Once the snow is cleared, inspect your roof for missing or damaged shingles and shakes. Ideally, you’ll climb a ladder to get an up-close view. But if that’s not feasible or safe, inspect from the ground with a pair of binoculars. Or take the modern approach and do a flyby with a drone.
Clean out the eavestroughs, and securely reattach any sections that have pulled away from the building. The next time it rains, walk around the perimeter of the cottage looking to see if water is leaking through any of the seams and, if so, seal those with caulking later. Also, make sure the downspout discharges at least four feet from the building.
Wiggle all the deck railings to make sure they’re secure, inspect the stairs for any loose treads, and replace any rotted deck boards. See also: 6 signs you need to repair or replace your deck
Before you reinstall your dock, check to make sure that all the hinges, cleats, and other hardware are secured and working properly. Oil the hinges, tighten all the bolts, and replace any missing or damaged bumpers.
Replace the batteries in all your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Check the expiry date on your fire extinguisher. You do have a fire extinguisher, right?
Inspect all your window and door screens. Small holes or tears can be sealed with Krazy Glue. For larger areas, you can buy replacement screen materials at any building supply store.
Restock your firewood pile for your summertime s’mores parties. Remember that if you’re cutting down your own trees, the wood will need to dry for at least a year before you can split and use it. While you’re at it, inspect the trees near the cottage for any potential deadfall.