A Trusted Friend in a Complicated World

Keep These 14 Things in Your Car and You’ll Be Twice as Productive

Every driver should stock up on the essentials for getting organized, staying safe, and managing everyday emergencies.

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Key paperwork

Without exception, you should store your proof of car insurance, the car’s owner’s manual, and your AAA (or roadside assistance card) permanently in the glove box. It’s also wise to have your local mechanic’s name and phone number handy too.

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Tissues, napkins, and wipes

You don’t have to have kids to make a mess, so stash napkins, paper towels, or moist wipes for times when you spill your coffee or accidentally spray SPF all over the window instead of your shoulder. For big-time messes, consider keeping a clean rag in the trunk. You never know when you may need to wipe up oil, change a flat, or tie it to your side-view mirror if you break down on the road.

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Extra phone chargers

Why let your mobile phone battery die when you can just plug it into your car’s electrical or USB outlet? The trick is to keep it a dedicated charger in the car and not be tempted to carry it away with you. It will be there when you need it most! Find out how to boost your battery power in the meantime.

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You can’t always rely on your phone’s flashlight (especially if you forget to charge it), so it’s smart to invest in a high-quality flashlight—and be sure to replace the batteries regularly. A flashlight can also be used to alert other drivers if you are broken down without lights, and as a flare or signal for help. Looking to be more handy and organized? These tiny house storage hacks can help out anyone.

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Mini tool kit

Even if you are not a mechanic, it’s always a good idea to have a mini tool kit in the car, along with a tire pressure gauge, duct tape, and WD-40. (There are so many amazing uses for WD-40.) Sometimes a screwdriver or hammer can be a tremendous help for an unexpected car repair on the road. And for those who live in the colder climates, an ice-scraper is a must. Here’s the fastest way to defrost your windshield.

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Water bottle

Remember your pledge to drink more water this year? Bring a full, reusable bottle of H2O with you when you run your errands. And then simply refill that empty bottle when you get home. You will stay hydrated—and save money on beverages while you’re out. These little tricks can help ensure that you’re drinking your fill of water.

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Coupons and gift cards

The coupons we need always seem to be in a drawer in the kitchen! Get more productive by placing those Bed Bath and Beyond, CVS, and other local coupons in a zip lock bag or plastic envelope. Same goes for gift cards you keep meaning to use “next time you’re in the area.”

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Grocery bags

Always store a stash of reusable grocery bags in your trunk for unexpected stops at the supermarket or other stores. Some businesses may charge you extra for a bag or deduct a few cents from the total if you BYOB (bring your own bag). Over time, very little bit counts!

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Notebook and pen

It’s always practical to keep a small notebook and (working) pen in your glove box. It can come in handy more often than you think—like when you have to write your kid a gym note or sign a permission slip, or when you’re out of range to access your GPS and you stop to get directions. These are the everyday emergencies you should be prepared to manage.

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First aid kit

It’s something that you hope you will never need but always want to have close by. First aid kits typically contain an assortment of items from bandages to aspirin. Replace it every few years with fresh items, as some can deteriorate in the hot summer or cold temperatures.

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Loose change

Yes, there are still parking meters and toll booths that require quarters and dimes. Don’t get caught without them! Toss some loose change in that small storage box in your car, and it will be there in a pinch.

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Weather gear

The next time you go for a hike on a sunny day—or spend hours at a beach or stadium, you will be thankful for that extra baseball cap in your car. And for rainy days, be sure to keep an umbrella or rain poncho within reach. Same goes for when the temperature drops unexpectedly—grab that zip-up hoodie or sweatshirt you’ve had stored in the trunk and pat yourself on the back for being so resourceful.

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Picnic blanket

A blanket always comes in handy for anyone who attends games, concerts, and other outdoors events. You can use it for an impromptu picnic in the park or an afternoon at the beach. It can be a place to sit and relax or keep you warm if the weather is chilly.

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Grooming supplies

When a last-minute mirror check reveals a minor beauty emergency, you’ll be all set if you keep a bag of basic supplies in the glove box. You’ll also be able to apply your makeup if you need to go to a last-minute meeting or event or end up staying overnight somewhere unexpectedly.

Marla Cimini
Marla Cimini is an award-winning writer with a passion for travel, music, beaches, and culinary adventures. As an enthusiastic globetrotter, she's a frequent Hawaii visitor (and guidebook writer) and has covered an array of diverse and intriguing topics, ranging from luxury hotels and surf culture to the innovative food and restaurant scene in cities and towns around the world. Her articles have appeared in numerous publications worldwide, including Reader's Digest, All Recipes, USA Today, Robb Report, Travel Weekly, and many others. See more of Marla's work on her website: www.marlacimini.com My website: www.marlacimini.com Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/marlacimini