Moving in winter is not such a crazy idea if you are living in sunny southern California or Florida or somewhere in between, but for a large part of the United States most people would do anything to avoid moving in the winter. Frigid temperatures, snow, and ice do not make for the best moving conditions and put you on the receiving end of everyone's sympathies. However, there are perks to be enjoyed when making your move this time of year. There are also some things to think about that you would not have to consider if you were moving in warmer weather.
First, the perks of a winter move. Putting up with the inconvenience of a winter move could save you cash month after month from now on, particularly if you are a renter. Not only is apartment turnover slow in the winter, but it is also the slow season for the moving and storage industry. Translation: you are more likely to be on the receiving end of lower prices, willingness to negotiate, more inventory availability, and more attention.
With most Americans moving in the summer months, the cost of a move is at its highest. The law of supply and demand plays a large part in the price of your moving costs. If your move dates are flexible, hold off a few months and wait out the most demanding season for moving. As with moving services, storage facilities have a similar busy season. Storage space availability is higher in the late fall and winter because most people have completed their move already and college students are back in school having taken their belongings out of summer storage.
Moving when the temperature falls also means that moving consultants will have more time to spend with you to work on a deal. Movers and drivers tend to be less pressed for time in the winter since they are not hurrying to another move or wiped out from a previous move.
Should you be brave enough to take on the challenge of a winter move, here are 8 tips to remember that will help you survive:
- Recruit Help
Hiring a professional moving company is the safest way to go and saves your friends and family members from a greater risk of injury due to slippery conditions and cold temperatures, but if you are a do-it-yourselfer and willing to risk it, be sure to reward your helpers generously.
- Clear the Way
If your area gets snowfall, clear the walkways of snow and ice or other debris at both your old home and your new home prior to attempting to move anything. This will save time and if you hired movers, money. Some moving companies will clear pathways, but that cost is most likely passed on to the customer. It is worth the time it takes to clear the area to be safe and surefooted when moving your possessions. Keep salt and shovels on hand in case you need to clear any paths during the move, too.
- Dress for the Occasion
Dress in layers so you can shed clothing if you start to overheat. Just because it is cold out doesn't mean you won't sweat or get hot. Be sure you have gloves that enable you to get a good grip on what you are carrying.
- Protect Furniture from Moisture
If rain or snow is forecast for your moving day, having stretch wrap on hand to wrap your furniture is a great idea. Stretch wrapping furniture with furniture pads will keep moisture out as well as offer an extra layer of protection from scratches or punctures.
- Protect the Interior
Trekking in and out of a house or apartment with wet, salty shoe bottoms can wreak havoc on the floors of your old home and your new home. Protect carpets, tile, vinyl, or hardwood floors with used cardboard boxes cut and taped down in high traffic areas. There is also this wonderful stuff called carpet protection tape available for purchase at most home improvement stores. Have old towels or rags on hand to wipe up any mess on hard surfaced floors as soon as possible.
- Keep Warm from the Inside Out
Keep plenty of water, coffee, tea, and hot chocolate on hand. Staying hydrated and taking a break to get warm is critical to getting through the move. Simply having a door person to control the opening and closing of the door helps keep the inside as warm as possible.
- Drive Carefully
Take your time driving. Navigating slippery roads with a loaded rented moving truck is challenging even for the most seasoned road warriors.
- Be Smart
Safety is most important. If conditions are not conducive to attempting the move, in a blizzard, for example, it probably is not smart to continue that day. Make some phone calls and reschedule with landlords, rental companies, and moving companies. Most will be understanding and accommodate your needs.
Have you moved in the winter? What is your advice to others braving the weather to make a move?