Moving to a Cold State – A Detailed Guide

Full article 14 min read
Move in Winter
Family moving to new apartment together during winter standing outdoors sitting at car trunk with boxes looking camera smiling cheerful close-up

Moving to a cold climate region can seem intimidating and scary. Still, it has several indisputable benefits, such as fewer insects or bugs, fewer allergens in the air, a better quality of sleep, and snow-related activities that you cannot enjoy anywhere but there.

But if you have lived in warm weathered states all your life and have to move to a cold state, your body will need to be accustomed to the cold weather gradually; otherwise, you will be in trouble. If you are not used to sub-zero temperatures, your body could go into shock, and you may fall ill. But if you plan your exposure well and take it slow, moving to a cold state may be a good decision you made for yourself.

Winter Clothing

By default, moving to a cold state indicates that your quill is spending a good amount of money on winter clothing, footwear, and protective gear for yourself and your family and pets if any. This cannot be negotiated and is a necessary expense, so do not try to cut corners on this one. Proper winter clothing will keep your body warm and insulated while you slowly adjust to the drastic temperature drops in your new neighborhood.


Some of the things you need to buy right away as you move in include:

1. Sturdy waterproof down jacket

2. Parka

3. Extra warm socks

4. Swearers

5. Gloves or mittens

6. Headgear

7. Scarves

8. Thermal wear

You can check out offers and discounts during winter sales or holiday sales that come up at different times of the year to get good deals on otherwise expensive winter wear.

Winter Footwear

When buying footwear for winter climates, you need to focus more on practicality, functionality, and durability instead of the fashion aspect. Always choose footwear that provides maximum warmth and comfort, protection from wetness, and sufficient grip to avoid slipping in the snow. This might mean you buy the ugliest-looking boots, but your feet will thank you in the long run.


If this is your first time buying winter boots, here are some useful things to consider when you’re out shopping:

1. Does it have sufficient insulation? Will the boots protect your feet from the harsh sub-zero winter temperatures?

2. Is it waterproof? Or will the icy cold water from melting snow seep into my shoes, socks and then eventually freeze my feet?

3. Are there rubber soles? Do they have strong, deep stitching? It’s important to have sturdy rubber soles that keep your shoes from getting corroded by salt.

Extra blankets for better sleep

Remember that you are moving to a cold state, which involves sleeping in colder temperatures (irrespective of the heating technology inside your house). This could lead to some sleepless nights initially. It would help if you considered getting extra thick, warm blankets to get warm so that you can relax and have a restful sleep. You can buy many fluffy blankets and make sure each bed is covered with cotton flannel sheets to facilitate comfortable sleep and sufficient warmth.

If you tend to get colder than others a lot faster, you can also buy a thin nightcap for your head, socks for your feet, or a heated blanket in dire cases.


Learning to navigate ice and snow

You will have to learn how to live in the cold. This includes snowfall, chilly winds, sub-zero temperatures, and ice. There will be months of snow each year, for which you need to be physically and emotionally prepared, more so if you have moved from generally warm states like Texas, Louisiana, or Florida.

Stock up on equipment for removing snow from around your house, car, or driveway. Create a routine of clearing snow every day from all areas around your house, including icicles on your roof. You may even have to dig your car out of snow. At least your arms will be well-sculpted by the end of winter.

See Also: Tips for Moving in the Snow

Prepping your car

If you have a car driven to the cold state, you will have to get it serviced and checked to see if it can withstand cold weather months. If not, consider not taking the car with you and buying a new car once you have already moved to your new location. Here are some things you need to ensure your car is equipped sufficiently, to survive the cold:

1. The antifreeze will prevent the water in your car radiator from freezing up in the sub-zero temperatures

2. Remember to get motor oil specifically designed for colder climates, which is ideally thinner to function in cold weather.

3. Invest in specially designed winter tires so that you can drive through extreme winter weather conditions without being stuck or having any accidents. Your car manual may have recommendations for special winter tires that suit your car. You can also call your car’s company for more suggestions and assistance.

4. Beware those extremely low temperatures can impact your car battery. Make sure it is fully charged, and the fluids within are at the desired level.

5. You will need extra windshield washer fluid to keep your windshield clean, clear, and snow-free. Remember to top it off with antifreeze after you are done cleaning.

6. Upgrade to wiper blades designed specifically for winter weather conditions, which are more flexible and can effectively clean snow or ice buildup on your windshield glass.

7. Make sure your car has a Survival Kit in case of an accident, car breakdown, or being stranded due to horrible weather. 


