Helpful ways to move comfortably during the winter.
It’s no secret that summer is the most preferred season for movers, what with the weather and availability of professional help and housing options. But what most people don’t know is that there are some major advantages to moving houses in the winter season as well. While most will dismiss this season for its severe temperatures and possible obstacles during the moving process, it is interesting to note that many families choose to move this time of the year and benefit from doing so. So if you have made the decision to move during the winter here are some useful tips you can use.
You’d think moving in winter would be absolutely irrational, that nobody would want to shift their existence in the biting cold (and snow, depending on where you are from). But if the cold weather could be managed and a good moving timeline could be arrange for, the winter is actually a really good time to plan a move. Here’s why:
Flexibility of time: With less bookings during the winter, professional moving companies have many slots available for bookings. You can set a tentative moving date and work towards it. In case of unpredictable weather, you have the luxury of shifting your schedule around, and your helpers will be accommodating as well. This would be near impossible during the summer, which is peak moving season.
Less competition: If you’re looking for housing options, the winter is a good time to scout for places. While there may be fewer options during this season, there is also less competition, so you will get to find a house at leisure and discuss many options before they get sold or rented out. Also, it’s likely you’ll be able to get the purchase price within you budget because it’s off-season. Moving is an expensive undertaking, so you want to get the most value out of the money you will be spending during this time.
Enjoy the summer: Let’s not forget how enjoyable the summer season really is, with summer break for kids, outdoor activities galore and the option to actually enjoy your neighborhood or take a holiday. What’s more is that you can also use this time to do your prep work for the move in the winter. Getting around in the summer for procuring packing material, scoping out new neighborhoods, house-hunting and finding the best professional moving company turns out to be a lot easier. You get your work done and at the same time enjoy your last summer in your old neighborhood, with friends and family.
Cheaper: Moving in the winter saves you a lot of money. Right from settling on a house in your price range to booking the right movers to packing materials and moving costs, everything is cheaper during the winter because it is off-season. This can be a huge plus point if you are looking to adjust your finances in a way to, perhaps, spend more on renovation at your new house, or finding a better school for your kids.
Whenever you’re planning a big change like moving houses, you need time. And if you’ve chosen to move in the winter, you will need to start preparing for the move much earlier than usual. This will keep you in good stead in case of unpredictable weather changes and delays. Here are a few things you need to keep in mind when planning your move.
Be prepared: For something as gargantuan as moving, you need to be prepared for every turn of this experience. Make sure you plan your prep stage thoroughly, go through your checklists, double check your bookings, coordinate time tables with your realtor, moving company, colleagues, family and friends. Prepare extra for the weather, right from warm clothing to food supplies to emergency bags for unprecedented overnight stays in case of snow. Anticipate weather changes, traffic delays, confusion about move-in dates, loss of mobile phone networks, any sudden health concerns or last minute expenses. Stay flexible with your dates, timings and estimations.
Prep your New home: While you’re preparing to leave your old neighborhood, remember that you need to enter your new home and start setting up and living right away. So make sure you new home is ready to receive you and your family or whoever you’re going to live with, if at all. This means you need to pay up your first month’s rent and electricity and utility bills in advance, if you’re renting, or set up your electrical power circuit and heating with the help of your realtor or contacts in the area. Check the plumbing and be certain that the bathrooms are functional with water heaters. If you can drive down at least a week before the move, you can do a final check on the house and make sure it’s ready to run the minute you arrive.
Protect your things: While your electronics should be exposed to sunlight, they shouldn’t be exposed to extremely cold temperatures either. To maintain the temperature balance, secure your electronics with warm blankets or extra clothes in a box and place them in that part of the truck where the heater is nearby. Cover your large appliances with tarp in case there are leaks, to avoid your machinery getting damaged. Have a backup waterproof bag or suitcase with an extra set of clothes, winter wear, medication, food and beverages for everyone who is traveling in the truck and helping out in a second car that’s following.
Keep extra time: Always budget for extra time when planning to move in the winter. This isn’t just for moving day, but also prep time. You may not find the ideal house right away, and you might end up spending time searching for open houses off-season. While there are less bookings during winter, the professional moving companies may not match up to your expectations right away and you might have to keep looking fo the right fit for your budget. You may need to reschedule certain activities based on the timetable of the other people connected with the move, either your family or children, or friends who are helping out. Budget for all kinds of delays just to be on the safe side.
