Tips for Moving in the Winter Months

An older man pushing a dolly stacked with boxes out of a house

Believe it or not, moving in winter can be a cheap and efficient way of moving. Since it is considered the off-season, most movers offer discounted rates, and housing prices often go down. Bidding wars happen much less often, though the pickings can be slim. It takes less effort to get a hold of a good moving company, which creates less stress when you’re moving. As such, many financially smart people plan to move during the winter.

However, winter also poses many unique challenges that make moving during the season a hazardous endeavor. From icy roads to water damage, winter poses its own list of challenges added on top of the normal challenges of moving.

There are plenty of pros and cons, but sometimes there isn’t much choice. Sometimes, moving during winter is inevitable. That’s why knowing and planning around the common hazards can help in reducing the risk and optimizing the reward.

Be Careful on Icy Roads

Cars driving down an icy road with sleet falling

The main hazard during winter is its unpredictability: temperatures can drop rapidly, snow can hit without warning, and ice can form on the roads without you knowing. Weather is a normal concern when moving anyway; however, it is particularly dangerous in winter since it can’t always be seen falling from the sky. The fact that snow and ice can stay around for days to weeks can make the moving process even more dangerous. One wrong step can mean you are on your way to the ER instead of your new home.

So, it’s best to make sure any pathway the moving vehicle will be traveling down is properly salted. Salting will melt any unseen ice and prevent any slipping due to the weather. Rock salt is available for purchase at most grocery and hardware stores for reasonable prices and can be a lifesaver when dealing with ice.

In general, the roads become more dangerous in the winter months. Winter conditions reportedly cause around 17% of all crashes due to slush, black ice, and more. These statistics, combined with the fact that most moving trucks are harder to drive than normal vehicles, mean that any measure you can take to reduce risk is a welcome one.

Don’t Forget About the Snow

Movers recommend either buying or renting snow chains for any vehicle you plan to pack with your belongings. The last thing you want is an accident involving your belongings due to slick roads. Most places that deal with heavy winters will have chains for sale at any department or vehicle store. Chains can also help when the weather gets bad, so it is generally a good investment.

Be sure to look up the snowplow schedule in the area you are moving to. Looking this up can help you plan to move when you know the roads are going to be clear if you can’t avoid the weather. Of course, the weather can be unpredictable, so have a backup plan if the weather changes suddenly.

Watch Out for Water Damage

A gloved hand wiping a water-damaged leather couch with a microfiber cloth

Another major hazard of moving in winter is water damage. Water can slip past loose packing and end up warping or seriously damaging furniture. This is especially a concern during winter, when snow or sleet is often falling.

As such, it’s best to double or triple-wrap your furniture tightly when moving in the winter. Double wrapping items will prevent snow from reaching your furniture, even if it slips past the outer layer.  In addition, movers generally advise that you leave out a carpet or tarp to keep snow from being tracked in. The extra layer will protect your floor from water damage if people are careful.

Secure All Fragile Items

The colder temperatures of winter can make things like glass and porcelain even more brittle than usual, which can cause breaks and fractures to become more common. Even carefully packaged possessions can be broken during the moving process in premium conditions, and winter tends to increase that risk. 

Pack these fragile items near the top of the vehicle in secure locations and surround them with soft or plushy items like stuffed animals, blankets, or rugs. If you can, pack your breakables in a personal vehicle rather than in a moving truck so that they aren’t thrown around. When unpacking, unpack them first with care and put them in a secure place before unpacking anything else. But even with these precautions, accidents can happen, and that should be planned for.

The best way to deal with this is to rent a storage unit near your new home and move your fragile items there before your main moving day. Putting your breakable items in self storage can be a safe and cheap way of delaying things until better conditions arise, and this significantly lowers the risk of damage.

Make Your Winter Move Easy with Universal Storage Group

There are many reasons to move during the Winter – cheaper, less competition, or even life circumstances. Following these three tips can help reduce the hazards of moving during winter. If you want to make your winter move easier, or just have a bit more space in your new home, rent a storage unit from Universal Storage Group online today!

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