Survival Kit

Your survival kit must be with you and regularly replenished as and when needed. It should include:

1. Thermal blankets and clothing

2. A high-powered flashlight with extra batteries

3. High-calorie, highly durable snacks

4. Sufficient bottles of drinking water

5. A shovel for excess snow

6. Ice scraper and brushes

7. Jumper cables in case you need to restart your car battery

8. Emergency flares if you are stranded in the middle of nowhere

Safety rules for winter

The three main rules for staying in the winter are:

1. Get a healthy dose of Vitamin D: Feeling cold might deter you from spending time outdoors, but the downside of this is that you lose out on sufficient time in the sunlight, which reduces the level of vitamin D you absorb. This could lead to all sorts of illnesses. So make sure you spend a good amount of time outside when it is sunny. Don’t forget to dress warmly.

2. Avoid outdoor exercise when it is too cold: Physically taxing outdoor activities when the weather is too cold, especially for a newcomer like you, can harm your body more than help it. You do not want to catch a cold, pull a muscle that hasn’t been properly warmed up, or get frostbite.

3. Pay attention to the small things: The small rituals like moisturizing your face, hands, and legs, using lip balm regularly, staying hydrated will keep you in good stead.

Paying high energy bills

You may not expect it since you have lived in warmer states before, but the cold months will result in a high level of energy consumption for heating, which will lead to very high energy bills for a good chunk of the year. So keep a lookout for temperature fluctuations, and maintain the inner healing in the upper 50s, so that the water in the plumbing system doesn’t freeze, causing pipes to burst.

Some more tips:

1. Buy winter gear after you move

2. Add extra padding or cushioning to your packing boxes

3. Give your children or pets time to adjust to the weather


If you are sure about moving to a cold state, you will likely be moving at least across some states, if not cross country. In a transition like this, you have a lot of things to deal with apart from the move itself, not to mention that moving to a cold state will be tiring and stressful if you are not prepared for the weather. So the best thing you can do for yourself is to hire professional packers and movers to help you move to the colder state, which will give you time and space to adjust to the move, the weather, and your new home.  

Also Read: Moving in the Winter – Useful Tips and Advice



How do you adjust to living in a cold climate?

Here are some ways to adjust to living in colder climates.

1. Get out of the house as much as possible to acclimate to the cold weather. Aim to spend at least two hours outside until you can extend that by an hour every day. Of course, you should wear the necessary warm clothing to avoid catching a cold.

2. Avoid wearing too many clothes, layers, or coats to keep warm. Wear only what is necessary to stay warm because your body needs to have the opportunity to adjust and coexist with cold temperatures.

3. Turn down the thermostat in your house to a tolerable temperature. And as you get used to that temperature, you can gradually decrease the temperature to build up your tolerance for the cold.

4. You could try taking cold showers during the day. This will help your body adjust to the cold environment a lot faster.

5. Regularly hydrate with ice-cold beverages so that your body’s internal heating system kicks into gear and you can tolerate the cold weather.

Should I move to a cold state?

Contrary to popular belief, states with colder weather have some advantages. Fewer bugs and insects are crawling about, fewer allergens in the air, a better chance of a goodnight’s sleep, a higher burning rate when you work out, fun outdoor activities that suit colder climates, and beautiful and picturesque landscapes to hike and trek in. While the move may take some time to adjust, you’ll find that living in a cold state isn’t that hard at all once you transition and settle in.

How do you live in a state with cold winters?

If this is your first time living in a state with cold winters, then you need a winter survival kit that you must have either with you or in your vehicle at all times:

  1. Thermal blankets and clothing
  2. A high-powered flashlight with extra batteries
  3. High-calorie, highly durable snacks
  4. Sufficient bottles of drinking water
  5. A shovel for excess snow
  6. Ice scraper and brushes
  7. Jumper cables in case you need to restart your car battery
  8. Emergency flares if you are stranded in the middle of nowhere

Where should I move if I like winter?

If you love the colder climate and are looking to relocate to states with chilly winters, then consider these places in the US:

  1. Spokane, Washington
  2. Anchorage, Alaska  
  3. Saratoga Springs, New York
  4. Bozeman, Montana
  5. Bangor, Maine


Do people in colder climates live longer?

According to a national vital statistics report, there are several reasons why living in colder climates can help increase your life expectancy. One such theory is the ‘refrigerator effect,’ which means that colder temperatures help slow down the aging process in the human body while also eliminating dangerous insects and harmful bacteria that may otherwise affect you in warmer climates.

How do people survive in the Northeast winters?

It is quite exceptional if you see people surviving the bitterly cold winters of the northeast. So if you are moving to the northeast soon, and this is your first winter, here are some things you can do to survive the cold.

1. Use a Humidifier and make sure you have enough humidity for your throat and nasal passages to stay moist

2. Buy warm winter clothing like coats, windbreakers, down jackets, scarves, and winter headgear

3. Be proactive about clearing snow around your house so that excess snowfall doesn’t drop your internal house temperature

4. Buy as many potted plants as you can to store them indoors, which work as effective air purifiers if you are stuck indoors for long periods.

Written by

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.