The most efficient way to prepare for a move in winter is to have a ready list of all the different tasks that you need to complete in order for the move to run smoothly. This could range from checking the weather forecast every day, sourcing different professional moving companies and comparing rental prices, figuring out day and night care for your children and pets, if any, and, finally, packing up. The best way to deal with all of this is to make a checklist, which makes it easy for you to focus, allot time to each task, and strike out completed ones. It’s less stressful, too. Add these tasks to your checklist, if you haven’t already.
Check the weather forecast up till the day of the move
Clean up and prep your old home for its new inhabitants
Hire professionals to help you move
Purchase packing material like boxes, bags and packing tape
Hire help for children and pets while you pack up the house
Wear layers so you can adjust in different temperatures
Buy utilities for the new house
Pack emergency bags with toiletries, medicines and extra clothes
Make sure your moving vehicle or truck is travel ready
Clear the driveway the day before you plan to move
Have a backup plan or two: Always create Plan B, C and D when you are preparing to move houses, that, too, during the winter. You could encounter unpredictable weather changes like blizzards, sleet, road blocks, illnesses and much more. It helps to keep the day of the move flexible in case you are hit with any of these problems. Always have backup money for hired help if you’re stuck on the road and keep a list of emergency contacts on your person as well as with everyone moving with you.
Stock up on tarps and sheets: You’ll need tarps and sheets for days when the sun’s out and the snow begins to melt. Place the tarp on the ground before you move your boxes, or they will absorb the melted ice and your things will be destroyed. The sheets will keep the base of the truck from being slippery, so your things would slide around. And the tarp will prevent water from seeping in.
Carry warm beverages and food for family and movers: Make sure you prepare some warm beverages that you can store in insulated thermoses for the day of the move. Also, pack some snacks like fruits and sandwiches. There should be enough to go around for the entirety of the move, and enough for your helpers as well, not just your family. If you do run out, stock up on the way when you make a pit stop for gas and toilet breaks.
Tip your helpers well: Remember, even though they have more time on their hands, they are still braving the winter to help you move to another place. That involves dealing with the weather changes, any delays, all your requirements and possible last minute demands that you forgot earlier on. Tip your helpers well, and if they are friends and family, make sure you feed them, give them warm drinks during the move and a special thank-you gift or gesture at the end of it all.
Sure, moving the winter doesn’t seem like a very appealing idea, but when you’ve got a budget to stick to, you aren’t left with many options. The good news is, even so, you needn’t have to be miserable during the process. Thanks to the efficiency of moving companies, all of your prior detailed planning and preparation, you can certainly move to your new house in the winter with minimal challenges and maximum comfort.
Frequently Asked Questions About Moving in the Winter
Q. Is moving in the winter a bad idea?
While there certainly are some safety concerns when it comes to planning a move in the winter, if you take extra precautions, moving this time of the year can actually prove to be beneficial. For instance, your moving company is likely to bend over backwards in assisting you and dedicating more time and attention to your needs at this time, when there aren’t as many bookings, versus the summer where they are likely to be overbooked and understaffed.
Q. Is it cheaper to move in the winter?
It is cheaper to move during the winter because most people prefer to move in the summer, when the weather and roads are clearer. But in the winter, you can skip the traffic, crowded with moving trucks, and also choose moving dates with more flexibility. Houses that are on the market also tend to be cheaper, so you might get one for a steal!
Q. Can you move in the snow?
Moving in the snow can be difficult, but not impossible. Especially if you have noticed on the weather forecast app that you are expecting snowfall around the time of your move. You can either hire professionals or clear your driveway, sidewalks and street yourself, prior to the day of the move. Check different routes in case there are any delays due to snow. Also make sure you have enough heating and utilities in the new house, so that you can warm up right away once you reach.
Q. What month is the cheapest to move?
Moving anytime between the months of September and April (late fall to spring) would be the cheapest. These are the months that have lesser amounts of movers across the country. The most expensive time to move would be in the summer, which you should avoid, if you cannot afford it.
Alex Sherr is the founder of My Long Distance Movers, a blog that provides moving information and resources for people who are relocating. He has more than two decades of experience in the moving and relocation industry, and he is passionate about helping people relocate smoothly and efficiently. When he's not writing or blogging, Alex enjoys spending time with his wife and two young children.