It’s time. Sure the snow hasn’t actually started to fall yet, but there’s no denying it’s coming and the last thing you’ll want to have to do is shovel your way into the summer vacation home to shut it down. While there’s nothing happy about saying goodbye to summer fun, follow these five steps to help make sure when you pull up to the gates of your Canadian cottage next summer, you can start the summer living right away.
1. Cottage Maintenance: Start your cottage closing with a notepad and pen in hand. Take a walk around the outside of the property and make a note of anything that needs repair. Ripped screen door? Faulty lock? Window that’s jammed? Now’s the time to fix them. When you’re done with the outside do the same for each room of the house. The more you can deal with now, the easier your start will be when you return next summer.
2. The Grill: When properly maintained your grill can last for years. Take the time at the end of the season to give it a thorough cleaning. When you’re done remember to disconnect any propane tanks and store them properly or shut off any connected valves you may have left on. A proper winterized cover may be all you need to be able to leave it outside for the season.
3. Winterize your cottage: While you may not have plans to use the cottage in the winter, the weather is coming whether you’re there or not. Take the same steps you would on your year-round home to help it survive the winter chill. Clear gutters, check downspouts, secure anything that might blow away with a strong wind. Drain your pipes and shut off the water supply. Also take the time to trim branches that could cause damage if there’s a storm.
4. Make next year easier: Leaving your clothing behind? Make sure they are washed, completely dried and stored in vacuum sealed bags to help prevent mildew or moths. Clean out the fridge and cupboards completely to dissuade critters from coming in for dinner while you’re away and take the time to cover up furniture and pack away dishes. You’ll be so glad you did when you can walk in next summer, grab your swim trunks and head for the lake without spending time searching for things.
5. Let people know you’ll be gone: An empty house can be a prime target for vandals and thieves. Make sure that those who are nearby throughout the winter can keep an eye on your property in the slower months. Consider leaving a key with a trusted neighbour in case anyone needs to get in and you’re too far to get there. Remember to cancel any regular deliveries (for example: newspapers,groceries) and to notify the utility providers of the absence.