While the months between May and September are typically peak season for long-distance moves, circumstances — including a new job or a desire to lower moving costs — can find you planning your move during wintertime.
Winter months — December, January, February — are off-peak for moving companies, which can mean more competitive pricing and a wider range of move dates from which to choose. As long as you’re willing to take a few extra steps and precautions to ensure a smooth journey, there’s no problem.
Consider these six winter moving tips to help keep you on track.
Moving During the Winter Months
- Keep an Eye on the Weather
Though it’s always wise to plan and manage your move as far ahead as possible, winter weather is at best unpredictable and requires some additional — sometimes sudden — precautions. It’s important to keep an eye on the weather forecasts projected for both ends of your move, especially the week leading up to your move date and until the movers are scheduled to arrive.
Keep in mind that a snowstorm or blizzard might force you to reschedule, so be sure you’re in touch with your move coordinator throughout this crucial period. That way, everyone remains on the same page and you can have a backup plan should the weather postpone your move date. Above all? Keep calm and be flexible.
- Clear the Walkways and Driveway
Regardless of the time of year you move, having a clear path into and out of your current and new homes makes moving a lot safer and less stressful. It’s always a good idea to visit your new home before move-in day to take note of any potential hazards. This is especially important in winter when ice, snow and slush can make conditions slippery.
Clear all walkways of ice and snow and salt or use sand on pathways. Also, check to make sure you’re not parking on a scheduled plow route. Besides, you don’t want your movers trudging through muddied snowbanks and slush while loading and unloading your belongings.
If you can’t get to your new home prior to your move date, have your realtor or property manager check on these things for you. Lastly, just as you did at your new residence, clear snow, ice or anything that could be a potential hazard from the walkways, driveway and street at your current home.
- Keep Winter Wear Close at Hand
Even if you hire a full-service moving company like United Van Lines to move your belongings, you still may find yourself exposed to chilly temperatures over the course of the move day. Wear layers of warm clothing so you can take off and put on items as you go from house to car and room to room. Make sure you have warm gloves — including some extra pairs for layering — if the snow or cold picks up. If there’s sleet or snow in your moving day forecast, pack a few changes of clothes and blankets in your first night kit.
- Protect Floors and Carpeting
Before you’re even settled, tracked-in sludge, snow, ice and mud can make a mess of your new home — not to mention what rock salt and sand can do to your new floors. When you’re moving in winter, it’s wise to place floor mats at entrances to all outside doors and plastic tarps over wood and tile floors. If your new home has wall-to-wall carpeting, use cardboard sheets to cover walkways.
Keep in mind, most professional moving companies will come prepared because they understand how important it is to help protect highly trafficked areas in your home.
- Stock Up on Winter Supplies
You never know when you’ll need to dig your way out of a snowy situation — either on-site or on the way. At both your current and future homes, keep salt and sand readily available, along with a shovel to clear driveways. If you have a snow blower handy, that’s even better. Also consider having a space heater accessible just in case temperatures get super-low and you need to provide supplemental heat near an entrance or cold zone — but watch it carefully.
- Make Sure Utilities Are Turned on and Functioning
The last thing you want is to show up at your new residence in the dead of winter with no working heat or lighting. Winter days are shorter, which means you’ll have less daylight to work with on move-in day. There’s also the possibility that, with a postponed move, the utility schedule you set up beforehand may have to be revised.
Whatever the circumstances, be sure your heat, water, electricity and other essentials are on and in good working order approximately two days before you move in.
Need professional movers to help with your winter move? Get a quote from United Van Lines today.
Will you need help settling in? Check out our other blogs for moving tips and packing advice, as well as city guides and a wealth of other helpful, time-saving information.