What to keep in the family van…

We have a red mini-van that we’ve had for a little over a year. And I’m in love…

*Why we got it…

We had a Dodge Journey before the van, for the 3rd row, but it did not have very much leg room. Only my kids could sit back there (sort of) comfortably. My 6 foot nephew? Forget it! So, we traded it in for the van and I love it.

It is like a second home because it’s the family car and we go everywhere in it. My hubs has a little black sports car that he loves, but only drives it to work. It is stick shift and this momma does not know how to drive stick! Cheers to the van!                                                


*What we leave in car….

My kids can not bring electronics in the car, so they need other things to occupy them. Last year, when we took a trip to the Outer Banks (8-10 hr. drive) I bought organizers that go over the back of the driver and passenger front seats, so the kids could put toys, books, tablets, crayons, etc. in it. It has been a great space saver and keeps the car mostly clean (not really). They stuff it too overflowing. Traveling with kids? Check out this post!

We also keep a small bag with spare coloring books, crayons, tablets, little toys,etc. For when we go to restaurants or somewhere that they need to keep busy. Easy to grab and go.          What to keep in the family van. Trying to be somewhat prepared.                 

In the back, I have a little bin with bug spray, sunscreen, extra ball caps for kids. And a big 31 tote bag that has several blankets and spare sweatshirts for soccer practices/games.

A small tote bag of toys that Alex plays with at his sister’s games/practices (i.e. cars,superheroes,etc.).

Chairs and soccer balls during soccer season.                                What to keep in the family van. Trying to be somewhat prepared.

Extra bungee cords (hubs thing).

Under my radio/console I have this free space that I keep a bag with First aid stuff (i.e. bandaids, tums, advil,etc).

In my glove box, extra pens, gift cards in a zip pouch and napkins.

Extra plastic grocery bags for garbage (or puke!). Ice scraper in winter. USB chargers that plug into car for phone chargers.

And… trash… there is ALWAYS trash.  

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Below is the car organizer we have.



How often do we clean the van….

Ummmm… you’re supposed to clean your car? Ha! I sweep it out once in awhile. As for washing…uh. Yeah….when I think about it once or twice a year, I might take it through a car wash…. We aren’t big car washers… But I do clean the windows and wipe down the dusty dashboard…. on occasion.

“Fun” car stories/mishaps…..

When Olivia was a baby, and still rear facing, we went to a fair. She stayed in her car seat because it clipped into her stroller. We unbuckled her so she was more comfy. We walked around for awhile, then left. Get in car, drive a few minutes down the road to McDonald’s drive through. We order, I happen to look back and wonder why I can see my daughters feet so easily (because rear facing). OMG. Yes, we never buckled her again! She managed to scrunch down that her feet were basically up in the air! Omg. I nearly fainted and of course felt so guilty!!! UG!! We buckled her and swore to always double check. Needless to say, 2 kids later, that wasn’t the last time we forgot. When they were bigger, I’ve had them yell from back seat “Mom! I’m not buckled!” Crap!! Pull over and swore to double…Ah, who am I kidding. It happened several times because Mom Brain! (it’s a constant thing!) Now they are able to buckle themselves. Thank god!!

And have you ever had a kid get sick in your car? The worst! We just dropped Olivia off at a summer music camp, driving home with Alex (probably 3 yrs. old), he said his belly hurt, I’m like oh god. So I pull over and get a plastic bag, hand it to him and tell him to throw up in it, if he has to. I know, he’s only 3, but I had to do something. We’re still 15-20 minutes from home. Start driving and like 2 minutes later, BLEEECH! My poor boy pukes. And none of it goes in the bag because I failed to show him how to open it first, so he just scrunched it up in front of his mouth! My poor little man! He did, at least, stop it from flying everywhere! Once we got home, I cleaned my poor boy up, hosed down the gross car seat and luckily, I was able to get a ride for Liv so he didn’t have to get back in the car again! Puke+ moving vehicle = disaster. This is the only and hopefully LAST time my kids get sick in the car. Now, I probably just jinxed it.

When Liv was about 3 years old, we had a little 4 door car. We were getting in to go home from somewhere, she hops in the back seat, I close the door and she screams. Oh no! I slammed her fingers in the door!!! I quickly open it, and luckily, OH SO LUCKILY, they weren’t pinched bad. The weather stripping in the door cushioned her fingers that they didn’t smash too bad! More scared than hurt I think. More mommy guilt! To this day, I still check for fingers before I close doors.

Now I just have to listen to them bicker and fight in the back seat. Oh joy.


Do you have a rockin’ family car you love? What do you keep in your vehicle? How about a car story or mishap? Share in comments or on my Social Media!!

Until next time…

What to keep in the family van. Trying to be somewhat prepared.
What to keep in the family van. Trying to be somewhat prepared.


  1. Mary Leigh

    August 9, 2017 at 3:23 pm

    These are great tips! I need to get a trash can and also just a bin for little toys for my toddler in the car!

    1. EDamanda

      August 9, 2017 at 4:21 pm

      Thanks! Yes, keep those little ones occupied!

  2. Caitlin

    August 9, 2017 at 10:18 pm

    Wow sounds like you could live out of your car if you had to! Lol! My minivan is the “family car” also so I totally get it. Luckily my husband cleans it out for me or it would NEVER get cleaned. Whoops. And yes we’ve had a kid puke in the car several times now and it is the WORST! Those car seat straps are never the same after no matter how hard you scrub.

    1. EDamanda

      August 9, 2017 at 10:27 pm

      Oh yes. Those straps get pretty gross! Thanks for comment. #momlife

  3. Ellen

    August 19, 2017 at 9:45 am

    These are fantastic tips! A little thought upfront can make things a lot easier when you’re away from home. We used to do flash cards during trips when our kids were young. Even without kids, your bin idea is still relevant.

    1. EDamanda

      August 19, 2017 at 9:55 am

      Thank you Ellen! Many different ways to keep kids busy. Thanks for comment. 😊

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