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Moving in Winter
12-16-2021 | Armbruster

Moving in Winter

You can look at moving in winter in one of two ways. One, you’re a genius because nobody else is moving then. Two, you must be crazy for doing it. Just kidding. Moving in winter is not too much worse than other times of the year. Plenty of other people move in winter, too. You just need to plan a little differently if you move during the winter months. We’ve rounded up some of the most important things to keep in mind for a winter move.

Keep an Eye on the Weather 

First up, watch the weather. In the week or so before your move, tune into the weather report. If snow is expected on your moving day, check with your moving company. They will have information on alternate routes, if needed, or know if the roads are impassable. Also, check in with them if there has been a recent snowstorm. There could be roadways that are still blocked. If streets aren’t plowed, they may not be able to reach you with their truck. 

Have a Back-up Moving Date

A lot of things can happen in winter that don’t typically happen during other times of the year. Snow, ice, accidents, and power outages can all throw a wrench in your plans.  The worst thing you can do is proceed with a move in dangerous conditions. A reputable moving company won’t go ahead if conditions are dangerous. If you are planning on moving on your own, use the same caution.  Yes, it’s hard enough to coordinate moving dates without planning on a back-up. You’ll be glad to have it, though, if you need it. 

Prepare to Shovel

Snow in winter is almost a given in some areas. Be prepared:
  • Buy de-icer, sand, or salt for your current home and to bring with you to your new house.
  • Gather snow shovels and keep them handy.
  • Clear and sand sidewalks and walkways.
  • Shovel stairways. Clear handrails.
  • Shovel driveway and/or street for moving truck to park.
You’ll have to repeat these steps if there is snow at your new home. Consider hiring someone to shovel at your new place. If you have to shovel when you get there, you’ll have a few problems:
  • You’ll be tired and grumpy and shoveling will be the last thing you want to do.
  • The movers will be held up until it’s safe to move your stuff.
  • It will cost you money because the movers are on the clock.

Schedule Your Move for the Morning

It’s true that winter isn’t the busy season for moving. Everyone who’s moving, though, is going to try to schedule a morning move. Schedule your move as far in advance as possible. You want one of those morning slots.  Any part of the move that has to happen in the dark becomes more difficult. 
  • Roads are more likely to be icy.
  • It’s less comfortable to lift heavy items when temps drop lower.
  • It’s harder to navigate bulky items in the dark.
  • It’s more difficult to inspect walkways for safety issues.
Trust us on this one. You’ll feel better being moved into your new home before dark. 

Protect Floors from Wet Shoes and Sand

Wet, sandy, slushy boots will wreak havoc on your floors. Borrow or invest in a couple of non-skid mats or rugs for your entryways. Have some towels and a broom nearby to wipe up any muck that still gets tracked in.  You’ll need the same materials at your new home. Roll up the mats or rugs to pack into the truck last. 

Be Kind to Your Movers

Moving in winter is less pleasant than doing so in warmer months. Your movers, whether they are pros or your own (very strong) circle of friends, will attest to that. You can do a couple of things to make it more pleasant for them. 
  • Provide warm drinks. Keep a pot of coffee going. Have thermos or a coffee urn filled with hot cocoa.
  • You don’t have to provide food for professional movers, but if you have your friends and family help you move, pizza is in order. 
  • Tip well for a job well done. Consider the weather and temperatures when you factor out your tips. 

Take Extra Care with Your Belongings 

Some items will require extra TLC when you move in winter. 
  • Glassware and dishware are more susceptible to breaking in the cold weather. Double-wrap these items to protect them from the cold. Try to have them packed last on the moving truck so they’re in the cold for less time. You could pack them in your car if you have enough room.  
  • Use tarps and packing blankets to keep furniture and boxes dry. You especially don’t want anything getting wet if you’re keeping stuff in storage. 
  • Electronics are sensitive to the cold. Keep personal electronics with you during the move. Back up digital devices before your move. Any electronics being loaded onto a moving truck need to be padded well and wrapped in anti-static materials. Electronic materials should only be stored in a climate-controlled environment. 

Gather Warm Clothing

Gather warm clothes for each person in your household. Make sure everyone has a hat, gloves, boots, a scarf, and a warm winter coat. Anyone helping with the move will need these for going in and out of the house. Once you’re ready to roll, everyone should take these items with them for the drive. 

Have Your Car Serviced Ahead of Your Move

Avoid vehicle mishaps on moving day. Have your car serviced ahead of time. Make sure your tires are inflated and you have enough oil and anti-freeze. Check that your windshield wiper blades are working properly.  Stock your car with winter essentials:
  • Ice scrapers.
  • A small bucket of sand or salt, in case you get stuck in the snow.
  • Blankets.
  • A bag of extra hats, gloves, and hand and toe warmers.
  • Flashlights.
  • A snow shovel.

Check on the Utilities at Your New House

You don’t want to get to your new home and find out that your power hasn’t been turned on.  Make sure you call well ahead of time to have your heat and electricity turned on. If it’s possible, have someone check the property the day before to make sure everything’s working as it should. If that’s not possible, double check with the utility companies a day or two before your move. Ask if their records show your account has been activated.  There’s so much to remember when you’re moving! Check out these other posts to help you keep track of it all. Three Last-Minute Moving Tasks Planning for a Long-Distance Move Why Professional Movers Make Your Life Easier Moving in winter is challenging. Need help with your winter move? Contact us to set up a virtual survey.
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