17 Tips for Winter Moving

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Winter is here! And you have to move your household right in the middle of it. For at least 39 of the U.S. States, winter means freezing temps and snow. We rounded up 17 tips from experienced movers to help your winter move go smoothly:

1. Confirm details with your movers.

Waiting to move in the winter is pretty smart. Winter is moving companies’ off-seasons, so you should have a wider range of dates available to choose from. Just be sure to check in with your movers a week before the move and a day or two before the move. Because in winter, we all know the weather can be unpredictable.

2. Keep checking the weather.

Speaking of weather, keep a sharp eye on it. Check it every week leading up to the move, and then every day the week of the move. If you’re concerned the weather will shut down roads or hinder your movers, call the moving company and express your concern. It’s better to delay the move than get caught in a blizzard.

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Photo by Don Gunn/Flickr

3. Cover your floors.

Make sure your house stays clean and your carpet and hardwood are protected while people are tromping in and out. Grab a couple cheap plastic tarps from the nearest hardware store, and lay floor mats down at every outside door.

4. Turn the heat off.

Think about it: if you have people going in and out all day, your poor furnace will be trying to heat the house and it will all go straight out the door. If you turn the heat off, just for the day, not only will you save on that electric bill, but you’ll then be able to do tip 5 (and make your movers’ day!).

5. Heat your bathroom.

If the heat in the house is off, run a space heater in the main floor bathroom, and keep that door closed. Nothing’s better than being treated to a few minutes of warmth while you take care of business.

6. Board your pets.

No one wants a puppy underfoot while they’re trying to move, and if you take our advice and turn the heat off, your puppy will need to stay somewhere warm. Check local boarders and kennels for heated runs, heated floors, and one or two day discounted rates. Make sure the fur babies are taken care of before the day of the move.

7. Clear the sidewalks, driveways, and street.

It doesn’t get more dangerous than carrying a heavy couch down an icy sidewalk. Be sure to salt, shovel, or snow blow any major walkways you think the movers will be using so they can walk safely with your belongings. And so you avoid a lawsuit.

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Photo by Alex/Flickr

8. Check the utilities at the new house.

Nothing — we repeat NOTHING – is worse than having no heat and no light in the dead of winter. Make sure that all of the utilities at your new home are turned on and actually working before you start moving. We recommend getting everything turned on about two days before your move.

9. Check the snowplow schedule.

You’ve carefully planned every detail of your move, the movers arrived bright and early, and last night’s plow guy left a really nice bank of mushy, dirty snow between the moving truck and your house. Make sure you have parking available that’s not on the plow route or leave yourself enough time to forge a path to the house.

10. Have sheets, towels, and blankets on hand.

Halfway through moving your furniture out to the truck, the skies open up and the snow is just pelting down. And if you don’t have sheets or blankets near the front door, the movers will have to carry Grandmother’s antique writing desk through the downpour with no protection.

11. Warm up your insides.

Keep a crockpot of hot chocolate or hot apple cider heating in the kitchen – for you and the movers. When you can’t feel your fingers anymore, or the poor movers are looking a bit frostbitten, call a halt for a cup of hot cocoa. You’ll feel better, and your movers will think you’re awesome.

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Photo by NatalieMaynor/Flickr

12. Spare a pair of gloves.

Gloves are vital in winter conditions, but if you’re a mover, your gloves may get soaked through quickly or be inadequate against the cold. Grab a couple extra pairs of warm gloves on your next dollar store trip and offer them as an extra layer or replacement when the snow picks up.

13. Double pack fragile items.

Many things that are delicate or extra fragile become more brittle in cold weather. Help your movers out by double packing your fragile items so they’re less likely to break while moving. Also remember: any items that can be damaged by cold should not be packed in the truck. The truck may sit out overnight, which could cause more damage than you hoped for.

14. Baby your electronics.

Electronic devices really do not like cold weather. Pack all electronics into one or two boxes, and make sure those travel in your car, where the heat will be on and they can maintain a steady temperature.

15. Keep winter essentials with you.

It’s tempting to make room in your car for a pillow and sleeping bag, but make sure your extra clothing layers, coats, snow boots, hats, gloves, scarves, and a handful of cozy quilts also make it into the car. Can you imagine if they got loaded on the truck instead?! Brrrrr!

16. Be flexible and err on the side of caution.

While it’s already really frustrating and stressful to move in the winter, winter weather only adds to the number of possible complications. Your movers can’t control the weather, and are probably colder than you are. So listen to their concerns – if the roads are icy, it’s safer to delay the move a little than risk your possessions and people’s lives.

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Photo by Flickr User/Flickr

17. Tip well.

Moving companies’ rates don’t change much in the winter, so your movers probably aren’t getting paid extra to deal with snow, ice, and wind. Thank them for coming out in the winter and make sure they each get a good tip to reinforce your appreciation.

Moving in the winter months doesn’t have to be as hard as it sounds. With a little forethought and consideration, you can make it an ideal move despite the weather. Good luck!

About the author

Jonathan packed his whole life into a backpack and two years later needed an entire moving truck for everything. He enjoys traveling, getting lost and laughing way too hard. Contact him at jonathan.deesing@imove.com.

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