How to Survive if You Have to Move in Cold Weather

Jon Fesmire | December 27, 2017 @ 9:00 AM

There are many reasons people move between May and September insead of October through April. In addition to the convenience of moving during summer vacation rather than while school is in session, there’s a practical advantage to moving during the warmer months: less snow, ice and freezing temperatures.

If you must move during the winter, here are some ways to survive the cold.

Hiring Movers

Since there is less demand for moving services in the winter, you can save a lot of money. In addition, hiring movers means you won’t have to spend hours hauling your belongings from your home to a truck in freezing weather.

Of course, this will still cost more than packing up your belongings yourself and using a rental truck (and those rental prices may be cheaper in the winter as well). But keep in mind that professional movers know how to pack things safely, and can prevent your boxes from being out in the cold weather for too long. Before you hire a mover, do your due diligence, look into a variety of moving companies, and hire a reputable one.

At Your Old Place

Whether at your old place or your new place, if there’s snow, you’re going to have to make sure it’s cleared up enough to get items from your home to any moving vehicles safely. If you’ve hired a mover, there’s a chance they may do this as part of their service. It’s unlikely, but it doesn’t hurt to ask.

The day before you plan to have items carried out, clear the area, and salt where you think people will have to walk. Use salt specifically meant to melt ice. Yes, you may have to shovel away more snow the day of your move, but that reduces the risk of slipping. Also, wear boots with good tread for additional protection.

Basically, you’ll want to clear your driveway and any walkways leading up to the house or apartment, which may include the sidewalk out front. If possible, make sure there is room for the moving truck, which could mean keeping your driveway clear, or talking to the apartment manager and asking where the truck can park.

At Your New Place

All the instructions about clearing snow and ensuring there’s a place for the moving truck or movers, as explained above, applies here as well. You’ll want to clear away snow, salt the area, and make sure you or your movers can get items safely from their trucks into your new home.

We also highly recommend that you make sure that the electricity and utilities are on at your new place before your move-in day. When you arrive, turn on the heat and make sure the walkways are clear of snow before you or the movers start bringing boxes into your home.

Protecting Each Home

Moving in or out means that snow, salt, and maybe dirt will get tracked in. On carpets, place large pieces of cardboard, and make sure they don’t slip when you walk over them. You may want to use duct tape to secure them better. On wooden floors, duct tape plastic sheeting. Just be careful when you pull up the duct tape later.

Keeping Warm

While hauling things in our out, you’ll need to keep the front door open much of the time, which will deplete the warmth in the house. With the heat on, it will feel like a battle between two weather fronts. So, take extra steps to keep yourself, your family, and the movers warm.

Have hats and mittens available. Make a pot, or two, of coffee, and be prepared to make tea or hot chocolate.

Be Prepared to Reschedule

The weather, especially winter weather, can be highly unpredictable, so keep up with the weather reports as your move approaches.

If the weather gets too extreme to move, you may need to postpone. If you’ve hired a moving company, work with them on this. In fact, when you’re considering which company to hire, ask how they handle rescheduling due to emergencies or extreme weather events.

If you’re unable to move out of your current home for a few extra days due to bad weather, you may need to contact your landlord or property manager, especially if those days cross into a new rental period. Your landlord may be understanding and wave the rent for those few days, but don’t count on it.

Have a Safe Trip

About a month before you move, take your car in to get serviced to make sure it’s in top running order, and to be sure it’s ready for a winter move.

Know the route you plan to take and be aware of alternatives if your preferred route is subject to closures due to ice and snow. If your move will take more than a day, rethink making hotel or motel reservations in advance, as bad weather may cause you to call it quits for the day earlier than you might like.

If possible, pack the truck (or have the movers do their packing) one day, and leave for your new home the next. You might want to stay one night at a local motel, or spread out some air mattresses on the floor. That way, you can start driving early the next morning. During the winter, the days are short, so this way, you’ll maximize your daylight driving time.

Just remember that while moving in the winter is tougher than in summer, it is doable, even in especially cold weather. You might even enjoy it. So be prepared, and have a great move.

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