Cottage New Year’s resolutions

Overhead view of a person writing on a notepad with holiday decorations on the table. Photo by NaMong Productions92/Shutterstock

Even though prime cottage season is months away, it’s time to start thinking about how to make this year an even more memorable one.

1. Leave the technology behind. It’s easy to believe that the world can’t live without us, but what’s the worst that will happen if an e-mail doesn’t get answered right away, or if you don’t check Facebook for a few days? Many cottagers have no-technology rules and they manage just fine. If phones and laptops creep into your cottage time, try leaving them all at home for a weekend—or the entire summer if you’re up for it. You may have a few hours of withdrawal, but think of being at the cottage as your time to slow down, relax, and feel peace—it’s much easier to do that when you can’t hear your phone ringing.

2. Tackle that big project. No one wants to deal with that overdue reno or fix-it job while there’s summer fun to be had, but you have to do it sometime. Plan your budget and ideas now. By the time summer comes, you’ll be ready to take it on. Is it an outhouse or floating raft that needs to be built? Then check out our Top 10 project plans for full instructions and materials lists. If it’s a maintenance solution you’re looking for, see our DIY section for how-tos on everything from fixing running toilets to repairing vinyl siding.

3. Invite a city slicker to your cottage—and don’t pass judgment! Many of us are guilty of inviting people with no outdoorsy tendencies up for a weekend, and then laughing when our guests believe that the fish will bite their toes or the bears at the dump are friendly. Spend some time showing these newbies the ropes and they’ll be begging to visit your lakeside retreat again.

4. Take up a new hobby. Are your outdoor photos just so-so? Is your cottage garden lacklustre? Do the kids resort to watching movies on rainy days? Mix it up! Learn how to take better photos of that hummingbird you’ve been spotting around the feeder, improve your garden, and find new crafts and games to play on the days you have to stay indoors.

5. Get involved in your cottage community. Is there a cottagers association in your area that you’ve been meaning to join? Do it already! Being part of an association is a great way to meet your neighbours and other locals, plus you’ll be up-to-date on current affairs and can contribute to various events, such as an annual regatta.