Winter is upon us! In fact, I have seen weather forecasts which denote major storms moving across the country recently. So, I thought I would take a moment to discuss the importance of organizing your car in preparation of inclement weather during travel. I know…why would a professional organizer be interested in preparedness when traveling? Living a life of intention and organization encompasses every area of life, including travel.
Did you know hundreds of people in the United States die each year due to exposure in extreme cold (https://www.populationpyramid.net/united-states-of-america/2019/). I live in the Southwest part of the United States where it is possible to drive for miles without cell service or seeing another human. Because of this, I learned at an early age to make certain my car was organized in the event I encountered a mechanical malfunction or became stranded for some reason.
This CDC article (https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/winter/beforestorm/preparehome.html) recommends keeping the following in your car during the winter:
- Cell phone, portable charger, and extra batteries
- Extra clothing to keep warm such as hats, coats, mittens and blankets
- A windshield scraper
- Small shovel
- A battery-powered radio with extra batteries
- A flashlight with extra batteries
- Drinking water and snack food
- A first aid kit, to include any medications you regularly take
- A pocket knife
- Two chains or a rope
- Tire chains
- Canned, compressed air with sealant for emergency tire repair
- Cat litter or sand to place under tires for traction
- Road salt to melt ice
- Booster cables with a fully charged battery or jumper cables
- Reflectors, flags or help signs, emergency flares
- Road maps
- Waterproof matches and can to melt snow
Looking online, you can find many “emergency car kits”. I prefer to research and purchase on an individual level. Here is a list of some of the types of items, with links for you to view, I keep in my car at all times, not just for winter trips.
- Folding trunk organizer (I have something similar to this one I found at The Container Store, https://www.containerstore.com/s/folding-trunk-organizer/d?q=car%20trunk%20organizers&productId=10004522)
- Packing cubes (I utilize a variety of packing cubes like these to keep the various items organized, https://www.eaglecreek.com/shop/packing-cubes)
- A jump start battery (https://themicrostart.com/xp-10/). This is the one I have in the car. It provides the ability to charge other electronics along with the capability to jump start your vehicle.
- A foldable camping shovel (https://www.rhinousainc.com/products/rhino-usa-survival-shovel)
- Road flares with case (https://www.trafficsafetystore.com/road-flares)
- Satellite Communicator (https://www.garmin.com/en-US/c/outdoor-recreation/satellite-communicators/)
- First aid kit (https://mymedic.com/collections/first-aid-kits/products/moto-medic-motorcycle-first-aid-kit)
- Emergency food (https://4patriots.com/collections/food/products/emergency-food-bars)
- Fire starter kit
- Toilet paper and paper towels
- Drinking water
- Extra clothing
- Windshield scraper with broom
An organized life is a prepared life. It encompasses every aspect of life and allows you to walk through life without anxiety. When you are prepared, know what you have and where to find it, you feel confident in tackling the unexpected, and we all know the unexpected pops up regularly.
While the above list is not exhaustive, I hope it helps you on your journey as you prepare your car for a winter road trip.