Tips for opening your cottage in Muskoka

It's only a couple short weeks away till the ice will slowly and painfully be melting from our majestic Muskoka waterways.  I dare say there was a time when we all wondered if it would actually melt at all, I would bet that even the avid ice fishermen were ready to trade their huts for a boat and the warm sunshine.

With the long dark cold days of winter finally behind us are you ready to embark on the greatest sign that a Muskoka summer is only around the corner?

This task can be laborious, it will seem like there is no end in sight and try as you may but you will get dirty. However when the hard work is all said and done the reward is like no other. Opening up your Muskoka cottage for the season is worth every drop of sweat.        

Before you can enjoy that reward and start reaping the benefits of your Muskoka real estate, before you even leave the city and head north for the first time since October here are some essentials to pack:

  • A cooler with beverages of choice...priorities
  • A case of water just in case you can’t access your plumbing right away
  • Food & clothing (I hate to state the obvious, but…)
  • Remember the keys to the cottage, no one wants to make a round trip in one day or worse yet, break into their own summer home
  • Bring your tool kit, whether you like it or not there will be something that needs fixing (see above comment re: breaking-in)
  • Batteries in various sizes for flashlights, carbon monoxide detectors and smoke alarms
  • Clean bed linens
  • Stock up on candles and matches
  • Cleaning supplies, don’t forget to include rags and scouring pads because a four legged rodent may have left you a gift
  • A notebook and a pen

Being the savvy Muskoka cottager that you are, you’ve left the city in plenty of time and survived the drive up north. First things first, grab a cold beverage from the cooler and your note pad & pen.

Now you can begin a walk around the cottage to check for any damage to your property such as cracked windows, torn screens, siding or anything that doesn’t look quite right. You may want to take notes of areas that need repairing so you are able to prioritize. Once your outdoor inspection is complete, head inside and perform a similar inspection checking for rodent or animal droppings, water damage, cracks in pipes, chewed wires, etc.  Remember to keep notes and prioritize what needs immediate attention.

Before you can really relax and enjoy Muskoka home for the weekend here are a few things you’ll need to get done (have the family pitch in and assign each member a task):

  • Turn on your electricity
  • Prepare to get your water system up and running – this includes getting hot water
  • Replace batteries in smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors
  • Test your fire extinguishers to ensure they’re functioning
  • Replace batteries in any flashlights
  • Replace any filters
  • Clear away any large branches or brush from the cottage and pile for kindling
  • Clean out the eavestroughs Clean the woodstoves and fireplace chimneys
  • Deep clean the kitchen counters, sinks, cupboards, bathrooms and floors
  • Change the sheets on all the beds
  • Return to your cooler to refresh your beverage

Once you’ve tackled all of these items, forget about the rest for now, it can wait for another day. Fire up the grill, open another cold beverage, sit back in your Muskoka chair and put the winter behind you because summer is here at last. 

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