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Cottage Opening Checklist Starter

Cottage Opening Checklist StarterIt's that time of year again...time to open up your "home away from home," so you can start enjoying cottage life.

While this list won't cover every single thing you need to do for your specific cottage - and you should always check with a professional for new-to-you and more demanding or specialized activities - it can at least get you thinking about some of the things you'll need to consider as you prepare to pack up the car with items like hats, sunscreen, clean clothes, food and bottled water, and head out.


  • Lots can change around your cottage over the winter months. Arrive so that you have at least a few daylight hours left, and take the time to do a sight inspection on arrival. Have pen and paper in hand and make a note of things that need professional attention or require supplies you haven't brought with you.
  • Ensure any paths, driveways, and docks are stable and cleared of tree limbs. 
  • Were you boarded up for the winter? Make sure you have tools on hand to remove boards and shutters and install bug screens if they've been removed. Check for holes too. Pests may have been active while you were away. If you get the repairs done now you won't need to spend precious summer days working through them later.
  • All of the same checks you would do on your winter home need to be done at the cottage. Among the things to remember: clearing eaves troughs, checking down spouts and reconnecting any disconnected water pumps.
  • Have pests and rodents been active in your area? Look for nests, check traps and keep an eye out for damage to outdoor appliances and supply lines. Remember to remove traps from accessible places to avoid kids or pets getting into them by mistake.
  • Inspect the stability of decks, stairs and railings. Consult a professional to help you secure anything that looks wobbly or loose.


  • Inside the cottage take the same precautions you would at home. Remember to change the batteries and test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. If you have a fire extinguisher check the expiry date and replace filters throughout the cottage.
  • Make sure you have everything you'll need for a thorough spring cleaning before you leave the city. Chances are you packed up your cleaning supplies at the end of the season and it could be a long drive out to purchase them once you arrive.
  • Make opening the cottage a family activity. Enlist the kids and give them a list of age appropriate tasks they can perform within your sightlines after you have done an initial check.  The more hands on deck, the sooner everyone is swimming.
  • Keeping warm may not be top of mind when you're working hard and the sun is out, but chances are you'll be thinking about it by nightfall. Be ready. Dry firewood needs to be gathered and accessible if you use a wood burning stove or fireplace.  Also remember to have an expert check your chimney.
  • If you use oil or propane for appliances or heating systems make sure you have a good supply. Testing to make sure things are in working order before nightfall is a good idea.
  • Get the water running in accordance with the system you use and then check each tap and faucet to make sure things are working as they should. Most systems will need to be flushed through before use.
  • Check appliances for wear and tear and consider running things like dishwashers or washing machines for a few cycles before filling it with dishes or clothing.
  • Clean out the refrigerator, fire pit and barbecue as soon as possible. There will be no greater reward to a hard day's work than a family meal at the end of the day as you look forward to the summer fun to come.

General information not about PC insurance products is provided for your reference and interest only. The above content is intended only to provide a summary and general overview on matters of interest and is not a substitute for, and should not be construed as the advice of an experienced professional. PC insurance does not guarantee the currency, accuracy, applicability or completeness of this content.


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