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Top 8 Tips for Preparing for a Long Distance Move in the Winter

October 19th, 2018 - 8:49 AM

Moving in the winter

To some, winter weather brings on thoughts of sweaters, hot chocolate, holidays and spending time with family. But for others, winter is thought of as the perfect time to move. Because the winter months are typically considered “off-peak” moving season (when prices usually go down), many people opt to move this time of year. But as you consider the advantages, you also want to be mindful about how best to move in the cold weather. If you’re preparing for a long-distance move during the winter, follow these eight tips to ensure you’re prepared.

snow-covered home marked "sold" on a real estate sign

1.    Create a clear, safe path 

Make sure your driveway and walkways are cleared so no one slips while moving things in or out of the house. Use a shovel and spread out sand, salt or snow so the ice stays melted. It’s also a good idea to tape cardboard or plastic sheeting to the floors in high-traffic areas to protect from snow, sand, ice, water or any other debris that may get tracked inside. You should also put down rugs so people can wipe their feet.  

2.    Keep electronics safe from the elements

Some electronics and appliances may be sensitive to colder temperatures, so you’ll want to make sure they’re safe during the move. It might be best to take high-value items like laptops with you in your vehicle to ensure they aren’t exposed to below-freezing temperatures. Other electronics can be protected and insulated with materials like packing paper, Bubble Wrap® and heavy duty boxes.

3.    Pack carefully

It’s not just electronics that you need to pack carefully. When moving in winter weather, it’s good to keep in mind that everything you pack may need extra protection. Wrap furniture and mattresses with blankets or waterproof packaging to safeguard against any potential water damage. And if you’re using cardboard boxes, be sure to not overload them — they can become weaker if they get wet.  

4.    Dress correctly

To avoid things like frostbite or dry skin on the day of the move, dress in layers and have extra scarves, hats, gloves, warm socks and boots on hand. Make sure you’re wearing clothing that won’t drag on the ground or get strings or straps caught while carrying furniture or boxes. 

5.    Have a “warm zone”

Since people will be going in and out all day (probably leaving the door open for most of it), consider turning off the central heat and using a space heater in one closed-off room — just make certain to follow safety precautions with the space heater. You can keep snacks and hot drinks in there as well so everyone can take breaks to warm up. 

6.    Be aware of weather conditions

Monitoring the weather along your planned travel route is one of the most important things to do when moving in the winter. Check on local weather conditions for possible road closings and think about alternate routes you may want to take, just in case the conditions along yours change. When driving, be sure to exercise caution and leave plenty of room between you and the car in front of you. Get more winter driving tips here.

7.    Prepare an emergency kit

Put a list of the numbers for roadside assistance, weather and traffic reports, and highway patrol in the car in case you need them. In addition, tell a trusted family member or friend about your travel plans so someone knows where you'll be and will be able to update you on any weather changes. Keep extra gloves, towels, blankets, bottles of water, snacks, sleeping bags, jumper cables and tow rope in the car with you, as well. 

8.    Double check utilities at the new house

Before you leave, call the utilities company for your new residence to see if the heat, electricity and water can be on when you arrive. Some companies require a deposit or require you to be present to provide to service, so it may be necessary to book a hotel room for the first night. 

What winter moving advice do you have?

Have a recommendation we haven’t mentioned? Leave us a comment below. If you’re planning a winter move, let U-Pack® help! Give us a call at 800-413-4799

Moving out of state? Check out this comprehensive guide on long-distance moving