Posted in: Lakeshore, Homeowner tips

Tips for opening your cabin or lake home after a long winter

opening our cabin or lake home

Key insights:

  • Update your insurance, registration and utilities before heading up for the first weekend of the year.
  • Know what to look for prior to turning on systems, appliances and electricity after a winter away.
  • Take inventory of all the basics you’ll need to stock up on to enjoy another perfect season on the water.

The time has come to open up your cabin for the spring and summer! Follow these insights to quickly get your lake home in peak warm-weather condition and fully enjoy the first weeks of cabin season.

opening lake home infographic

Make a plan before you leave home

While it may be tempting to hit the road and wing it when you arrive, it’s best to prepare for the first weekend at the cabin ahead of time. Before heading out of town, don’t forget to:

  • Turn on any services you shut off over the winter, including electricity, water and trash collection.
  • Check the insurance policies on your lake home and boat. Contact Edina Realty Insurance if you’ve purchased a new jet ski, boat or wave runner that you’d like to insure — or to confirm your policy has been renewed for 2024.
  • Check your boating registration and renew it if necessary. In Minnesota and Wisconsin, watercraft licenses must be renewed every three years.
  • In both Minnesota and Wisconsin, you’ll need a fishing license if you’re 16+ and plan to catch your dinner. Renew your license before you head out with your rod and reel.
  • If you plan to put in a dock and you need help, call your crew a few weeks in advance to see if they’re available.

Focus on systems and safety

After a winter away, you’ll need to be sure that your home is safe to inhabit again. Thoroughly inspect these areas in your cabin, and update them if necessary:

  • Check the furnace and put in a new filter.
  • Check pipes for rust or damage before you switch on your plumbing and water heater. If you’re not sure what to look for, hire a plumber to do a basic assessment.
  • Be on the lookout for signs of critters. Scan screens and windows for holes and gaps and electrical cords for fraying or bite marks.
  • Examine your eaves and deck for signs of rotting.
  • Test the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
  • Test the batteries in motion sensor lights on the front door, deck and on the way down to the lake. If you don’t already have motion sensors, consider adding them for extra safety.

Take a survey of your basic necessities

Whether you’ll spend the entire summer or a few special weekends at your lake home, you’ll want to be sure it’s stocked with the basics. Take a quick inventory of the space before heading to the store for replenishment, including:

  • Go through the pantry and throw out any expired food, as well as anything that looks like it may have been exposed to a critter invasion.
  • Run the refrigerator and freezer for several hours before stocking them with perishable items.
  • Check that you’re stocked up on sunscreen and bug spray. Remember that sunscreen lasts at its original potency for up to three years. If you’re not sure when your existing bottles were purchased, buy a new set and label them with the purchase date so you can avoid tossing out bottles in the future.
  • Stock up on cleaning supplies or items needed for quick repairs (burnt-out light bulbs, holes in screens, etc.).
  • Check the stock of your bathroom toiletries. To save money and stay green, buy shampoo, conditioner and body wash in bulk bottles rather than using travel samples.

Plan ahead for next year

Even with the best-laid plans, you’re likely to forget the exact size of batteries you need or the magic solution that helps spruce up your rusty shower head. At the end of your first weekend up north, write out a cabin-opening supplies checklist that you can reference for years to come. Take note of:

  • Battery sizes for smoke, carbon monoxide and outdoor motion detectors
  • Furnace and air filter specifics
  • Vacuum bag sizes
  • Tools you need to check or specific systems you need to turn on
  • Rags and cleaning clothes
  • Cleaning solutions
  • Toiletry basics
  • Critter traps or deterrents

You’ll thank yourself next year when your organizational habits give you even more time on the lake during that first perfect cabin weekend.

Hoping to buy a lake home this summer?

Buyers don’t want to miss a single day on the water, and the market is already heating up! If you’re ready to purchase a lake home or cabin this summer, start by contacting Edina Realty or your agent to learn more about options near your desired lake.

Edina Realty Insurance is an affiliate of Edina Realty. See Affiliated Business Arrangement Disclosure Statement

Join over {{'43232' | number}} subscribers

Status Definitions

For sale: Properties which are available for showings and purchase

Active contingent: Properties which are available for showing but are under contract with another buyer

Pending: Properties which are under contract with a buyer and are no longer available for showings

Sold: Properties on which the sale has closed.

Coming soon: Properties which will be on the market soon and are not available for showings.

Contingent and Pending statuses may not be available for all listings