1 Shut off the water supply, drain the pipes and hot water tank, and leave taps open to allow them to “breathe”. Toilets should be turned off and flushed, then any remaining water bailed out. Alternatively, pour antifreeze into the bowl to protect the lines; be sure to use RV (pink) antifreeze or another environmentally friendly type.
2 Unplug all electrical appliances and electronic devices. Many modern electric and electronic devices continue to draw a small amount of power even when turned off; over a winter, it can add up to an expense you don’t need.
3 Turn off baseboard electric heaters. They are a leading cause of cottage fires. Or if the cottage has central heating, turn it down or off.
4 Clean out the fireplace and close the damper flue.
5 Thoroughly clean the kitchen and remove any food. During the winter, rodents and even bears can sniff it out, causing a lot of damage.
6 If you can, remove valuables, such as TVs and stereos, and take them down to the city. If any valuable items will be left at the cottage, make sure windows are covered so that thieves can’t see in and be tempted.
7 Any items that are normally left outside, such as a gas barbecue, should be removed and stored offsite or in a secure location onsite, such as a locked garage or basement.