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Tips on Preparing Your Cottage For Winter

As much as we enjoy summers and early fall in Michigan, the reality is that winter is always coming. For most cottage owners across Michigan, we take the fall as a time to enjoy the fall colors and fall activities, but also it is time to close things up.  It is important to take care of things around your cottage so that you don’t arrive in the spring to any unwanted surprised.  A few tips:

Water and Plumbing

Without question, the most important thing to take care of is your water and plumbing situation. Frozen pipes will burst and can create an incredible amount of damage without you knowing about it for weeks and months.  Be sure to shut your main water supply off where it comes into your cottage.  Also be sure to drain all of the water of your pipes. Putting antifreeze in your drain traps is a good idea as well. Keeping your heat on low all winter? Fine, but be sure to still shut your water off.  This way even if there is a plumbing issue, the water won’t just keep gushing.  A tip if you are not completely draining your cottage – open up the cabinets underneath your kitchen and bathroom sinks so that they get exposed to warmer air.


If your cottage has gutters, be sure to clean out leaves and pine needles at the end of Fall. Packed gutters can lead to ice jams and water leaks, in addition to gutter damage. If you have a cottage in Northern Michigan, make sure to clean out any pine needles or pine cones that may wreak havoc.


Be sure to take any open or unsealed food with you. Mice and rodents tend to move inside when the weather turns. Don’t give them a reason to pick the kitchen cabinets of your cottage and do damage! Also, check your fridge one more time and be sure there isn’t anything in it that may spoil over the winter.

Snow Removal

Many locations around Northern Michigan have year-round residents that plow during the winter months. Having someone come to plow your driveway on a regular basis is helpful so that snow isn’t a hassle when you do want to come up north for that ski weekend. However, it also helps because it gives off the impression to possible burglars that someone is going in and out of the cottage on a normal basis, helping deter any trouble.

Roof Checks

Along the lines of snow removal, it is worth the investment to pay someone to check on the snow of the roof all winter. Snowfall in Northern Michigan is measured in feet, not inches. If your roof doesn’t have a steep pitch, snow can pack on and become very heavy. This can cause leaks, ice jams and possibly even a roof collapse. Be sure that you can have your cottage checked on so that you know if you should get your roof cleared off.

Following these simple steps will help keep your cottage free from damage this winter and help in it be ready for you to successfully open it come spring!