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  • Writer's pictureWalker's/Capital Movers

Five Tips to Help You Warm up to Winter Moving

Treating yourself to a full service move using a trusted, professional moving company can be a great idea no matter the time of year. Moving during the winter, however, whether you’re hiring a moving company or doing it all yourself, does have a few extra considerations.

With offices in Trenton, Deep River, and Kingston, Ontario - we know winter and we also know that moving in winter comes with some unique challenges, but it also has advantages over moving during the summer, peak moving season.

If you’re using a full service moving company, choosing the quieter months to move (October through April) means you may often see lower rates, your pick of dates, and, of course, no matter what season you book you'll get a team of experienced movers fully dedicated to your move. Winter can also be a slower time in general (as we all hibernate a bit) so you may find you have more time to prepare and settle in (think, decorating!). Keeping those perks in mind, we’ve provided 5 winter moving tips to help you beat the challenges and enjoy the benefits of a trouble-free, off-season move. And remember, these tips can apply whether you’ve booked with a full service moving company or going the DIY route.

1. Protect your belongings from the cold!


When temperatures drop below freezing, items in your shipment may be affected while in transport.

Many household items contain water. Both small and major appliances should receive special attention and/or servicing prior to your move to ensure they are not adversely affected by freezing temperatures.

Common items include: Washing Machine; Fridge (Ice Maker/Water Lines); Dishwasher; Coffee Maker/Kettle; Steam Iron; Clothes Steamer; Steam Mops; Pressure Washer; Water Cooler; Garden Hose; Hose Caddy; Dehumidifier/Humidifier.

The best way for major appliances to be properly prepared is to arrange for a service company who specializes in preparing items for shipping to come to your home to look after any of these items you may be moving.

Your moving consultant can provide you with specific guidelines to ensure your items are sufficiently prepared and also advise you about the limits of any increased carrier liability you might purchase when it comes to damage from freezing.

Fragile Items

Sub-freezing temperatures and temperature fluctuations can make glass and plastic shatter. Electronics are also vulnerable given their construction. Handle plastic totes and tubs with care, and don’t drop them outside in cold temperatures.

Wrap glass, porcelain, and other fragile items twice to protect them from cold-weather extremes. When you arrive at your new home, let the boxes of fragile items sit and warm inside for a few days before opening and using the items.

Make a plan with your movers so these items don’t get left in the cold for too long.

2. Safety and Access (this also relates to Tip #3)

Moving day will be very busy with movers, yourself, and possibly other service providers coming and going from your house. Ice, slush, and snow can be tricky enough when you’re just out for a walk. Factor in a load of cartons, a piano, or an overstuffed chair in someone’s arms and winter conditions can be a major hazard.

Maintain a clear walkway up to your entryway. Keep snow shovelled and ice melted on the days leading up to the moving van’s arrival.

If it snows or rains before a cold moving day, be prepared with a shovel and de-icing materials. Scrape the pathway to remove as much snow and ice as you can throughout your moving day. If absolutely necessary, sprinkle sand, cat litter, or another product to increase traction between the house and the van’s loading ramp.

On the day of the move, remove mud, clutter, leaves, and other debris from your designated moving path. Place cardboard or plywood sheets down over unavoidable mud spots if your pathway is particularly mucky.

Keep your driveway, sidewalks and adjacent street areas clean and clear at both of your locations.

3. Protect your floors (see also tip#2)

Moving during any time of the year can be tough on your floors with the increased traffic on move day. Movers make use of floor runners throughout your home to cover and protect the floor surfaces but the mess of winter can prove to be a daunting foe for even a well covered home. In addition to the volume of traffic, the presence of footwear, and heavier loads, the snow, water, mud, and any product used on ice can be a real threat to flooring.

Keeping your pathways as clear as possible will mitigate some of this but more steps may need to be taken inside the house.

Consider placing a large, durable doormat just outside the door, and another one inside the door. Make sure everyone coming and going is making regular use of the mats.

Speak with your moving crew about adding additional protection - possible plastic sheets or flattened cardboard - to support the work of the floor runners in high traffic zones subject to the messiest conditions (front hall, front rooms, main stairs). If you’re very concerned, you may wish to contact the office prior to your move to make sure the crew brings sufficient materials to offer protection.

Make sure all coverings used are CLEAN before they’re put down.

Keep a cleaning kit (carpet cleaner, brushes, spray bottle, cloths, etc.) on hand to tackle any spots on your floors right away.

4. Have a backup plan

An ice storm or blizzard can pop up any time during the winter - if it’s bad enough, you may need to postpone your move (or, try to move a day earlier if you have an eye on the forecast).

Thinking about backup options in advance will make it easier should a change be needed. Is staying another day in your home an option? Is getting out earlier an option? Will utilities need to be left on a bit longer? Does your mover offer storage options? Do you have friends you can stay with or a hotel nearby?

Each back up plan will look a little different but if you can consider the factors in advance, keep an eye on the weather forecast, stay in contact with the moving company, and put in place a bit of wiggle room, if needed, that blizzard knocking your moving day schedule off track might not be quite as stressful.

5. You might not be moving on the shortest day of the year, but …

Even if you’re moving well in advance of the winter solstice or weeks afterward, days are still going to be and feel shorter than during the warmer months. With less daylight hours, starting your move earlier than you might otherwise will give you a better moving experience.

Plan for an early morning start and consider completing more tasks in the days leading up to your move. If you’re completing your move in one day, this is especially important since you’ll want to be in your new home, without a rush, before the dark, winter night fully sets in.

And finally - a few more details to keep in mind:

Kids and pets! Where will you keep them warm, safe, and occupied during the move activity?

Car batteries -if you’re in and out of your car all day with items, make sure doors are closed so you’re not met with a dead battery when it’s time to finally leave your old home for good. If you’re traveling a long way - make sure you have a winter safety kit in your vehicle and that fuel and washer fluids are topped up.

Comfort - doors opening and closing all day and trips to attend to last minute tasks can lead to feeling chilled and damp - make sure you are dressed appropriately so you can stay in top form during move day. Hot drinks for you and your moving crew may go a long way to improving everyone’s stamina.


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