Several parts of North America have had an unseasonably warm fall season, and you won’t hear the folks who own vacation homes complaining. The temps will eventually drop, however, which means the annual ritual of winterizing a seasonal property.

It’s not complicated, but it does take time and a checklist. We came up with a list of 10 items, but you’ll likely want to add to it to account for specific personal and property needs. Things like protecting clothing that you’d rather leave behind, drawing the blinds, and remembering to take home any plants are a few things that may come to mind.

There are two important things to guard against when winterizing a summer home: weather and critters. Freezing temps can do a number on unprotected pipes and canned goods, lightning can fry appliances, and bugs and mice can feast on anything delicious you leave behind, including mattresses and bedding.

10 Vacation Home Winterization Tips

  1. Clean and mentally close off each room as you go, working your way to the front of the house.
  2. Clean and protect mattresses and bedding by storing everything in plastic.
  3. Turn off all circuit breakers, except for the ones feeding the security system. Turn off the gas supply, if you have one.
  4. Unplug all appliances, including oven, washer, dryer, and all televisions and telephones to guard against a lightning strike.
  5. Empty the refrigerator, freezer, and cupboards of food and give everything a good wipe down. Sweep the kitchen.
  6. Shut off the water at the main valve. Open all faucets, including outside hose bibs, to drain remaining water from the lines.
  7. Store outdoor furniture and cushions, grills, hoses, and other accessories.
  8. Take the last load of garbage to the dump and store garbage cans.
  9. Lock sheds, outdoor cabinets, and garage doors
  10. Lock all house windows, set the alarm, and make sure all doors are locked and secure.

Plan to take an entire day to tackle this list, and keep in mind that it will get easier the more times you do it. If winter flies by as fast as summer did, you’ll be back in the hammock in no time. (Oh, the hammock. You probably should put that away, too).

Did we remember everything? What else do you do when you close up your vacation home for the season?

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