Moving in Winter: How to survive

Not many people choose winter as the preferred time to move, but maybe you have to. If a business opportunity made you move during the cold, you would find out this is a great time to move. It is cheaper than summer or spring because there is less work for the moving companies. Cold weather actually makes it an easier time to rent a moving truck or hire movers. Still, as you may have guessed, it doesn’t make the move a breeze. We have prepared for you a thorough list of issues that may arise. You should be aware of possible problems of moving in winter so that you can avoid them before they happen.

Here are some tips on how to survive moving in winter.

Moving at any time of year is stressful for many, but it can be even more challenging when you are moving in January. From deep snow to ridiculously cold temperatures, moving in winter means it will be best to stay flexible.

Prepare in Advance

The sooner you start to pack, the easier it is to follow the checklist. Stay organized and make a list of all the tasks. Start packing 8 weeks before the move.  Depends of course on how much stuff you have. You should assess the number of your belongings well in advance. It is also advisable to separate everything into three categories while sorting. A keep pile that will move with you, donate pile and toss pile. This phase will help you simplify your packing and unpacking process.

Then you will be ready for collecting boxes, but we recommend renting. There are companies who rent plastic containers. There is also an option of renting a portable storage container made of aluminum or steel. This could be very practical for moving in winter. They are sturdy and won’t buckle in the heavy weather. They are known for being durable and waterproof during long haul moves. This is great for fragile items. 

Moving in Winter requires flexibility because streets and houses are covered in snow.

Moving in Winter requires flexibility.

Stay flexible

Watch out not just for the unpredictable weather. Yes, it could be wonderful and sunny today, and hail tomorrow. Or forecast can say clear day all day, but you go out to see it is pouring rain. Yes, moving in winter can be wild. But it is only the obvious reason why you should stay flexible. Anything could happen. And this goes for every step of the process. After you’ve planned and organized everything, be open to changes. You may have shortage of boxes last minute, or you find out your kids haven’t packed. Yikes. These things happen, so just relax and give yourself enough time for every task.

You should have a good plan B. If you’ve hired movers, and a snowstorm threatens you move, talk to the company to see what their policy is in terms of winter conditions. Some movers will not postpone the move because they are used to moving in winter. But if they are ready to postpone, speak to your real estate agent or landlord to ask for a few extra days. In case you can’t negotiate extra days, maybe the movers may still be able to pick up your things. But they will not deliver them to your new home. That is when you’ll need short-term storage renting.

Prepare Your Home for the Move

Make sure you have all utility set-up and fully functioning. Heat and lights are a task you don’t want to forget to do. Have the utility company turn on the heat and hydro a couple of days before you arrive. This will make sure everything is functioning and that the house is warm for the day you move in.

Clear the snow from the driveway and entrance. If you’re moving locally, visit your new home the day before the move to check everything. Make sure there is no ice in the driveway either. It is very easy to overlook such things when moving. Salt or sand the area. If you’re moving farther away and can’t visit your new place before the moving day, have your agent or property manager check the area for you.

Clean your new home if possible. If you are far away, hire someone remotely to do this for you. It is very important, but the last thing on anyone’s mind during the packing madness. If you put this on your list, it will make your move-in day easier. You don’t want the chaos of unpacking and cleaning on your move-in day. Especially when moving in winter.

Don’t leave your old home unattended either. You should do all of this in your old house. Disconnect all utility services, but arrange for the companies to terminate the utilities the day after your move. Clean your home after packing and protect all the windows and floors. Shovel the snow from the driveway and salt it if necessary.

Moving in winter, when parks are covered in snow and people are waking.

Plan additional travel time when moving in winter.

Prepare your car for a long distance move

Remember to have your car serviced before to the move. Have a pro confirm that everything is running properly. We don’t mean to alarm, but just in case anything malfunctions, have warm blankets, coats, hats, and gloves with you.
Tire chains and ice scrapers should be in the car as well. Now you’ll be prepared for anything on the road. It’s better to be over-prepared than left stranded on an icy road.
Always have cash with you. Don’t just think it will be an easy move from A to B. For any delays you’ll need cash for food, medicine, warm tea or coffee.

Plan additional travel time when moving in winter

Driving in snow takes longer than driving on clear roads, so plan a lot of time for the road trip. If movers are meeting you at your new home, keep in contact with the driver. You never know what timetable changes could come up.
Plan out your route in advance, but as we said, stay flexible. You cannot control all the outcomes. You may find that the snow plow hasn’t cleared your preferred route is. Use the map app to quickly plan for another route if something like this happens.


Moving in Winter calls for hot cocoa and cookies on the plate.

Moving in Winter calls for hot cocoa.


Take good care of your movers

Moving in winter weather is not a DIY project. You will want to hire professionals to load and unload your belongings. Reliable moving companies, such as All America Moves have a lot more experience with winter moving than you do. Leave the heavy lifting to the pros who are better equipped to deal with the winter move issues.

To thank the movers for all their hard work, prepare a pot of coffee or hot cocoa to warm them up. They will need a break, and they will certainly earn it in the cold winter move. It would be greatly appreciated. If you’re using a portable storage solution to move you should tip the movers more than you typically would during a summer move.