Moving in the winter doesn’t have to be scary! With good planning, you may actually discover that winter is the best time of year to move. So, whether you’re happily relocating for a job or unhappily house-hunting, don’t let the cold weather get you down! Follow our top four tips for moving in winter, and save yourself the unnecessary stress. You’ve got this.
1. Plan Ahead Like a Boss
If you’re moving in the winter, there are two major things you should consider planning around: the weather will be unpredictable, and you’ll have fewer hours of daylight. So, check
the weather reports religiously, but make a moving plan that is flexible! For instance, a sitter for your kids and board your pets. Schedule your move for a few days before you actually need to be out. And schedule it early, so you make the best use of daylight hours. Make sure the utilities will be turned on in your new place, so you don’t arrive in the cold and dark. Have a strong flashlight or headlamp if you know you’ll need to move into the night.
If your area gets snow in the winter, check the plowing schedule for your neighborhood to ensure your movers have access. Finally, make sure you stock up on all the supplies you’ll need to conquer a frigid moving day: warm clothing and anti-slip winter boots, extra bubble wrap for your fragile objects, plastic tarps to protect your floors, salt for sidewalks, hand warmers, old towels, and a good stock of hot drinks.
2. Bundle Up Your Stuff
Did you know that in cold weather, certain materials become more brittle and vulnerable to breaking? Therefore, if you’re moving quite a long distance, you should pay extra attention to these objects because they’ll likely be exposed to the cold for hours at a time. What kind of objects? Dishes and glassware are especially vulnerable in the cold. You can double wrap these items in bubble wrap or blankets for extra protection. Musical instruments, especially string instruments and wooden instruments, are also vulnerable to warping in rapid temperature changes. Wrap these carefully with insulated blankets.
Electronics are also quite vulnerable to the cold. As a result, if possible, try to make room in your car for an electronics tub. Your laptop, cameras, and other electronic items will fare much better in a temperature-controlled environment. Make sure to leave out your gloves and winter boots while packing! And remember to set aside your phone charger or power bank, since cold weather drains your smartphone battery much quicker, and you’ll need your phone on moving day.
Bonus Tip: Other Creative Solutions for Moving Day
If you have a house and are moving quite a long distance, you may wish to consider a container packing solution like Big Steel Box. They drop off a large shipping container curbside or in your driveway, and you simply pack it at your leisure. The company then picks up the crate and moves it for you. If you’re moving in the winter, make sure you look for a container company that has strong, durable containers. Aluminum can buckle under heavy snow, and lesser quality metals can rust or leak.
Depending on where you’re moving, you may wish to leave behind your large pieces of furniture and start fresh in your new city with new furniture. Believe it or not, this can actually be cheaper than moving all your furniture. If you need help deciding which items to bring or leave behind, start with this article. Another option if you’re moving a long distance is to use Amtrak trains to ship boxes. This can actually cost you a lot less than using the postal service or hiring a moving van.
3. Prepare Your House for Slush
Before moving day, spend a few hours preparing the inside and outside of your house for a wet move-out process. Start with the inside. You can buy plastic tarps from the hardware store, or you can buy some shower curtains from the dollar store. While you’re out, grab some coffee or apple cider to keep you warm on moving day.
At home, lay down your plastic sheeting and secure it with tape. Make sure there’s a protected path all the way from your front door to the kitchen and the bathroom. If you’re keeping hydrated on your winter moving day (which you should be!), you don’t want to find yourself negotiating a sudden urge to pee with the need to protect your security deposit. Make it easy to leave messy shoes on and still use the necessary. Keep a stack of old towels by the front door, to sop up puddles and to protect items from damp weather on their trip from your home to the van.
You’ll also want to turn the heat off in both your old and new houses. Rather than wasting money on heat that will escape through open doors, we recommend putting a space heater in the bathroom.
When you wake up on moving day, use a crockpot to keep a hot beverage available. A mug of hot cider can help keep you, your friends, and your movers in good spirits even in the worst of weather. Finally, make sure the outside of your home is ready for moving day! Whether you’re hiring movers or not, a safe walkway is absolutely essential to a successful moving day in winter. So shovel your sidewalk and driveway, and sprinkle salt to prevent slippery surfaces. Set out some snacks, a flashlight, and your power bank, and you’re all ready for moving in winter.
4. Work with Movers
We definitely recommend hiring a professional moving company if you’re moving in the winter. Good companies will have trained their employees in safe moving procedures for slippery conditions. Plus, many companies have different rates for winter and summer. In other words, moving in the winter means that you’re more likely to get a lower rate as well as your preferred date, since demand is lower in the winter. However, keep in mind that tipping is especially appreciated in wintertime. Why? Companies don’t always pass their rates down to employees. Winter can be a miserable and even dangerous time to lift heavy boxes and drive a big moving van. Numb fingers, biting wind, and icy roads are all hazards of the job that deserve extra compensation!
That being said, make sure to listen to your movers if they express discomfort with moving in bad weather. They likely know more than you do about the equipment and their ability to complete the job safely. This is another reason to plan your move for a few days ahead of time. If bad weather forces you to reschedule, it won’t be the end of the world. Keep an eye on the weather and call your movers a week ahead of time to make a contingency plan.
Looking for more resources about moving?
Moving to a new city? Check out these tips for making your new city feel like home.
Furnishing a new place? Look at this post on furnishing in order.
Do you have cats? Make sure you read our tips for moving with cats.
Planning a move across the country? Start with our comprehensive moving checklist.
And if you want a comprehensive cost breakdown of furnishing an apartment from scratch, this article’s got you covered.