Staying mobile and being ready to move quickly is part of the freedom of RV living. Coleen and I like to be able to leave in 15 minutes or less. The majority of the time we can accomplish that goal.
Many people have commented that when they stay at a location for a job,
or for a season, or even for a few days, it takes a long time to get
ready to go. Some complain it is such a chore to pack up, put away, and
get back on the road. We had neighbors that had to miss happy hour to
prepare to leave at 1:00 the next afternoon.
Being organized and having a routine helps us stay mobile. We use our motor home all the time. Even while at a destination or commitment, seldom a week goes by when we don’t take a little excursion or get away. The longer an RV sits, the longer it seems to take to get it moving again.
We don’t level any more than necessary. Very seldom do we ever use leveling blocks. If you don’t put them out, then you don’t have to put them away.
We fill our fresh water tank, put the hose away, and use water out of
the tank. We’re not tied to the water spigot, and we don’t have a hose
to put away when we leave.
We dump our black and gray water tanks, put away our hose, and use our sewage tanks. Frequently filling and dumping the black and gray tanks keeps them cleaner than leaving the hose hooked up and leaving the valves open. Again, doing it this way, there isn’t a hose to unhook and put away before we leave.
When it comes to our power cord, we don’t need to plug in a lot of the time. We have solar panels to charge our batteries, and an inverter to provide us with 120-volt AC power. If it is rainy or cloudy, so our panels aren't charging enough, or it’s so hot we would like the air conditioning, I have arranged our power cord so it slides in and out of its storage in less than a minute.
We don’t have a TV antenna, dish, or other TV paraphernalia to deal with because we choose not to have a TV.
Almost everything inside the motor home has a place and we most always put things away in their place. We semi-permanently or permanently affix many items to their rightful places.
We have a basket of fresh fruit sitting on a small tablecloth on the dinette table. It stays there, even when we travel several hundred miles a day. It stays there because on the backside of the basket, there is a short piece of fishing line with a small snap swivel attaching it to a small hole on the window frame. This attachment isn't visible from the front. The basket never moves more than an inch unless we unsnap it to clean under it.
Our coffee cups reside on hooks when not in use. They are on the wall by the stove. The hooks are big enough so the cups don’t bounce off while traveling.
We have permanent baskets in the bathroom for toiletries. I screwed them in place so they stay put. We have a bin attached in the shower for shampoos and soaps. Magazine racks mounted to the wall with brackets confidently hold things other than magazines.
We don’t have a menagerie of stuffed animals that need to be arranged on the dash when we arrive, or be put away when we pack up to leave
Coleen likes baskets. She likes to have things contained. So, we also
have baskets mounted by the door for NeeMo's dog treats, balls, scooping
bags, and extra leashes. She has a basket attached to the wall behind
her dinette seat, where she stashes frequently used office supplies. We
have bedside baskets screwed into place to hold the usual collection of
stuff that normally gathers on bedside tables. I'm not as crazy about
baskets as Coleen is, but I admit, they do keep things corralled in
their places so there's almost nothing to pick up and put away when we
decide to move.
Almost everything has its place. There are totes in the exterior bays to keep things organized. Before we add something to our possessions, we try to figure out a specific place for the new item. If it has a place, we can keep it there, so it won’t be out loose and need to be stowed for travel.
This may make us look extremely organized; we aren’t. We’re fairly organized. We simply find a place for everything and put things away when we finish using them. Being organized helps us stay mobile while RVing.
It shouldn’t be a major chore to move on down the road. Coleen and I have a quick and easy routine we do. It's the same whether we are just going a few blocks to the grocery store or if we are going to travel a few hundred miles. Coleen does a once-through inside, turning off the water pump and water heater, making sure the fridge is latched, and checking that NeeMo doesn't have too much water in his dish. She double-checks making sure things inside are put away and ready to travel. I do outside safety checks, put away our electric cord if we've been using it, and do a walk around the site to make sure we don't have anything left outside. I make sure NeeMo is loaded, put up the step, and lock the door. It takes us minutes, not hours, to get ready to go.
Coleen, the RVing editor's note: My husband, Bob Nilles, wrote this article. He refers to our motorhome, because that is what we are living and traveling in right now. When our RV is a travel trailer, it is much the same. Being organized and having a routine are still key to our staying mobile.
One exception I need to add is for when we are cold weather RVing for an extended time. If we are staying in a cold climate for the winter, such as Alaska or South Dakota, we may winterize in ways that make us stationary. If you'd like to know more about this, we have several articles on the website about our cold weather RVing.