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How to get your summer home ready for winter

You've thrown on your joggers and tank top and packed your suitcase full of cropped pants, cotton shirts, comfy sweatshirts and scrub brushes. Wait, what? The time has come, friends. Time to take one last trip to the summer home to prepare your vacation abode for a long winter's nap.

The end of summer is always a little bittersweet. On one hand you're ready for cooler weather and a little more every-day structure. On the other hand, those memories you've made with your family and friends relaxing at your summer home are ones you'll cherish forever. Pictures of sand-covered flip flops by the door, and the smell of wet tankinis and one-piece swimsuits drying in the bathroom are still vivid in your mind. But the shorter days and changing leaves are a reminder: it's time to wrap up the season.

Winter is on the horizon which means it's time to give your treasured summer home a little extra TLC this fall. Read on for a few of our suggestions on what you can do to get your summer home ready for winter and rest easy knowing it'll be waiting for you when the weather warms up.

1. Clean like you've never cleaned before

Do yourself a favor and give your summer home a thorough clean before you close it up for the winter. Sure, nobody likes cleaning – especially on vacation – but we promise you'll like it even less next summer when you finally get to the home you've been dreaming about for months and realize you have to wash all of the things before you can use any of them.

Save yourself the trouble of starting next vacation off on the wrong foot and get all of the cleaning, dusting, vacuuming and laundry out of the way now. If you plan on visiting the home in the winter you may want to consider swapping out summer linens for fresh winter flannel sheets. Keeping a few cold weather wardrobe essentials in the closet like a fleece pullover and some sweatshirts is a good idea too. After all, the less you need to bring with you on your next trip the better. Wouldn't you agree?

2. Wipe down the fridge and cabinets

Even if your summer cuisine was filled with barbeques and S'mores, chances are you still have a spilled box of rice or a sticky jar of honey hiding in the back of your pantry. Save yourself the trouble of unwanted pests and odors and spend some time cleaning out your fridge and pantry shelves before you retire your home for the winter. If you can't take it with you to your next destination toss any perishable items and store canned goods and non-perishables in an air-tight container for safe keeping. You could even store spare paper goods in handy canvas totes at the back of supply closets or under the sink so they're easily accessible when you return.

Any food that's expired or will be by the time you return should be discarded or donated. Finally, remember to take a sponge to those stick mystery stains in the cabinets before you leave. We know it doesn't sound that glamorous but it's actually kinda rewarding. Sort of.

3. Adjust the thermostat

It may sound counterintuitive to heat a home that no one will be living in for months but, depending on the climate of your summer home, it's probably a good idea. Make sure the cooling system is off if you're dealing with a central air unit and reverse the direction of any ceiling fans to better circulate heated air throughout the house. Finally, keep your thermostat set to 50-55 degrees to keep your pipes from freezing while you're gone and you're more likely to return to working indoor plumbing next summer.

4. Weatherproof your home

Doing a little overall weatherproofing of your home is never a bad idea before leaving it vacant for an extended period of time. Pull on your handy, rubber soled duck boots and take a walk around the property to assess your To-Do list. Expect your projects to run the gambit of DIY. From reapplying a quality silicone caulk around windows and doors to cleaning out gutters and putting away lawn furniture we're sure you'll have plenty to do on your "operation close up the summer house" weekend.

It's also a good idea to turn off the main water valve and open the faucets to ensure you don't return to a flooded home complete with water damaged floors and walls. And, of course, if you're not comfortable doing any of these tasks on your own hiring a professional to help you weatherproof is certainly a possibility.

5. Enjoy your final (for now) visit

Finally, if you're lucky enough to live driving distance from your much-loved summer home, squeeze in one last visit before winter to just relax and have fun. After all, visiting your usual summer destination in the fall may provide a whole new experience with new discoveries and treasured moments. If you don't normally visit in the cooler months you'll need to give extra thought to what to pack for your weekend getaway. Bring something suitable for more outdoor adventures like skinny jeans with a hint of stretch and a cozy down vest. Stay warm under the evening sky in a flannel shirt as you sip on a cup of hot cocoa by the bonfire.

Summer may be over but that doesn't mean those priceless moments at your summer home need to end. Prepare your summer home for colder weather and have fun seeing the home you love in its winter glow.

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