Top 10 Trunk Essentials

It’s always smart to store the essentials in your trunk, JUST incase!

Make sure you've always got these 10 items stored in your trunk at all times! Don't worry, these trunk essentials WON'T take up your entire trunk!

As the seasons change, it always seems like the right time to re-organize, re-fresh, re-clean.

Ummm..actually, who am I kidding. I do this daily. I don’t need a weather change as a prompt.

But our car was in need of some major cleaning out and organizing after a summer of road trips and camping. The first area I’m tackling is the trunk! I like to keep essentials in a nice organized manner in the event that ‘something’ happens. Hopefully I won’t need these items, but as the saying goes ‘better safe than sorry.’


Here are my top 10 trunk essentials 

1 Extra BlanketI store an old blanket that doesn’t really match any of our bedrooms. It’s come in handy to use as an extra blanket camping and when we go to outdoor concerts. And in the event that we had a real emergency, it’s wise to have extra blankets available.

2 Several Garbage Bags | These have been really useful to prevent the car from getting dirty – putting our dirty boots in post hiking trip and transporting plants in from Home Depot. Make sure you've always got these 10 items stored in your trunk at all times! Don't worry, these trunk essentials WON'T take up your entire trunk!

3 Water & Food I store two water bottles and a couple bags of nuts in the event that we need food or water. I’ve heard that it’s bad to keep plastic water bottles in a hot car for long periods of time. Yet in the event that we had a real emergency I figured that it would be better to have bad water than no water at all. We’ve also used the water for cleaning up spills.

4 Cleaning Spray & Paper TowelsWith the amount of road trips that we take, we do a lot of eating in the car, thus lots of spills and crumbs. Cleaning supplies have come in handy quite often!

5 Extra TowelIt’s great to have as a buffer between the car seat and anything else. We’ve put them on the seats when we’ve had dogs in our car. These specifically came in handy after a canoeing trip when I felt out of the canoe and was soaking wet. (Which was my last canoeing trip)

6 First Aid KitI make sure it’s stocked with a lot of band-aids of different sizes, as I tend to get blisters easily. Especially with more outdoor summer activities!

7 Extra Grocery BagsI can’t count the number of times on my hand when I went to the grocery store and forgot my plastic bags. Ugh. I always keep a couple in the trunk, just in case.

8 Flash LightMake sure you've always got these 10 items stored in your trunk at all times! Don't worry, these trunk essentials WON'T take up your entire trunk! Believe it or not, I’ve actually used the flashlight for extra light to put on make-up in the car before going out to dinner. Obviously not the intended reason for the flashlight, but it did come in handy 🙂 .

9 Small Umbrella | I live in Seattle. No further explanation needed.

10 Trunk OrganizerThis is the one I purchased to put all our items in. I love it and highly recommend it because: 1) it’cheap. 2) it can expand or shrink in size (we all know that trunk space is valuable so I love the options this organizer has). 3) it has Velcro on the bottom so it stays put! No worrying about things in the trunk moving around.

the top trunk essentials!

Any other essentials that you store in your trunk?

Make sure you've always got these 10 items stored in your trunk at all times! Don't worry, these trunk essentials WON'T take up your entire trunk!

Make sure you've always got these 10 items stored in your trunk at all times! Don't worry, these trunk essentials WON'T take up your entire trunk!






Make sure you've always got these 10 items stored in your trunk at all times! Don't worry, these trunk essentials WON'T take up your entire trunk!



  1. October 20, 2015 / 12:15 pm

    I don’t think I’ve ever thought about this…I love this idea! Very informative! 🙂

    Thanks for joining Cooking and Crafting with J & J!

  2. October 21, 2015 / 2:29 pm

    These are all very important things to have in the car in case of an emergency. Thanks for listing them, because I might have forgotten a thing or two.

  3. October 21, 2015 / 5:56 pm

    I LOVE that trunk organizer! What a great idea that it has velcro on the bottom… I hate listening to my emergency kit rolling around in my trunk!

  4. October 21, 2015 / 8:07 pm

    I keep a large plastic bin (like a blanket box) in the back of my car. That way I can put any groceries that might possibly burst, leak, break or otherwise get yucky into the bin to bring them home. It has saved the carpet in the back of the car more than once : )

  5. October 22, 2015 / 11:57 am

    This is a great list. I’m going to add some that I’m missing to my trunk. We learned early on with my first that we needed a towel underneath the car seat. It’s saved the leather seat so many times.

    We also keep a sweatshirt in the car that anyone in our family can wear when they get cold. It’s not very pretty, but we (especially the kids) have used it many times.

  6. November 4, 2015 / 7:33 am

    I never thought about putting an extra towel in our car until I went to an early morning football game and the bleachers were wet with dew! I learned the hard way 🙂 Thank you for this list and the reminder! Blessings always. Misty.

