Why Winter Can Be the Best Time to Bundle Up and Move

Gemma Johnstone
Written by Gemma Johnstone
Updated December 16, 2021
A father with his daughter loading a car with moving boxes
Photo: Viktoriia / Adobe Stock

Highlights

  • Winter moves generally cost less than moving during the warm-weather months.

  • Movers have more schedule flexibility during the winter.

  • Plan ahead for moving in snowy or icy conditions.

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Relocating when it’s cold, dark, and possibly snowy might sound like more hassle than it’s worth—staying wrapped up by the fire might seem more appealing. But, while it can have its challenges, there are plenty of reasons why winter can be the ideal time to move. 

Read on to understand why you might want to plan your moving date in winter, obstacles you should prepare to face, and some tips for ensuring things run smoothly.

The Pros of Moving During the Winter

Let’s take a look at some of the major advantages to moving during the winter.

Movers Have More Availability in Winter

Around 40 million Americans move every year—and given that the vast majority of those moves happen during the summer months, the competition for professional movers during that time is high. More than about 80% of house moves happen between April and November, and the peak months are usually July, August, and September.

Moving companies near you will be less busy during the winter months and offer greater flexibility on dates and timing. If you’re moving out of state, you might also find that your belongings arrive sooner than they would during the summer because the companies have a lighter schedule and fewer drop-offs.

Winter Moves Are Often Less Expensive

The biggest reason to opt for a winter move is that it’s better for your budget. It’s an expensive process, and any ways you can save on moving costs is a major advantage. Because moving companies are in much less demand during the winter months, they often offer reduced moving rates—sometimes as much as 20% to 30% less than in their peak months. 

If you need to store your belongings in between moves, you’ll typically find storage unit rental is cheaper during the winter months, too.

You’re Less Likely to Break a Sweat

Loading and unloading your belongings on a frosty winter day might not sound appealing, but it's a lot more pleasant than doing the same task on a scorching hot day. Trying to move furniture and boxes in the summer heat is not easy, and heat exhaustion is a real risk. When you move during the winter, you can pile on the light layers, and then remove them as you work up a sweat. 

The Cons of Moving During the Winter

Winter moves aren’t without their disadvantages, but you can plan for them if you’re aware of the risks.

Driving in Winter Conditions is Riskier

Trying to drive a moving van in snowy or icy conditions is challenging. It’s dangerous to drive during a heavy snow or ice storm, especially if you haven’t driven through one before. Hiring a professional moving company to make the move for you means they are more likely to have the experience necessary to handle their truck safely in winter weather.

Fewer Daylight Hours

No one wants to move in the dark, and daylight savings time can make it difficult to finish bringing everything inside before the sun sets. Start your moving day early to take advantage of the available daylight since it gets dark earlier in the winter months. Consider a February or early March move when there’s a bit more available light, and the weather might be milder, too.

Extreme Cold Can Damage Delicate Belongings

Prolonged exposure to cold, damp air and the sudden extreme changes in temperature from a warm house to a cold storage van can cause problems for some of your delicate belongings, especially during moves with long drives. 

Items like wooden furniture and instruments, china, and plants are fragile packing items that need extra protection with high-quality wrapping materials to keep out the cold.

4 Tips to Help Your Winter Move Go Smoothly

A family packing cardboard boxes
Photo: bernardbodo / Adobe Stock

1. Be Flexible

Be prepared to have a degree of flexibility with your moving schedule given the unpredictable nature of winter weather. Allow extra travel time, check the forecasts regularly, and inquire about how flexible your moving company’s policies are if severe weather delays your moving date.

Thankfully, most professional companies have experience handling extreme weather conditions, so only road closures or blizzard conditions will alter things significantly.

2. Create a Safe Moving Environment

Before starting your winter move, shovel away snow from your driveway, paths, and entryways, and make sure the paths are wide enough and gritted.

Cover your floors with cardboard or another suitable protective surface. Not only will it save you from trailing muddy footprints through your home, but it helps prevent slipping on wet surfaces—the last thing you want on a moving day, especially if you’re carrying a box of delicate china.

3. Wear Layers on Moving Day

Even on the coldest days, you heat up quickly when lugging heavy boxes around. A bulky winter jacket won’t make things very comfortable, and if you get too hot, taking it off to uncover a T-shirt isn’t a great happy medium. Layering gives you more options for staying comfortable throughout the day.

4. Stock Up on Warm Beverages and Emergency Supplies

If you are driving the moving van, ensure you have supplies for winter weather on the journey. Snow shovels, ice scrapers, warm clothes and boots, sand or kitty litter for traction, snacks, and hot drinks are all worth packing.

Getting along with your movers makes it a much less stressful experience. Having a supply of hot drinks to offer them is a kind gesture and helps keep everyone motivated and in better cheer.

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