In the first part  of my Jeep Life series, I listed the storage compartments immediately accessible from the driver’s seat that make staying organized while living on the road a helluva lot easier.

In part two, I’m taking it back to the passenger seats…or lack thereof.

You see, when you live out of your car, your vehicle ceases to be simply a car. Gone are the days when you could haul around your friends to the movies or load ‘em up and head to the put-in. No. The backseat, and any available bit of free space, becomes your dresser. Or your closet. Or your garage. Or all of the above.

Staying organized back there can be a downright nightmare. The phrase “out of sight, out of mind” comes to mind—it’s not in my immediate driver’s access area, so who cares how messy it is?

The looks of disgust I get when the precious few people I let into my passenger seat turn around and size up my backseat-dresser-garage are enough to shame me into tidying the place up a bit.

This is how I organize the back-seat-dresser-closet-garage of the Jeep Cherokee.

steps

Step 1: Clean out everything. I do this at least once monthly, but in months like July when there’s a festival every other weekend, the cleaning becomes more frequent. Regular cleaning prevents one from stumbling moldy cheese and rotting vegetables that have fallen in between the cracks…not that I’d know anything about that.

Step 2: Fold the back seats down. This is likely the greatest feature in the Cherokee. With the seats down, your storage space doubles. Plus, the heavy-duty felt on the backside of the seats is more durable and easier to clean.

Step 3: Compartmentalize. I have three bins—one for my library, one for my shoes (after all, a girl’s got to have her shoes), and one for my clothes. I’ll let you guess which bin is for my latter.

Step 4: Utilize your space. In the trunk of the Cherokee is a side pocket which is the perfect size for emergency essentials like a first aid kid, fire starter, and, uh…baby wipes. You don’t want to be caught anywhere in a pinch without your baby wipes.

The pocket on the back of the driver’s seat is where all of my miscellaneous items tend to gather, like cheapo sunglasses, “go outside and play” stickers, cables and cords, and backup headlamps.

Now that the obvious storage and organization part is over, it’s time to get creative. The “oh #%*! handles,” as I like to call them, make great spots to hang helmets and small daypacks. The headrests of seats are also great places to hang jackets, climbing gear, purses. The more stuff you have off the floor, the longer those things will last (and the more sane you’ll be when you can actually find what you’re looking for).

And finally, last but not least, the door side pockets are the perfect place to stow bug spray, sunscreen, and extra snacks. Of course, this bin also often doubles as my trash can when I’m feeling lazy.

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