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Posted in: Buying a home, Selling a home

The ultimate guide to moving during the winter

Winter moving guide

Whether you’re moving locally or across state lines, moving during the winter presents a unique set of challenges. Be sure to follow the tips below as you pack up your home and prepare to move this winter.

Preparing and packing

Winterize your car or moving truck

In addition to making sure your tires, brakes and battery are in top condition, check that all fluids are full. Next, create an emergency winter kit that includes bottled water, snacks, blankets, a windshield scraper, a flashlight, sand or salt and some road flares to deploy if your car breaks down at night on the side of the road. If you don’t have roadside assistance, consider purchasing it. If you plan to drive your own moving truck, ask the rental company if they provide any kind of emergency assistance.

Pack arrival clothes

If you’re moving somewhere warmer, don’t forget to pack clothes for when you arrive to your new climate. If you’re relocating to Minnesota or western Wisconsin, be sure to have heavy jackets, boots and outerwear readily available so you can start moving your belongings into your new home in climate-appropriate clothing. Welcome to the tundra! We promise, you’ll love it soon enough, too.

Don’t pack liquids

Don’t pack liquids if you can help it, and especially if you’re hiring movers who will take multiple days to get to your new abode. Drain fluids from vehicles like lawn mowers, motorcycles and boats before loading them.

Plan ahead for food and drink for your moving team

Think ahead and have water, soda, coffee or hot cocoa on hand for your moving helpers Once you arrive to your new home, you can plan to order pizza from a highly rated local place. Your first meal in your new home will not only be stress-free, it will help you settle in and discover new favorite haunts. (Mention you’re new to the area and you may even get a discount.)

Check road conditions early (and often)

Be sure to visit and bookmark your state’s Department of Transportation website for travel advisories and updates on road conditions. Here are the sites for Minnesota and Wisconsin. If you’re moving outside our area, you can find your state’s DOT website here.

Moving day

Leave early and be prepared to arrive late

Allow for more time than you think you’ll need. If you’re moving locally, it’s smart to get started very early in the day so you don’t have to move in icy conditions after the sun has gone down. If you’re moving across state lines, be sure to add an extra travel day in case you need to pull off and stay in a hotel overnight.

Dress in layers and nix the strings

Be sure to wear layers that are easy to remove as you change temperatures throughout the day. Avoid wearing hoodies or other clothing with strings, which may catch on doorways or the moving truck. Invest in a pair of work boots or other shoes with good traction. As for outerwear, have a hat or earmuffs handy and find gloves with gripping power so you don’t drop boxes or heavy furniture.

Keep the sidewalks and driveway clear

Whatever you do, don’t pack the shovels! As you move in and out of a new home you’ll need to keep your sidewalks and driveways clear so your moving crew can enter and exit safely. Don’t forget to keep another bag of sand or salt handy and apply it liberally to any walkways if they are slippery.

Line your floors with cardboard

You can’t expect your moving crew to remove their heavy winter boots every time they come in and out, but you can protect your floors or carpet by lining your home with flat cardboard. If you’re moving to another wintry area, don’t forget to pack additional cardboard for the other end of your move.

Keep extra old towels handy

Keep a handful of towels near the entry and exit doorways and in the moving truck. You can use the towels to wipe down the dolly or wet boxes as they come in and out of the house.

Have one door for entry, another for exit

Ask the crew to exit through the garage and enter through the front door. This will not only minimize collisions, it will allow the exiting furniture and boxes to stay covered in the garage if the moving truck is occupied with another set of helpers.

When moving into your new home, reverse this process. Movers should bring furniture or boxes in through the garage and exit through the front door. If any furniture is too wet to bring in, you can always leave it in the garage for a few days to dry off before bringing it inside.

Cover items if it’s snowing

If it’s wet outside, cover anything from furniture to large TVs in plastic wrap to protect them against the elements.

Take a moment to enjoy it

Moving can be extraordinarily draining, so be sure to take a deep breath as you leave your old home for the new. While the day may have been snowy and stressful, you won’t regret taking a moment to say goodbye as you enter the next phase of your life.

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