First and foremost, dig out your insurance documents and check for any terms referring to when the site is closed and the static is unoccupied. Some criteria, like turning off the water and draining down the pipes, can be essential to keep your insurance valid through the winter months. We suggest you make these criteria top of your winter check list to stay protected.
On your last day, try to air the caravan as much as possible, opening doors and windows. This is also a good time to check the window seals and ensure that the locks are in good order. WD40 can be used to help keep locks and latches in good working order.
Let's start with the easiest areas first:
Remove any valuables from cupboards. Take the bedding such as duvets, blankets and pillows home or alternatively place in vacuum-sealed bags. Stand mattresses on their edge if there's room. Leave the cupboard and wardrobe doors open. This will show there's nothing of value hidden away and improve air circulation.
And finally, leave the bedroom doors ajar to improve air flow.
Empty the fridge of all food and wash the inside with a weak solution of bicarbonate of soda. Leave the fridge door open. Remove all food in the cupboards and wash with an anti-bacterial cleaner.
Don't be tempted to leave unopened packets of food. This will not deter mice and other rodents. If you're leaving tinned goods, stand them on paper to avoid rust rings. Clean all surfaces and the cooker. Leave the cupboards open.
Take home anything of value such as a TV, DVD player or music system. Clean all surfaces in case of food spills or crumbs. Move all the sofa cushions away from exterior walls. Roll up any loose rugs and stand on end.
Before turning off the water supply, lift the lid on the toilet cistern, flush the toilet and as the cistern refills, add anti-freeze in roughly 3 of water and 1 of antifreeze proportions. Remove the shower hose and shower head as these could be damaged if any water left in them freezes.
Consider removing curtains or nets to avoid mildew. If you do decide not to take them home, be aware that most sites recommend that curtains are left open. This may go against your instincts but it does make sense as it will prove there's nothing worth breaking in for.
If your van has blinds, do not leave them down as this can damage the mechanism. Vacuum all the carpets and clean surfaces to remove any food crumbs.
Make sure all guttering and downpipes are in good order. Block up any gaps that insects or rodents could use to gain access to your caravan. Take a look at the roof, chassis and skylights to ensure there are no leaks or loose joints. Will the steps last another winter? If they are removable, then place inside the caravan. Many static caravans are still fitted with tyres even if the unit is on blocks. What's their condition? Tyre manufacturers recommend that tyres, even if they haven't been used, should be replaced after ten years as they deteriorate when exposed to sunlight and ozone. Clear any vegetation that might have grown close to or underneath the van to discourage wildlife.
Make sure any loose items such as chairs are stored safely away.