  7. November 8, 2015 / 6:27 pm

    I used to keep some of these in our van, but I need to update it and restock what has been taken out. I especially need to add trashbags.

  8. ElisaW
    November 10, 2015 / 7:38 am

    Living in North Idaho, I carry a set of “snow attire” in the trunk, along with everything else on your list. Snow boots, warm socks, hat & gloves, and a bibbed ski suit for warmth in case I get stuck on a lonesome highway out here.

  9. R G
    November 11, 2015 / 12:51 pm

    Tow rope or bungee cord of some sort and window washer fluid – both have saved our bacon many times.

  10. Laurie
    November 11, 2015 / 12:54 pm

    This are such great tips for the trunk – made me think I need to look in our trunks very soon!

  11. January 2, 2016 / 12:20 pm

    I always like to have sunscreen and baby wipes in my truck.

  12. Carol Thompson
    January 27, 2016 / 7:51 am

    Great ideas Lindsay! I live a ferry ride west of Seattle…which means we are both in the earthquake zone. If you spend time in your car every day like my family does, I think it is wise to think about the potential of being stranded for a while in my car. So I also put stocking caps, gloves, hand warmers, toiletries kit, batteries, cell phone charger and more food(beef jerky, power bars, dried fruits).
    A few years ago, I also put together emergency truck kits for both of my sons and their wives too.
    As you say, better safe then sorry

    • Lindsay @ Crazy Organized
      February 10, 2016 / 5:52 pm

      oh wow! We’re so close! I’m right downtown! Such a great idea about earthquake readiness items. Especially a phone charger! Thank YOU!!

  13. Cathy Williams
    February 26, 2016 / 6:50 am

    I also keep a large plastic tarp in my car. There are so many uses for this: if you need to be on the ground (to change a tire for example) and don’t want to get dirty; if a window breaks or (in my case) fails to roll back up; or even just underneath a blanket if the ground is damp. I got mine at Dollar Tree.

    • Lindsay @ Crazy Organized
      February 28, 2016 / 7:40 pm

      These are great ideas! I’m adding them to my trunk basket! Thanks for sharing!

  14. Tammy
    March 22, 2016 / 8:37 am

    My husband and I keep a roll of duct tape in the trunk. It saved us on a trip recently. We hit a racoon and the bumper was damaged …unfortunately, so was the racoon. ;(

    • Lindsay @ Crazy Organized
      April 5, 2016 / 11:43 am

      Oh my gosh! I’m so sorry! Great tip on the duck tape though. I’m putting that in our trunk today!

  15. Michele
    March 23, 2016 / 2:08 pm

    Great ideas! I would like to add jumper cables to the list. I’ve been stranded several times with a dead battery and there is usually someone around that wants to help but they didn’t have jumper cables. I recommend getting them and having someone teach you to use them with confidence.

    • Lindsay @ Crazy Organized
      April 5, 2016 / 11:44 am

      Oh that’s a good one! I would definitely have to have someone show me how to use those!

      • Cindy Wilcox
        September 8, 2016 / 7:13 am

        Check out a mobile power boost instead– it is a portable rechargeable power bank that can start your car (plugs into the power socket inside the car) but also has a USB and a DC 12 volt plug to charge electronics or run a fan (etc) on the go. Mine is about the size of 2 VCR tapes back to back and weighs about the same. Got it on Amazon for about $35.00 (search portable car jump starter) for my little Altima– there are larger ones for more battery storage or larger engines. Eliminates the need to rely on a stranger to help you.

        • Lindsay @ Crazy Organized
          September 13, 2016 / 9:25 am

          This is such a great idea! Thanks!!

  16. Michelle L.
    April 5, 2016 / 5:06 am

    These are all great ideas that I also have in my vehicle with the exception of water and nuts (I do not keep that in the vehicle). I do have a few lengths of rope which I have used for tying down the trunk, tying an item to the top of the vehicle (we have roof racks) or as a makeshift dog leash. I also include a travel john disposable urinal. We live in the desert and if there is an accident on the highway you can be stuck in traffic for hours with nowhere to go. For years I kept a coffee can with a small roll of toilet paper inside, but the travel john is a better alternative. I own an SUV so I use a backseat trunk organizer that hangs off the back seat. Love it. Keeps everything off the floor. In the glove box I keep a swiss army knife and a travel spork (spoon on one end and fork on the other) with extra napkins. If we are going on a day trip, I always throw our bug-out bag in the trunk with a cooler of water bottles.

    • Lindsay @ Crazy Organized
      April 5, 2016 / 12:01 pm

      Thanks Michelle! These are EXCELLENT ideas! Thank you thank you for sharing these!!

