Back to school is upon us! For many of us this means hours a day in carpool with lots of idle time waiting. But there are some things that you can do in your car to maximize your time while you wait:

Clean out your email.

Don’t check your email…clean it out and organize it! Lots of people use their inbox as a to-do box. They leave emails that need action in their inbox as a reminder. This is fine until important emails get buried with newer emails that come in. Use your time in carpool to complete the actions necessary for you to delete the emails forever. If you are holding on to emails as a reference, create folders to help organize these emails instead of using the inbox.

Organize photos on your phone.

Most importantly, delete photos from your phone. Every client that I do a photo organizing project is overwhelmed with the number of photos they have. The average person takes 5 photos a day (or 150 photos a month!) Having less photos equals an easier time organizing them. Easy ones to delete are photos that are blurry, photos that are half covered with your finger, and ones that you took to text to someone (like a shopping list or quick selfie). Also think about deleting multiple photos of the same event. Do you really need 7 photos of your kids eating cake?

Work on a budget.

A lot of the paper clutter I see in homes is relating to good intentions of getting a budget together. Receipts and statements can quickly take over your home and create clutter. There are many budgeting apps that will automatically download transactions for your back and credit cards. Try apps like Every Dollar, YNAB (You Need a Budget), or Mint will allow you to easily match each transaction to a designated category to help you manage your money.

Organize your car.

Grab a trash bag and start with the trash. It is insane how quickly things will accumulate. Go through your glove box and console. Ask yourself what you really need access to in your car.  Find a home for things like sunglasses, hand sanitizer, Kleenex, and a few pens and pencils. Ditch the expired coupons, plastic utensil packs, and fast food straws.

Organize mail.

Pick up mail on the way to carpool and process it while waiting. Trash the junk, pay the bills with your bank’s app, and handle any paper that needs action. Unless you are writing off bills on your taxes, the IRS says you don’t need to keep them once they are paid. So toss those, too, after they are paid. Keep the paper from ever entering your home and becoming clutter.


After a productive time in carpool, reward yourself with some relaxation! In a few minutes, your car will be filled with screaming kids and the real work begins. Homework, transporting to practices, games, dance, dinner, and baths will quickly consume your remaining afternoon and evening. Enjoy these last few moments and invest in yourself. Read a book, call a friend, or flip through your favorite magazine.

The long wait time in carpool just might end up being your favorite time of the day! What kinds of things keep you sane while waiting in the car? Let me know in the comments.