Snow, ice, sub-zero temperatures… Winter sounds like the worst possible time to move to another home, doesn’t it? Well, not necessarily.
Even though a winter move, compared to a summer move, can present its own unique set of challenges, moving in the winter months can also have indisputable advantages. Benefits of moving in the winter include taking advantage of lower movers’ rates and getting to choose only top-rated movers.
Each year, thousands of families schedule their moves during the winter – either because they wish to gain from the lower prices offered by most professional moving companies or because the circumstances force them to move out during the cold months of the year.
Moving in the winter doesn’t have to be as daunting and discouraging as it sounds. When getting ready to move in the winter, you should keep in mind that a winter move is still perfectly manageable with a little forethought and good preparation.
Here are the top 10 winter moving tips to survive your midwinter move.
1. Hire professional movers with years of experience
Hiring a professional moving company to assist you when you’re moving from one home to another is always a good idea. However, when you intend to move out in the middle of winter, that idea becomes exceptionally good.
Considering the fact that most people choose to move house during the peak moving season (May-September) when the weather outside is nice and warm, moving cross country in winter should give you a number of advantages when using professional movers.
In most cases, you’ll get more flexible scheduling because of the availability of top-rated movers and the lower prices for the same quality moving services – sometimes up to 30% off the standard rates. Also, moving in the winter means you’re likely to get more personalized attention from the movers thanks to the decreased demand for professional moving services.
Still, the best thing about using a full-service mover for your winter move is the unprecedented level of safety you’ll get. In reality, hiring an experienced moving company will practically eliminate any winter-specific risks – bad injuries due to slippery paths and roads and cold temperatures.
Seriously, when was the last time you drove a large rental truck in unfavorable winter weather conditions?
2. Keep an eye on those weather reports
When it comes to good tips for moving in winter, one thing you should not forget to do is to keep an eye on the weather reports in the week and days leading up to your moving day.
The winter season can be rather unpredictable and the last thing you’d want is to have to deal with adverse winter weather conditions on your move-out day – strong icy winds or heavy snowfall. Basically, if a winter storm is approaching your area, you’ll want to know about it in advance so that you can do something about it.
If the forecast says that really bad weather is expected to hit your area on moving day, then it may be unwise to continue your move as planned. In such cases, speak with your moving company about rescheduling to avoid danger and trouble.
Most moving companies will have a lighter workload in the winter months so rescheduling your move due to the whims of Mother Nature shouldn’t be too big of a problem for them. Rest assured that nobody, not even professional movers with years of experience, would be too keen to work during a snowstorm.
3. Start your move earlier than you’d normally do
Days are much shorter in the winter, meaning that you’ll get much fewer daytime hours than you would during a summer move. This is why, it’s important to get the moving process early in the morning so that you can finish for the day before it gets too dark. More daytime hours will make your move safer too as you won’t have to go outside when it’s slippery, cold and dark. As a bonus, working during the light of day will mean more comfortable temperatures for everyone involved in the winter move.
Don’t forget to add extra time for the completion of each moving activity. The cold and snow outside will make the home moving process harder and slower too. Certain delays are to be expected because of the harsh winter conditions, and it’s always a good idea to plan additional time for a few unexpected problems as a result of the bad weather.
As a rule of thumb, the earlier you start preparing for your move in the winter, you should feel less stressed out and much safer as your moving date approaches.
4. Pack your things in a way that prevents cold-weather damage
When packing your things for a winter move, you need to make sure that your temperature-sensitive belongings are protected well for the cold weather outside. Especially dangerous are the temperature fluctuations which your delicate possessions will endure when taken out of your warm home and loaded into the back of the moving truck.
Your chinaware and glassware pieces will be particularly susceptible to cold-weather damage and may crack due to the fluctuations in the ambient temperature. So, don’t forget to add extra packing materials such as packing paper and bubble wrap in the boxes that contain kitchen plates and glasses in an attempt to protect your breakables from the cold outside.
Also, a winter move may prove to be too much for most of your delicate pieces made of wood, especially true for antique furniture. In most cases, double-wrapping all your delicate wooden items in thick furniture blankets should be enough to keep them warm and safe during the winter relocation. When in doubt, consult with professional packers and movers about the best way to pack antique furniture during the winter.
Electronics are also very sensitive to temperature fluctuations. If possible, pack your electronic devices in their original boxes, then wrap them well in thick layers of packing paper first, and then in bubble wrap to keep safe during the wintertime move.
5. Clear sidewalks and driveways of snow and ice
When moving in the winter months, safety should be your number one priority. On the day of the move, you must make sure that the sidewalks and driveway outside your home are completely clear of snow and ice. Even when you’re hiring professionals to assist you in your winter relocation, you want to be sure that everyone stays safe and your moving day won’t suddenly become too dangerous for you, your family and your movers.
