How to Prepare for a Winter Move

How to Prepare for a Winter Move

If you’re planning to move during the winter months, congratulations — you’ll likely save a lot of money in moving costs! But you will need to be prepared for some cold-weather moving challenges. Get ready for moving in chilly conditions with these helpful tips.

Preparing to leave When hiring movers, ask them about their ability to handle winter weather and the volume of wintertime moves they handle.

If you’ll be renting a truck yourself, add chains or snow tires to your list of questions to ask about the vehicle you’ll be driving. Consider whether you are comfortable driving a truck in possible adverse conditions, either in the town you’re leaving or on the roads en route to your new home. If not, you will want to seriously consider hiring a moving company who can handle the winter roads — and the stress — for you.

Before you leave, be sure that the utilities in your new apartment are connected and ready for you to turn up the heat. You’ll also want to confirm with your new landlord that the driveway into the apartment community will be clear and ready to greet your moving truck, and that pathways will be safe to walk.

Protecting your belongings.
When preparing for a winter move, be aware of how cold conditions can affect some of the things you own. Using commercial movers may mean having your belongings parked for a period of time on a moving truck, with little insulation from the chill. Some wood furniture, for example, doesn’t do well in extreme temperatures. Find out from your mover how long your items could spend outside of a heated building and ask them what they can do to insulate your most sensitive objects.

If you’re moving with houseplants, keep them in the car or the cab of the truck (if possible); otherwise, store them in plastic bags with holes for air. This will only work if they’ll be in an unheated area for a short time.

Of course, you’ll want to protect your pets from the cold, as well.

On the road
If you’ll be driving your own car, be sure to have it serviced before you leave, making sure that its fluids are topped off, the wipers are sound and that the tires are in good shape and ready for cold conditions. If you need snow tires or chains, now is the time to get them. Whether you’re driving a rented moving truck or your car, remember to carry ice-removal tools such as a shovel and scraper, as well as several bags of salt or non-clumping kitty litter for tire traction if you get stuck on ice. The extra weight in the back of your vehicle will also give you better traction.

Be sure to have an emergency kit with you that includes:

  • An emergency blanket for each passenger
  • Flares
  • Flashlights with batteries
  • Jumper cables
  • Tow rope
  • Candles
  • Matches
  • Pocket warmers
  • Cell-phone charger
If your GPS fails (or leads you astray), there is no substitute for an old-fashioned road map. Have one handy that can help you get to your destination.

Keep on top of changing weather conditions with an emergency alert radio or a satellite receiver. Some truck rental companies offer 24/7 roadside assistance, so keep the number handy. For your own vehicle, be sure to sign up with a roadside assistance program if you don’t already have one. Bring water and non-perishable food along for the ride, as well. You’ll also want to have plenty of unpacked warm clothing available, something you may not automatically think of if the climate you’re leaving is warm.

Most importantly, don’t drive alone. Should you run into extreme weather that requires putting on chains or fixing a tire, you’ll be safer and spend less time in the cold with an extra pair of hands. Make sure that someone who isn’t traveling with you knows your planned route and your expected arrival time.

Whether you’re moving in winter to lower costs or because it’s simply time to go, know that you can handle cold weather conditions with the right planning and preparations.

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