Re-opening the Cottage: How the Pros Tackle this Huge Spring Chore's featured image

Re-opening the Cottage: How the Pros Tackle this Huge Spring Chore


Cottage owners often can’t wait to open the cottage in the spring, but there’s a lot to do. Here is a thorough checklist to get you from spring chores to summer snores.


The Drive-In

  1. Be sure to bring – or stop and buy – cleaning supplies, including garbage bags.
  2. Bring water, food and snacks. Consider a quick and easy meal for the arrival night, such as sandwiches, etc.
  3. If you have a fireplace or woodstove, arrange for wood to be delivered.
  4. Have you had the land-line phone turned on if you have one? Call and arrange to if you haven’t.
  5. Make note of new potholes that need fixing in the cottage laneway.

Outside Inspection

  1. When you arrive, do a walk-around visual inspection. Look for any damage caused by weather or unscheduled guests, such as animals or people. Check the roof for missing/loose shingles or any newly sagging spots.
  2. Visually inspect the power lines leading to your cottage (if any), and report any damage.
  3. Remove shutters and boards that may be on windows and doors.

Inside Inspection

  1. Leave the dog and kids outside as you do a walk-around visual inspection indoors. Look for leaks or other damage as well as signs of mice (if you set traps last fall, deal with them). Open a few windows to air things out.

Get Things Going

  1. Turn on the power.
  2. Check appliances. Make sure the fridge or stove are working, and clean as necessary.
  3. Have the plumber come and turn the water on – or do it yourself. You want the toilet and taps to be in good working condition.

Time to Clean

  1. Clean areas that really need it first (for example, where mice have been). Spray with a disinfectant. Wear gloves and a disposable mask, and sweep or vacuum the area. Finish by wiping with a disinfectant cleaner, then drying the surface with a damp cloth.
  2. Clean the entire cottage. Start by dusting everywhere with a damp cloth.
  3. Vacuum floors and rugs.
  4. Disinfect kitchen and bathroom surfaces.
  5. Check all drawers and cupboards in the kitchen, and clean as necessary. This includes dishes, cutlery, etc., stored in the cupboards.
  6. Wash windows and mirrors.

For Safety Sake

  1. Test smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors. Change the batteries.
  2. Check the expiry date on the fire extinguisher – and replace if needed.
  3. Check the fireplace – if the chimney has to be cleaned, call and schedule it.

End of the Day

  1. Make the beds.
  2. Check that towels, etc. are set out in the bathroom.
  3. Relax and enjoy the sunset.


  1. Remove any deadfall on your property.
  2. Clean the eaves trough of winter debris.
  3. Clean the barbecue.
  4. Wash outdoor furniture. If it’s warm enough to set up your outdoor furnishings, be sure to clean it first.