On many days, it probably feels as though you could put a taxi light on the top of your car and start the meter running. Realistically, since the faces in the backseat are your kids, it's unlikely that you'll ever be paid a fare. Shuttling kids to and from club activities, sports, and play dates can leave you and your car looking haggard. If you'd like a calmer commute, read on for 5 tips on conquering car clutter.

1. Establish rules about food and drink

Clutter can certainly be annoying, but finding bits of apples or handfuls of chips shoved between the seats can be downright gross. Establish clear rules about what can and can't be eaten in the car. Since it's not healthy for anyone to always eat on the go, try to minimize snacking in the car. If you can allow even a few extra minutes for the commute, you may have time to offer a portable snack at your child's destination (soccer field, play date, etc). For times when it simply can't be avoided, minimize mess by allowing only water (in water bottles) for drinks, and storing snacks in reusable plastic containers.

2. Provide extra backseat storage

The pockets on the back of some driver and passenger seats often become a black hole for toys, pencils, books, and snacks. Keep these items contained by providing each child with a pocketed organizer that hangs in front of them. Encourage them to store all of their treasures in those pockets for safe keeping.

3. Store sports gear efficiently

There is nothing that can sour your commute like the smell of dirty soccer socks. If you have room, provide bins or laundry sacks for dirty sports equipment. Ensure that the bins/sacks are emptied every night. Maintaining a separate bin for dirty and clean can help lessen last minute scrambles. For more sports solutions, check out Lifetime Television's The Balancing Act; they're featuring on-the-go organizing solutions by Cequent Consumer Products.

4. Maintain an emergency kit

This bin (or bag) should have a first aid kit and any basic supplies needed for your child's activity. If you've got a soccer or football player, stash extra mouth-guards and socks. A theater or ballet star? Stock the kit with extra tights, hair pins, and shoe ties.

5. Schedule weekly clean-up

The best way to control clutter on the go is to ensure that it never gets out of hand. Schedule a weekly clean-up and clean-out time that involves your kids. Make sure that they empty their backseat pockets, and sort through their sports items. It may be helpful to create a checklist for this process, allowing you to properly restock emergency kit items, and reminding you to check between the seats.

What tips do you have for keeping your car clean & orderly? Please share them in the comments!