- Check your cottage’s exterior for damage, including windows, doors, the patio, deck, siding, docks, and roof.
- Check for damage to phone, cable, and power lines.
- Check for pests.
- Check for pests – especially mice.
- Check for water damage.
- If you notice anything that needs repair, make a note.
- List any supplies that you’ll need for the upcoming cottage season, like batteries, a first aid kit, flashlight, etc.
- Dust everything. It saves on clean up if you cover furniture with old sheets before your leave. Then all you have to do is take the sheets outside and shake them off.
- Sweep or vacuum every room in your cottage.
- Disinfect surfaces in your bathroom and kitchen.
- Open up kitchen and bathroom cabinets and drawers. Wash dishes and silverware. Check for evidence of pests, as mice and other rodents can make their way into your drawers and cabinets.
- Before turning on the fridge, give it a thorough cleaning.
- Wash your windows (inside and out) and clean baseboards, top of door and window trim.
- Clean your eaves troughs and make sure the downspout is clear.
- Power wash the deck and sidewalks. Check to see if it is necessary to give your deck or dock another coat of stain/paint for the summer.
- Wash your outdoor furniture and cushions. Be sure they are in good condition.
- Mow and rake the lawn. Spruce up your flowerbeds – remove dead leaves, twigs, and other debris. Trim up trees and shrubs.
- Check your heating, cooling, plumbing, and electrical systems for damage before turning anything on.
- Plug in all appliances, and make sure they’re functional – go from room to room and check that all lights are working.
- Note: if you notice a burning smell, or see any flickering lights, sparking fixtures, or damaged electrical cords, turn the power back off and address the issue before moving on.
- Next, turn the water on – it is wise to check for leaks at this point, so that you can take care of any issues right away.
- Finally, test your heating and/or cooling systems to make sure they are functioning properly.
- Check your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors – replace the batteries.
- Replace filters: water, furnace, etc.
- Make sure your fire extinguisher is easily accessible and is properly charged.
Airing It Out
- Open all the windows and doors to let the air circulate.
- If you notice any musty smells, you should address these right away. Check for water damage, and its source. Clean the mold/mildew.
How to clean mildew:
- Fresh air and direct exposure to sunlight will eliminate mildew. Clothing, drapes, bedding, etc. can be hung on a clothesline or placed outside.
- Vinegar and essential oils
- White vinegar is a safe, natural and very effective mold and mildew killer. A study by a microbiologist at Good Housekeeping found that vinegar is 90 percent effective against mold, and 99.9 percent effective against bacteria.
- You can either soak a sponge in full-strength vinegar, or fill a spray bottle and thoroughly soak affected areas. t it sit for a few hours, and then scrub. Add essential oils to the spray bottle to make the smell more pleasant.
- Tea tree oil may just be the greatest natural mold and mildew killer of all. While it has a strong scent and is not nearly as cheap as vinegar, it has powerful fungus-killing abilities. You can either add two teaspoons of tea tree oil to two cups of water to spray onto affected surfaces, or add a few drops to your vinegar mildew-killing solution.
- Hydrogen peroxide is another way to kill mildew naturally. Just apply it full-strength directly to affected surfaces, let it sit for at least ten minutes and then wipe the mildew away.