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Maximizing Your Vehicle Cargo Storage

A clean trunk. Maximize your vehicle cargo storage with these helpful tips.

Got some junk in your trunk? Our car trunks are great for carrying stuff, but not great for keeping it neat. Let’s talk about how to maximize your vehicle cargo storage.


The first step in maximizing your vehicle cargo storage is to minimize the cargo. There’s probably a lot of stuff back there that you forgot you even had. Which raises the question — do you need it? Take a few minutes, go out to the car, open the trunk and take stock of what you’re hauling around town. Loose stuff can make a quiet ride noisy, and heavy stuff can actually reduce your gas mileage.

It’s Triage TimeDisorganized trunk

Take out what’s in your trunk (with the exception of the spare tire, jack, and battery if it’s back there) and make three piles: “Essential,” “Might Come in Handy” and “What Is This, and Why Do I Have It?”. Anything that you DO know why you have it, but it really belongs in the garage, the house or someplace other than your trunk, can go in that last pile.

Start With That Last Pile

Stuff that should be someplace else? Take it there. Stuff that you absolutely know you don’t need? Trash, recycle or donate. Stuff that you aren’t even sure what it is? Ask a friend or do a little online research. If it turns out it’s something essential or that might come in handy, move it to one of those piles.

Now We’re Down to Two

Next is the “Might Come in Handy” pile. This is the tricky one, because this is where we all start rationalizing. Has the thing you thought might come in handy ever been needed? There’s nothing wrong with “just in case” stuff, but make sure you’re being realistic. The stuff you will be happy you have when the rare (but realistic) event occurs should go into the “Essential” pile.

And Then There Was One

Congratulations! The one pile you have left is all stuff that belongs in your trunk. But don’t just toss it all back in there and call it good. Those tools might benefit from a carrying case or bag. This is where storage solutions come in. Do some online shopping and see what’s available. Collapsible bins are a great solution for organizing the loose objects that don’t have their own cases or bags.

Your vehicle’s trunk is its closet — be creative like you would with the closets in your house, and you’ll be surprised how much easier it is to deal with the things in your trunk.

Check out all the storage solutions available on NAPA Online or trust one of our 17,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on vehicle cargo storage, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.

Photos courtesy of Mike Hagerty


Mike Hagerty View All

Mike Hagerty is an automotive journalist whose work has been featured on radio, TV, in print and online since 1997. He's the Publisher and Editor of, and contributes car reviews to the Los Altos Town Crier and Previous outlets have included KFBK and in Sacramento, California, the ABC television affiliates and Hearst-Argyle and Emmis radio stations in Phoenix, Arizona; AAA magazines for Arizona, Oklahoma, Northwest Ohio, South Dakota and the Mountain West and

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