If you have never moved in the winter, you know that it is a completely different situation compared to moving on a nice spring or fall day. If you find yourself having to move during the winter months, there are some major dos and don’ts to make sure you have a flawless move, despite the cold and snow. Here are nine mistakes you don’t want to make when planning your winter apartment move.
Living in the midwest, we know how unpredictable the weather can be, especially in the winter. For all you know, a snowstorm, an ice storm, or even a flooding melt could happen on moving day, and you need to have a plan, a backup plan and have all the expectations that whatever can go wrong, will. If your plan includes renting a moving van, make sure you have a plan for if the moving van gets stuck, or can’t get to you, you may have to improvise and be ready to use yours and your friends’ vehicles to load up and move out. This is especially important if you are moving from one apartment to another, and there are time constraints for when you need to be out, and when you can actually move in.
Falls on the ice is one of the most common winter injuries, and the risk is even higher when you are carrying boxes and furniture across any slippery surfaces. Make sure you have plenty of people helping, or on call to help in case of injury or setbacks due to the weather. Expect the unexpected and plan ahead!
Wearing a heavy winter coat is obviously crucial during the cold winter months, but when you are doing heavy lifting and physical labor you are probably going to get pretty warm. It’s a good idea to not dress too warm during moving day — getting overheated can lead to dizziness and dehydration even in cold temperatures. If you own exercise clothes that are wicking and breathable, those are a great option to wear in layers so you can dress up or dress down depending on how warm you get. If you are in and out of the house moving things into the car or truck, wearing a hat and gripping gloves can be the perfect alternative to a heavy, hot winter jacket.
If you are in an out of the house all day, you don’t want to keep the door closed to preserve the heat inside. In fact, everyone will probably get quite warm moving all the boxes anyways, so turn the heat off in the house during this time. Plus, the last thing you want is to rack up a high heating bill before your move, just because it was trying to keep up with the open doors.
In line with keeping the heat down or off to not waste it, you will still want some way to warm up when taking a break from moving. Plug a crockpot in and keep some hot cocoa or hot apple cider warm. The crockpot keeps the messes down in the kitchen and makes it easy for you to just grab it and take it with you to the new place! If you do decide to keep your central heat down to avoid wasting it, you could close off one room with open vents as your warming house, or a plug-in heater in the room or garage for warm-up breaks. Either way if you need it, make sure if it gets really brisk that you and anyone helping you move have a place to warm up from the tundra.
Make sure to thoroughly shovel all sidewalks, walkways, your driveway, and any snowbanks built up from the plows. Those snowbanks can be difficult to maneuver and can be a major hazard for slips and falls. De-icing the sidewalks and putting snow melts on any areas that could be slick for you or your movers is important to avoid any injury. It can also help clear some of that thick, tough snow that you can’t bust-up with the shovel. During packing, make sure you have your shovels handy for any snowstorms during your moving day and have enough salt to replace any kicked around from moving. You can get some salt protector spray for your winter boots or tennis shoes so you don’t have to worry about them getting ruined from walking through it all day.
Because the weather here in the Midwest CAN be so unpredictable, make sure you don’t just check the weather once and set your mind on that for moving day. Continue to check the weather each day, a few times a day leading up to your moving day. You can even set up temporary weather alerts to send to your phone to update you on any changes. Make sure you pay attention and plan ahead.
Some fragile items can become even more fragile in cold weather due to a molecular change. Large fluctuations in temperature can also cause highly fragile items to crack or break. By double packing and insulating these fragile items, you can ensure they are protected during the move.
Make sure while you are packing that you still have your winter gear accessible. In a turn of temperature or if a stall happens on the route to the new place, you’ll want to make sure you don’t have to dig through boxes or wardrobes to find the mittens, hats, or warm socks you’ll need. If you already have a winter emergency kit in your car, add a few extra items of clothing to it while you pack so you can be well prepared.
In the winter, the sun sets between 4 and 5 o’clock and you should keep that in mind before you move. As soon as it’s light out in the morning you should begin loading the moving trucks and vehicles and embrace all the daylight you have. You won’t want to end up having to move in the dark, and with some apartment moves there are time constraints for being able to move into an available unit. To make sure you have plenty of time to unload while still having some wiggle room for a second load, or to stop back and clean the old unit. Take advantage of those 8 hours in the day and if you are able, get the moving truck the day before and pre-load before actual moving day.
Moving in the winter isn’t something many people try to do, but if you find yourself having to do so, make sure to avoid these mistakes and you should be in the clear for a fairly seamless moving day. Checking the weather, preparing for drops in temperature, and having a backup plan in the case of a snowstorm are all ways you can make the day go smoothly. Stay warm, and happy moving!