Moving in the winter can be a daunting task. Wintertime relocation can be less stressful when you make the proper preparations. Here are a few helpful winter weather moving tips that will hopefully make the process easier for you.
Make Sure Your New Residence is Ready to Move Into…
- Turn on the utilities a couple days BEFORE the scheduled moving day. By having the gas, water, electric, and cable turned on before moving in, you can make sure all systems are functional prior to the relocation. It also saves you from having the moving crew work around the cable guy and you have time to warm the house up to a reasonable temperature. See our other post Moving in Winter and Cold Weather to find out the affects of moving appliances and electronics in the winter.
- Remove Snow and Ice. If you are moving locally, go to your new residence the day before your scheduled move-in and make sure that the driveway, sidewalks, and all walkways are clear of ice and snow. If you are moving long-distance, keep a snow shovel and ice melt in your personal car so when you arrive at your new home you can take appropriate measures to get everything clear for the movers.
- Make sure that the parking area and street are clear. If your new home has been vacant through part of the winter you might want to check a day or two in advance that there is not a snow mountain blocking the entrance to your driveway from snowplowing. If there is too much snow blocking the driveway, the moving crew will not be able to unload the truck and they may opt to come back later after it’s been cleared. This may cost you extra money.
- Protect high traffic walkways in the home. Lay down sheets of cardboard, plastic carpet runner, or floor coverings to protect the high volume walk areas in the home. It is not reasonable or safe to ask the movers to take their shoes off when they walk into your home or to wear shoe coverings so make sure you take the steps necessary to protect your carpet, tile, or hard wood from the grime of winter weather. Talk to the moving company you have hired for their suggestions on things that you might be able to do for your floors or ask them to cover the floors before they move you in (most companies will charge extra for this service).
- Have a hot cup of Joe available. Hot drinks such as coffee, tea, or hot cocoa are a much welcomed gift to the people helping you move.
What to Do in the Event of a Winter Weather Event…
- Have a plan in place with all concerned parties. If a winter storm is threatening your relocation, make sure you have a backup plan in case you need to reschedule your move. If you have hired a professional moving company, find out their policy for winter conditions. Some movers are used working in winter weather and may not be willing to postpone your scheduled relocation. If the movers decide to postpone, make sure you speak to your real estate agent or landlord about staying a few extra days. If you’re unable to move out, then most likely the new tenants will be unable to move in as well. If you are unable to negotiate extra days, speak to the movers about your options. They may be able to load your belongings, but wait to deliver them to your new home. If this is the case, you’ll need short-term accommodation, such as storage on their truck, warehouse, or a self-storage unit.
- Detail out your travel plans. Know your travel route and make sure you contact local authorities to determine if highways are open and safe to travel. Each state or province has a phone number and website to check that is regularly updated. As a backup, you may want to know the location of an overnight accommodation in case you need to stop.
- Service your car and stock it with all of the essentials. Take your car to your local mechanic and have the vehicle winterized and the fluids topped off. If you live in a state were tire chains are allowed or required, make sure you know how to put them on your tires. It is also a good idea to pack extra food and water, an extra gas container, windshield wiper fluid, road salt or kitty litter, snow shovel, and emergency kit.
- Make a contact list and have it handy. Make a list of phone numbers like the highway patrol office, roadside assistance, moving company, and emergency contact. Carry a car charger for your cell phone and make sure the battery is charged before heading out. If you are traveling a long distance it is a good idea to have a call-in schedule set in place with a friend or loved one to make sure that you arrive safely.
- Don’t Freak Out. Snow, ice, and rain are part of moving in the wintertime, there is nothing that you can do to control it so don’t try. Just relax and go with the flow, the better prepared you are the less stressed you will be about the situation.