Great fun happens on a tailgate—especially if you don’t take a detour into the land of too many chores.
After all, as lovers of RVs we know that when your home travels with you, so does some of the work you do at home. Since you’ve looked forward to chilling out and having a great time on your trip, anything you can do in advance to make life on the road easier is a plus.
Getting organized before leaving home is one way to maximize the fun parts of your time away. With some before-you-go tips and tools, you can plan on a clean and organized tailgate.
Start out clean
It’s just the simple truth—starting out with a clean RV makes everything easier. You’ll have clean spaces to sleep, eat and bathe in, and you’ll be ready to share those spaces with company. Plus, you don’t want to arrive at the fun and have to start cleaning. Do a deep-clean before you leave so you’re ready to enjoy the game as soon as you get there.
To get the most done in the fastest time, apply top-down cleaning techniques just like you would in your home:
- Use a microfiber duster and dust from the top ledges to the baseboards.
- Put out clean sheets and towels.
- Wipe kitchen and bathroom surfaces.
- Clean the floor.
Declutter your camper
Less stuff equals more space—and this is especially important in an RV. Clear out accumulated clutter from storage areas so that it’s easier to load the necessary tailgating supplies. This also allows you to quickly stash them back in the right spots when you head home.
Make a list
As you begin to pack for your tailgate, start a master list. Every time you head out, you probably pack the same items. Having a master list to turn to makes packing super fast. Keep that list handy on your phone so you always have access to it. It’s also a great way to make sure you take home all of your belongings when tailgating with a big crowd.
If you don’t store your tailgating things in your motor home, then make sure you store them all in one location at home. Create a tailgating center in your garage or storage closet so everything you take with you can be found in one spot.
Stop dirt at the door
Keep your home-away-from-home cleaner by stopping as much debris at the door as possible. Travel with an outside doormat to toss down when you park. Choose one with a rough surface that will scrape dirt off of shoes. Inside, add another doormat to catch even more dirt. Finally, add a runner rug down the length of the RV that can be easily removed and cleaned as needed.
Be prepared for messes
Even though you started out clean, messes can happen along the way. Make it super easy to clean them up fast by stocking your camper with essentials. Carry extra trash bags, paper towels, cleaning rags, wet wipes, all-surface cleaner, a mop and a small vacuum.
Avoid the risk of spills
Choose containers with tight-fitting lids to use for storing opened food packages. Even if they bounce around during travel, they will stay contained. Likewise, use travel mugs and cups with lids to keep liquids from spilling.
Be rain ready
Inclement weather tends to bring messes indoors in an RV. The more you stay dry, the more your home-on-wheels stays dry. Make sure to pack umbrellas and rain ponchos. Having extras aboard for guests to use is a great idea. Roll up and store a few absorbent bath mats to put down on rainy days. This will help contain the moisture as folks move in and out.
Pack up dirty dishes for later
You might be shocked at the suggestion to take your dirty dishes back home with you, but if you are tailgating with a hungry crowd, your small RV sink may not be able to handle the load. Pack an empty plastic tub with a tight-fitting lid to hold dirty grilling tools and dishes. You can deal with them later at home, where you can toss them in your dishwasher or let them soak in a big kitchen sink.
Create an outdoor kitchen
Setting up an outdoor kitchen at your tailgating spot can help keep the inside of your RV cleaner. Folding tables, a camping sink and grill will mean much of the food prep will be done outside and the bonus is hanging out with your friends while you cook.
Lea Schneider is a professional organizer who provides home and travel organization advice for The Home Depot. She gives lots of great tips, from using a door mat to stop dirt from entering your RV to finding ways to make doing the dishes easier. Visit The Home Depot to find more ways to keep your space clean, including door mats.