8 Essentials to Have in Your Glove Box (and How to Organize It)

A glove box can be a pit of despair for some cars. You find everything you never needed in there – old receipts, shoved away makeup, tiny ketchup packets, small toys, you name it. But when you really need something (like when the cops pull you over – eek!), you can’t find it. Since most cars have center console storage now, you can easily fit the essentials in your glove box and still have room to tuck away a few extras…like actual gloves…when you need it.

As with any re-organization, I suggest taking everything out of your glove box. Then, separate it into three piles – purge, take into the house, keep in car. Of the “keep in car pile” identify what needs to be kept in the glove box. To help out, I’ve listed my essentials below:

1) Car Manual, Warranties, and Copy of the Title

These typically come with the car (with the exception of the title) and, if you’re like me, you only use them when you can’t figure out how to shut off your lights at a drive in movie theater (true story) or when you’re not sure what “that light” means. It’s important to keep these close and with most cars they already come in some sort of sleeve or folder. Keep it in the original and tuck in any warranties and the copy of the title into this manual.  It is sort of a one stop shop for everything pertaining to your car.  Put this at the bottom of your glove box pile

Next, I suggest getting a coupon organizing book (like the one below) that is at least 8 inches long so that tri-folded paper can easily fit. In it, you will put items 2-6.

2) Car Repair Bills/Receipts

This is the only type of receipt I will justify you keeping in your car or glove box. Keep these tri-folded in one of the sections of the coupon book. Here’s the reason – if your car needs to go into the shop, most good mechanics will keep a digital record of all repairs. However, if they don’t or you are at a new shop, you will want to know if your car really needs a new air filter, an alignment, etc. This saves you from spending extra money and you have the proof that you did indeed get new windshield wipers only two months ago.

3) Registration and Insurance Card

In more and more states, the registration is included in the windshield sticker but some states still require proof in the form of a paper card. Keep this card and the insurance card close together and in the front of the coupon book organizer. The coupon book organizer listed above is also great because it has a bold pattern you can easily see when you open up the glove box.

4) A List of Emergency Numbers

Yes, everyone has cell phones now, but just in case, keep a list of phone numbers you could need if you breakdown, are in an accident, or if you get lost. To help you organize, checkout my printable Contact List for the Car below.

Printable Contact List for the Car

This list should include:

  • local police in every city/town/county you travel through often (they can also possibly help you if you get lost)
  • local hospitals
  • local fire departments
  • local mechanics
  • AAA if you are a member plus your AAA number (I’ve signed up on the phone before!)
  • Emergency Contacts (so if you’re in a really bad accident, hopefully someone would find them).
  • car insurance company
  • kids’ schools/daycare
  • kids’ babysitters

This is not an exhaustive list, so any other number you think you would need in the event that you lost your cell phone, your phone dies, or it gets tossed around in an accident would be good to have. You may never use this list, but not having it could land you in a bigger problem.

5) Pad of Paper and Pen

I don’t know how many times I’ve been in a car and realized I didn’t have anything to write with or write on. This drives me crazy! But keeping a small, slim notepad and a couple of pens in your organizer will help if you need to leave somebody a note (no rude ones please!) or exchange insurance information with another driver.

6) 10 $1 Bills

In case you thought this was for Thunder from Down Under, don’t get excited. While I personally don’t care what you do with your $1 bills, these are for car purposes only. I find it’s good to have for tolls, car washes, and those times you want to grab a pack of gum but don’t want to use your credit card. Just be sure to keep this stocked up so you aren’t stranded without any cash.

7) Small Pouch of Essentials Specific to You

Everybody has their own things they wish they had in the car. It might be bobby pins, floss, hair ties, a comb, mints, granola bars, quarters, mascara, wet wipes, etc. Whatever essentials are important to you, keep them in a small catch-all pouch at the top of your glove box pile.

8) Napkins

I’ve never not needed a napkin at some point when I’m in a car. Whether it’s to clean up a spill, clean up my face, or wipe dust off of the dashboard, napkins are my number one most commonly used essential. I try to keep them wrangled in and not just throw any napkin in there because that can lead to more disorganization. Using a quart-size plastic zip top bag can keep the napkins organized, dry, and easy to grab. I also like these more than paper towels because they are compact and don’t go rolling around the car, collecting everything that’s ever been spilled on the floor.


While this may not be the most exciting thing you’ll ever organize, you will feel a lot better knowing that you have all the essentials you need. And if you want to make it fun, buy some really great pouches to make it the prettiest darn glove box you’ve ever seen! Nordstrom Rack, TJ Maxx/Marshalls, and Target all have great pouches in a range of sizes at really affordable prices.

What do you keep in your glove box when needed in a pinch?  Leave a comment below.

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