The dark nights are drawing in, the clocks have gone back and the temperature has dropped. Site wardens all over the UK are leaf blowing and hanging up their keys for the season. This can only mean one thing. Lots of people will be putting their caravans into storage until next spring. This is something we’ve never done.
I hate the thought of winter and putting the caravan to bed. We use ours all year round normally so this isn’t so much of a problem to us. This year, however, we have a few weeks were the ‘van isn’t going to be used over the winter months. So we decided to share with you one or two little things that we did to ‘bed ours down’, albeit for just a little while. Please be aware that these aren’t hard and fast guidelines, simply just what we did to close ours up for a little while.
All around us on the storage site caravans are starting to sport the latest fashion accessory and are wrapping up in their green cloaks. As it is only for a couple of weeks or so ours won’t be joining the fashion parade this time.
First things first, beautiful day outside, time to give it a scrub. Not forgetting the roof. The roof gets particularly dirty over the year with tree sap etc.
Making sure the ‘van has dried completely you need to think about whether or not you are going to invest in a cover. Breathable covers are best and on nice days if at all possible, you can open and loosen the cover to let some air in.
When parking your unit up if you have the advantage of flat ground it’s advisable to chock the wheels and release the handbrake this will stop your brakes seizing up. If you’re not using a cover try to leave the nose angled slightly downwards to encourage water to run off the caravan.
Inside, clean, clean, clean. Cupboards and all storage areas need cleaning within an inch of their lives. Not forgetting the cupboard under the cooker, this tends to get forgotten. Get the hoover in there to be sure all crumbs are gone. Remove any foodstuffs too. We don’t want to encourage little furry friends in for the winter. Leave cupboard doors open for extra ventilation.
External lockers also need emptying, cleaning and tidying. Throw away any bits and bobs that have accumulated in there over the year. Ours is always full of bits that we might just need and never do. If you can’t remember the last time you used it then throw it.
Cushions and all soft furnishings need to either be taken home or moved away from the caravan walls. Yet again, air flow. Take home all scatter cushions, pillows, quilts, blankets and towels. It might not look like it in the photo but there is a gap at the back of the seat between the cushion and the wood. If ours were staying mothballed for longer then I probably would have taken the soft furnishings home, on this occasion we choose to leave them there.
Clean out the fridge and ensure it is dry, I wedge a tea towel over the freezer door to keep that open too, allowing air flow. Leaving the fridge on the catch so that too stays open. This is something I do on our return from every trip anyway.
Disconnect the gas completely, making sure to burn any off in the pipes. Either take home your battery or invest in a solar panel and trickle charge it. There are some really good solar panels out there so it can pay off to shop around.
Drain down your water tanks completely and leave your taps in the open position, I also put the plugs in the sinks and cover the plug hole in the shower to try to discourage creepy crawlers and other potential squatters. The tap for the hot water storage also needs draining down too. This tap is normally located next to your heating unit. Just remember when you take your caravan out again for the first time close all your taps again.
Ensure that your flush tank is completely empty and that you’ve left the slider on your loo in the open position, lubricating the rim if at all possible.
As far as possible you need to get your waste water tank and aqua roll dry. Taking them home too if you can, leaving the lids open to stop them going stale.
Leave your blinds open and close your curtains. This helps with the tension on your blinds. Our blinds have tension problems at the minute so that’s a job for the spring.
Tyres can also be an area of consideration but involves a level of knowledge and expertise not required in the above items. Some caravanners will go to the lengths of removing tyres but the vast majority don’t, so appropriate checks would need to be done before your first trip out as you would with any vehicle.
That’s it. The door has been locked. See you in a few weeks.