Black Forest Decor

Closing the Cabin in the fall - a checklist to follow

red shed in winter

The closing the cabin checklist will help you ensure that everything is properly attended to. We've posted a handy PDF version of the checklist for you to print and use as you close your cabin or cottage. Each section has space for you to add items unique to your place.

Water systems

Drain absolutely everything!

Drain all the lines by turning off water pump at circuit breaker and opening all the taps and valves. For added security blow the water out with air after draining. (Use a compressor, a can of compressed air, or a hand-operated diaphragm pump.)

Leave the faucets open.

Use a non-toxic RV antifreeze (propylene glycol) in anything that can’t be drained, such as the toilet trap. Failing to use antifreeze in areas with extreme cold could result in freezing of the pipes and their subsequent cracking or even explosion, which could result in hundreds or thousands of dollars in damage.

Lodge The hot water tank Turn off the electric circuit to the water heater and drain the water heater tank to avoid damage by freezing. Drain hot water tank from the valve at bottom. Attach hose and direct into floor drain.
Lodge The toilet tank Turn off water valve for toilet and flush to empty tank. Pour RV antifreeze in tank and make sure some goes down into goose neck (do this by pressing flush lever). Pour some antifreeze into toilet bowl.
Lodge The washing machine Disinfect the washer by running a normal cycle with white vinegar. Turn off the water, disconnect the hoses and advance the machine to the spin cycle. This ensures that all water gets out of the appliance. Put some RV antifreeze down the drain pipe. Finally, disconnect the power supply and leave the lid open so the last of the moisture can evaporate.
Lodge The dishwasher Run an empty cycle with vinegar to disinfect, put on dry cycle, then pour antifreeze in the bottom.
Lodge The sink and tub traps After the the water is off and the lines have been blown clear, add antifreeze.


Lodge Remove ALL food when you are closing the cabin – even a box of crackers or a fruit-flavored dessert mix may be all it takes to attract mice, other rodents, or a bear!
Lodge Wash and wipe out your cupboards inside and out so there are no crumbs or food bits remaining.
Lodge Remove all canned goods. Freezing over winter will cause the food to expand, which can cause a crack in the can that will allow air in and a resulting growth of bacteria and spoiled food.
Lodge Wipe down counters, appliances, and table so as not to attract vermin.
Lodge Empty fridge, clean thoroughly, unplug and prop door open.
Lodge Use a disinfectant cleaner to eliminate all odors from garbage and recycling containers and lids.
Lodge Unplug all appliances.


Lodge Pack up and take home any liquids (shampoo, conditioner, liquid soap) that shouldn't freeze.
Lodge Empty your medicine cabinet of any liquids or items that will pass their expiry date over the winter.
Lodge Clean the toilet, tub, and sink. A good natural cleaner is Borax and vinegar

Linens and clothing

Lodge Strip beds and wash all sheets.
Lodge Wash any used towels, dishtowels, or soiled clothes. If you can't wash them, take them home with you.
Lodge If your linen or clothes shelves are open, cover them with plastic. I use large green garbage bags.
Lodge You may want put mothballs in your linens to further protect them. Some recommend cedar chips as another way to deter moths and other fabric eating insects.


More and more people are forgoing "land lines" at recreational properties because so many of us have cell phones. If you do have a land line:

Lodge You may be able to have your phone line suspended for a specific period without losing your phone number or paying for re-installation charges. This can make a lot of sense if you will be closing the cabin for 3 - 6 months. Check with your phone company.


Lodge Furnace Turn thermostat all the way down and switch furnace to OFF.
Lodge Wood stove Clean out the stove box. You might want to lay a fire ready for spring opening - you'll appreciate it next spring!
Lodge Fireplace Clean and sweep out the fireplace.
Lodge Chimney Check your chimney and if necessary put on a chimney cap or cover to stop animals from entering.


Lodge It’s a good idea to turn off the power supply at the main switch to prevent any electricity use during the winter.
Lodge Unplug TV.
Lodge Unplug stereo.
Lodge Unplug microwave.
Lodge Unplug refrigerator and prop doors open.
Lodge Unplug any electric blankets.
Lodge Basically, unplug everything!


Lodge Tools Any to bring home for the winter?
Lodge Paints and Stains These don't survive freezing well, so pack them up and take them home.
Lodge Glue Many wood working glues shouldn't freeze so you're best to take them home too.
Lodge Sweep/vacuum and put things in their place.

Garden furniture

Lodge Hoses Drain water from hoses and store in garage or shed.
Lodge Barbeque Take your barbecue home with you when you close the cabin OR store it in a secure shed. Make sure it is clean.
Lodge Lawn chairs Stack and store in a shed or under the eaves or porch roof. Bring in all cushions.
Lodge Umbrellas and gazebos Dismantle and store inside.
Lodge Tables Metal or glass will weather well. To protect your wood tables (and other wooden outdoor furniture) store them in a shed or garage.
Lodge Flower pots Empty all your flower pots, so they are ready for planting next spring. You'll be glad you did!

Don't leave scented products outside. Even non-food items like suntan lotion, insect repellent, soap and candles may attract bears.

Mice and other rodents

Damage from mice and squirrels is a concern for many cottage owners. To prevent damage from these undesirable rodents when you are closing the cabin.

Lodge Inspect both the interior and exterior of your cabin to make sure there are no openings through which these pests may enter.
Lodge Remove all sources of food from the cabin.
Lodge Consider using mouse poison.


Security is an issue when you are closing the cabin. Police say that more thefts occur from recreational properties during the winter when they are standing empty than at any other time of the year. Some things you can do to protect your property:

Lodge Make sure all doors and windows are secure and locked.
Lodge Close blinds/curtains on all windows (upstairs and down).
Lodge Make sure garage/workshop is locked.
Lodge Some people install wood covers on windows and doors for added security.
Lodge Take an inventory and photographs of your dwelling and its contents. Write down serial numbers where applicable. These steps will be of great benefit to you in the unfortunate event you have to make an insurance claim.
Lodge Take anything that's really valuable to you (monetarily or emotionally) home for the winter.
Lodge Check with your insurance company regarding restrictions or conditions with respect to your coverage.

See you next spring!

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