10 Hints for Closing Up Your Beach House

The joy of owning your own beach house can turn into a mildewed, mouse-infested nightmare come next spring if a few simple chores are neglected now. Enjoy these last lazy days of summer, but reserve some time at the end of the season to prepare your house for fall and winter. Your mantra should be: Dry and Drain

1. Wash, DRY, and Put away all sheets, towels, pillows, washcloths, and any clothing you leave in your house. All fabrics need to be clean before storing, because insects feed on dirt, including unseen dirt like human sweat or oil. Everything must be totally dry before storage. This is especially important at the beach where the slightest bit of moisture will encourage the formation of mildew. Store all your clean, DRY fabrics in plastic boxes that can be securely closed against mice and insects.

2. To retard the formation of mildew, wipe down interior walls and doors with a non-chlorine bleach, like Oxy-Boost (www.oxyboost.com), which is safe for septic systems.

3. Wash, dry and put away all outdoor furniture. When next summer comes, you’ll be glad you did.

4. Clean out the fridge. Wipe down all surfaces with Oxy-boost. Unplug, and prop open the door.

5. Unplug all small appliances, including clocks.

6. Winterize your toilets, sinks, tubs and showers with antifreeze. You can learn to do this yourself, but why not spread the wealth and hire a local plumber? He or she will do a professional job, while you’re fighting off mildew or having a walk on the beach.

7. Drain, or have your plumber drain, the outdoor shower and all outdoor faucets. Make sure the water is turned off at its source.

8. Disconnect all propane tanks, clean, oil, cover, and put away your grill.

9. Lock all windows. If you have plywood storm shutters for your windows, put them up before leaving the house. Your local plumber will probably know someone who will do this job for you. It’s worth doing, especially if your beach house is subject to hurricanes or nor’easters

10. On your way out the door, set off a bug bomb inside.

One added piece of advice: Leave your contact information with the local police and let them know that you will be gone for the winter.

Come Spring, call your local plumber to turn on the water and the toilets. Have the storm shutters taken down, and your house will be ready to move in for another season.

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