6 Best Practices For Moving in Wintertime

By Julia Dunn on December 16, 2017

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Moving in the winter months can be exciting–new year, new home! Usually, college students worry about moving to different housing arrangements near the beginning and end of the school year. This tends to be around August-September and May-June. However, if you’re in temporary housing or you’ve been living as a subletter while the main tenant is studying abroad for fall semester, you may be booted out halfway through the year (or, ideally, you’ve known that you have to be out by the end of November or December and this isn’t a surprise.). Moving in the wintertime comes with its own set of challenges for which to prepare–here are 6 of the best practices for wintertime moving.

Image via Pixabay.com

1. Ensure the new place is outfitted with heating or insulation to get you through until spring

Unless you prefer to wear long sleeve shirts, leggings, fleece jackets, down jackets, mittens and wool socks all at the same time for three to four months straight, you’ll probably want to check with your new property manager to see if heating is operational in your new house or apartment. Moving to the tundra may not be what you signed up for. Double check before you sign your lease that your landlord is responsive to maintenance requests, and have them confirm that your heating system is usable before you move in. If the place doesn’t have heating built into it, ask if you’re allowed to plug in space heaters for more localized warmth.

2. Pack your items in weatherproof containers

When packing up furniture, personal belongings, clothes, books and other items in your current house, put them in plastic bins and make sure to secure their lids all the way. If you don’t have these and don’t want to spend money on them, make sure to wrap your cardboard boxes up in trash bags to keep moisture out. In the winter, there’s a higher chance it could be raining during the time you have to physically move all your items, and if it’s not raining, it may be frosty, foggy, or snowy…not great conditions for moving. Beat this snag in advance by packing with the elements in mind. You won’t want to open boxes in your new place to find that items have been damaged from the transition. That security deposit already hurt your bank account enough, you don’t want to pay to replace damaged items too!

3. Keep an eye on weather report predictions for the days on which you’re moving

If you live in an area regularly affected by large winter storms (snow or rain), check the weather reports often in anticipation of your moving day/moving weekend. This is most pertinent if you’ve hired professional movers to assist you. You’ll want to know as soon as possible whether you should reschedule your move so that you can cancel any moving arrangements with enough notice.

4. Enlist friends to help you move, and provide warm drinks as incentive

Moving in winter is no fun if you have to do it alone. If you have a lot of stuff (and a lot of sweet friends who are able to help you), coax some folks to help you load things into your car or to unpack boxes at the new place. You can make it fun! Provide hot coffee, tea, hot apple cider, even fresh cookies to warm up your friends and make moving easier. Moving can be physically demanding, especially taxing if you’re battling 30-40 degree temperatures. Increasing the number of helping hands can shorten the process and reduce the likelihood that you’ll become fatigued.

5. Start early in the day

As emphasized in the Huffington Post’s article “10 Things to Know About Moving in Winter,” it’s important to start moving activities earlier in the day if possible. Daylight savings time means the sun goes down even earlier now, and winter weather can naturally make the day darker overall. Making the most of daylight hours is also important safety-wise; slipping on the frosty ground could cause injuries if you’ve got a box of books in hand.

6. Allow for complications and traffic delays

Everything seems to take longer in the winter. Traffic is worse due to the holidays, weather can slow your commute, and accidents happen sometimes. Allow more time than you really need to when moving–your new place may be a 10 minute drive from your old one, but in winter, that drive could take half an hour. All of this timing can affect the number of trips back and forth that you’re able to make in a day.

When you arrive at the new place, set it up for the wintertime. Place doormats at all of your entryways, create space for your wet boots near the door (keep that carpet clean!), and start settling in as soon as possible. Find your warmest blankets and set up your bed right away so you’ll be cozy on night one. With the right amount of preparation and planning, you can make winter moving work for you before it nips you in the nose!

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By Julia Dunn

Uloop Writer
A writer, editor and educator based in Northern California.

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