The Cottage Closing Guide

It’s that time of year. The leaves will soon turn red and gold, and the cottage will need to be properly closed up for winter.

It’s always good to have a checklist to ensure you don’t forget anything. We’ve compiled a list of what we consider the most important cottage closing tasks, organized by area. Please leave us a comment if you have any cottage closing tips to add!


Glass bottles – take home all glass bottles. The contents of freezing bottles will expand and possibly crack or explode the bottles.

Dry goods – place in well-sealed plastic containers to ensure rodents and bugs don’t get to them. That includes sugar, flour, pasta, and rice. Do not count on plastic bags to do the job.
For information on how to deal with specific food products, consult the Food Handler’s Storage Guide.

Fridge – Defrost the freezer and empty the refrigerator, give it a good scrub with soapy water and/or baking soda. Unplug the and prop open the fridge to ensure dry air can circulate inside of it.


Strip the beds. Stand mattresses and bedsprings up against the wall, and cover with old sheets. This keeps mouse waste and dust off of them.


Fireplace and chimney  – Clean the fireplace, close the chimney damper, clean up all the spilled ashes and bits of wood.
Check the chimney. Anything more than an 1/4” inch of creosote and you should have it cleaned out. Check the caulking around the chimney flashing. If you have a chimney that needs a screen over the top to keep out the animals, inspect and replace it if necessary.
Water Supply – Turn off the water main, then drain the hot water tank, the water purifier, the washing machine, dishwasher, toilet tank, sink and tub traps. Drain all the lines by opening all the taps and valves. Make sure they are well-drained by blowing any excess water out with air. (Use a can of compressed air, or a hand-operated diaphragm pump.) Put antifreeze (non-toxic propylene glycol) in anything that can’t be drained, such as the toilet trap.
Make sure you water tank is clean. It is advisable to have your water analyzed regularly by a lab, especially if the water suddenly shows a yellow or brown tinge. A filtration system can significantly increase the purity level and lessen the wear-and-tear on your cottage water system.

Electrical System – You can shut off electricity using the main switch in the fuse box, but first make sure to turn off all appliances including your water heater, and electrical room heaters
If you leave your electricity on to operate security systems or lighting, you should turn off the power supply to your major appliances at your main panel. Turn off the power supply to any space heaters. Otherwise they may turn on during cold weather.


BBQ – Disconnect the propane tank.Bring in the bbq. Store the propane tank outdoors in a shed, or it can be kept in the outhouse.

Boat– When storing power boating motors and other power equipment do not drain gasoline from fuel tanks, instead use a fuel stabilizer (available from your dealer or auto parts store). Winterize your engine(s) away from the water. Store boat motors, lawnmowers and other items with engines in a dry, weatherproof place.
Inspect the roof and replace missing or broken shingles.
Cover anything that may rust over the winter with a coat of oil.

That about covers it. You may also want to tell a neighbor that you’re closed up the for the year.
See you next spring!