How do I get my wife to stop leaving the car messy?

Dear Liz,
My wife and I share two cars. My car is a sedan and I use it to go back and forth from work. My wife’s car is an SUV and she uses it to cart the kids around since she is a stay-at-home-mom. The problem is that her car is constantly a mess of kid toys, food wrappers, and other random crap. On the weekends, we use the SUV to go places as a family, but I hate being in it because it’s such a mess. I tell her all the time that she would be more comfortable if the car were tidier and she says she agrees with me, but then she doesn’t do anything about it. How do I get my wife to clean up her car?
– Mr. Clean

Dear Mr. Clean,

Oh, joy. Car fights.

I was a stay-at-home-mom for a few years and the arguments that my husband and I had over the state of the car were constant. Before getting frustrated with your wife, have you considered that she might actually be trying to keep the car clean but you’re only seeing at the end of the week after the kids have trashed it again?

Another thing to think about is how tough it is to take kids anywhere. Your wife is having to keep everyone relatively entertained, following directions, and on time. By the time she gets from point A to point B she might be too exhausted and flustered herself to care about the state of the car.

Which brings me to my last point. Why don’t YOU clean the car yourself? What’s the point of making your wife (and possibly your kids) feel guilty for something that obviously doesn’t bother them as much as it does you?

Good luck!

~ Liz

If you have a question for Dear Liz and her team of experts just drop us an email at