Friday, June 25, 2010

Tool Time: the Car Bucket

I have asked my sweet friend, Ashley, to share some ways that she uses what she calls the "car bucket". I have watched her use this for keeping her family's traveling odds and ends in order. I asked her to share how she uses it and help inspire us to order the  easily out of control area of our vehicles!

Ashley is married and has two little ones, a 5 year old daughter and a 2 year old son.  She stays busy in and out of the house, which is how this idea evolved for her family.

The basic idea ...  Ashley carries a sturdy tote with her wherever she goes, in and out of the car. It helps her manage all the stuff that comes with kids, a busy life and the minivan that shuttles it all around. According to her, "the "car bucket" serves as a carry all for my cell phone, sippy cups, purse, a couple of diapers, blankets and more" when going from one place to another outside the house. 

She loads it up when she is at home, thinking of all she may need for that particular trip out. She packs the tote differently if she is visiting with friends, going to church, going on a grocery shopping trip or whatever. Her husband and kids know that everything that goes with them has to go in the CB and that it is there when they go to look for it later.

When they leave the house, she loads up the kids, the husband and the CB!  We all know that when Ashley comes over, she is gonna make ONE trip to or from the car. Everything she needs is in that one place.   If her kids need their sippy cups, check the CB first!  If she is heading the pool, betcha the towels and sunscreen are in the CB!  Snacks anyone? ..CB.

When she gets home she uses the CB to declutter her Swagger Wagon, making sure to grab all the kid-related odds and ends, as well as the trash they have generated on their trip out. She makes sure to empty it out at home, each and every time. This is my favorite part, since my vehicle is always a cluttered mess!

Tips from the master ... "The "car bucket" needs to be big enough to make it able to hold several items and small enough to carry. I don't like the floppy kinds I like the kind that is pretty stiff and holds its shape well. Also, I like them to have handles on each end. That way when they are pretty full you stick one end on your hip and the other end you can hold by the handle."

One thing about the car bucket is that it will only work if you empty it IMMEDIATELY every time you come in the house. Otherwise it will just become something else in your car full of junk taking up space. 

"When I am by myself so I don't forget anything I put the kids in the car first so they are strapped in the car ready to go (and can't get into anymore mischief). The car bucket is the last thing that goes in so that I can come in one last time take a quick look if I need anything else and toss it in. Then I lock the door and take the car bucket with me."

I think the Car Bucket is a great idea, it Works for Us! ...and I plan on looking for a WAY cute tote to use.  I remember Ashley told me that it helped to have something cute, so she would be more inclined to use it. I agree.

Update: Per request is a shot of Ashley's CB!  Here it is, on her dryer by her back door. This is close to where her car is parked, so that is where the CB sits ready to be filled up. And, she says the purse stays inside because that goes everywhere she does, just like the CB :)

Tell us what you think of this idea, and if you have any questions for Ashley I know she will be around the site to answer them!   

Do you have any other great resource saver ideas? 


  1. Great idea! And another great post for WFMW!

  2. Hi I have a couple of questions! First, could you please post a picture of Ashleys for us? I guess Im wondering the precise definition of "tote". I know some use the term for what I would call a plastic "bin", like rubbermaid w a snap-on lid, or do you mean like a heavy-duty beach-bag-like carryall? I know I could use whatever works for me, but it helps to know exactly what we're going for before I shop. Thanks! SaraA

  3. Thanks for the question Sara! Actually, the picture on the post is pretty similar to Ashley's. Her's has larger handles, and is a more rectangular that that one. But its like a really sturdy canvas type. We found a pic to share, but the file is not cooperating with us of her exact one. We will keep work on getting that up for ya!

    She got hers from Khols, but I know I have seen them at Target, and even Walmart. I think that an open type tote is better than one with a lid, for ease of throwing stuff in and taking out on th go.

    Ash you have other thoughts to share?

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. Basically the tote is made of heavy duty cardboard with canvas-like material on the outside. It has metal holes on each end for handles. Also, I measured it and it is about 15" wide and 17" long. I think Courtney is right about having a lid. A lot of times when I am coming back from somewhere we have more to carry in than what we left with and it is overflowing! Also, I have tried a big beach bag type thing and everything just sinks to the bottom. It is much harder to find what you are looking for and clean out when you return home. HTH!!

  6. Thanks ladies! Ok Ashley, I thought of another question: when going somewhere like the park or zoo where I would be pushing a stroller, would I hen remove items from the cb to put in the stroller basket? Did you still carry a diaper bag when your son was smaller? My youngest of 4 is still 9 mo. And I'm not sure anything the size of yours would hold all our STUFF! Thanks again, SaraA

  7. Super good idea. I especially like the benifit it would be to my van. Poor thing, i can hardly keep it cleaned out. hopefully this will help!!

  8. Sara ..Ashley says that when she carried a diaper bag it went in her CB just like her purse. The CB would be emptied when you get to the park/zoo into the stroller, at least what you will need while you are there.

    My thought, if you dont have enough room for the diaper bag with everything else you will put in your CB, give it charge to one of your older kids. They are responsible for toting it to and from the car. It may have be carried separate from the CB for a bit, but soon you can do like Ashley and just pitch in a couple of extra diapers, some wipes and lose the diaper bag! :)

  9. I use this same concept with my son's diaper bag. It is always fully stocked and ready to go. After each trip it gets restocked that same day.

    I love the idea of having this set aside for the car. I tend to have lots of little stuff with me and it all adds up! Great place for my purse, keys, coupon notebook, diaper bag....

    Thanks for sharing!


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