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Old 07-30-2021, 09:46 PM   #1
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Question Organizing Our Full-Time RV Life

We are newbies who are planning to start full-timing in January/February. I'm the 'secretary' of the team, and I'm trying to get all the paperwork in some semblance of working organization. Right now my "filing system" consists of a large folder with many smaller folders, paper-clipped papers, some loose pages, etc. [I do have a separate very tidy zippered folder for the really important stuff like registrations and so on.] The general day-to-day, trip planner, notes, checklists, etc. folders are becoming an unwieldy hot mess. Obviously I'm not going to use a physical filing cabinet (not that we have room for it anyway). Can some of you tell/show me how you keep yourself organized to give me some ideas? Thank you so much.
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Old 07-30-2021, 10:21 PM   #2
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Important papers/documents
Download/Scan...transfer to Memory Stick
Hard copies placed in fire resistant portable safe.

Trip planner...just a simple small 3 ring binder that we picked up at a Truck Stop. Along with replacement set for when we filled it up
Had place for date, route, destination, mileage etc and few lines for short notes (like/dislikes etc)

Set up/tear down list
Many samples available on line...
We made our own...printed 2 sides of paper/place in plastic see thru sleeve and keep in top draw of kitchen cabinet

SHE keep a 'journal' of our Day to Day adventures
Simple Notebook

Keeps things simple......or you end up not using them/it

FT Motto: LESS is MORE

Enjoy your new phase in your life's journey
Your NOT on vacation...slow and easy and FUN
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Old 07-30-2021, 10:48 PM   #3
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I keep most things on the computer. Planning is a "well lets to go this area in the summer, we should leave about April 15th." From there I just starting making reservations for membership parks and filling in between with fairgrounds, city/county parks, relatives, and private parks. Since we spend most summers in the PNW, reservations are becoming a necessity! All necessary info goes onto calendar, including to-do dates for making reservations as well as when to make medical appointments for our return in the fall.

After 16 years we don't use a 'checklist' per say, but if we get interrupted in our setting up or taking down, we stop, and run through everything again before proceeding - lesson learned.

I put apps on the phone like ALlStays for road conditions as parks as we move from point A to point B.

Use Quicken for all financial things. ALL of our financial accounts are online and we receive everything electronically. We pay all bills except for maybe 5 a year online or using a credit card. I especially love using the smart phone wallet for a lot of things (credit cards, tickets, etc.). And I use apps for the grocery stores I frequent to set up shopping list and keep track of any 'coupons' I can use. Use TurboTax, all tax info coming digitally.

Have an app for our medical information and the physicians we use all have patient portals so that I can easily get the last labs, etc., should we need them while moving around. Get an email from our prescription management company (ExpressScripts) when refills are available.

Have Apps on phone for all the grocery stores I frequent and use their lists, plus check on any 'digital coupons' I might be able to use. Yes, I'd be lost without my phone.😉

We've had a blog going for 16 years so all notes about places we've been are there for anyone to see, as well as favorite wineries to visit when in an area. Must remember to update that list next week as we have spent several weeks in Washington State investigating new wineries.
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Old 07-30-2021, 11:14 PM   #4
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So this will be just for your trip planning? Would something like this work?

You will also need something for your bills & receipts. So perhaps 2 accordion-type folders. Try to do everything by AutoPay then you don't have to worry about getting the bill in the mail.

We used Quicken for our financials. A lot can be kept on the computer nowadays.

We kept our important documents in a fireproof box which we kept by the door within easy reach to grab in a hurry. It also went with us into our vehicle when we left the RV and RV maintenance stops. Basically, we always carried it with us. 'Fireproof' boxes aren't really fireproof. That's why we didn't leave it in the RV if we weren't there. Paper inside disintegrates if in a fire too long.


https://www.staples.com/TOPS-Notewor...xoChI4QAvD_BwE

https://www.amazon.com/Smead-Portabl...36681353&psc=1
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Old 07-31-2021, 03:59 AM   #5
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Gregg and Cindi-

I have not full-timed, so I'll leave the better advice to those who have done so. I have spent months away from home in the RV, so have an idea of what would work for full-timing.

Most folks have moved away from an all-paper record-keeping system; today it's all-electronic or a paper-electronic hybrid. I'd like to make two points about electronic systems:

1) If your data/systems are "out there in the cloud," what will you do when you can't reach "the cloud?"
2) If your data/systems are on computers/tablets/phones you own, what will you do when the devices break, are stolen or destroyed, or otherwise unusable?

For example, I follow a rigorous backup process whether in the house or in the RV. I keep the backup media handy for a quick grab in case of emergency, same as "Old-Biscuit" and "twogypsies" do for their safes. I leave copies of backups and critical information (e.g., will, advance directives, powers of attorney, list of accounts, list of passwords) with trusted relatives (along with a set of spare keys to the RV).

One thing I found out years ago is that uranium is not the heaviest natural element- paper is. Eliminate/scan/shred is the name of the game. Some companies, such as Staples, offer walk-in shredding services.
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Old 07-31-2021, 08:49 AM   #6
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Mark, not only is paper the heaviest, it multiples when you aren't looking and takes over storage areas. Remember when we use to have to keep cancelled checks, and everything was paid for by checks. Boxes and Boxes of checks and they interbred creating new boxes where you knew there had been none before!
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Old 07-31-2021, 02:22 PM   #7
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Mark gave good ideas. Backup. Backup. Give a copy to family.

For travel notes.... we sent out a bi-monthly travel newsletter to family and friends. Every stop we'd each make notations on important things we saw or did. What one person thinks as important may not be the same with the other.

Then when time to do the newsletter on the computer we each took turns writing a blurb... he says ..... she says. Our family/friends loved our newsletter and the grandkids grew up with us full-timing. They are in their 20's now and say they still read about our travels. They, too, are now travelers and were sad when we quit as they met up with us at times and joined us. They miss that! We do, also.
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Old 07-31-2021, 10:46 PM   #8
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Organizing Our Full-Time RV Life

Quote:
Originally Posted by Barbaraok View Post
…….Must remember to update that list next week as we have spent several weeks in Washington State investigating new wineries.
Barb…. Did you make it to Latah Creek?
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Old 08-01-2021, 04:55 AM   #9
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I can't tell you how often we use our printer/scanner. We have room in the bedroom closet fortunately.

95% of our manuals are digitized. This saves a tremendous amount of room.
Receipts are scanned and saved.

We still have a few manuals because they are not digitized or just to wieldy to scan.

You will or may already find you have so many different logins that it is impossible to keep track of them. I have an electronic folder with all of that information. Passwords are cryptic but my wife and I know how to figure them out.

When in doubt, throw it out!

The most difficult thing about full timing was/is doing maintenance and modifications on the rv. We are fortunate to still own a piece of property set up for our RV.
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Old 08-01-2021, 09:46 AM   #10
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We have a 3 ring trip binder that we keep our reservations organized. Plus like mentioned we scanned and placed items on thumb drives and stored in a safe. A copy of the thumb drive with the important papers we gave to our daughter for later use.
My wife likes paper maps so we have a large zipped folder/cloth binder to keep maps in so she can keep track of travels. We keep the large print truckers map in the truck and she can use it on the road.
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Old 08-01-2021, 12:41 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JFXG View Post
Barb…. Did you make it to Latah Creek?
Yes, we did. In fact we left with 6 bottles of wine, tucked away for next fall. Sorry I didn't get a chance to send you a note that we were in the area - we had some family problems that overwhelmed us at the time and we had to leave earlier than we had wanted.
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