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Car organizing.

Less stuff = less stress, especially when it comes to your car.

Back in 2004 I have a lot of junk in my trunk.

It wasn’t on purpose, but it happened.  I had a huge car (a 1984 Chevy Caprice.)  I was working full time AND I was in school getting my degree in Early Childhood Education.  I didn’t have a designated parking spot at my apartment building – my car was too big to get in and out of the garage without bumping into walls or other cars.  Sometimes the parking in my neighborhood was so bad I’d have to park three or four blocks away.

So when it came time to carry stuff from the house to the car, well–it didn’t happen.

Not a big deal, you’d think, right?  Messy car, college kid, whatever.

Not a big deal if you’re driving around.  But when you get rear ended and your car dies blocks away from your house and the tow truck is coming to get it the next day, well, it is a big deal.

Full story:  I got rear ended on the freeway.  I ended up being able to drive my car around another week, thank goodness.  After a week, however, it stopped working.  Who knows why–maybe because it was an old car, maybe the accident had jarred it.  

Anyway, I was parked up the hill from my house.  I had just returned home from school.  It was 9pm.  The tow truck was coming to get my car the next day and it was FULL of stuff. Like FULL.

I needed to get my stuff out.

For the next couple of hours, I rolled a shopping cart back and forth from my car to my apartment.  It was loud on the street at 9pm.  It was embarassing.  I lived

3 stories up and had to carry my stuff up without an elevator.  While coming in the door, I broke a jar full of lentils to make soup and had to sweep it up in the midst of everything.

It was not fun.

Recently, I went through another not fun experience–I was rear ended again.  I am holding up okay injury wise–I’ll live.  This time, my car was undriveable right away.  I called a tow truck from the scene and while I waited, I gathered my important things – my purse and a small box of car-related documents from the glove box, anything I needed media-wise and a couple of cans of soda water I was keeping in there to drink.

Not having a bunch of crap in my car to worry about in the midst of drama, tears a totaled Chevy Malibu, a three car pile-up and police statements, a big drawn-out insurance claim and lots of trips to the chiropractor, massage therapist and acupuncture was really helpful.  I didn’t have to worry about going up to the tow yard (in who knows whatever car I would have!) to gather millions of things.  I knew I had what I needed right there.  I didn’t have to worry.

There are a couple of reasons I bring this up.  One is that people often like to keep a bunch of stuff in their car to be prepared.  However, what I learned from this experience is that the best way to be prepared is to have less stuff – usually you don’t get stranded with the need for 12 mini-bags of goldfish crackers and a case of water.  (Well maybe?  I don’t know.  Have you?  I’m willing to withdraw that statement if necessary.)

The other reason I bring this up is I feel like it relates pretty solidly to real life.  In the case of an emergency or tragic event, having more usually doesn’t make things easier.  If you need to leave town to take care of a loved one, having a bunch of stuff to manage at home can be a huge burden.  And if you have a house full of stuff and have to move quickly?  Forget it.

Keeping things simple can be the relief you need in the midst of tragedy.  I know it was for me.

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