What to pack when opening up the cottage

Opening-curtains-at-cottage Alex Master/Shutterstock

It doesn’t matter whether your cottage has been in the family for 20 years or two years, preparing to open it for the summer can feel like a daunting — and exciting — task.

To make it easier, we’ve compiled a packing list of cottage opening essentials.

Food and cooking supplies

Stocking your pantry now ensures you’ll be set for the rest of the season. Even if you think you’ve got some of these items on hand, it doesn’t hurt to buy more. After all, you never know if pests got into your cottage over the winter or if any expiry dates have passed in your absence.

  • Olive oil
  • Vinegar
  • Coffee/tea
  • Salt and pepper
  • Basic spices
  • Baking supplies: sugar, flour, baking soda, baking power
  • S’more supplies (we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention this one)
  • Condiments and spreads, such as jam, peanut butter, and syrup
  • Canned and non-perishable food such as dried pasta and rice
  • Plastic wrap, re-sealable bags, aluminum foil, and parchment paper
  • Wine and beer (they’re categorically “basic” foodstuffs, right?)

Cleaning and maintenance 

Unfortunately, opening the cottage means that there’s going to be some serious spring-cleaning to do. Ensure your cleaning kit is well equipped so you can tackle everything from dusting to wiping down outdoor patio furniture.

  • Paper towel
  • Sponges
  • Dish detergent
  • Garbage bags
  • Clean rags
  • All-purpose cleaner
  • Laundry detergent
  • Filters for vacuums and air or water systems

 Personal products

Much like food products, personal care products have a best before date. Be sure to check the expiration date on anything that’s been kicking around the cottage for a while, especially sunscreen.

  • Toilet paper
  • Bug spray
  • Sunscreen
  • Hand soap
  • Feminine hygiene products
  • First aid kit supplies, including bandages, antihistamines, painkillers, and after bite lotion

Spare clothing

It never hurts to have extra clothes on hand, especially for those forgetful guests who arrive unprepared for the great outdoors.

  • Sun hat
  • Slippers
  • Socks
  • Flip-flops
  • Toques, mittens, and scarves for cold mornings/nights
  • Fleeces/hoodies
  • Umbrellas

Tech and office supplies

Even if your cottage is off-grid and low-tech, we guarantee you’ll need most of these items.

  • Fresh batteries for remote controls, flashlights, and carbon monoxide and smoke detectors
  • Phone charger or docking station
  • Notepads or scrap paper
  • Pens
  • Tape
  • Scissors
  • Candles for power outages
  • Spare light bulbs

Outdoor Gear

Last but not least, do a mental scan of your garage and shed to determine what needs to be replenished.

  • Full gas can for topping up boat motors and lawn mowers
  • Basic tool kit
  • Firewood
  • Matches or a lighter stick
  • Full propane tank or charcoal for BBQ
  • Repair kit for inflatable water toys

Featured Video