Vehicle trash and paper file management

Dan Robinson

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Jan 14, 2011
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St. Louis
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I'm curious to hear others' solutions for two of my biggest unsolved vehicle issues: trash management and paper file storage.

Trash/garbage has been a thorn in my side for as long as I've been chasing, and nothing I've tried has ever really worked well. Here are a few:

- Small plastic trash can. No good place to put it that is also within easy reach for regular use. Usually ends up falling over or rolling around. Rejected.
- Small grocery bags (paper or plastic). Nice to be able to throw away at gas stations/rest areas/fast food places when full. Good for keeping within easy reach, but no dedicated place to put it to keep it out of the way. Usually lasts only a day or two on the road.

Paper file storage is something more related to using my vehicle as a mobile office, which is an issue that comes up in certain chasing situations. The idea is to have a place in the interior of the car where papers can be stored flat (unfolded) and are not going to get crumpled or wet. It needs to be something permanently installed, nothing just laying out on the seats (like a binder). I've tried:

- Wall-mounted file trays. Good when I had a pickup truck with a vertical back wall, but not so much with a car.
- Mini file cabinet. Does the job, but takes up too much space. OK with an extended cab truck, not in a car.
 
Aug 16, 2009
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Amarillo, TX
Trash works like this in my chase vehicles:

Throw trash on floor in back, pick up after chase is done, or when I'm at a gas station or something. Yeah those long trips can accumulate a lot of trash. And it is hard to keep it in one spot. As long as it won't drip or smell terrible, I just toss it on the floor. Otherwise I'll put it in a plastic bad and tie it closed. I usually hit a gas station before heading out on a trip to buy snacks (jerky, trail mix, water) and always ask for a sack.
 

Timothy Finn

While not ideal, I have come up with systems for both in my truck.

The trash:


This hook is located in between the center stack and the glove compartment in my truck, and fits a plastic shopping bag just about perfectly. It's also not terribly intrusive, until the bag starts filling with things like bottles.



The center console thing in the Ram is where I keep files, but admittedly, not too many, and not with great organization. Fact is, I have several file folders UNDER the console portion, simply lying on the seat, and held in place by the folding console section atop them.

Like I said, not ideal, but it works, and keeps things from getting scattered about.

Tim
 
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Sep 29, 2011
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47
Fort Worth, TX
www.passiontwist.com
In years past (when I was both younger and single for much of that time) my chase partners and I had chase vehicles that resembled pig pens much of the time. Over the years, as I've gotten older, neater, and have a woman in my life who is a clean freak that could rival Jerry Seinfeld, our solution is much better. Nothing scientific about it really, I just put all trash in the floorboard behind my seat during a chase. The key is, I clean it out after every chase. There are some days where it's just a Subway bag and a plastic water bottle, and other days when it's chock full of everything you can imagine. But, I've found that as long as I clean it out after each chase, it doesn't really matter.

As for paper filing, we don't really have anything important that we need to carry (minus road maps/atlas). But the solution here is easy as well: our front seats have pull-out "pockets" on the backside, which allows easy storage of anything paper, and can be opened wide enough to accommodate multiple thick binders/maps/etc. The car we have now (1999 Cadillac Catera) just happens to work really well for our style of chasing, both with interior design and on-road performance.
 
Feb 27, 2009
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Texarkana, AR
I have a bucket in the back of my truck for trash. But for the papers I made a cardboard box that is about an inch thick that sticks up above my visor on the passenger side. The visor over there is really stiff and it will hold up whatever I stick in that box. Probably not as many papers as you are talking about.
 
The openings in the drivers side and passenger sides at the bottom of the doors serve as a trash bin for receipts and small stuff. I'm pretty good about throwing out the big trash during a chase while I am pumping gas, it makes use of the time I would normally be just standing there watching the gas total go up. Any additional paperwork items either end up in the glove box or the center console, and stays there until I get tired of digging through stuff to get to something.
 
Nov 6, 2011
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Elmore, AL
if your alone try a police style police organizer that slips over the front passenger seat if u chase alone - there are a few different models that offer different storage solutions - as for trash - i have a tendency to throw it in the passenger foot well into a bag of some sort - just make sure u drain out left over ice outa the drinks and stuff a used napkin into them barbecue sauce packets to help prevent splatter and leakage... theres my two cents...
 

