our vehicles have become an extension of our living space, yet another area that requires attention and maintenance. Here's some advice for cleaning up your act, steering clear of stress and enjoying the ride.

"Your car is a small room on wheels, treat it like living space", says Marsha Wieler, a Lifestyle Organizer with the Calgary, AB based company Lifestyle Divine. "Assess the space and decide what you can do to make your time in the car more efficient and pleasant." She recommends applying the same simple organizational principles to your car that you apply to your home: keep it clean, keep it organized, and express yourself!

Well kept wheels
Make cleaning a no-brainer. Weiler suggests keeping your vehicle is stocked with supplies for fast clean ups.

• Keep paper towel, window cleaner, tissues, wet wipes and a trash bin in the car.
• Use removable seat covers in funky fabrics and prints — they protect upholstery and can be tossed in the laundry.
• Invest in a 12V car vacuum for easy access and quick clean ups.
• Get an air freshener — ‘car jars' are available in a myriad of scents, from leather and clean cotton to pineapple paradise at stores like Yankee Candle.

A serene space
Toronto based psychotherapist Dr. Diana Donald recommends stashing clutter and getting organized. "When people are disorganized they feel frustrated and discouraged, but when they're organized they feel empowered," says Donald. Invest in products like these to keep your car in good order:

• Check out Canadian Tire for over-the-seat organizers, backseat trays and overhead shelf kits that can be easily installed over your car's sun visors or rear view mirror.
• Get a kids' back seat organizer — the insulated unit holds food, games, art supplies, etc. The lid flips up to become a tray or work surface.
• Consider a pet car seat/safety harness — it makes clean ups easier and keeps your pet safe while you're on the road.
• Make storage a snap with collapsible waterproof cargo bags — think kids sports paraphernalia, safety gear, etc.

Feather your nest
Once you've converted your car into a zen-like extension of your living space, just how does one accessorize? With a little style and a dash of good humour, of course!

• If there's no Tim's in sight, the Koolatron 12V coffee maker plugs into your cigarette lighter outlet for a cuppa jo on the go!
• Personalize your ride with removable decals — choose from zodiac, flower, tribal or punk themes.
• Nothing says "bling" like 23K gold license plate frames!
• Who could resist the ‘Snakeshift'? A silvery, cobra-headed gearshift knob for manual transmissions, it has piercing red eyes that glow in the dark. Vrrooooommmm!

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