Winter weather is unpredictable, to say the least, bringing with it another layer of complexity when it comes to a move. That’s especially true when a snowstorm hits on or right before the big day. So, the “show” must go on, as long as driving conditions are okay.
Wondering how to get through it? And how to make a tough situation more tolerable?
For one thing, it’s best not to DIY. Trying to organize a self-move when it’s snowing would be a nightmare, so it’s best to plan ahead and secure movers during colder months. Rest assured professional movers have been there and done that before. They’re pros, who know how to handle your belongings with care, whatever the weather.
Want some tips on how to prepare your yard and home? You’ll find them here.
Still unsure if you should go the professional route? Residential movers tend to be less expensive in winter, given it’s not the peak moving season. So, that’s a plus.
Wherever you land, be sure to bundle up and be ready — there are some important things you can do to simplify your move when it snows on moving day.
Shovel All Surfaces
Moving heavy objects over slippery surfaces is dangerous so it’s important to clear any snow and ice from any sidewalks, walkways, driveways and stairs that will be used that day. Have a snowblower? This is the perfect time to use it. Otherwise, consider borrowing one from a neighbor or having your plowing and shoveling professionally done — it’ll be one less thing to worry about on an already hectic day.
Use Salt, Sand or Something Else
Although there are some long-term drawbacks to treating your sidewalks when it snows, it’s necessary at a time like this. The most common solution is to salt responsibly. Just be mindful that salt — or sodium chloride — is harmful to both plants and concrete, not to mention very corrosive to metal. In short, only use it where it’s critical.
Rather than use salt alone, it’s a good idea to sand as well. While salt melts ice, sand aids with traction.
When you do scatter salt and sand on pavement, leave plenty of space between granules. According to Minnesota Water, a 12-ounce coffee cup of salt is sufficient to cover 10 sidewalk squares or a driveway that’s 20 feet long.
However, it’s important to note that salt doesn’t melt ice if pavement is below 15° F degrees. Here are some alternative melting agents, along with things you should know prior to using them:
Urea: Slow-acting and pet-safe, it melts as low as 20° F but promotes algae growth in waterways and over-application proves harmful to plants
Magnesium Chloride: Harmful to plants and corrosive to metal, it’s also pricey but works when it’s as cold as -10° F
Calcium Chloride: Corrosive to metal, it also leaves a slimy residue; on the flipside, it’s less harmful to concrete and can tackle the task when it’s as cold as -20° F
Potassium Acetate: Biodegradable and melts down to -15° F, it’s expensive, can cause surface slickness and lowers oxygen levels in waterways
Ensure the Parking Area is Cleared
Whether it’s on the street or in your driveway, the moving truck requires a clean surface and clear path for movers. Have some shovels — along with extra salt and sand — on hand to address pileups as you go. The last thing you want is for the moving truck to get stuck while trying to pull away.
Watch for Snowplows
Even if you carefully planned every last detail of your move, there are some things you can’t predict. If there’s a mushy, dirty pile of snow from a plow, it can quickly turn into a hazardous condition. Make sure your parking area is not in the route of the snowplows or ensure it’s clear of snow, ice and sludge, leaving a clear path to the house if that’s not possible.
Cover Your Floors
Typically, professional movers arrive ready to protect highly trafficked areas in your home. Still, it’s important to do your part. Be sure floor mats are placed at the entrance of all outside doors. Additionally, plastic tarps should be laid over wood floors and sheets of cardboard sheets should be placed on carpeted areas and secured with small tacks.
Keep Pets and Kids at Bay
For their safety, pets and children should stay away from walkways on any moving day. Having a clear, uninterrupted pathway is equally — if not more — important when it snows since there are extra challenges at play.
Just like movers will be exposed to the elements, you will, too. Open doors mean cold and wind will permeate your home so be sure to bundle up. Thick, warm gloves are a must — especially since there’ no sense in having the heat on at the house on move-out day. Consider putting a space heater in a room that won’t be used, such as the bathroom or spare bedroom, so you have a place to warm up.
Also, make sure your utilities are up and running at your new address before moving day. (Our partners Utilities USA and National Broadband can help with that.)
Check Your Car
Make sure your own car is in working order and all fluids have been topped off. If you end up having to drive to your new address when it’s snowing, it’s crucial you can use your windshield wipers — and clean your windshield — as needed. Additionally, check your tires and brakes and have the following items in/with your vehicle: a spare tire, tow rope, bag of sand, flashlight, roadside emergency kit, collapsible snow shovel, warm blankets and winter clothes, as well as extra food and water.
Hand Out Hot Drinks
Whether it’s cocoa, coffee or tea, it helps to warm up from the inside out. Preparing hot drinks for everyone — your movers included — is a thoughtful touch that can help make a cold-weather move more manageable.
To be certain, no one likes a sloppy, snowy moving day, but it happens. With these measures in place, your move will go more smoothly and be more efficient. Plus, your movers will greatly appreciate your help and consideration so they can do their best work.