As summer draws to a close, the longer days, warmer weather, and time spent outdoors by our beautiful Iowa Great Lakes begins to fade. Our seasonal friends and guests return to their primary residences, and vacation-mode naturally declines. However, all is not lost now that summer is over! Anyone who lives here knows that the Okoboji lakeshore lifestyle is spectacular year-round. Not too long from now, we'll be bundled up, cooking hearty soups, and prepping for the University of Okoboji Winter Games! But for those who consider themselves as seasonal Okobojians, here are some helpful tips for shutting down your Okoboji lakefront property for the season.

1. Clean Like You Are Moving Out

Putting away most of your items in bins, such as linens, pillows, toys, kitchenware, and any other belongings is a great way to keep critters from getting into your things over the winter months. This also makes opening up the cottage much easier and less of a hassle when you come back during the spring and summer months. Bin organization is also great for decluttering.

Tip: Opt for clear bins so that you can see what you have placed inside, in case you forget over the months.

Deep cleaning is the best way to leave your property, ensuring very few unwanted surprises to come back to! Be sure to give your fridge, freezer, and cabinets a thorough cleaning. Donate food items to neighbors or local food banks. Leaving any remnants of food around will only attract animals.

Tip: Don't leave canned goods in your cabinets; they can explode if they freeze!

If you unplug your fridge, keep the doors slightly open to avoid any mold or mildew. Leave a towel underneath to soak up any potential water for when you're away. Also, place drawers back in upside down to keep critters from making a home! Here are more items for your clean-up checklist:

  • Clean out the gutters
  • Wash and put away outdoor furniture
  • Sanitize floors, bathrooms, and kitchens
  • Vacuum and dust
  • Wash indoor and outdoor garbage bins

Tip: Taking photos of your property once you've tidied inside-and-out is a great idea in case anything happens while you are away! Photo evidence might save you when dealing with insurance companies.

2. Shut Everything Off!

Shut off the water pump and drain water from all pipes. Don't forget to drain the hot water heater. Some people also remove water pumps and store it for the winter. Once your pipes and toilets are empty, pour a small amount of plumbing anti-freeze into the sinks and toilet bowls. This seems taxing but it saves you a lot of money in the long run! The last thing you want to experience is having your pipes burst due to water freezing over.

Shutting off all electricity is just as important as removing water from your lakeshore home. Unplug all appliances, especially TV and phones in case lightning strikes while you are away. Remove plugs from sockets and the main power. This will help reduce electricity bills and help protect against fires. Turn off circuit breakers, but make sure this doesn't get in the way of your security alarms. Last but not least, make sure you turn off your gas supply!

3. Crime Proof

Even though Okoboji is known to be a safe community, its always a good idea to prepare your property for the worst, especially if you live outside of the region. An affordable way to ward off criminal activity from your Okoboji real estate is to lock everything! It sounds rather obvious, right? But don't forget to lock second-story windows, sheds, propane tanks, gates, and all doors! Leaving anything open is too tempting for thieves. Here are some DIY tweaks for extra security:

  • Replace all locks if the deadbolts aren't over one inch into the doorjamb
  • Place wooden blocks in windows and sliding door tracks
  • Exterior doors should be solid
  • Trim hedges and bushes so that thieves don't have a place to hide
  • Invest in smart-home security cameras where you can access updates from your phone

Chances are if you've spent most of the warmer months on the Okoboji Lakes, you know the locals. Before you leave for the season, have a chat with your neighbors and set a schedule for them to check up on your property. We recommend at least once a month while you're out of town. Our agents at Hoien Realty can also recommend stellar property managers for your Okoboji real estate!

Does investing in Okoboji lakefront property interest you? If so, be sure to get in touch with our group of professionals! Our team is dedicated to finding you the best options!

Posted by Eric Hoien on
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