Tis the Cottage Selling Season in Muskoka
It’s always fun to gather up all your wares, pack your vehicle and make that first trip to open your cottage for the season. A few good pieces of advice and attention to detail in the Autumn when closing your cottage can make this day a much happier experience and even save you thousands of dollars over the long haul.
When closing your cottage at the end of your season refer to these helpful tips to protect your investments and make each opening season stress free.
1. Clean Out the Kitchen
Thoroughly clean out the refrigerator and unplug it, you don’t want mildew gathering in your appliances over the winter. Invest in some Silica Gel (available at most craft stores) sew into an old small pillow case and leave it in the fridge along with some baking soda. This will prevent mould and bad smells over the winter months.
Clean the cabinets and cupboards. Have a big end of season party to use up the leftover food you have and you won’t have to transport it back to your home!
2. Clean Out the Living Areas
Store away bed spreads and linens, there is no place more comfortable for rodents to sleep than in your bedspread. Allow your cabin to breathe while you are away. Leave doors and drawers open to increase circulation.
Remember that old Cedar Chest your mom had? There is a great reason for that! Rodents, moths and other pests don’t like cedar. So if you have one of these in your cottage store your linens and other fabric materials in it or simply pick up some cedar shavings from your local hardware store (you know the ones you use in garden beds) and place them in an old pillow case for the same effect.
3. Block off the Flues and Stove Pipes
Make sure you have closed the flue on your stove. Also, seal flues and stove pipes with a metal cap to prevent birds and other small mammals from entering your haven.
4. Cover the Windows
Plywood or thin sheet metal will do. Put handles on the outside of the wood and number the pieces to make next year’s close easier. Sealing your cottage will not only protect it from the weather, but also keep unwanted visitors away.
5. Drain the Pipes
Make certain that you drain and shut off your water before you leave for good. The last thing you want is for lingering water to freeze your pipes. Try to avoid using regular anti-freeze in your toilets and pipes as it does much damage to local lakes and water tables. There are much more environmentally friendly products available these days that cause less impact on our great Muskoka Landscape.
6. Don’t Forget the Little Things
Sometimes the little things are often overlooked. Make sure you forward your mail to your winter address or have someone local pick it up for you during the off-season. Make sure your service contacts, like plumbers and electricians, know how to reach you away from the cabin. If you are concerned about phone use, shut off your service or take the phone with you.
7. Consider Security
If you are concerned about intruders, deadbolts are an option as well as hiring a year round resident to keep his or her eyes out for you. You should also consider motion detector lights to deter unwanted visitors. Alarms or “Cottage Watch” services can save you as much money as they cost in stolen or damaged property as well as significantly lower your insurance rates. Don’t leave firearms or alcohol behind. Disable any vehicles you leave behind by removing batteries. Take any valuable electronic items back with you. If you must leave items behind, have a copy of all the items serial numbers along with a picture of where it was in the cottage. Leave a copy out on your cottage counter to deter theft. Unplug all appliances from wall outlets.
9. Securing Outside Furniture and Boats
Take the time to gather all outside furniture and clean it before you secure and cover it. Turn your small boats upside down and if there is a drain hole, open it up, making sure it is on the downhill side of any slope.
10. Add to this handy list
Inevitably there will be something you forget. Use the next page to add to this handy list of things that you have forgotten each year and in the end you will have your own, complete list to ease your mind as you arrive home when the season ends