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May 11: Old Betsy

Someone I know use to call her car "Old Betsy" whenever she talked about whether her automobile would get her to some faraway destination! Old Betsy was her friend, and always looked out for her. Old Betsy never left her stranded on the side of the road late at night, and always got her to the most important events on time! I wish we all had friends like Old Betsy!



I've owned several cars during my lifetime, but my most challenging car to take care of was my husbands - a beautiful Nissan Maxima - which he cherished. He kept that car so clean - inside and out - and smelling good! Everyone that go into it marveled about how clean and good smelling it was! When I inherited the car, I wanted to live up to his standards of cleanliness and so I began working on my "car-keeping" (like housekeeping) skills!


Before the Maxima, I would try to keep my car neat inside - just in case I had passengers - but I rarely - and I mean rarely - got it washed! Maybe 4-6 times a year - and that's stretching it! I would vacuum it maybe 6 times a year - so you know how much dirt accumulated. I always said I was "too busy" to wash my car regularly. That was before I married my husband. He used a monthly car wash service (you pay one price and can take your car thru it every day if you want to) and encouraged me to do the same...... he even wanted to take my car for me! But no! I didn't see the need for such car cleanliness! One thing he did stress was regular maintenance - he would make an appointment for both of our cars at the same time and we would go together.......so sweet! We kept very good maintenance records and I passed mine on to the next owner.


One day I met a client at an office building, and after the meeting she walked over to my car to talk. It was cold so she asked if she could jump in my car for a minute. Oh no! My car was not clean! This moment of truth made me realize the need to have a clean car at all times - it's a reflection of ourselves as much as a clean home or clean clothes. If you care about something, you keep it clean. So I had to decide on a cleaning schedule and whether I would do it myself (out back with a bucket and sponge!), or use a monthly service. I chose the monthly service and went when I could. I also stashed my junk in the trunk - out of view of clients!


With my husband's car, it was different! I wanted to keep it as clean and neat as he did. He was a minimalist - so if he didn't use it, he didn't keep it. I sold my car, and transfered all of my things to his car..... oh no! His trunk was looking junky. I couldn't have that! I quickly started looking at everything with a minimalist eye - "do I need it? is it in good condition or should I trash it? is this a duplicate of something I already have?"


I pared everything back to that one small black folding box that he had bought to organize his trunk things (he bought me one too!). Everything that should be in my trunk fits in there (a few tools, rags, rain poncho, umbrella, bottles of water, gloves, etc.). The only things that don't fit but are still allowed in the trunk are: folding chairs for baseball and soccer games, a blanket for emergencies, my bag of reusable bags and my gym bag. I also cleaned and organized my glove box and stocked it with napkins! You always need napkins! My next step on the road to a clean car - organizing the center console! Oh my....one thing at a time!


Take Away: Have your car regularly maintained (like an oil change!) - it will last longer, with fewer problems. Keep your car clean - it will feel better driving it, and become one of your "zen" places - peace will surround you (and it will smell good!). Don't forget the good music! Tomorrow we'll look at organizing that space where all family life revolves around....the kitchen!

About the Author: L. Sidney Irving is the owner of Sidco Properties, a real estate company dedicated to educating and assisting those that want to buy or sell a home, Sidney loves to organize herself and those around her because she believes that an organized space brings peace and fosters creativity. May the power of organization be with you!

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Read "31 Days of Organizing" May 1-31 here.

Sidco Properties

Mail: P.O. Box 640, Shady Side, MD 20764

Phone: 301.842.7094 ​

Email: sidcoproperties@gmail.com

Web: sidcoproperties.net

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