9 Tips for Moving When it Snows

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. 

Dress Warmly 

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. 


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.