  17. Maryfrances
    June 4, 2016 / 8:16 pm

    I live in Florida and there are many canals. Many accidents with fatal result. We have a tool to break windows and cut safety belt. We keep it in our front door. We have the Velcro carrier in the trunk. Lots of great ideas! We keep a few books in as well

    • Lindsay @ Crazy Organized
      June 22, 2016 / 4:35 pm

      Such a good idea! Thanks for sharing this!

  18. RitzPicz
    July 16, 2016 / 9:58 pm

    Benadryl spray for mosquito bites, skin allergies, etc. I usually have all that plus what others have commented in my van but need to keep it at all times. I should have a checklist in the glove compartment. If you have kids keep extra diapers, wipes, clothes, extra underwear and pants for accidents. Then they aren’t as embarrassed when they have an accident and don’t have to go home but can just go to the car or if the school calls and you are not home can swing by the school. 😉 in the cold months I keep a blanket for each kid and they use it until the van warms up! Helps whining kids be quiet.

    • Lindsay @ Crazy Organized
      July 27, 2016 / 9:57 am

      Oh wow! Thanks for sharing all of these. Loving your list so much!

  19. September 3, 2016 / 5:59 am

    In the winter I keep a bag of kitty litter just in case I get stuck, a small camping shovel and hand warmers I can put in my gloves just in case.

  20. Laura
    September 4, 2016 / 1:58 pm

    We live near the beach so we always keep a small container of powder (to help get sand off our feet), a beach towel, and a ziplock or two for our phones or to collect shells in. We also keep ponchos that we purchased at the dollar store.

  21. NewYawkahBroad
    September 5, 2016 / 8:01 am

    A change of clothes for each person. Gallon bottled water (one for each person), small box of baking soda for bits and stings. A plug in heating blanket in the cold months. Reusable, plastic spoons, knives, forks in a snap lid container for each person. I use a cheese slicer to make soap shavings for one use washing. (Got that off Pinterest)

  22. Cindy Wilcox
    September 8, 2016 / 7:20 am

    I keep an extra pair of slip on shoes with rubber soles and some socks in case I’m stuck somewhere in my work shoes (not usually very walk-friendly styles)– they’ve come in handy also when I have been surprised by a thunderstorm or just have worn the wrong shoes to an event and need something more comfy to slip into. In Oklahoma you can get stuck in either blistering heat or in ice and snow– either way, good footwear is a must!

    • Lindsay @ Crazy Organized
      September 13, 2016 / 9:24 am

      This is brilliant! I’m adding to my list 🙂

  23. Georgia
    October 14, 2016 / 10:47 am

    My family leaves extra jackets and a few outfits and 2 or 3 pairs of shoes

  24. Audrey
    October 16, 2016 / 12:36 pm

    I may have missed it in the comments, but a NOAA radio for weather updates especially for open road situations. And, don’t forget a can of flat tire fix, and charging cables, and a small compass (ever back been out on back roads signs missing I ask myself am I going east or west; I hang my compass from the mirror on the front windshield) and last thing fill up on windshield wiper fluid before going on a long trip. Hope these help someone.

  25. Jourdan
    November 5, 2016 / 9:49 am

    Wipes & extra diapers! Wipes come in handy with or without kids. Also, my mom bought me a ‘Justin case’ bag which has battery cables, a blanket, flashlight and a lot more goodies for emergencies. Batteries and I’m gunna say an extra phone charger… you never know.

    • Lindsay @ Crazy Organized
      November 20, 2016 / 12:40 pm

      These are great ones!

  26. January 7, 2017 / 10:12 am

    All really great tips. I would add phone numbers for you an emergency, you can store in your cell phone. Maybe your insurance, a trusted lawyer, and auto body shop!

    • Lindsay @ Crazy Organized
      January 9, 2017 / 5:23 pm

      Great ideas! I’m adding those in my car now!

  27. Marie
    March 2, 2017 / 7:14 pm

    Good ideas. After our gas filter froze in our small car in very cold weather, I started keeping an old trench coat in our trunk. Lesson learned when husband had to walk to gas station wearing only a sport coat for warmth. There were icicles on his mustache when he returned.

    In wintertime it is wise to keep packaged handwarmers in the car.
    They helped to keep my daughter warm in Atlanta when she sat in her car for over 17 hours while stranded on expressway. Luckily, She had everything she needed to keep warm and hydrated.

  28. Andrea
    August 28, 2017 / 2:10 pm

    Love this list. I like to keep small plastic Easter buckets in each car in case we are picking up a sick kid from school and a roll of paper towels. Paper towels cover each puke thus keeping the puker from being grossed out and absorbs liquid. Makes clean up a little easier once you get home. Trust me.

    • Lindsay @ Crazy Organized
      August 30, 2017 / 1:10 pm

      Wow! This is such a smart tip! Thanks for sharing (and I love the idea of reusing Easter baskets).

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