Moving is a demanding and tiresome task. Whether you are used to snow and frigid temperatures, or relatively new to dealing with cold winter weather, moving during the winter can be challenging.
The biggest advantage that you'll face when you choose to move during the holidays is lower costs. Truck rentals and moving fees are much cheaper due to the lack of demand that exists during this off-peak moving season. By exercising patience, and with prior planning and organization, your winter move can be completed without any major hurdles.
Here are some tips to help you prepare for your upcoming winter move and allow you to use the weather to your advantage for the safest and most successful moving experience possible.
1. Gather supplies before you move
While winter weather is mostly unpredictable, there are some things you can do to prepare, such as keeping the right kind of supplies on hand.
It is recommended to carry at least two bags of salt or sand in your vehicle.
- Salt and sand will aid your tires in getting traction on the roadway and on slippery surfaces, especially when they are stuck in the snow
- Putting down some sand and salt in your driveway prior to your move will prevent it from icing over
- Sand and salt on pathways will save movers falling while carrying heavy boxes to and from the moving truck
It would be helpful to carry a snow shovel and ice scrapers as well.
An emergency kit should also be prepared -- not only one for the move but for the trip to your new home. It should contain, along with the usual first-aid kit items:
- Extra blankets
- Roadside flares
- Tow rope
- Jumper cable
- Energy bars
- Candles and matches
- Phone chargers
- Emergency contact list.
- An extra pair of clothing and sleeping bags for each one on the trip
Also, it can't hurt to have an auto club membership as well, like AAA, or another affiliate from your car insurance company. This kind of membership comes with a lot of advantages. Apart from providing roadside assistance when you are stuck in snow, you can also save money on hotel costs and travel services. Carry their contact number and membership card while moving.
2. Prepare for winter weather before the move
The best way to prepare for any impending winter weather is to stay updated on the latest local weather forecasts for any coming storms or snow. The sooner you're aware of bad weather, the sooner you can prepare for it. You may need to make adjustments to the moving schedule or gather the necessary supplies to handle the forecast.
- Keep listening to weather broadcasts on your radio or television or download an app on your phone that gives you constant updates.
- Always be ready to postpone your moving day if there is an indication of severe weather that can potentially put you in danger. No move is worth risking your life.
- Choose a moving company that will reschedule at no additional charge. In weather that makes it extremely difficult or otherwise impossible to carry out the move, most moving companies will reschedule for a later date without any extra fees or penalties. Usually, execution of the hazardous weather policy doesn't require you to pay any additional charges, and you can feel safe knowing that you will be protected in case of bad weather on your original planned moving date.
- Have parking available that's not on the plow route or leave yourself enough time to forge a path to the house.
3. Have your car serviced before the move
Service and prepare your car for winter before the move. This includes:
- Check the working condition of your brakes to make sure that they are functioning properly and that you will have enough stopping distance on slippery or icy roads.
- Check your coolant levels and monitor your coolant system. During the winter, you ideally want your coolant to be a 50/50 mix of water and antifreeze to prevent it from freezing over and oxidation.
- Install winter tires if you will be driving through bad road conditions with a lot of ice and snow. If your journey includes mountain passes and icy roads, it is better to invest in tire chains to prevent skidding.
- Tires should always properly inflated -- monitor the air pressure. In cold weather, tire air pressure tends to decrease much quicker than it does during warmer weather.
- Check your wipers to make sure they can handle ice and snow or buy a new pair.
Always remember that wet conditions due to ice and snow make driving a bit more challenging than usual. Safe driving practices like staying under the speed limit, braking and accelerating slowly and keeping a safe distance from the vehicle in front of you should be followed at all times.
4. Protect your floors before the move
Protect your carpets and floors during the move from snow, sand and water -- especially in high traffic areas. A lot of people are going to be walking in and out of your house on moving day, and all of the slush, snow, salt and sand will inevitably be tracked back into your house. Protecting your floors will not only keep them clean but also prevent any accidents due to slippery or wet surfaces.
Fasten heavy cardboard or plastic sheeting with heavy duty tape to protect your carpeting. For hardwood floors, keep the covering in place with blue painter's tape.
5. Keep warm during your move
This should be your number one priority, as it's the most important thing to watch for during any outdoor activity that you do in the winter. Dressing warmly is always going to be the best way to keep your core body temperature where it needs to be.
- Keep your warm clothes separate from your moving stuff. They should be readily accessible whenever you need to bundle up. Always carry extra gloves, scarves, boots and hats.
- Wear as many layers as you can comfortably allow. It's always easier to take off layers of clothing as you get warmer than it is to find new layers to put on if you're too cold.
- Remember to also carry a small kit of personal care items like hand lotion, facial moisturizer and lip balm. Your skin will get very dry as you move boxes in and out of the cold air.
- Make coffee or hot chocolate during the move to give to your movers and anyone else helping you out with the move. It will warm everyone up, and they'll appreciate the gesture.
TIP: 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 on moving day, you will save on your electric bill. You'll be layered up and moving around anyway!
6. Take good care of your movers
Moving in winter weather is much more difficult than in summer, so it may be best to hire professionals to load and unload your belongings. They will have a lot more experience with winter moving than you do, so they'll be better equipped to deal with the challenges that come up.
If you're using a BigSteelBox or other portable storage solution to move, and you hire laborers to help you load and unload, you should tip them more than you typically would during a summer move.