10 Things to Do in the Carpool Pickup Line

By Kyrie Collins September 11, 2015
Almost every parent I know feels like there aren't enough hours in the day to finish the to-do list. If you pick up your kids from school, chances are you are spending 20-45 minutes sitting in the carpool pick up line every afternoon. Of course, you can spend that time scrolling down your Facebook newsfeed or playing Candy Crush, but here are some other ideas to help you make the most of that time.

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Wash Your Car Windows and Cup Holders. Many schools have a policy preventing parents from getting out of their cars while sitting in the carpool lane, but that doesn't mean you can't crawl around inside your car. Bring a bottle of glass cleaner and some newspaper (doesn't leave streaks or lint like paper towels can) and get all the finger (and tongue ... or is that just my car?) prints off the inside of the windows. Baby wipes are great for cleaning out the gunk inside the cup holders.

Clean Out Your Purse or Laptop Bag. Bring a towel, disinfectant wipes, and two bags (plastic or paper grocery store bags work great) when you go to pick up your kids. Lay the towel on the passenger front seat and dump out the contents of your purse. Don't forget all the side and secret pockets. If you can, turn your purse inside out to get out all the crumbs and Cheerios dust. Sort all the items into three piles: stuff you need in your purse, stuff that belongs elsewhere, and trash. Use the disinfectant wipes on the items going back into your purse. Organize everything as you put items back into your purse ... put makeup and breath mints in an inside pocket, use outside pockets for items you need to access quickly and often (like keys and cell phone), and so forth. You can also do this with a junk drawer, sewing kit, craft box, or anything else that needs organizing and decluttering.

Squeeze in Some Exercise. If you are allowed to get out of your car, you can do squats, jumping jacks, and toe touches. If you have to stay in your car, open your car window so you can extend your arms and do a few doorknob turns. Put a kickball in between your knees and squeeze to work your inner thighs. You can even do your Kegel exercises and no one will be the wiser!

Read a Good Book. If you enjoy reading but can't quite find the time for this luxury, the carpool lane is the perfect opportunity.

Make Non-Virtual Contact with Someone. Much of my communication is on Facebook or via text and email. I am trying to have more voice-to-voice (and face-to-face) contact with my family members and close friends. A 10-minute phone conversation can go a long way to making me feel more connected to my besties (some of whom are also sitting in a carpool line with a little bit of time to spare).

Write Letters, Thank You Notes, and Birthday Cards. Letter writing has become a lost art and few people still send birthday cards and thank you notes, yet almost everyone enjoys receiving something other than bills and junk flyers in their mailbox. Brighten someone's day and do your part in supporting the US Postal Service too!

Vacuum the Inside of Your Car. If you have a portable hand vac, you can suck up all the rocks, candy wrappers, and Cheerios dust (from inside your purse ... remember?) to make room for more! Take a picture before your kids get into the car so you can remember what it looks like!

Plan a Party. Got a birthday coming up? Want to throw a Halloween bash? Hosting Thanksgiving dinner? Do a little browsing on Pinterest for food, crafts, decorating ideas, and party tips!

Meal Plan for the Upcoming Week. With one kid in elementary school, one kid in middle school, and both enrolled in extracurricular activities, there are some nights that require a grab-n-go (hurray, burritos for dinner!) or slow cooker meal because I won't be home long enough to cook. This is the perfect task for Friday because I can do my meal planning for the upcoming week and then get to the grocery store over the weekend if I need to.