Updated December 9, 2019
Whether you’ve just bought a new house in Denver or are hopping from one side of the Chicago real estate market to the other, moving during the dead of winter can be a daunting task.
Stay Ahead of the Game with Utilities
Be sure to contact every utility company well in advance to make sure the electricity and gas are hooked up and ready to go for moving day. You don’t want to spend your first night huddled together in your sleeping bags for warmth.
It’s a smart idea to get your internet service provider to have your WiFi set up, too. That way you can relax with a good movie once you’re done unpacking boxes for the day.
- Pro Tip: Pack all the sheets and blankets you’ll need for night one into a single box. You don’t want to go searching for this stuff when you’re exhausted and ready for bed.
Shelter from the Cold
It’s tough to keep your whole house warm with the front door open and people shuffling in and out. Instead of trying to heat up the neighborhood, choose one space as a dedicated warm room where you can thaw your fingers and enjoy a hot drink.
A fun idea is to keep hot apple cider or cocoa with marshmallows piping hot in a crock pot.
- Pro Tip: Keep at least one bathroom heated, too!
Dress in Layers
Don’t rely on an all-or-nothing thick winter coat to keep you warm. If you’re physically involved in the moving process you’re going to warm up and want to peel off layers as you go.
Dressing in layers gives you flexibility so that you’ll be comfy in the freezing cold, hot moving truck and everything in between.
- Pro Tip: Watch the weather reports closely so that you can prepare accordingly.
Pack Old Towels & Spare Winter Clothes
Moving in the winter often means you’ll be traipsing snow, sleet, mud and muck throughout the house (even if you try not to) – nip this issue in the bud by keeping plenty of old towels at the ready to mop up the mess.
Despite your best efforts it’s likely your clothes will get soaked, too. Keep a spare set handy so you can change into dry clothes before you catch hypothermia. You’ll want backup gloves, too.
- Pro Tip: Lay broken-down cardboard boxes on the porch and inside the entry way to help limit the amount of snow & ice that gets into the house.
Think about Hiring a Pro
Even the most dedicated DIY enthusiast will want to consider hiring a moving company when the weather forecast calls for cold with a side of ice. Professional movers have years of experience dealing with inclement weather conditions and they’ll be able to offer critical advice for protecting your possessions.
The winter is off-season for movers and so you might be pleasantly surprised to find out that it’s a lot cheaper than you think to leave the heavy lifting to the pros while you sip hot coffee by the fireplace. Always double-check with your movers a week before to confirm your date, especially if it’s a particularly harsh winter and there’s a lot of snow on the ground.
- Pro Tip: Prepare a space for the moving truck the day before. Don’t pack your snow shovel away just in case you get a fresh dump overnight. You’ll need to prepare walkways between the truck and the house, too.
Time for a Puppy Vacation
Boarding your pets for the day is a smart move. The last thing you need are four-legged helpers underfoot when they’re not really helping at all.
- Pro Tip: If grandma and grandpa are available, consider sending your kids off for a visit, too. While your little ones will be super excited about the big move, ever stressor you can remove on moving day is a real bonus.
Separate Electronics to be Transported in a Heated Vehicle
Electronics are sensitive to the cold and can be damaged if exposed to sub-zero temperature for too long. Never load TVs, computers, stereos or similar equipment into the back of a moving van, especially if you’re moving further away than the other side of the neighborhood.
Load electronics into a heated vehicle, even if you need to make an extra trip or two.
- Pro Tip: Electronics aren’t the only household item that can be damaged in the cold. Double pack anything that might be extra brittle or fragile in the cold.
Remember to Drive Slow
There’s always so much to do on moving day that it’s easy to feel pressured and in a rush. But with extra slick roads comes the real hazard of getting into an accident. Slow down and keep safety in mind first.
- Pro Tip: Winter days are shorter so be sure to start moving at the crack of dawn to take advantage of as much daylight as possible. Schedule for delays and work out a plan B well in advance.
Ziplock Bags are Your Friend
Protect valuable items that can’t get wet with Ziplock bags or airtight waterproof containers. This is especially vital with important documents.
It’s always a good idea to sell, donate or throw away possessions you no longer use. Think long and hard about which items you absolutely need to move and which are ripe for an upgrade.
- Pro Tip: Start selling your furniture online well in advance to fetch a better price. Waiting until the last minute means you’ll need to lower the price for a quick sale.
Additional Helpful Information
Here’s more good stuff to help your move go as smoothly as possible!