From the December 2002 issue of Entrepreneur

Cell phones, sunglasses and loose papers in your car can cause accidents. Reaching for a runaway pen or soda bottle may distract you. Why not stash them in handy holders? Initially, most storage was designed to prevent cargo from rolling around in the back of vans, trucks and SUVs. Today, a variety of organizers solve storage problems in passenger cars. Most containers are lightweight and portable enough to tote into the office or home.

Two new products are space-savers that loop over the back of the front seat. One is Case Logic's $28.99 ABS-20 (www.efunctional.com), an organizer with a nylon tray and padded foldable wrist rest, storage compartments and mesh pockets. Want something smaller? Creekside Products' Cargo Tote (www.creeksideproducts.com) is a net that hangs from your car's headrest and can be rolled up when not in use. Creekside also sells a roomy fabric Cargo Tray for $24.95, and a larger tray, the Cargo Mini, for $39.95. Both pop open easily on a spring mechanism.

Perfect for the working traveler, the $119.95 Mobile Office Console (www.autoacessory.com) is belted in to the passenger seat. Its nonskid workstation is large enough for a laptop, with slots for files. It has a fold-out writing surface, compartments for small items, and holders for cell phones and cups. Smaller consoles fit between seats and range from $10 to $20 at the same site.

Visor caddies come in all sizes. The $5.99 Axius Visor Organizer from Auto Barn (www.autobarn.net) holds receipts, pens and coins.

New passenger cars usually have trunks equipped with nets, but you may need something sturdier. Cargo AIP (www.cargoape.com) offers interlocking plastic egg-crate panels you put together to suit your space. Twelve cost $29.95.


Editor and consultant Jill Amadio has been reporting on the automotive industry for 24 years.