Nine tips for closing up your cabin for the off-season

Key insights:

  • Dock and boat maintenance are critical if you want to enjoy life on the water next spring
  • Focus on shutting down all appliances and systems safely before you board up your home
  • Hire a local caretaker to watch over your home this winter

Closing up your lakeshore cabin is never as exciting as opening it up, but it’s important to protect your waterfront property during the off-season. Here are nine insights you can use as you close up your cabin for the winter.

1. Bring in the dock

Unless you have a dock that can withstand ice, you’ll need to bring yours in this winter. Roll-in-and-out docks and floating piers should take 2-3 people, but you’ll have to call in reinforcements if you have a standing dock.

2. Winterize the boat

To winterize your boat, follow the manual, this 10-step general process or hire your local marina to do it for you. Remember to cover the boat securely or to get it professionally shrink-wrapped to protect it from the elements.

3. Store cushions, rafts, life vests

At the start of your last weekend Up North, begin drying out anything made of fabric — including outdoor furniture cushions, life vests and pontoon canopies. To prevent mildew, make sure these items are 100 percent dry and store them in a well-ventilated area.

4. Check for window leaks

Shake windows to see if they rattle. If the frames aren’t secure, add caulk to the perimeter to seal them off. Chip off any paint or debris that prevents the windows from closing and locking tightly.

5. Check corners, roof and eaves for entry points

Check corners, floorboards, eaves and other nooks and crannies for holes that may be big enough to let in unwanted winter critters. Seal up the gaps using steel wool, which mice and squirrels cannot chew through.

6. Turn off the water and plumbing

If you plan to shut down the cabin for the entire winter, you’ll want to bleed the pipes and shut down plumbing completely. Begin by shutting off your main water valve, then follow these tips from This Old House to make sure you cover all your bases.

7. Check the furnace

If you won’t need heat for the entire winter, turn the furnace off. Vacuum the inside and check its filter to ensure it’ll be up and running in the early spring months. Your early-spring-cabin-fever self will thank you

8. Unplug all appliances

Start with the kitchen and move through every room to be sure that nothing is plugged in. Don’t forget to check behind couches for power strips.

9. Hire a “check-in” caretaker

If you have a friend or neighbor who stays in town year-round, ask them to check in on your place from time to time. You’ll rest easier if you know that someone is alerting you of suspicious activity and checking the interior for water damage or critter invasions.

Prep for spring. Buy now!

If you buy a lakeshore home or cabin now, you won’t miss even one day on the water next spring. Browse lake homes and cabins for sale in Minnesota and western Wisconsin, or reach out now to discuss buying a lakeshore home.

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