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Summertime Car Kit

Martha Stewart Living, August 2012

We polled our editors to come up with the ultimate arsenal for your foraging, picnicking, and beach-going needs. Stock the car with these items and you'll be prepared to stash anything, such as fresh clams and vintage jam jars. Tuck it all away in the cooler when not in use.

1. A plastic drop cloth underneath a blanket prevents wet grass from putting a damper on picnic plans. Or line the trunk with it when bringing plants home from the store.

2. In addition to the cooler, an accordion organizer ($19, can keep small items (maps, phone chargers, flashlights) from rolling around in the trunk.

3. and 4. With a moving blanket, you're always ready to wrap up furniture finds -- or have a picnic. Secure it with a bungee cord.

5. Stockpile wipes for hands and sticky accidents.

6. A galvanized bucket can hold flowers or umbrellas.

7. Keep newspaper on hand for bundling up breakables.

8. Stuff grocery bags inside a paper towel roll for carrying produce or trash.

9. For cleaning up spills and drying hands, paper towels are as indispensable in the car as they are in the kitchen.

10. Remove dust or sand from bare feet, shoes, or your car's interior with a mini broom and dustpan.

11. Beyond holding road-trip essentials, a cooler can be used to store fragile new treasures while you're still on the road.

Comments (10)

  • soldbydee 8 Jun, 2013

    If you ever receive a cooler from Omaha Steaks, you can save it to keep in the car. Also can save it in case off a power outage in which to keep freezer and refrigerator food.

  • Tisnic 7 May, 2013

    I agree with the jugs of water! Add dish soap and hand soap. Not all road side stops or beach side areas have decent hand washing or toilet facilities.

  • barbarajl 7 May, 2013

    When going to the beach I fill old 4 litre (gallon) milk jugs with water. They get nice and warm sitting in the car while we're at the beach and everyone can clean off at the car with warm water (including the dog).

  • Bmwmercedes 7 May, 2013

    I use old tissue boxes to stuff plastic bags from the grocery in. I keep a box in trunk and each room to use in small waste cans in house. No one notices they are not tissues and I am not wasting the boxes.

  • srqberk 7 May, 2013

    I also add a small refillable container of baby powder for getting sand off from the beach, a bottle of water to quench a quick thirst or on hand to wet a towel or rinse an item off. The wet wipes dry out in the heat of the car and the water can rehydrate a sheet quickly. A pair of disposable slippers like those given from pedicure/spa treatments; they roll up and are one size fit all. A baggie size first aid kit with a band aid, neosporin, q-tip, cotton swab, and a safety pin.

  • Kevin55 28 Nov, 2012

    Thanks for the nice list here. I have never thought about few of those things! Now I will know how to make my own car summer basket. Thanks one more time and keep publishing such nice ones in the nearest future too.
    Regards, Travis from auto insurance

  • trespalmas 18 Aug, 2012

    I always look for and pack plastic table cloths with felt backing, at the beach put plastic side down soft on you and easy to get sand off , and can also be used as a dropcloth or to pack something!

  • ljmeisinger 12 Aug, 2012

    Where do I find the white cooler that these items are packed in?

  • Syllist 10 Aug, 2012

    Great ideas!

  • Dorothy Perretti 9 Aug, 2012