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Tips for moving in winter

12.20.17

Moving to a new home always presents challenges. The myriad details for simultaneously leaving one home and establishing another requires careful planning. When you’re making the move during the winter months in a cold climate, you have a different set of concerns to manage. On the plus side, you probably scored a better deal on the costs since movers are more available this time of year.

Here are a few tips for moving in winter, to make a smoother transition.

Turn on the heat, water, and electricity. As soon as you know your moving date, contact the utility companies to ensure that the heat and electricity in your new home is functioning. It’s a good idea to have the heat running a day or two before you arrive, so the home is already comfortable.

Clear the walkways. Shovel a wide path for the movers to come and go into your home with dollies. Sand the walkways to cover the icy areas. Do the same at your new home, or ask the real estate agent to handle the task.

Protect your floors. You’re going to have a lot of traffic coming and going, which means messy boots on your floors. Cover the floors with plastic sheeting. Use a heavy-duty tape to secure the plastic so that no one trips over loose or tangled pieces. Test the tape in a corner spot first to see if it can be removed without leaving a mark. Lay flattened cardboard boxes on your carpeted areas and secure them with tacks.

Plan the travel route. Determine how you will go from your current home to your new one. Check the road conditions and check for travel advisories. Many states have a 5-1-1 traveler information system, but you can also call a toll-free number to get the latest updates.

Separate your moving clothes and supplies. Set aside warm clothes, hats, gloves, socks, and boots, and include an extra set for every family member. Create a kit of personal care items, like lip balm, first aid, hand warmers, and wet wipes. Be sure this stash is kept separate from your moving boxes.

Clarify the mover’s policy for delays. If a winter storm hits on moving day, you might be able to reschedule the movers, but some companies are not so flexible. When choosing the moving company, ask about their policy for this type of problem. Depending on the location of the storm, they might pick up your belongings and store them until they can make the delivery to your new home.

If you can’t change your moving date, be prepared with an alternative plan for either staying in your home a few extra days, with friends or family, or in a hotel. Be prepared to stay at home by having inflatable mattresses, bedding, towels, kitchen basics, and personal care items.

Have your car serviced. The last thing you want to deal with on moving day is a car that won’t start, a flat tire, or other avoidable issue. At least a week before your scheduled move, winterize your car. The tires, brakes, and wipers should be checked, and the fluids changed or topped off. Stock your car with a snow shovel, ice scraper, de-icer, sand or cat litter, blankets, flashlight, jumper cables, emergency flares, and windshield fluid.

Fill up your thermos. Prepare an ample supply of hot beverages—coffee, tea, hot chocolate—to warm up everyone who’s helping you make this move. Make sure to have enough heat-resistant cups for the whole crew.

Moving to a new home is the start of an adventure. Getting there is part of the journey. Follow these moving tips and you’ll be prepared to enjoy the trip!