10 Tips to Survive Moving in Winter
Post updated on November 4, 2022
Moving at any time of year can be stressful, but it can be even tougher when you have to move during the winter months. From snow on the ground to bitter cold temperatures, moving during the winter comes with its own set of challenges.
Read on for tips to make your winter move as smooth and stress-free as possible.
1. Be Prepared to Be Flexible
The weather can be unpredictable in winter; it’s clear one day and then dumping down rain or snow the next. In addition, you may have to deal with wind, hail, or other wild weather. In the weeks leading up to your move, keep a close eye on forecasts and potential conditions.
If there is a large storm coming through on the day you plan to move, you may wish to contact your movers or truck rental company and reschedule. This may not be possible for you, but with their lighter workload in winter, this shouldn’t create too much of a problem for the vendor. After all, they don’t want to be out in that blizzard any more than you do!
2. Start Packing Well in Advance
Don’t wait until moving day to start packing up your belongings. The sooner you start, the easier it will be for everyone involved.
Renting a moving container, like a BigSteelBox, can be a great help in this situation. BigSteelBoxes are made of steel, not aluminum like other brands of moving containers, so they won’t buckle, cave or shift under the weight of heavy snow. They’re also weather and rodent-proof, keeping your belongings safe and dry in rain, snow and wind.
We’ll drop off a BigSteelBox at your house before your move so that you can start loading up your belongings on your own time. When you’re finished packing your container, we’ll pick it up and move it to your new home for you to unload – again, take as much time as you need to unpack! When you’re ready, we’ll come back and pick up your empty container.
And remember, storage is built into our moving service, so if you require storage between homes, we can keep it to a BigSteelBox storage facility for as long as you need.
3. Prepare Your Home for the Move
Before you start loading anything into the truck, car or moving container, create a safe environment. Winter weather conditions can make moving more dangerous than in summer, spring or fall.
Shovel away any snow, making sure to create a wide path to allow for moving large furniture from your house. Also, ensure that your walkways are free of ice. Using a de-icer or anti-icer on your steps and sidewalks is a good solution. The last thing you want is to slip and fall causing injury or breaking any fragile items.
You might also want to consider creating shelter along exposed areas. Large party tents and tarps create excellent coverage from rain, but if you’re dealing with snow, make sure to use something that can withstand the weight, or that has an angle to slide the buildup off.
For the inside of your home, lay down plastic sheeting to protect your floors. You and other movers will be in and out of the house frequently, tracking in moisture, snow and dirt, so you’ll want to protect your floors from stains, scratches, or the need for excess cleaning. You’ve got plenty of other things to worry about on moving day; scrubbing mud out of your carpets after you’ve moved out shouldn’t be one of them.
If you’re using a shipping container for your move, you’ll also want to use plastic sheeting in the container as well. If the Box is going to be stored for any length of time before you move into your new home, it’ll be important than there is no moisture inside the box after it is closed. A BigSteelBox is weather-proof and has ventilation, but moisture that is trapped inside can cause mold and mildew to develop over time. If you’re concerned about moisture issues, consider adding a desiccant to the container before closing it.
4. Protect Your Belongings from the Weather
When packing your items, take special care to protect certain items from the cold.
Breakable items, like dish ware and glass, are particularly susceptible to temperature changes and can crack or break if the temperature shifts too quickly. Double-wrapping everything in thick blankets can help ease the transition from the warmth of your house to the cold of the container. You may want to consider loading these items into your moving container last, and unloading them first, to minimize their exposure to extreme cold.
Another option is to pack these items in your car, rather than in the moving container. Electronics are another item that should be packed in your car, as they are also easily affected by the cold. Wait until you’re about to leave before loading these items to keep them as safe as possible.
5. Take Good Care of Your Movers
Moving in winter weather is much more difficult than in summer, so it may be best to hire professionals to load and unload your belongings. They will have a lot more experience with winter moving than you do, so they’ll be better equipped to deal with the challenges that come up.
To thank them for all their hard work, prepare a pot of coffee, hot cocoa or apple cider (non-alcoholic, of course!) to warm them up when they need to take a break. There is no doubt that they will greatly appreciate it. If you’re using a BigSteelBox or other portable container option to move, and you hire labourers to help you load and unload, you should tip them more than you typically would during a summer move.
6. Use a Moving Container and Let Us Do the Driving
Another huge advantage of using a moving container company for a winter move is that you won’t have to worry about driving a big moving truck (such as a U-Haul) or pulling a trailer behind your vehicle during bad weather and poor road conditions. When you move with BigSteelBox, we’ll deliver your container to your home, you pack it at your pace and then we’ll pick it up and move it to your new home.
Whether you’re moving across town or the country, you can rest assured knowing your things will stay clean and dry inside a BigSteelBox. Our containers are weatherproof, so no matter how wet or muddy the road conditions get, your things are protected. Let us do the driving – it’s one less thing for you to worry about during your move!
7. Prepare Your Car for a Long Distance Move
If you’re moving a long distance, have your car serviced prior to the move to confirm that everything is running properly.
Just in case anything does go wrong, pack warm blankets, coats, hats, boots and gloves in the car rather than with the rest of your belongings in the moving container or truck. You don’t want to be stranded on the side of the road without warm clothing.
Load up anything else you’ll need for driving in cold weather, like tire chains and ice scrapers, so you’ll be prepared for anything that might happen while on the road. It’s always better to be over-prepared than underprepared, that way you’re ready for anything.
8. Allow Extra Travel Time
Driving in snow or in inclement weather always takes longer than driving on clear roads, so allow plenty of extra time to get to your destination. If movers will be meeting you at your new home to unload your belongings, keep in contact with the driver so they’ll know if any schedule changes come up.
If you’re using a moving container, you’ll just need to know when it is scheduled for delivery. A BigSteelBox Placement Technician will always call in advance of any deliveries, but you may want to request a call if you’re using another company.
Plan out your route in advance, but be prepared to make changes on the fly. Snowplow schedules are not always predictable, so you may find that your preferred route is unavailable. Most smartphones these days come with mapping apps that will adjust your route if there are possible traffic issues that might slow you down.
9. Make Sure Your New Home is Set Up for Unpacking
As you did with your previous home, make sure that all walkways are clear and ice-free, and lay down protection for your floors before you start moving things into your new home.
Since it gets dark much earlier in winter, you should also plan the timing to unpack your things. If you’re moving with a container, find out when it will be delivered to your new home. If it’s later in the day, you may want to leave your things in the container overnight rather than starting to unpack right away. That way, you can start fresh in the morning when you have plenty of light.
If you have to unload in the dark, make sure you check exterior lighting in advance to make sure they’re all working. Hanging lights or headlamps are two other options that will help light your way towards a better after-dark move!
This may sound like a no-brainer, but you’ll also want to make sure that the utilities are on in your new home they day before you unpack!
10. Take a Deep Breath
Moving in winter isn’t easy, but with proper planning and care, your stress can be minimized. BigSteelBox can take some of the pressure off by providing you with simple moving and storage solutions throughout the move. Because we transport your moving container for you, you don’t have to worry about driving a big moving truck in the snow.