One secret to successful RVing is to make lists. This is especially true for people like us who go out on the road for months at a time.
Our trip preparation lists are stored in our laptop. This makes it easy to amend the content. We print out the lists and put them on a clipboard prior to a trip. Items on the list can get circled, have notes added to them and then get crossed off when they are packed.
When we first started RVing, our lists were short and simple. As our trips got longer and our RVs got larger, and we carried more stuff, our lists grew bigger.
Our “Inventory List” identifies every closet, cupboard and drawer by its location in our motorhome (living area, kitchen, bathroom and bedroom). It then lists the items that should be inside. Things like laptops, cameras and sunglasses, which are typically removed when we arrive home but have to be put back before our next trip, are typed in bold print. We also have a similar inventory list for the outside storage cabinets.
Prior to packing for a trip, we make a quick check of the motorhome’s existing inventory. Missing items are circled on the list as a reminder to replace them. A few days before the rig is taken out of storage and we begin packing, the living room in our house becomes a staging area. Later, as items are moved into the coach, they are checked off the list.
This appears more involved than it really is. Actually, the motorhome remains stocked with everything we need except for food, clothing and miscellaneous personal items.
A “To Take List” supplements the inventory list. It is divided into sections that include banking and bill paying items (bookkeeping information, calculator, checkbook), office supplies (calendars, envelopes, postage stamps) and personal items (medicine, makeup, watches, passports).
When we were in the seminar business, we had a “To Take List” that itemized our business-related necessities (seminar outlines, handouts, white board). It also listed what we needed for those occasions when we had to leave our motorhome, board a plane and stay in a hotel (airline tickets, car rental information and suitcases).
We keep a list of things to be done before a trip (arrangements for forwarding mail, watering plants, stopping the paper). This list also reminds us to stock up on items like medicine, vitamins and greeting cards, and to prepare a trip itinerary for our family.
The itinerary’s purpose is to let family members know how to get in touch with us during our journey. It includes a description of our vehicles and their license plate numbers, our phone numbers, the routes we will be taking, and the names and phone numbers of the places we will stay at along the way. The itinerary also reminds them how to gain access to our power of attorneys, living wills, family trust, wills, ownership certificates and other documents and information they may need if something should happen to us.
And then there is the “Last Minute List” of things to do before leaving the house. This includes tasks like programming the lawn sprinkler timer, setting the furnace, locking the windows and doors, and setting the alarm.
We’ve developed our lists over a number of years and they’re a work in progress. Items we neglect to take on one journey are added to the list for the next trip. During the pre-trip inventory, anything we have not used for the past two years is re-evaluated and usually removed from the coach and the inventory list.
As we pull away from the curb, the inevitable question is asked: “Did we remember to bring …?” Our standard response is, “Anything we forgot to bring (and occasionally there is), we will either do without or buy when we need it.”
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