Blog: The value of lists
Steve Farmer shares his top secret for RV travel preparation...
Personally, I’m a fan. I have lists for many of the activities I enjoy: caravanning, camping, boating, kayaking, fishing, photography – the list of my lists goes on and on (sorry, I couldn't help myself).
The essential requirements of each activity are methodically recorded on my computer, ready to be printed out and checked off to ensure nothing is left behind. It’s simply the way I operate. Armed with my lists, I find I rarely forget essential items and this approach takes much of the stress out of packing, whether it’s for a weekend or a few months.
Of course, some folks don’t share my passionately pedantic approach. In fact, I married one of them, and yes – marital relations are often strained when our two approaches collide.
She-who-must-be-obeyed prefers to wing it, relying on memory (obviously better than mine) and a bit of good luck, tossing in all the essentials in a haphazard manner which, to be honest, usually achieves the same end result as my methodical check-and-tick routine. Which is rather annoying for me.
I must tell you, somewhat gloatingly, that these days my manager often asks to see one of my lists, and I sense the potential satisfaction of another soul saved.
HOW TO USE LISTS
I began my caravanning lists when we bought our first van and I had nightmares about roaring off down the road with the jacks still down, the TV antenna still up and the power lead dragging astern. So our first caravanning list was for all those things to do or check before hitting the road: jacks, TV antenna, power lead, gas, water hoses, pop-top, windows, step and so on, were all printed on a piece of paper and sticky taped above the van door to be mentally ticked off just before departure.
From there, more lists evolved such as food lists, and other items to ensure an enjoyable escape in our little pop-top.
I know from experience that without a list, you’ll eventually come unstuck when items are moved from the house to the RV for a trip, and then back again. We spent a restless couple of nights when we forgot to pack the pillows for a weekend getaway. Needless to say, the first job when we got home was to add "Pillows" to my list.
Of course, the best approach is to keep your RV as near to fully stocked as possible. That’ll minimise the contents of your list, but I very much doubt you’ll be able to dismiss the need for one altogether.
These days my lists are saved on the computer and adjusted as necessary. I print out the checklist before packing and tick off the items as they go in. There’s room on the printed list to scribble any extras we might think of as we pack and we often have a Morning List, of last minute things to do before leaving.
If you don’t already operate this way, you can create your own lists (which will of course be unique and individual) by looking in and around your RV with a pad and pen. This will jog your memory and you’ll soon have a page or two of essentials jotted down. Take your list with you on a few trips and refine it by adding things as they come to mind.
You can eventually refine it further by dividing the contents into a number of smaller lists, such as pre-flight, food and groceries, clothing, morning, night, weekend...
The list goes on.
Are you a list-maker? Share your suggestions below.
WORDS AND PICS Steve Farmer
Written exclusively for CW online