Moving in Winter: Tips and Tricks from the Pros

Winter can be a great time to move! Since fewer people are moving during the winter season, you can save money on everything from apartment rentals to self-storage units. Professional movers usually offer promotions and discounts during the colder months. Winter also has some moving challenges you need to be prepared for. Here are some moving in the winter tips for making the process as easy and enjoyable as possible when the temperature dips.

Make Sure Everything is Ready for Move-In Day

If moving to a new city, contact your rental or real estate agent prior to moving to make sure everything is ready for you when you arrive. Getting stranded without keys or heat can be a miserable experience after the stress of moving in the cold. Ensure all utilities are set up and turned on before you move in. If moving in the winter locally, our first tip is to visit the property the day before and clear walkways of dangerous ice and snow. If you are moving items into a self-storage unit, reserve your unit in advance so it will be ready for you when you arrive.

Prepare Your Old Home for Moving Out

Clear sidewalks, walkways, and driveways of snow and ice. Use salt or sand to melt ice and provide traction. Clear the parking area to make room for dollies and large vehicles. You may want to lay down cardboard or plastic on high traffic areas in your home to protect flooring from dirt and snow tracked inside during moving. Make sure you have plenty of moving and packing supplies on hand so you don’t have to make extra trips to the store in bad weather.

Have Extra Winter Items on Hand

It’s a good idea to keep an eye on the weather and have salt/sand and shovels on hand. Stock up on winter supplies in case a vehicle gets stuck or the weather changes dramatically. It’s better to be prepared than sorry.

Make sure you dress with layers for transitioning between different temperatures during the move. Have extra mitten and hats on hand for your moving party. Whether moving yourself or hiring movers, hot drinks will be greatly appreciated by everyone helping with your move. Bonus moving in the winter tip: a warm cup of hot chocolate can help warm up frost-cold hands and put a smile on your face.

Be Prepared for Unplanned Weather Events

Even the most organized moving plan can be upset by a winter storm. Our final Moving in the winter tip is to make sure you have a backup plan to reschedule your move if it is threatened by winter weather. When hiring movers, find out if they have a reasonable policy for rescheduling in case of winter conditions so you are not charged for a situation outside your control.

Plan your travel route in advance and check with local authorities to determine if highways are open and safe for travel. If winter weather is threatening to shut down roads, you might want to find options for overnight accommodation in advance in case you need to stop.

You should also carry a gas can, extra windshield fluid, and salt or kitty litter (works great if you get stuck). A good snow shovel, emergency blankets and membership to a roadside assistance service are also a smart idea.

Carry an emergency contact list with you and necessary phone numbers such as roadside assistance, highway patrol, and highway conditions hotlines ready to go. Letting someone outside your moving party know your travel plans is a good idea. Let them know when you are expected to arrive and your route in case you get stuck.

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This article was originally published on 02/01/2018 and was updated on 10/29/2020