Remember that you must do whatever it takes to prevent accidents and injuries during your winter move. Walking on slippery paths and roads is pretty dangerous even without having to carry heavy boxes and large pieces of furniture.
Shovel your driveway and sidewalks or pay somebody to do it for you. Be mindful that sometimes shoveling the snow may not be enough because it may simply leave a very slippery layer of compacted snow or ice underneath.
So, if you find it tough or even impossible to remove that remaining layer using your snow shovel, then you’re going to have to salt those dangerous areas and wait until all the ice has melted.
6. Protect the floors in your old home
Following the winter moving advice above, by now you should have made the outside path to the moving truck as safe as it can be. Keeping your exterior route free of snow and ice is a big step in the right direction but it’s time you think about protecting the high-traffic areas in your home as well.
If there’s snow outside on your move-out day, you can be sure that the multitude of feet will bring plenty of snow, sleet, water and even sand inside your home. And when that happens, someone can easily slip up and fall – something that you should try to keep from happening at all cost. Moreover, the water brought from the outside may damage the floors in the old home, which could result in costly repairs for you.
Protect your old home’s flooring and keep slipping accidents at bay by placing large cardboard pieces on those critical areas to protect the floors from damage. Remove any area rugs before positioning those pieces of thick cardboard flat on the ground. In addition to keeping potential snow, water and dirt under control, the cardboard coverings will provide much-needed traction for everyone involved in the move.
7. Dress appropriately for your winter move
The next winter moving tip is basically common sense – to wear appropriate clothes and shoes during your winter move. What you may not realize though is that dressing up appropriately for the occasion won’t necessarily mean wearing the bulkiest and thickest coat you’ve got in your dresser to keep you warm.
When moving in the winter, your best bet is to wear layers of clothing so that you can take off a layer or two when you get hot while packing up your last boxes or carrying heavy items. Later, when you stop for a short break, you can always add another piece of clothing to keep your body temperature optimal. Don’t forget to prepare warm winter hats and gloves for everyone as well.
Also, put on your best pair of winter shoes – the one that will provide maximum traction and comfort while you’re constantly going in and out of the home. Your choice of footwear is really key for keeping your move day as safe as possible. Remember that one careless slip may easily ruin your winter move and bring about plenty of troubles.
8. Prepare hot drinks for everyone
Your winter move will be smooth and problem-free only when you make an effort not to miss even the not-so-important details. Prepare a plan for action – a super-detailed moving checklist that includes all the tasks and activities you need to take care of until you reach your new residence.
A quality moving checklist will help you stay on the right track and always be one step ahead when the most important day of your move comes around. Still, make a mental note to include checklist items that are unique and specific to your own move.
You’ll be moving house during cold weather, so you need to be ready to keep everyone warm by offering hot beverages in abundance – tea, coffee, and of course – hot cocoa. If you’ve already packed up your regular cups and mugs, then you’re free to use disposable plastic cups which you can easily recycle afterward.
If you have the time and resources, you may choose to prepare or purchase sandwiches or other types of snack that will go perfectly with a cup of hot beverage. After all, you want to show everyone that you’re a considerate host who wouldn’t really mind keeping up the energy of all helpers on Moving day.
9. Make sure the new-home utilities are up and running
Now it’s time to turn your attention to the place you’re moving to so that you know the new house or apartment is ready for occupation. And your number one priority for you is to ensure that the major utilities in the destination home have been connected and are running properly at the time of your relocation.
It’s crucial that you arrange for the connection of the new-home utilities at least one full week before your move-out date. Check with your realtor, landlord or property manager to check whether the electricity, water and heating in the new home have been turned on and functioning correctly before you leave your old residence.
Failure to transfer your utilities during a summer move can be easily classified as a serious moving mistake. However, after battling through snow, ice and cold, it’ll be more than a rookie mistake to find a dark and unheated place with no running water – it’ll be a mid-winter disaster.
10. Prepare well for the winter car trip
Hopefully, you’ll have taken our advice to use the services of an experienced professional mover during your winter move. This way, you’ll be able to guarantee the safety of your family members and still save on your winter move by hiring quality moving services for less money than what you would have paid in the summer.
Now it’s time for our final winter moving tip – to get ready for the upcoming car trip in winter weather conditions. Once your cross-country movers load up your items in their truck and leave in the direction of your new residence, the only things left for you is to secure the old home and embark on an adventurous wintertime journey in your personal vehicle.
Are you ready for that car trip?
Have your car serviced around one week prior to move day to minimize any chances of mechanical breakdowns on the road. Also, before you leave, you just have to know that you’ve got the following major life-savers with you in the vehicle:
a jerrycan with extra fuel,
a spare tire and tire-changing tools,
a bag of sand,
cash and functioning credit cards,
an emergency kit,
several warm blankets and clothes for each passenger, and
extra food and water.
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