Closing Up Your Cottage After A Short Trip

By Johanna Crisholm • Last Updated July 12 2022

One of the simplest steps you can do for yourself and possible visiting guests to your cottage is create a step-by-step guide of what to do before you leave.

This is a shorter checklist for when you’re heading back to your primary residence for the week and you plan on returning in the next couple of weeks and a longer, more intensive one for when you’re shutting the place down for the season.

The list provided here is just a sampler. Your specific list will and should be tailored to your own cottage’s particulars (e.g. do you have a boat? Do you have a dock? Do you have neighbours nearby and/or a property manager who can check on your cottage throughout the winter?).


Sweep up, wipe down counters and seal up any food containers with tight lids, or move food that’s in bags or boxes (e.g. packages that a pest could eat through, like opened chip bags, cereal boxes, baking products that aren’t in sealed containers) into a cabinet that has no possible holes/entry

Collect the garbage/recycling

Take any food from the fridge that might be going bad before you return

Tie up anything that might blow away (e.g. Muskoka chairs, tables, recreational water devices, etc.)

Remove deck furniture cushions and stow away

Clean out chimney (if there’s an indoor fireplace)

Double check that the propane tank is turned off and barbecue is covered

Lock up

Renting Out Your Cottage?

If you do plan to rent your cottage and there are specific maintenance tips that bear reminding to your visitors, consider writing out post-it notes and leaving them in the spaces that they address. For instance, if you want to ensure guests know not to flush wipes or feminine toiletries down the toilet, you can stick a laminated note beside the bathroom mirror as a gentle reminder for your guests. The same goes for fireplace use, waste separation and anything else you feel needs reminding.