Leaving home — a checklist for successful domicile abandonment

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    By Greg Illes

    Every RVer’s dream is to wander off, leaving home and hearth behind, on a weeks- or months-long meander through far unknown lands. Usually, a lot more attention is paid to RV preparation and where the trip will lead than to how well the old homestead might fare without daily supervision.


    Leaving home — a checklist for successful domicile abandonmentAfter years of business and personal travel, including unpleasant surprises upon arriving back home, we have a departure checklist to help avoid the avoidable.

    • All trash out — Empty everything in the house, especially rotten or stinky stuff.
    • Thermostats set or off — You may need to keep a winter house above freezing; otherwise, turn everything off to save $$.
    • Sprinklers set or off — You’ll have to decide about watering, or letting the yard go fallow. Make settings accordingly, but don’t forget that any active sprinkler can break and create a small flood. House plants will need a sitter, or a funeral.
    • Garbage disposals run/empty — Residual food can make big stinks and molds.
    • Toilets cleaned and flushed — Did little Johnnie use the john just before you left? Make sure there’s only water in those bowls.
    • Laundry hamper empty — Dirty clothes become throwaway clothes after awhile.
    • Windows and doors locked — Of course, but put it on your checklist to make sure you do it.
    • Small ventilation — Leave a little ventilation somewhere to prevent a houseful of stale air.
    • Electronic items off or unplugged — TVs and other appliances may use background power consumption and need to be unplugged.
    • Mail on hold at USPS — You can do this on the Internet. They’ll hold mail until a date, or notification, and then deliver the whole bundle to you at once.
    • Bills on autopay — The best way to deal with scheduled payments, using transfers or email.
    • Notifications — Let folks you trust know that you’re gone, and to be aware of what’s going on at your address. Let your yard care and house care services have a break. Suspend your satellite TV service, Internet, etc.
    • Emergency credit card — A lost or scammed card is useless. Keep a spare (that you never use).
    • Emergency cash — A few stashed $50 bills can save the day when that gas pump or RV park won’t take cards or checks.

    You don’t need to ask me how I know about all these “gotchas” — each and every one has been (sometimes painfully) experienced. I keep my list on my cell phone so I can read it as I walk around the house. As you can see, a little preparation will make sure your home is still happy when you get back. Good travels (and returns)!

    Greg Illes is a retired systems engineer who loves thinking up RV upgrades and modifications. When he’s not working on his motorhome, he’s traveling in it. You can follow his blog at www.divver-city.com/blog.

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