Labour Day is traditionally when you raise a glass to another successful season at the cottage. Well, that’s always the plan at least. But instead of celebrating, how many of us actually spend the last long weekend of summer frantically trying to work through our closing-up checklist?
Here are six chores you can get out of the way now so that you can really throw down on Labour Day.
1. Pack away any food
Make sure nothing goes to waste by packing up everything that you won’t use in the next couple of weeks. This includes non-perishable food items, which can attract pests over the winter months. Clean and wipe out your fridge to remove any lingering odours, so that it’s fully geared up for unplugging at the end of the season.
2. Declutter and donate unwanted items
Cottages are magical places where needed items seem to disappear (has anyone seen the barbecue tongs?), while unwanted ones accumulate (hello, every back issue of Us Weekly ever). Fall is the perfect time to do some “spring” cleaning. Channel your inner Marie Kondo and devote a day to the art of tidying up.
As you declutter, don’t forget to check the boathouse and the garage. If you haven’t patched those floaties yet, there’s a good chance they belong in the bin. Those half-empty paint cans? Take them to a waste transfer centre.
3. Crime-proof your cottage
You likely can’t complete all the items on your crime proofing checklist before you officially close the cottage, but you can start with some of the smaller tasks, such as securing windows and doors. You can also photograph what’s on the property for insurance purposes.
4. Pest-proof your cottage
It doesn’t take much for a mouse to wreck havoc on a cottage — all it takes is a nickel-sized hole. Carefully inspect your property and fill any holes (steel wool will do the trick). Mothballs can be scattered around support posts, mousetraps can be set, and extra linens can be packed away in plastic bags.
5. Inspect your roof
The vast majority of winter water damage happens to roofs. Get our your ladder and make sure there are no buckles, loose shingles, or areas where snow might collect. While you’re up there, clear any fallen leaves or debris out of your eavestroughs to prevent ice damns.
6. Ready your yard for winter
Yard work is less of a chore when you realize that it’s actually a great excuse to spend an afternoon outdoors. Pull your weeds before they go to seed, and rake any fallen leaves. Shrubs and young trees can be wrapped in burlap, while bigger trees should be inspected for broken or hanging limbs. For extra bonus points, invest some time into sharpening your garden tools and lawn mower blades—it will be one less task to take care of in the spring.