Sunday, November 19, 2023

Car Stash: What Would You Add? (Also— bonus car conundrum you might be able to help us solve)

 I drive a Honda Odyssey, and I love it. I **might** love the Toyota Sienna more, but I think that’s only because I drove Siennas for 11 years before switching to a Honda. Odysseys are definitely bigger inside, which is huge for us. I also adore the sliding doors of a minivan and all the cabin storage space is ESSENTIAL.

As  you know from my constant complaining here (you’re welcome), I drive A TON after school. From like 3:30-7, we are mainly IN THE CAR. Also! I have a good 40 minutes there and back to work. It’s a lot of car time, is what I am saying. Recently, I got tired of not having snacks (eating in the car is something we only just started doing this school year because it was unavoidable), forgetting my lipstick, realizing I didn’t apply perfume, needing a wipe, etc. Soooooo, I finally went to Target and stocked the car with everything I could possibly need in a pinch.

I have a change of clothes and undies for Minnie, a million bags of Goldfish (plus a box of Cliff bars not pictured), Kleenex, tiny garbage bags, lip balm, hand lotion, a couple of perfume samples, hair ties for me, Dorothy, and Minnie, all kinds of wipes, an emergency pack of waters for the trunk, chargers for every device, board books and magic ink coloring books for Minnie, a New Yorker, a Foreign Affairs, a High Five, and an Elle for the rest of us. I even remembered dryer sheets in case I have terrible static cling.

What else do I need/what do you keep in your car?

(And now the bonus problem! Ben wants to SWITCH CARS. On the plus side, his is an SUV (Toyota Highlander) and better in snow and ice, and I hate snow and ice driving. It has brand new tires, too. It is also a hybrid, so it gets way better city miles than highway miles, and I am a city driver, whereas he drives on the highway. On the con side, I would very much miss the sliding doors; it is not has big as the minivan, and it had a way worse trim package. Can I make it without leather seats, seat warmers, and a moon roof? I DO NOT KNOW. It’s also Very Dirty even though it’s only a year old because Ben has different car standards than I do. WHAT WOULD YOU DO?)


  1. It's a great emergency stash!

    I keep hand sanitizer, perfume, and extra sunnies. My snack of choice in the in the car is dried fruit (fewer crumbs).

    I usually have a couple of blankets in the trunk in case we're stuck somewhere and it's cold. (I read this somewhere and hope I never have to use this tip, obviously.)

    1. blankets are a good idea, but I HATE the texture of blankets and car crumbs. Down blankets that feel like parkas maybe?

  2. Anonymous7:34 AM

    This is Lisa. We are not in the car all that much since we are in such a different stage of life. Why does Ben want to switch? If he really wants to switch and the reason is good/compelling, I would make him clean out the car first. Ha.

    1. Def need a pro to clean that mess LOL

  3. Basic first aid!
    I have a bag in the car with a shirt and shorts that can work on a pinch for all kids (no toddlers/preschoolers in our family) plus a pair of undies for each. I think have a smaller bag in the bag with first aid items- bandaids, a pallet towel, some gauze, etc. It isn't a full first aid kit, but it is great for minor cuts and scrapes. I also keep some contact stuff in their for myself in case I need to fix my contacts. And I have a small amount of medicine too - pain and allergy.

    1. ooooh meds and bandaids FOR SURE-- great idea!

  4. Girl, you know what you need? WINTER TIRES. I had winters on my old Sienna and it was a game changer. I assume you have shitty driving conditions all winter, just like I did in Calgary, and the winter tires were the absolute best. So this is what I'm going to recommend. You need the sliding doors. You need the space. You need the leather seats and seat warmers. YOU NEED THE MINIVAN. Just with winter tires.
    So that's my recommendation. Winter tires! It's an expense but my god, so worth it, especially with all the driving you do.

  5. I suggest towels for the car stash! We throw our oldest towels in there and they always come in handy. Someone always falls in water, falls on snow, spills something. I also threw in an empty spiral notebook or composition book and crayons or packs of stickers for the 6-year-old.

    1. Yesssss towels-- great idea!

    2. Rachel7:10 PM

      We have a kid who gets carsick a lot so we have towels, paper towels, rags, and several large garage bags. They have all been used...

  6. Mints? I like a bag of mints in my car. I also have a huge supply of white towels from when Lad did swim team. Those come in handy. I use them a lot for drying off slides at parks when I take the tots there, but also spills, etc. Do you have a decent trash bag/trash option? We just use a plastic grocery bag, but I assume there are better alternatives. My life included LOTS of driving, looking at you Irish dancing, for many years and I started keeping a spare pair of socks in my car.

    I've only recently encountered seat warmers, and I'm gonna have to go with YOU NEED SEAT WARMERS.

    1. I DO have mints. Towels are a great idea!

  7. Anonymous10:49 AM

    What about doing a trial week of car swap, conditional on the fact that Ben make his car sparkly and shiny on the inside first? If at the end of the week you realize you miss the “extras” too much or it’s too small or YOU JUAT WANT TO, you switch back. For me the lure of the better mileage and lower family fuel cost would make trying worth it… but make it clear you can ask to switch back to the van even without there being any reason Ben deems valid if you so wish!!

