10 Helpful Tips to Stay Cool During a Summer Move

Ben Kissam
Written by Ben Kissam
Updated March 1, 2022
Friends helping to unload moving truck
Photo: Yellow Dog Productions / DigitalVision / Getty Images

Highlights

  • Bring water, apply sunscreen, and take frequent breaks.

  • Map out your moving day (and the following days) to avoid getting stuck in the heat.

  • Take care of items that are at risk of damage due to heat exposure.

  • Turn the AC on as early as possible, so it’s cool by the time you’re moving boxes inside.

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Fun fact: Did you know moving furniture can burn between 300 and 450 calories per hour? Moving is a strenuous task that requires physical effort, making it difficult, but not impossible, to do during peak summer heat. 

Planning ahead and taking safety precautions will help you get all your belongings to their new home without overdoing it in triple-digit temperatures. Here are ten tips to help you stay cool during your summer move.

1. Drink Plenty of Water

The body needs water to function, and studies show you can lose three to four liters of water per hour doing a strenuous activity (i.e. moving) in hot weather. For health and safety reasons, it’s important to continuously replenish your fluids when moving boxes and furniture in the summer heat. Bring either a cooler of water bottles or a refillable water bottle and take frequent sips throughout the day.

If you tend to sweat a lot, taking a natural electrolyte supplement or drinking a sports beverage every few hours is also a good idea. The body loses these key minerals through sweat and can’t fully function without them.

2. Move in the Morning

It’s best to avoid midday heat by packing your moving truck and unloading it as early in the day as possible. Generally speaking, the coolest part of the day is when or shortly after the sun rises. Heat peaks between 12 p.m. and 3 p.m. are the hours to avoid when moving.

If you’re driving the moving vehicle to your destination, plan to get on the road while it’s still dark out. That way, you can reach your new home and unload items in the car that are susceptible to heat before the summer heat hits its peak.

3. Plan Around the Weather

If you have some flexibility—maybe you’re moving during the holidays or have a long weekend—plan to complete the most work on the coldest days. Check the weekly weather forecast to see if any hot spells are coming through or which days may be the worst to work on. Plan around them, so you can make your moving date work smarter, not harder.

4. Pack (and Use) Sunscreen

Closeup of a woman applying sunscreen on her arm
Photo: Carol Yepes / Moment / Getty Images

Prolonged sun exposure can lead to sunburns—or worse if you’re out in the heat all day.  Pack plenty of sunscreen and apply new layers every few hours, especially if you're sweating and spending a lot of time outside. If you tend to forget to reapply, set a reminder on your phone to put a new coat on every two to three hours.

5. Pack a Portable Fan

In lieu of shade or air conditioning, a portable (or handheld) fan can provide some cool air when you start to overheat. You can buy one for around $30 at home goods or hardware stores. Wireless models are also available for easy maneuvering during the unpacking process.

Another idea is to pack a cooler full of cold or damp towels with a few ice packs, which can also be a refreshing way to cool off when moving heavy items in summer heat.

6. Map Out Your Road Trip

As the adage goes, failing to plan is planning to fail. The last thing you want when it’s hot out is to be stuck somewhere for the night with no air conditioning in a hot, humid room—especially with all your belongings.

Research hotels or places to stay along your trip, and line up rest stops that make sense for your travel schedule. It may cost a little more, but it’ll be worth it for your health.

7. Turn on Utilities Early

If you’re planning to make several trips to and from your new home—primarily in an across-town move—make an early stop over to turn on the AC system.

You may not need it at 6 a.m. when the temperature is still cool outside, but you (and your movers) will be thankful for the blast of cool air when you’re moving boxes and furniture inside.

8. Plan Accordingly for At-Risk Items

Some items—like perishable pantry items, candles, certain electronics, and indoor plants—don't move well in the heat. To avoid damaging these items during a high-temperature move, make a special effort to pack them accordingly and move them inside first.

Initiate a plan for these items by separating them or shipping them in temperature-controlled bins is a better alternative than risking potential damage or spoilage. A delay or error in your planning could result in your sensitive items being outdoors longer than anticipated.

9. Take Breaks When Needed

Woman in the kitchen drinking water
Photo: eyecrave / E+ / Getty Images

Moving days can be long and tiring, especially on a sweltering hot day. That’s why it’s important to give yourself time to rest and let your heart rate return to normal. 

To avoid overheating, take short, frequent breaks to drink water, rest, and reapply sunscreen. Working in chunks with breaks built in is more productive for many people than powering through when you’re exhausted. You can work longer hours over the course of the day without getting tired.

10. Ask for Help

You can reduce the number of hours you’ll spend moving by getting assistance from a few strong hands on deck. “Cool yourself off”—at least indirectly—by asking friends or family to help. Or hire a local moving company to help you move your belongings and achieve a faster move that avoids the warmest part of the day. The less you personally have to do, the cooler you’ll stay when moving boxes in summer heat.

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