There’s a reason people move more during the summer: the weather. However, that’s not always possible — or desired. The reality is people move all year long for a wide array of reasons, including during winter.
Whether you opted to move during the winter because of available dates, your new home’s closing date or because your lease is up, professional movers are used to it and know what to do.
“Especially when it’s cold, our agents make sure their trucks are all plugged in the night prior, so they start up quickly,” says Alex Ploesser, director of operations at UniGroup. “And we tend to start a little earlier in the morning to make sure everything starts and is safe to drive.”
Ploesser notes that customers’ personal move coordinators prep them for what to expect — and how they can help their movers should difficult conditions arise.
Note that we do rely on our customers to clear things for their movers in advance, as well as to cover their floors — especially when it’s most likely snow and such will be tracked through the house.
Ploesser says move coordinators also let customers know to prepare for delays.
“One of the unfortunate realities of winter weather is, to operate safely, moves may take more time, both at load and delivery time and during transit,” he says.
Needless to say, there are helpful things you can do to streamline your winter move, too, from a practical perspective, to aid movers and provide peace of mind.
1. Check Weather Often
Just like travel can be unpredictable during winter months, unexpected weather conditions can throw you for a loop on your moving day. That’s why it’s important to be prepared with everything you may need at hand if snow or other unpredictable conditions occur.
Consider setting a reminder to check the weather a week leading up to your move date — and until your movers are scheduled to arrive.
When you’re moving during winter, it’s also a good idea to keep informed about possible weather hindrances and to know your mover’s policy on rescheduling if dangerous conditions arise.
2. Double Pack Fragile Items
Your movers have handled most weather conditions, but it’s nevertheless a good idea to double-wrap fragile items since they can become more brittle when it’s cold out. While plastic totes are a handy organizational tool, they lack the rigidity of moving cartons. Manufacturers have changed the formulation of plastics used and they can shatter in frigid weather. When it comes to items that are particularly precious, they should be kept with you since they may be in the truck for the duration of transit.
3. Clear All Pathways and Parking Areas
It’s crucial to clear any snow and ice from sidewalks, walkways, driveways and stairs to be used on moving day. After all, your movers are carrying heavy boxes and objects and you want to avoid slips and falls.
Have a snowblower? Consider it your best friend if a snowstorm occurs. Alternatively, consider enlisting professional help or borrowing one from a neighbor to clear pathways.
Remember to also treat your sidewalks when it snows. The most common solution is salt given it effectively melts snow — provided it’s not below 15° F degrees. It’s wise to also scatter sand once you salt since it will aid with traction. If it’s colder than that, here are some other options.
4. Cover Your Floors
Let’s be real: Winter can be a sloppy, sludgy mess of snow, ice and mud. Add salt and sand into the mix and your floors can get quite dirty if they’re not covered up.
Most professional moving companies arrive prepared to protect highly trafficked areas in your home. Still, it’s smart to be ready. To protect both the property you move from and the one you move to, place floor mats at the entrance of all outside doors, and easy-to-secure plastic tarps or cardboard sheets should be laid atop wood floors and secured.
5. Board Your Pets
Whether you enlist the help of a family member or friend or bring your pets to a kennel, this is not the time to have them underfoot. Besides, it will be cold in your house. To ensure your fur babies are cared for during your move, don’t forget to ask local boarders and kennels if they have heated runs or heated floors.
6. Protect Electronics
Electronics and cold weather don’t mix. Whenever possible, it’s a good idea to combine your electronics into a few boxes and keep them with you in the car, where heat is on and the temperature is relatively steady.
7. Dress Appropriately
Moving means at least one door is open. Given the heat in your home may be turned off, it’s going to get cold. Be sure to dress in layers and bundle up — not to mention wear gloves. It’s also a good idea to have some extra gloves on hand, whether you end up needing them or one of your movers does during snowy conditions.
Moving is a challenging life event in the best of conditions. By following these tips, you’ll make a winter move easier, less stressful and more successful. You’ll be thankful you did, and your movers will, too.