    1. great idea-- I might really like it-- who knows??

  8. Our cars have wipes, a blanket, a set of jumper cables, and an ice scraper in them. That's it. The entirety of what did not come with the car that is in the car. Occasionally there will be sunglasses in one or the other. But it's only two adults in our household, so there are big differences.

    Also, we've never had leather seats, sliding doors, or a moonroof, so obviously we're not living right.

    (I think most people have his and her cars and we do not. We have a car that is needed if you want to take the dog somewhere and the Old Car. I think this is probably impossible to understand for many people.)

    1. I like the non-his/hers car distinction.

  9. I have no idea what I would do. We never had two cars so we always us the same one. We don't keep many things in our car besides some reusable grocery bags, some desinfactent and a pick of tissue. Everything else will be taken out when leaving.
    That said though I don't have kids and don't spend time in the car that much.
    I think I agree with some here for a trial run in car switching. Would that work?

  10. I think I would add a blanket or two, and some feminine hygiene products (tampons/pads). Maybe some water if that wasn't listed. Does it snow where you are? If so, something you could use to get traction if you get stuck in the snow.

    Regarding the trade, I would have him get his car professionally detailed, and give it a month trial run. That gives you enough time to decide whether it's worth it for you. Losing the sliding doors = bad, but new tires and hybrid for city driving could be a game changer in the money department, and could probably pay for that detailing pretty quickly.

  11. As a childfree household with a small car (VW Jetta) and very little driving, I have no advice on what else you'd need... it sounds like you're pretty well stashed ;)

  12. I like J's advice! It looks to me like you're well stocked. Now that I only drive one teenager around, I don't need all the supplies anymore (I have everything I need in my purse!)

    1. Someday I will be fancy free like this!

  13. I also have a Honda Odyssey and I love it! And I keep a ton of stuff in it. Mostly it fits in the center console/glove box, and then some things in the rear cargo/trunk area. I am very much a be prepared for any emergency type of person. You never know when you could be stranded by weather/traffic/car problem and truly need some of these things, and then many of them are just nice to have in case someone is hungry/tired/bored/etc. I have the list saved on my computer - so here it is:
    glass breaker/seatbelt cutter
    tire guage
    ice scraper/brush
    extra epis/inhaler (old/expired set just in case someone forgets their real set)
    water bottles
    coats, hats, gloves if cold
    phone charger
    backup charger
    baseball cap
    old shoes
    beach towel
    hand warmers
    duct tape
    trash bag
    hand sanitizer
    makeup remover wipes
    ziplock bag
    backup outfit

    1. oh this is wonderful-- I am going to treat it like a checklist and stock accordingly-- thank you!

  14. Did you say deodorant? I have found purse deodorant to be a life-saver, so car deodorant? Looks like everyone else has everything covered, though. What a great idea. We have an ancient Toyota Sienna that I loved when it was not ancient - so much more space. I agree with Nicole - keep the van, get winter tires.

    1. DEODORANT!! How could I forget????

  15. Anonymous7:16 PM

    #minivan4life! We have a first aid kit, one of those door breaker/seatbelt cutter tools (a friend-of-a-friend almost lost a child to accidental seatbelt strangulation), a roll of paper towels, a barf bowl, usually an old beach towel and whatever games/snacks/toys etc happen to be floating around in the car. We do shuttle the kids to activities but its all pretty short trips so we don't need to store any snacks or water.
    OTOH, if we were headed out into the mountains for a winter adventure I would add a small shovel, traction aids (chains, sand), warm blankets, water and then I have a little kitchen box with fuel, backpacking stove/pot and hot cocoa/ramen and some other snacks.

    1. Oooooh-- I have like NO survival items, mostly just grooming products-- these are great ideas.

  16. I would not be compelled to swap with Ben!

    I also keep a set of athletic clothes, shoes and accessories in my car in case I have a spare half an hour and want to go for a walk or run, and I have a blanket, an all-in-one car charger, battery pack, and a camp chair!

  17. Anonymous9:54 PM

    kitty litter, cardboard, and a small shovel for handling snowy/icy conditions?

  18. I have a zippered pouch that I keep in my center console that has things like tissues, extra hair ties, a backup pair of sunglasses, hand sanitizer, and an emergency $20. I always have an extra jacket in the car, just in case I go somewhere where the AC is blasting. And I have a camp chair that I leave in my trunk. I also have a tiny garbage can that is also tucked into my center console for trash. (I keep extra tiny trash bags in my zippered pouch.) Oh, and of course, extra chargers!

    Keep that minivan life!!

  19. I have this awesome car blanket that is in a waterproof zip up carrier thing. That might be an option? Also, second the first aid kit. Kids. Sports.
    And yes, you should keep the minivan. Just my $0.02.