Moving is a stressful and chaotic experience for most. It can be even more stressful during the winter. Moving during the winter has many benefits, including better rates on moving companies and truck rentals. However, most people move during the winter because they don’t have a choice. Moving is best done in warmer months when you can be comfortable and take breaks outside when needed. In the winter, you deal with more challenges, including icy walkways and winter coats that restrict your movement. Moving during winter can be difficult, but here are a few tips to make the process smoother.
Turn On Utilities
During winter moves, you can’t take frequent breaks outside, so you’ll need access to heat to warm yourself up when moving boxes. If the utilities at your new place aren’t turned on, your home will be too cold for anyone to rest. In addition, you need your heat turned on to prevent the pipes from freezing. Winter days are much shorter, so you may need to turn on the lights as soon as you get there. Ensuring your utilities, including heat, water, gas, and electricity, are running for at least a few days before you officially move in can help prevent any disastrous issues.
If you’re a renter, one of your landlord’s responsibilities is to clear the sidewalks and parking lot, but that doesn’t always happen immediately. When moving out of your current home, clear the walkways to make packing up easier. In addition, it’s a good idea to visit your new home the day before to note any potential safety hazards like ice. If possible, consider salting the sidewalk to prevent dangerous slips.
Clearing the walkways will also make it easier to move your stuff, especially if you’re using a dolly. If you’re moving far away and can’t visit your new home to prepare for potentially dangerous ice and snow, you can ask your realtor or property manager to look for you or wait until you arrive at the new home and take a few minutes to clear safety hazards.
While it might be tempting to pack your winter coat and boots, you should wear them on the day of the move. Having warm gloves, hats, and tall boots can help you comfortably make your way through the snow. In addition, since cold weather can affect your muscles, you’ll need to keep your hands covered. Avoid mittens and choose gloves so you can make full use of your fingers and can carry boxes and furniture.
Ice, snow, and salt can damage carpet and hardwood flooring, so consider covering your floors. Place plastic or floor mats at all the entrances you plan to use and put cardboard over the carpet to prevent stains.
Take Winter Supplies
Anything can happen during a move, especially when you’re in a vehicle. Having winter supplies in your car or moving truck can ensure you can get out of a snow bank when you get stuck. You may also choose to carry salt or cat litter in your trunk to weigh your car down and use it when you get stuck on ice.
The weather isn’t always going to do what you want it to, especially on moving day. Check the weather before the move to ensure you’re not driving into a storm or potentially dangerous situation. Since low temperatures can have serious consequences on your health and bad weather is dangerous to drive in, there’s no reason to risk harm for your move. Instead, you may have to reschedule your move if the weather conditions are treacherous.
You should always board pets or have a pet sitter who can watch your cats and dogs while you move. Since you’ll need the doors open to get all your stuff inside your new home, it’s not worth risking your pets escaping. Since moving can be stressful on pets, consider having someone else care for them until the move is complete, and you can introduce them to their new home.
Drink Warm Fluids
Moving is a physical activity, so you’ll be sweating no matter how cold it is outside. In addition, sweat can make you feel colder, so you’ll need to find some way to stay warm. Drinking warm fluids can help you stay hydrated and warm during a move, so consider making hot chocolate or warm apple cider as soon as you arrive at your destination. Having something available to drink will help you stay warm and keep your energy levels up during the move.
Double Pack Fragile Belongings
Because the sidewalks and driveways can be covered in ice and slippery, you may fall or drop boxes while moving in the winter. Fragile items and canvas prints must be able to withstand impact. They should also not get wet from snow, but unfortunately, many delicate items become more brittle in cold weather. Double-packing fragile items in bubble wrap, newspaper, or clothing will keep them protected if they get dropped.
Winterize Your Car
If you haven’t winterized your car, right before a move is the perfect time to do it. Your car should be serviced before winter hits, especially if you plan to move long distances. Winterizing your car is the process of preparing it for driving in the winter. Always have your car checked by a professional to ensure it’ll drive safely on the road. In addition, you may choose to:
- Switch to winter tires
- Install winter windshield wipers
- Pack a winter safety kit with blankets
- Keep the gas tank more than half full
- Find your scraper
- Make sure your heat works
Plan for Slow Travel
Whether you’re moving down the road or to a different state, travel time will likely be much slower during the winter months, especially if there’s snow and ice on the road. If anyone is meeting you at your home to help you move, keep in contact with them to ensure no schedule changes or emergencies are preventing them from making it there on time.
Start Moving Early
The earlier you start your move, the faster it’s all over. In addition, since packing up the moving truck can take time, the earlier you start, the faster you can get on the road and start unpacking when it’s warmest during the day. Try to avoid putting yourself in a situation where you’re unloading a truck at night without sunlight because it may be too cold. If you have to, consider stopping when the sun goes down and resuming unpacking the next day. While this might mean spending more on your truck rental, it’s worth it to keep yourself warm during the move.
Megan Isola holds a Bachelor of Science in Hospitality and a minor in Business Marketing from Cal State University Chico. She enjoys going to concerts, trying new restaurants, and hanging out with friends.