Winter is upon us, which means that many people will be moving house this time of year. Whether you’re one of the millions worldwide who are migrating to find better job opportunities, or simply because your family wants to live in a new area, there are certain dangers and problems you should be aware of when moving during the winter.
Why People Move During Winter
There are several advantages to why people choose to move during the winter. One reason is that they want to take advantage of the lower housing prices and fewer buyers in the estate market during the colder months. Additionally, schools are usually out for the holiday break around this time, making it easier for families with children to relocate. Lastly, many people choose to move during the winter because the weather is generally milder than in the summer, making the process less chaotic and uncomfortable.
Winter Moving Problems
Although there are many advantages to moving during winter, it’s necessary to be aware of the dangers this time of year. One of the biggest dangers is that driving during the winter season is more dangerous due to unpredictable weather conditions and icy roads. Your car might break down unexpectedly, requiring roadside assistance, or you could also become a victim of a car accident if other drivers aren’t careful.
In addition, moving during the winter is more difficult because of the cold weather. Without proper equipment, you may have difficulty moving your furniture into your new home. The shock of such drastic temperature changes can also cause damage to some items, such as wooden bookshelves and dressers.
What To Do If Your Moving In Winter?
Luckily, there are certain precautions you can take to make moving during winter a smoother process:
Before The Move
Here is a list of what you need to do before the move to make it more efficient:
1. Hire Pro Movers
The number one thing you can do to make your winter moving process safer and manageable is hiring professional movers. These movers will be able to load your items onto trucks and also drive them safely to your new home. Although you might think that hiring professional movers will cost more money, it’s much cheaper than the damage you could potentially cause if you try to move your belongings yourself.
To learn more about how to find and hire the best professional movers, you’ll have to do your research. Ask your friends or relatives for recommended movers, or search for reputable moving companies online.
2. Plan Your Move As Early As Possible
The winter months are usually much busier for moving companies. The sooner you book your move, the more likely it is that you can reserve a spot on one of these reliable moving trucks. If you want to ensure that your belongings arrive at their destination safely during winter, aim to book your move in advance.
One way to make sure that booking early would benefit you is to start packing your belongings as soon as possible. It’ll help declutter your home and make the moving process much easier. It’ll also ensure that you don’t forget to pack something important before your moving date.
3. Pack Properly
The cold weather won’t leave much room for packing, but you can make the most out of it by loading your belongings into plastic containers. These will help protect your things from exposure to extreme weather conditions and provide some insulation. Pack all your electronic equipment such as televisions, DVD players, etc. in its original boxes to ensure that your items are safe, even in the worst-case scenario.
When packing for a winter move, it’s important to layer your boxes so that the contents stay warm. You can do this by packing blankets, sweaters, and socks in between dishes and glasses. Additionally, pack any electronics in boxes filled with foam or bubble wrap.
4. Don’t Forget the Essentials
After you have packed up your belongings, make sure to double-check that you have everything on your list. It’ll also be a good time for you to confirm that nothing has been left behind in your old home.
Before leaving, make sure to turn off all utilities at both residences. If you’re unsure how to do this, contact the companies that provide your service. For reference, you’d also want to leave your old utility providers a forwarding address and contact information.
5. Check The Weather Before Moving
Before moving, always check the weather conditions to see if it’s safe to do carry on with the schedule. If a blizzard or ice storm is in the forecast, it might be better to wait until the weather clears up before making your move.
It’s recommended to check the weather reports for your location, destination, and the route you’ll take. It’s crucial to contact your moving company in advance if inclement weather is expected on a specific moving day or during a particular time frame while you’re traveling.
6. Ensure Your Car Is Safe To Drive
Before setting off on your winter move, make sure that your car is in good condition and that you have a full tank of gas. Blizzards and black ice can quickly turn even the best drivers into novices, so be prepared for the worst-case scenario.
If you’re traveling a long distance, it might be a good idea to break up your trip into several shorter trips. It’ll allow you to take more rest breaks, which will keep you safe behind the wheel.
7. Pack Emergency Essentials In Your Carry-On
In case of any travel disruptions, make sure to pack a small bag with essentials that you’ll need for the trip, such as a change of clothes, toiletries, and small amount of money.
If you’re traveling with medication, make sure to pack an extra dosage in your carry-on in case of an emergency. It’s also wise to pack your insurance card, passport, and other important documents in your bag as well.
8. Turn On The Heating Before Arriving
This one is crucial if you’re moving into a new home during the winter. Make sure to turn on all heaters and set the thermostats to your desired temperature before arriving.
You should contact the previous homeowners or your real estate agent before moving, to provide you with the instructions on how to get your utilities up and running.
