A Checklist for Closing Up Your Cottage at the End of Summer

A Checklist for Closing Up Your Cottage at the End of Summer

Summer is over and the time has come to get the cottage ready for the cold weather ahead before you head back home for winter. So how can you make sure you complete all the tasks this requires as simply and efficiently as possible?

In fact, there is no reason why this should be a hassle if you’re well organized. Here are our suggestions to ensure your peace of mind as you leave your cottage unoccupied over the upcoming months.

Guard Against Lightning

Unplug all electrical devices and appliances to prevent damage during a thunderstorm. If nothing in your cottage requires a constant supply of electricity while it is unoccupied, turn off the main power switch. Another option is to shut off all the circuit breakers, except for the one connected to the alarm system. While damage from surges or outages is rare, this will reduce the risk to zero. 

Prevent Broken Pipes

When pipes freeze, they can burst and cause expensive water damage when the weather warms up again. Stop this from happening in your cottage by closing the water inlet and draining every water line. If you notice any loose pipes or worrying signs of rust, carry out repairs immediately!

Keep Your Textiles Bug-Free

Your mattresses and linens are not only a comfortable place for you to lay your head, they can also be a cozy nest for insects. Hermetically seal them to keep bugs out. Use plastic sheeting to protect fabric-covered couches and armchairs. Smaller textile items, such as towels and pillows can be stored in airtight plastic bins. You will be happy to find all these things in good condition when you return for the summer. They’ll just need a spin in the washer to remove any musty odour (including the curtains). Consider renting a steam cleaner to freshen upholstered sofas.

Dissuade Thieves

Bring back any valuables with you, or at the very least, hide them out of sight of the windows. Buglers are well aware that unoccupied cottages are a golden opportunity, especially in areas where many seasonal cottages will remain closed for winter. Their favourite items to steal are tools, small electrical devices, and bottles of alcohol.

Don’t Feed the Wildlife

You must absolutely empty the fridge and cabinets of food. Fresh food attracts pests and cans can burst when the temperature dips below zero, even if the fridge and pantry are shut tight! To ensure your return next summer is a pleasant and, most importantly, a sweet smelling one, scrub the fridge meticulously.

Stop Critters from Getting in

Rodents are pretty crafty and will find the tiniest entry point into your residence. Make this as hard as possible for them by obstructing all openings, spreading mothballs, blocking all air vents and the dryer vent, and even by boarding up the windows. 

Carry Out Small Repairs Before the Season Ends

Fix windows, caulk cracks, tighten the doorknobs, patch holes in walls, inspect the roof and replace missing shingles. You will save yourself a lot of time and quite a few headaches by doing all these minor repairs at the end of the summer. This is equally a great opportunity to paint the weathered deck or give your hardwood floors a new life by sanding them down.

Hope for the Best, but Plan for the Worst

Take photos as proof of the state in which you’re leaving your cottage and draw up an inventory of all the belongings it contains. In the unfortunate event of an insurance claim, it will be easier to get a settlement in your favour.


The last thing left for you to do is to lock all the doors and windows, including the sheds and garage, and to set the security system. Your cottage will be ready to welcome you next spring!

RE/MAX Québec

By RE/MAX Québec

By RE/MAX Québec

A leader in the real estate industry since 1982, the RE/MAX network brings together the most efficient brokers.