Jeff Duda

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Oct 7, 2008
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Do you stop for potty breaks? Do you stop for meals? If so, then you have a perfect opportunity to discard whatever trash you have accumulated since your last trash stop right there. If you have that much of a problem keeping trash amounts down, well...sometimes you just have force yourself into good habits.
 

Dan Robinson

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Jan 14, 2011
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Of course the trash is emptied at each stop. The problem is what you do with the trash inside the car in between stops. On a long trip, that can be hours. Maybe I'm just OCD, but I don't like throwing it on the floor. I'm not knocking that, I just don't like to get out of the car and walk around to clean up the trash in the other seat floorboards at each stop/drivethrough/quick gas stop. Looking for a better way.
 
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Jeff Duda

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Jeff, where do you put the trash for the several hours in between stops?
I accumulate very little trash. Usually I stop every one to two hours either because I've reached the general region of my target and am beginning to refine my target or I just feel like taking a break. I don't normally stop that frequently when travelling for non-chasing purposes, but I also only eat three meals a day and if I buy anything it's usually just a gatorade or a fun size bag of chips. In those cases, I just let them lay on the floor or in the center console. It takes up very little space. I throw everything out each time I stop.
 

Dan Robinson

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Jan 14, 2011
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I tend to carry a stash of snacks/gum/sugar-free candies/etc with me, the wrappers of which are the worst. I usually have some sort of bag in the car (old shopping bag, fast food bag, etc) to put that in, but again, it's always in the way as there's no good place to stow it that is also in easy reach while driving. If I'm by myself, a hook under the passenger glove compartment might work. If I have passengers, not so much.

I guess it's a matter of preference. I like to have all of my chase 'support systems' permanently installed so I have as little to think about as possible before, during and after a chase. Also, the little things I install for chasing always end up providing benefits in everyday driving.
 
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John Wetter

SN President
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Dec 11, 2005
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Maple Grove, MN
www.WxChaser.com
I use a square storage container that I lost the cover for. It fits perfectly in between the front and back seats so it doesn't fall over when driving about 18" tall, 8" wide, and 12" long. It keeps all the trash and then I empty it when getting gas. Works perfectly.
 
Nov 18, 2006
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Chicago, IL
I use fast food bags usually from the drive through and pile stuff in there as I go then when I stop at a gas station I toss it and usually ask my passengers if they have anything as well. Seems to work out well until I get home and find 20 bottles and various wrappers. Chasers are indeed slobs. I should start charging a vehicle maintenance fee for regulars.
 
Dec 25, 2006
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Iowa City, Iowa
Great topic. Love the variety of responses.

Haven't had to deal with trash for years as I have an OCD habit that compels me to eat any sort of paper or plastic wrapper or container I come into contact with. As soon as I get the wrapper off the cheeseburger -- it's in my mouth too. ;)

Of course this puts me and Terrence at odds when he decides to release his "probes" into the updraft ... more than once I've been sprung into a panic attack at the sight of my McChicken wrapper sailing skyward towards an angry meso!

Oh, to be insane! :)
 

Dan Robinson

Staff member
Jan 14, 2011
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St. Louis
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To resurrect this old thread with a solution that has been working great for me. I bought a storage container from Menard's that is 17"x12"x8", which fits perfectly in the floor in front of the back seat or passenger seat. It is a stainless steel decorative type thing, but there was nothing else that had this exact dimension. All of the Tupperware type plastic ones were either too big or too small to be of any use.

Then, I looked around for something that could be used as a "chute" to attach to the container and bring within reach if the driver's position. I found a plastic gutter extender that is easy to cut, made a bracket that lets the lower end hang onto the lip of the storage container. The other end of the chute is secured with cable ties. The container can then be pulled and dumped when it gets full, and everything from small wrappers to big coffee cups and bottles is contained and out of sight.

I haven't found any trash bag liners that would fit well here, but keeping my eye out.
 
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Dan Robinson

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Jan 14, 2011
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Marc, those will probably be perfect for that, thanks!

The other item to mention is that I built a shelf that rests on the seat and extends forward overtop of the trash container. Not only conceals it, but adds some usable space on top of the seat well for cameras and such. It is all within easier reach from the driver side, and avoids things crashing into the floor during hard braking.

I used a standard wire shelf cut to fit. The cut ends have rubber caps you can buy for that purpose that keep the sharp edges from scratching up things. I put a floor mat on the shelf to make it a solid surface that can hold anything I need.

Right now all of this is in my front passenger seat, but can be moved to the back in the rare event someone is chasing with me.