How to move in the winter?

Winter is all about reading a good book in front of a warm crackling fireplace with a glass of hot chocolate in one hand.

Winter is all about polishing your favorite skis, engaging in thrilling snowball fights and making weird-looking snowmen with your kids.

There are so many fun activities to enjoy during the cold winter months and surprisingly enough, none of them includes looking for reliable movers, packing up an entire home with heavy snow outside, carrying heavy boxes in subzero temperatures and on icy walkways, and even attempting to navigate a big rental moving truck along snowy roads in adverse weather conditions.

Yes, winter is not the best time of the year to move house but sometimes there’s absolutely nothing we can do, for there are also factors that are clearly out of our control. A sudden termination of a property lease, an excellent job offer in another city in another state, or an unexpected call to downsize one’s home quickly are all valid reasons to ignore the well-known risks of moving in the winter.

Luckily, we have prepared the top 8 winter moving tips to help you stay safe during your cold winter move.

1. Don’t risk moving on your own

Even if you think you can bring your winter move to a successful end without professional assistance, re-assess the whole situation and give some serious thought to your safety and the safety of your family. Are you really up to the winter moving challenge? There are just too many risks for inexperienced DIY relocation enthusiasts – after all, moving cross country in the winter is a tough job even for highly experienced movers. The good news here is that there are benefits of moving in the winter as well – winter residential moves are usually significantly cheaper as many movers lower their rates to guarantee a sufficient number of relocation jobs during the off-peak season.

2. Don’t pack your items as if it were summer

When packing up your home for a move, keep in mind the sub-zero temperatures outside and don’t forget that the inside of a moving truck with no temperature-controlled storage space can get extremely cold. Moving plants in the winter is just too risky for them, so it’s best to leave your leafy friends behind or find them a new home nearby. Be very cautious when packing household items that are sensitive to temperature fluctuations, such as china pieces, electronic equipment, delicate wood items /especially antique furniture/, and so on. Make sure you wrap them all up with additional layers of bubble wrap and thick packing paper to insulate them against the cold.

3. Clear your driveway and sidewalks

It’s important to clear any fallen snow or formed ice off your driveway and sidewalks so that moving day doesn’t end up with nasty accidents. Shovel the snow and if necessary, place salt or sand around the area around your home to guarantee normal moving operations. Don’t forget to clear up a parking area for the moving truck either. If you’re moving only a short distance and you have enough time, you may want to visit your new home and make things easier for your movers in advance. If that’s just not possible, ask your agent or property manager to check the outside perimeter of your new residence so that you know what to expect.

4. Protect high traffic areas inside your home

All the busy feet coming in and out of your home can really turn the floors and carpets of your soon-to-be old place into a real mess. Our tips for moving in the winter continue with some practical ideas how to prevent the inside space of your house or apartment from the accumulation of snow, sleet, water and sand.  Cut out large pieces of thick heavy cardboard, place them in the areas that will be subjected to the heaviest traffic, and secure them with tape or small tacks. Also, consider protecting your carpeted or hardwood floors with protective sheets made of durable polyethylene.

5. Keep a close watch on the weather

One thing is clear – moving in the winter months is no joke and the difficulty level of your winter move depends primarily on your luck. If you’re lucky, the climatic conditions will be mild, and there won’t be any falling snow or formed ice despite the cold weather move. On the other hand, you could as well happen to be fighting your way through a raging blizzard. So, in order to be adequately prepared and avoid unnecessary risks when moving in the middle of winter, keep a watchful eye on the fast changing weather and react accordingly. Prepare a back-up plan if things start to look really dangerous and speak to your movers about rescheduling your winter move.

6. Stay safe, stay warm, stay alert

No moving in the winter tips can be complete without the mention of hot chocolate and the wonders of that famous beverage when moving house in winter. Keep everyone warm by offering hot drinks, including tea for added refreshment and coffee for extra alertness. Get some disposable cups and spoons so that you don’t have to bother washing them afterwards. Also, wear winter-appropriate clothing to stay warm but don’t be quick to don your large winter coat as you also need extra mobility to maneuver up and down tight corners and narrow corridors. Protect your upper and lower limbs against the cold by wearing warm work gloves and comfortable winter shoes.

7. Make your new home warmer and more welcoming

It’s not enough to only take care of your current home as your primary focus should already be on your new residence. Make sure your new home is ready to welcome you, your family members, your countless moving boxes, and your movers (be it only for one day). With all the tasks in your moving calendar, it would be a dark freezing disaster if you forgot to arrange for the connection of the new-home utilities prior to the move. Don’t forget to have the most important municipal services set up such as electricity, water and gas, and have them running up smoothly.

8. Plan your own road trip carefully

Having paid attention to the winter moving advice above, it’s time to plan your own wintertime journey to your new address. If you have hired experienced movers for your winter relocation as you should, then make sure your own vehicle has been properly winterized and is currently in top mechanical shape with all the fluids topped up, and the breaks and tires checked. Take tire chains with you, as well as an extra gas can, a snow shovel, a bag of salt and a fully charged cell phone in case you need to contact a roadside assistance service. Moreover, plan the route to your new residence well and have an early start as winter days are much shorter and darker than you would like them to be.

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