It’s been cold in Portland this past week – every morning when I step outside to walk the dog, the spiderwebs are outlined in delicate frost, like they’ve been dipped in superfine sugar.  Two nights ago the fog was so thick they were sounding the foghorns on the river all night, and I’ve noticed that the laundry in our house is piling up twice as fast since my husband and I are  wearing so many layers of clothing to stay warm.

I was getting ready to go to rehearsal the other night, and even though I had driven earlier in the day, by 6pm my windows had iced up enough that I had to scrape them before I could leave.  Because I’m on an actor’s schedule (meaning that although I often work late into the evening, I don’t typically have to be places early in the morning), I hadn’t needed to unearth the ice scraper yet this winter.  So I opened my glove compartment to look for it, and saw this:

glove before

It’s definitely full of stuff – but what, exactly?

I rooted around a little, but it was so crammed I couldn’t really tell what was in there.  In addition to a glove compartment, my car also has a console between the driver and front passenger seat, so I looked there, too:

other storage before

Less crowded, but still no ice scraper.

It wasn’t in there either.  There is also a compartment above the glove compartment that I think is probably meant for really tidy minimalist-type people to neatly  store their one pair of sunglasses or something.  I knew the ice scraper wasn’t in there though, because I use that space to stuff my old parking receipts:

receipt drawer

95% of these are from 2012, and should be either thrown out or kept for tax purposes where applicable. But they’re still in my car.  Because I’m lazy.

After searching the trunk and the rest of the car, I finally found my ice scraper, shoved under the front passenger seat.  As I rushed to rehearsal, having lost so much time digging through the crap in my car, it occurred to me that my car might be a good lagom area to focus on.

So today, it was time for an organizing project!  I emptied out all three storage areas and brought everything inside to sort :

Glovely mess

My husband walked by, saw the mess on the kitchen table, and asked incredulously, “You managed to shove ALL that into your glove compartment???”  I half-heartedly defended myself by telling him it was actually from three storage areas so…you know…it wasn’t quite as bad as it looked.  Here is the mess sorted:

Glovely mess sorted

ice scraper, lens cleaners, binoculars, nail kits, receipts, car manual, insurance paperwork, pens (only a few worked), broken keychains, CD’s, swiss army knife, stray earbud, flashlight, and of course, trash

Some of these items made total sense to me – my car manual, insurance information, flashlight, pens–these are all things I either legally have to keep in the car, or have used on a regular basis.  But let’s take a closer look at some of the other items I found:

ear bud

I have no idea where I got this earbud, nor any recollection of ever using it.  I’m not an earbud type of person.  I think I may have gotten it right after Oregon made it illegal to talk on the phone while  you drive.  But I never really get in the car intending to be on the phone, so if I do have to take a call, I typically just put it on speaker.  But since it would be SO much effort to remove it from the car, it’s still there.

nail kits

This is a pile of nail kits.  Five, to be exact.  Why so many?  Well, if you go in for a manicure/pedicure, you must bring your own nail kit, or they charge you extra for a new one.  I keep mine in the glove compartment, so I’ll never forget it.  So I should have just one, right?  Ah, that is where your math is wrong.  On more than one occasion, I have parked, walked into the salon, sat down the chair, and put my feet in the soaking tub, only to realize I left my kit in the car.  And since I’m lazy, I just let them charge me for a new one.  And then stuff it in the glove compartment with all the others.


I cannot even begin to explain why I have binoculars in my car.  I don’t bird watch.  Or stalk people.  Or go to the opera.  They are super cheap and look like they were a promotional item.  What the HELL are they doing in my glove compartment?  I have no idea.  Weird.

Insta clears

The Insta-clears are for cleaning my glasses.  I wear glasses to drive, so these are a smart thing for me to have, and they are totally made for on-the-go use.  However, I do know that I have had these for a VERY long time, and obviously have one full box, and about half of another. Which tells you about how often I clean my glasses (gross, I know).  Apparently, having a box of lens cleaners in my car doesn’t make any kind of change in my behavior, so I’m on the fence if they should stay or go.


You need a flashlight in your car.  But let me amend that slightly –  you need a WORKING flashlight  that doesn’t suck in your car.  This one is dead.  And it’s a weird one too – there is a handle on the back that you wind to charge the battery, and apparently you’re supposed to do that every 30 days to keep it charged.  I have not been doing that, so it is dead.  I know I bought it because it was on sale, which was dumb.  The whole point of a flashlight is that it is there when you need it, charged up and reliable.  I am not the type of person who is ever going to remember to wind my flashlight every 30 days.  So even on sale it was a waste of money, and I should have known that when I bought it.

ice scraper

This ice scraper, however, which is what caused my whole glove compartment lagom session in the first place, is AWESOME.  The handle is encased in a warm, cozy mitt, so your hands don’t get cold while you scrape.  Genius.  I didn’t even buy this–a very kind neighbor helped me scrape my windows one morning with this scraper, and when I admired it, he gave it to me.  I think fondly of him every time I use it.

So it turns out I am keeping plenty of stuff I didn’t even know I had, and I’m actually missing something I really need (a working flashlight).  So here’s what I did:

  1. Threw away the trash
  2. Threw away or filed relevant reciepts
  3. Threw away the broken flashlight, keychains, stray earbud, all non-working pens, and cheap binoculars
  4. Made a note to buy a new flashlight
  5. Consolidated down to one nail kit and tossed the rest
  6. Returned the CD’s to their storage case in the house
  7. Threw away expired insurance cards (there were 3 total), duplicate accident reporting forms, and put my car registration and insurance cards together in a new labeled envelope that wasn’t tattered with age
  8. Decided to keep the Instaclears, but they are on probation.  If I haven’t used up the half pack in the next three months, I’m tossing all of them, because clearly (get it?  Clearly?  Ha.) they are not something I seem to really need.

Here are the items that made the cut:

annotated glovely cut

1 – Insurance accident form, 2 – ice scraper, 3 – nail kit, 4 -Instaclears, 5 – car owner’s manual, 6 – swiss army knife, 7- insurance cards and car registration, 8 – working pens and pencils

I put my paperwork, car manual, swiss army knife, and ice scraper all back in the glove compartment.  I can see everything that’s in there now:

glovely final

In the console between the front seats, I put the Instaclears, pens & pencils, and my sole nail kit:

side drawer final


And the storage area above the glove compartment?  Totally empty.  Ready for more receipts, or you never know, maybe one minimalist pair of sunglasses:

receipt drawer final

I was kind of wondering if I was missing anything important besides the flashlight- I do have jumper cables and a blanket in my trunk, and I need to get a phone charger for my car (grrrr…stupid Apple and your stupid new incompatible jack on the iPhone 5…), but other than that, I think this might just be lagom.

What  about you?  What’s in your glove compartment?  Dare I say…binoculars?