8 Steps to Closing Up the Cabin: The Midwestern Ritual of Winterization

As the changing leaves of autumn emerge, it’s time for cabin owners in the Midwest to prepare for the cold months ahead. Closing the cabin can be harder, emotionally, than physically. It marks the end of warm summer days spent on the water, and the start of cooler temperatures, making way for the harsh winter. Preparing your cabin for the winter season, though, is a crucial task to ensure your property remains in top condition. Whether you’re a seasoned cabin owner or a first-timer, this guide will walk you through the essential steps to safeguard your retreat until spring arrives.

1. Lake Toys: Preserve and Protect

The first order of business is to remove the dock and store it in a dry place. Proper storage will prevent any damage caused by ice and snow. Ensure all boats and water vehicles are winterized and stored for the season. Local marinas can help winterize boats and ensure they are ready to hit the water again come spring.

2. Outdoor Maintenance: Guard Against the Elements

Inspect your cabin’s exterior, from the roof to the walls and windows. Address any issues promptly – replace broken shingles and fill gaps to prevent drafts. If you have a chimney, protect it with a chimney cap to prevent debris and animals from entering.

3. Indoor Preparations: Set the Stage for a Smooth Return

Turn off the heat and set the thermostat to zero, to conserve energy. Drain the water heater and turn off the water supply to prevent leaks. Unplug appliances and remove all perishable food items. Crack open the refrigerator door to avoid musty odors when you return.

4. Fireplace and Wood Stove Maintenance: Stay Warm and Safe

A safe and functional fireplace is the star of the show during those cool autumn evenings. If your cabin features a wood stove or fireplace, ensure they are cleaned out and well-maintained. Clear out any ashes and debris, and schedule professional maintenance if necessary.

5. Water and Septic: Pump and Prevent

To prevent freezing or other septic system issues during the winter, consider having it pumped before closing up your cabin. Turn off the water supply, to prevent leaks during the winter. Make sure all taps and faucets are fully closed to prevent freezing and bursting. These precautions will help avoid problems when you return in the spring.

6. Pest Prevention: Seal Entry Points

Critters seeking warmth and shelter can cause havoc in your cabin. Inspect the exterior for any gaps or holes and seal them off. Remove items that might attract pests, such as bird feeders or loose food.

7. Fire Prevention: Stay Safe and Ready

Store firewood away from the cabin in a dry place. Rake leaves from around the cabin’s perimeter and clean out gutters to minimize fire risks.

8. Winter Care Services: Plan Ahead for Peace of Mind

Consider hiring a cabin care business that offers winter services, such as snow and ice removal or periodic checks on your property. Alternatively, enlist the help of friends or neighbors to keep an eye on your cabin.

As the crisp air and falling leaves make way for winter, take proactive steps to close up your cabin and ensure it emerges from the cold months unscathed. Embrace the process as a necessary step to ensure your cabin’s longevity. Develop a checklist tailored to your cabin’s needs and create a routine that suits your schedule. By following this comprehensive guide, you’ll be well-prepared to welcome spring with open arms, knowing that your cherished cabin has been safeguarded against the winter elements.