If you haven’t closed up the cottage yet, or if you’re planning to be there over the winter, there are a few chores you should get done before the snow flies. Trust us—you’ll be grateful they’re done when it’s 30 below and it’s just snowed 20 centimetres.
1. Clear leaves and debris off pathways and stoops to make shovelling easier and provide access to the woodpile, gas and oil tanks, garbage cans, and the shed. You may not be able to avoid shovelling, but at least you can make it as easy as possible by ensuring you’re not also shovelling piles of wet leaves.
2. Clean out eavestroughs and downspouts once most of the leaves have fallen, which will will help prevent ice jams during a freeze-thaw cycle. While you’re up there, check the roof for damaged shingles and the chimney for any crumbling.
3. On the topic of roof issues, put a wire cover over the chimney to prevent unwelcome animal invasions and unfortunate fireplace incidents.
4. Inspect supports, railings, and banisters to make sure they’re secure, and repair them if they’re not. The last thing you want to happen is to slip on some ice and grab for a support that doesn’t work.
5. Take care of minor repairs like painting bare patches, patching holes, and resealing cracks—these get worse once the weather gets bad, and you’ll have a much bigger job come spring.
6. Remove and lock up any outside valuables you won’t be using in the winter, like your barbecue.
7. Arrange for snow removal for your roof over the winter and, even if you’re not going to be there, for your roads and driveways. This allows first responders to easily access your property if there’s an emergency and makes it look less deserted.
8. Get your wood stove or fireplace and chimney checked and cleaned well. There’s nothing worse than a cozy evening by the fire ruined by a faceful of soot—or, worse, a chimney fire.
9. Look for weak trees around the property and have them removed before winter settles in. Snow weighs heavily on trees at the best of times, and falling branches can do big damage.