Moving in winter poses special challenges, whether you’re moving between two high rise condos in the same city or crossing the country. Although the weather is far less conducive to the hard work of moving, it can be cheaper to hire a moving company at this time of year. Whether you’re using a professional outfit or relying on the kindness of friends, following are a few pointers for making the first day in your new home as smooth as possible.
Be sure the new house is ready for the move before you head over with all your belongings. Check that lights and plumbing are working and if the weather’s nippy, consider having the heat on for a few days so it’s warm for the move-in.
Clear the Snow
Slipping on snow and ice can turn a simple move into a disaster. Before you even start, make sure all walkways at both old and new homes are clear; ice or sand if necessary. Keep shovels, salt and sand on-hand.
Whether you’re using a moving company or getting help from a gang of friends, be sure there’s adequate parking for the moving truck at both locations. Parking at urban condos can be particularly, and this could mean a bit of negotiating with new neighbors or the landlord if space is tight.
Protect Your Floors
Winter’s snow, ice and salt are notorious for dirtying up or even scratching some kinds of flooring. Protect floors and carpets with big pieces of cardboard or plastic sheeting for the big day. You can use duct tape if the floors can withstand it, and small tacks work well on carpeted areas.
Have a Plan B
With the constant threat of winter storms, there’s always a chance that your move will have to be rescheduled. If you’re using a moving company, call and see what their storm policy is, as some may want to reschedule the move, meaning you can’t move out and new tenants or owners can’t move in. Check with your landlord or real estate agent to see if it would be alright to stay a few more days. If you can’t, you may have to arrange a few days of temporary housing.
Keep an Eye on Mother Nature
If you’re moving a distance, keep an eye on the weather along your travel route, checking with local authorities by phone or on-line if the forecast is ominous. Scout out overnight accommodations in case you need to make an unexpected stop.
Prep Your Car
Be sure your car is serviced and winterized, with brakes and tires checked and fluids topped. If you have chains, be sure you know how to use them, doing a trial run on installation in the garage before you go. Carry salt or kitty litter in case you get stuck, pop a snow shovel and blanket in the car and be sure you have a gas can and roadside assistance membership.
Keep a List
Your winter move emergency contact list should include roadside assistance, highway control and a number for road conditions. Be sure someone who’s not on the moving trip knows the route your taking and schedule a call-in with them to be sure all is fine.
Not only do you want to stay warm and dry during the move, you’ll want to be sure your helpers are comfortable. Bring along a bag of gloves, hats, sweaters and socks in case of changing weather or wet clothing.
Feed the Gang
Keep your moving pals warm and well fed by keeping hot drinks and easy cold weather eats like chili and instant soup mixes on hand along with morning donuts and lunchtime sandwiches. Try to have a warm space in the house for enjoying a tea break, and be sure to have mugs and spoons along with paper cups and plates.