I think the main thing is to have the gun, a light and the phone where you can find them in the dark without fumbling around. Just like my keys, I have a specific spot for them so they're not misplaced when I'm in a hurry.
I store most weapons unloaded in the safe. Most of my ammo is stored separately, but I keep some mags/clips/loaders, etc., stored loaded and ready in the safe.
For a carry handgun, when I get home, I keep it loaded but secured in the holster (that covers the trigger). I think it's nearly as ready, but much safer when sitting around in a drawer, on a shelf, under the pillow, whatever.
I've had a "Safepacker" for years, also. It's a padded cordura nylon case designed to protect a handgun during outdoor activities, but is good for storage, too.