Closing you cottage for the winter is always an ordeal. It is a weekend process that requires the whole family. But if it is not done properly, opening the cottage in the spring will be a nightmare. Thanksgiving is normally the time people will close their cottage. But this year, since the fall has been so beautiful in the Near North, I am sure many of you have postponed closing your cottages until another less desirable weekend arrives.
When you close the cottage there are both indoor and outdoor chores that need to be completed to ensure the survival of your recreational home over the long winter. Below I have outlined the chores that need to be competed inside the house before you leave for the winter.
1. Clean the Kitchen: this is one of the most important chores. If it is not done correctly, you will have rodent squatters (which are disgusting and a nuisance to get rid of in the spring). Make sure you pack up all the food to take home with you. You can leave dry food that is in bug proof containers (glass or metal tins), sugar, rice and pasta. Some people who will visit the cottage a few times in the winter may leave their fridge stocked. This is a bad idea, if the power goes out (which it does) the contents of your fridge will rot and the food in your freezer may thaw and refreeze without you knowing.
2.Pack up the Bathroom: Make sure you remove any products and medicines that you want to use again – after they freeze many of them become ineffective.
3.Close up the screened porch: roll up the porch rug, store the porch furniture inside and defrost the porch fridge.
4.Bring in the Garden and Outdoor toys: this includes things like Muskoka chairs, hanging baskets, wheelbarrow, garden hose, garden tools, BBQ and water toys. Make sure you disconnect the propane tank from the BBQ when you store it for the winter.
5.Drain the plumbing: drain all the lines by opening the taps and valves. If you are unsure of whether you have drained all the lines, you can blow the water out with air – use a can of compressed air. Then, put anti-freeze in anything that cannot be drained.
To me, these are most important indoor chores when closing your cottage for the winter months. If done correctly, you will be able to come back in the spring to open the cottage without too much work!
Helpful Tip: Some people like to leave firewood and kindling beside the woodstove so that when they arrive in the spring, if it’s chilly, they can start a fire right away.