Last Winter was kind of rough for me; transporting three kids 5 and under anywhere was such an ordeal! Since I had all of them every morning (my 5-year old had afternoon Kindergarten), I found myself shopping with all of them, all the time. It was so tiring!
A friend shared with me her idea of moving the seats in such a way that they could all get in from one side- the driver's side. This was GENIUS. I wish I remember which friend told me about it first; I know of two who used this for at least a little while! Since all three still needed help to buckle themselves into carseats, having any one of them in the back meant a lot of stretching and reaching for me. In the cold Chicago winters, this was not fun. So, without further ado, here is the amazing setup:
If you have three kids in a 4-door car, God Bless You! We did that for a month this past summer while our van had a partial paint job (under warranty, thankfully). It was brutal getting them all buckled in there!
Another tip I can offer to help keep the van chaos under control is to always have extra plastic bags in the glove compartment or seat pocket (for garbage, diaper or clothing messes). I have tried to keep wipes in the car but they either dry out or get super cold in Winter, so my kids cry when I try to wipe their face or bottom! I just try not to forget my diaper bag.
I also have a roll of paper towels in the car. But they kept getting crushed or in a large unrolled heap at the end of one just car ride. How do kids manage to DO that so quickly with everything? So I put the roll of paper towels in this bin I had just gotten on clearance- not even for this reason, I was just on a container kick and picked it up- and they fit perfectly!
I got one at Target in blue, but they have pink and brown on their website for $6.99 as of this posting. The paper towels won't unroll this way, and I place this bin underneath my front center console (I have an Odyssey, you might need to find another spot for it). I can reach down and pull the end up, and the roll just stays in the bin and I can rip one off at a time. I am so glad to have a paper towel to use to grab the banana peel that my daughter wants me to collect before her short patience wears out and she drops it on the floor.
For a garbage, I just use my door's large door cubby/pocket, and if I am stuck at a light or train tracks and it's getting full I just grab a plastic bag from the glove box and empty it all out. When I unload everything after arriving home, the garbage bag gets thrown into the garage garbage can right away. Easy peasy, as my son would say!