With winter coming to a close, many of you may be thinking of your cottage and that so long awaited and desired vacation. Opening your cottage for the season is a laborious chore but one worth while, especially when it opens the door to long awaited relaxation time and fun in the sun with family and friends.

Before you can enjoy that long awaited relaxation and start reaping the benefits of your cottage, and before you even leave the city and head north for the first time since last fall here are some essentials to pack:

  • A cooler with your favorite beverages
  • A case of water just in case you can’t access your plumbing right away
  • Food & clothing...of course
  • Remember the keys to the cottage - you would not like to make a round trip in one day or worse yet, break into your own cottage


  • Bring your tool kit, more than likely there will be something that needs fixing (see above comment re: break into your cottage)
  • Batteries in various sizes for flashlights, carbon monoxide detectors and smoke alarms
  • Clean bed linens
  • Candles and matches
  • Cleaning supplies - don’t forget to include cleaning rags and scouring pads because a four legged rodent may have left you a gift
  • A notebook and a pen

Note paper & Pen

Upon arrival and after unloading, begin with a walk around the cottage to check for any damages such as; cracked windows, torn screens, loose siding, damaged deck, fallen power lines or anything that does not look quite right. If you have a boat house don't forget to check it out too. Taking notes as you go, of areas that need repairing will help you prioritize your repairs. Once your outdoor inspection is complete, head inside and perform a similar inspection checking for rodent or animal droppings, water damage, cracks in pipes, chewed wires, etc. Remember to keep notes and prioritize what needs immediate attention.


Before you can really relax and enjoy "home away from home" for the weekend here are a few things you’ll need to get done (have the family pitch in and assign each member a task):

  • Turn on the electricity - be sure to phone any services you will need at the cottage prior to heading to the cottage
  • Prepare to get your water system up and running – this includes getting hot water turned on
  • Replace batteries in smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors
  • Test your fire extinguishers to ensure they’re functioning properly
  • Replace batteries in any flashlights
  • Replace any filters
  • Clear away any large branches or brush from the cottage and pile for kindling for your camp fire
  • Clean out the eavestroughs
  • Clean the woodstoves and fireplace chimneys
  • Deep clean the kitchen counters, sinks, cupboards, bathrooms and floors
  • Make the beds, fresh clean sheets will give you a good night’s sleep after this long day

Relaxing at Sunset

Once you’ve tackled all of the above items, take a break and enjoy, the rest can wait for another day. Fire up the grill, open cold beverage, sit back and put the winter behind you because summer is here at last, sit back and enjoy!