During The Moving Day
Here is a list of what you need to do during the moving day to make the process easier:
1. Take Snack And Breaks As Needed
Moving is a tiring process, so make sure to have some snacks and drinks on hand during the moving day to keep you and your helpers energized. It’ll also help you avoid unnecessary trips to the grocery store. If you’re feeling overwhelmed or stressed, take a break, it’ll allow you to relax and rejuvenate before continuing with the move.
2. Stay Warm And Safe
It’s essential to stay warm while moving during the winter months. The best option is to dress in several layers that’ll be easy enough to remove or add as necessary. Wearing waterproof boots and gloves not only keeps your extremities dry but also helps prevent frostbite.
If the travel is long distance, make sure to take regular breaks to warm up and drink plenty of fluids. Snacking on high-energy foods will also help keep your body temperature up. And finally, if you start to get too cold, take a break and warm up inside your car or at a rest stop.
3. Protect Your Kids And Your Pets
If you have kids, make sure they’re prepared for the move. If they’re very young and you don’t know how they’ll react to the experience of moving to another home, find a way to keep them occupied during your trip.
For a family pet, a move can be a very stressful time. Ensure that its needs are met, and communication is open about any necessary comfort measures. If you’re moving to a new home with your dog or cat, make sure that they’re wearing collars and tags with up-to-date information in case they get lost.
4. Avoid Heavy Lifting
Heavy lifting is dangerous during any season, but it can be extra challenging during winter. The combination of cold weather and slippery surfaces can lead to serious injuries. If possible, try to avoid lifting anything heavier than you would normally lift. If this isn’t possible, take extra precautions when carrying heavy items, such as wearing gloves and lifting your legs from a squatting position.
5. Keep A Clear Path
One of the biggest dangers of moving in the winter is slipping and falling. To avoid this, make sure to keep a clear path from your house to the moving truck. It means removing all ice and snow from the walkway and driveway. You may also want to consider investing in some salt or sand to help make walking easier.
Always beware of your surroundings and take extra precautions when walking in the snow. If it’s icy outside, try to avoid walking or driving on slippery surfaces. Keep a shovel handy in case of any sudden snowstorms, and clear driveways and sidewalks as soon as possible.
6. Check The Utilities
Upon arrival, check the utilities to ensure they’re all working properly. It includes checking the heating system and the water pressure and ensuring that all lights are turned on. If there are problems, contact the appropriate utility company as soon as possible.
7. Pass On Some Warmth
Moving day is definitely a time for giving, not just taking. If you have friends or family members helping you with your move, make sure to thank them with food and drinks. And don’t forget to offer them a warm place to sit and rest during the move. A cup of hot tea or chocolate is always appreciated on a cold day.
8. Unpack The First Night In Your New Home
On the first night, try to unpack as many items as possible to make the transition easier and allow you to start settling in immediately. If any essentials are missing or broken, make sure to contact the appropriate company as soon as possible.
Extra Tips For Winter Storage
If you’re putting your belongings in storage for the winter, here are a few extra tips to keep them safe and protected:
1. Don’t Let Furniture Freeze
If you’re storing furniture, make sure to pack it in a way that will keep it from freezing, by wrapping each piece in plastic and adding plenty of packing material between each item.
2. Protect Electronics From The Cold
Electronics should also be protected from the cold weather. Make sure to pack these in boxes and fill any empty spaces with packing material.
3. Cover Your Belongings
Be sure to cover the outside of each box with at least two layers of plain white paper or cardboard, label it, then seal up the top with either masking tape or heavy-duty shipping tape. It’ll help identify your belongings easily if they get stacked on top of one another while in storage.
If you’re storing personal belongings, make sure to keep them in a safe and secure place that won’t get wet or cold. For example, if you’re putting away winter clothes and blankets, it’s best to store them on a secured high shelf or in the back of the closet.
4. Keep It Clean
One of the best ways to protect your belongings from the elements is to keep them clean and dry. Make sure to sweep and mop the storage area before you start packing up your boxes. Be certain that there are no possible leaks or water damage in the storage area.
5. Use Mothballs
If you’re storing clothes, it’s a good idea to use mothballs. These will help to keep pests away and protect your clothes from damage.
6. Label Everything
It’s always a good idea to label each box with its contents, making it easier to find what you’re looking for.
7. Don’t Overload The Storage Unit
Lastly, it’s important not to overload the storage unit, as this can put undue stress on the walls and increase the risk of water damage. Ensure to leave enough space between each box so that air can circulate freely and prevent molds.
Moving from one house to another can be tedious any time of year, but moving during winter can be especially difficult. However, by following these winter moving tips, you can make moving more efficient and safer.
Michelle Bradley is a professional marketing consultant. She’s been in the industry for over 18 years. She loves conducting webinars about home improvements and effective marketing strategies in selling real estate. During her free time, she travels and visits museums with her kids.