Need to organize your car? Ford engineer can help

Need to organize your car? Ford engineer can help

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Sejal Shreffler, a Ford interaction and ergonomics engineer, demonstrates simple ways commuters can stay organized using their in-car vehicle storage systems. She is in a Ford Fusion. (Ford Motor Co.)

If you’re the sort of person whose socks are all folded in a drawer – or even better, if you can never find a pair that match – one of Ford’s vehicle interior engineers has developed some simple tips to that might make it easier for you to find things in your car.

Ford interaction and ergonomics engineer Sejal Shreffler knows what she’s talking about.

She has spent 20 years figuring out what belongs where in your vehicle and has helped to create features like the lockable bin under the rear seat of a Ford Super Duty pickup.

Here are her tips, plus a couple of my own.

Sejal Shreffler’s tips for organizing your car

Know your zones. Figure out what you need quick access to, especially anything you might need while the vehicle is moving. Parking passes, sunglasses, etc. They belong nearby, where you can reach them without moving yourself. Even the glove box is too far to reach and too hard to see in a moving vehicle. These items belong in the storage bin or trays of the center console, driver’s door and dash. If you’ve wondered why automakers are experimenting with so many new shifter designs, one of the reasons is to create more storage space in the center console, between the front seats. Everything else in the car goes farther from the driver in zones determined by when and how often you use them.

  • Size matters. Put little objects in small cubbies, where they’ll be easy to find and won’t roll out of reach. A plastic tray can keep pens, etc., together in the glove box or center console.

  • The container store or dollar store is your friend. A few bins and boxes can keep your trunk organized and make everything easy to find.
  • Lock it up. Many vehicles have closed or lockable compartments. Put valuables there, to keep them out of view. Anything that makes your vehicle a less attractive target for thieves increases the likelihood they’ll move on.
  • Find a routine. Figure out what you use regularly, and always put those objects in the same places. Simple habits like connecting your phone before you start driving can reduce distraction and make you a safe driver.
  • Get the junk out of your trunk. Don’t haul around stuff you never use. The odds are it will have broken or run down by the time you need it. Stuff left in the trunk for years slides around, falls apart and stops working. Every pound you carry with you, but don’t use, equals wasted fuel and higher operating costs.
  • Now, my list

    I’m nowhere near as organized as Shreffler – ask anybody who’s seen my desk in the newsroom – but when you jump from one vehicle to another as often as I do, you either develop a few good habits or spend a lot of time looking for the USB cable you left in last week’s test vehicle.

    Now, quick: Where’s your tire gauge?

    You DON’T HAVE ONE? Oh, man, oh, woman. We gotta talk.

    Common sense

    • Seat belts aren’t just for people. Use the passenger side belts to hold your briefcase, grocery bag, etc., in place. They’re less likely to spill onto the floor and distract you in traffic.

  • Tie me up, tie me down. A couple of bungee cords can make a big difference when you pick up new cargo. The TV you just bought can slide around and be damaged, or distract you and make accidents more likely.
  • Weather and Traffic