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Tips for Moving in Winter

Winter is the least popular time to move. Transporting household goods through snow and rain is a challenge, but moving in winter offers significant benefits as well. With fewer people relocating this time of year, moving companies are more flexible regarding dates and prices. Movers are normally booked solid during summer, but they’re far less busy during winter. As a result, homeowners not only pay less, they’re generally free to choose whatever date is most convenient for them.

Planning a winter move may seem daunting due to the weather, but with careful preparation you can get all your belongings loaded up and transported as safely and smoothly as any other time of year. Navigate winter moves by following these tips for an easy and successful relocation.

Allied Van Lines moving truck on a snowy road

Find a Warm Place for Children and Pets

With people carrying boxes through open doors all day, you can expect a steady stream of cold air throughout the morning and afternoon. Few furnaces are powerful enough to keep you warm under such circumstances, and running them is going to rack up huge costs.

The situation is particularly hard on pets and children, who are more sensitive to low temperatures. One solution is to ask a friend or relative to look after them while you’re getting everything loaded and set up. It’s the best way to keep them safe and comfortable while you’re busy with your furniture and belongings.

Keep an Eye on the Forecast

Moving in winter means you have to be prepared to work around the weather. It’s not uncommon for rainstorms, snowstorms, or even ice storms to swoop in and spoil the best laid plans. With advanced warning, rescheduling your move is a simple matter. Moving companies are especially flexible this time of year. Watch the forecast in the week leading up to your move, so you have plenty of warning in case you need to switch times, dates or routes.

Clear Sidewalks and Walkways

Ice and snow are slip and fall hazards. To prevent accidents, shovel snow off your stairs and walkways, then sprinkle a layer of salt over them, so they don't freeze over. Do the same to sidewalks outside your home as well, to create a clear path from your front door to the moving van.

Protect Your Floors

It’s difficult to wipe your feet when you’re carrying heavy boxes. Not surprisingly, when moving in damp and snowy climates, a good deal of moisture will likely be tracked through your home. Keep floors dry by laying tarps or plastic sheets over high traffic areas. Besides reducing cleanup, it also minimizes slipping hazards and water damage.

Schedule Your Utilities

No home can get by without gas, water, or power, especially not during winter. Call your new service providers at least one week before your move to activate your utilities. To make sure you don’t wind up shivering in the dark, connect your new home the day before you arrive and disconnect your old one the day after you leave.

Stock Your Car with Winter Gear

Moving in winter means you have to be ready to adapt to new conditions as they arise. Make sure you’re prepared for inclement weather by keeping a special kit with you in your car. Depending on circumstances, it should contain:

  • Extra blankets
  • Warm clothes (sweater, scarves, gloves, hats, jacket, etc.)
  • Ice scraper
  • Snow Chains
  • Shovel
  • Rock salt
  • Plastic tarps or sheeting
  • Bottled water
  • Snack foods (chips, crackers, cookies, etc.)

Winter kits should contain everything you need to stay warm, drive safe, and create a clear path into your new home. Before your moving van is unloaded, you'll need to remove snow and ice and should lay fresh tarps over your floors.

Prepare Your Car

Car trouble is never good, especially not during a move. Take your car in for a tune-up before the big day, to make sure it’s ready for winter travel. Besides the usual maintenance procedures, make sure the mechanic:

  • Checks your fluid levels, particularly the antifreeze
  • Installs snow tires, if necessary
  • Tests the fan and heater
  • Tests the defroster and windshield wipers
  • Examines the headlights, tail lights, and turn signals

Protect Your Belongings

Cold temperatures make fragile items even more brittle, so wrap them in an extra layer of bubble wrap and packing paper. Make sure your boxes are padded with towels or styrofoam peanuts. To prevent water damage outdoors, use plastic bins instead of cardboard boxes. If you have to use cardboard, put some plastic lining inside, to prevent moisture from seeping into your belongings. Furniture should be wrapped up in sheets, blankets, or plastic in case you encounter snow or rain.

Start Early

During winter, daylight is a limited resource. Some places receive as little as eight hours of sun. Make the most of what you have by scheduling your move early in the morning. The sooner you start, the easier it will be to get everything loaded and unloaded safely.

Create a Warm Room

Even if there’s no snow on the ground, moving in winter is a chilly prospect. Gloves and jackets help, but the best way to fight the cold is to set up a room where people can go to get warm. Typically, all you need is a space heater, a few blankets, and some hot drinks. Use a slow cooker to keep a supply of hot chocolate or cider ready for anyone who wants it.

Keep Plenty of Towels on Hand

While tarps and blankets minimize the spread of moisture, they won’t eliminate it entirely. Towels aren’t normally an essential moving tool, but they’re invaluable when dealing with rain and snow. Instead of packing them away, store them in your car or some other place that’s easy to get to, in case you need to do some mopping up or drying off.

Plan an Alternate Route

You can never be certain what road conditions will be like during winter. Even if the weather is fine when you set out, it might not hold the entire way to your new home. Map an alternate route just in case, so one bit of bad luck won’t keep you from getting to your destination in a timely manner.

Help for Homeowners Moving in Winter

Allied has been handling winter moves for over 95 years. No matter the weather, our expert moving crews have the equipment, training, and resources to get you to your new home. Our expertise ensures your belongings are packed, loaded, and shipped safely. Working closely with customers, we ensure every concern is taken care of, for moves that are fast, smooth, and stress-free as possible. Call today for a free quote!