The winter can be a great time to move. Most Americans move between May and September, and the winter is notoriously slow for apartment hunting – which means you're more likely to get a great deal on an apartment and save on your moving costs. The downside to moving into your new place in winter is that you deal with the weather. Even if the sun has been beating down all week, a sudden blizzard might pop up just as you're pulling away in your car. Here are a few cold weather moving tips for a safe transition:
1. Keep an eye on the weather. Periodically check weather reports, and keep an eye on the weather map for approaching storm fronts that could inhibit your move. Even if you've been watching for a few days, weather is fickle and may change with little warning. You should also keep an eye on traffic reports. Plan the route to your new apartment around roads that have stalled traffic. Avoiding busy streets during poor weather will help keep you and your apartment furnishings safe.
2. Don't pack winter supplies. Keep items such as a shovel, ice scraper, salt and winter accessories like gloves and hats in the car with you. If there is a lot of snow on the ground, you may have to dig a path to your new apartment when you arrive. Instead of going through boxes, you'll have the shovel out and ready to go. If the sidewalk leading to your apartment is icy, throw salt on the ground. This will melt the ice and keep you and your fellow movers safe.
3. Get some help. Hiring a moving company has a lot of benefits, including a faster move and no heavy lifting, and those benefits are amplified when you move during the winter. But if you can't afford to hire movers, get as many friends and family members involved as possible, which will lighten the load and prevent you from moving in and out of the cold all day long. Once all the boxes are inside, order some hot food to thank them for their efforts.
4. Board your pets. Boarding your pets during your move is a good idea for a few reasons. First, pets can get under the feet of people carrying boxes and heavy furniture – especially in a small apartment – which is a hazard for everyone. Second, with doors open and people moving in and out, there's a chance your pets might get out. Moving is stressful enough without a missing pet! Lastly, adjusting to a new home isn't always easy for your pet. In fact, more than a third of renters in a recent Rent.com survey listed their pet's emotional trauma as their biggest concern during a move. It's best to move your dog or cat last so he or she will be greeted by familiar scents in your new apartment.
5. Regulate body temperature. Dress in layers so you can shed clothing if you start to overheat. Moving boxes, especially up and down stairs, is heavy work. You can also prevent your body from getting fatigued by leaving the door to the building and your new apartment open. This balances the temperature between inside and outside of the apartment and allows your body to stay at one consistent level. Otherwise, changing between hot and cold can take a toll on you.
6. Keep it clean. Have towels in the car to wipe down boxes and other items that get wet with dirty snow. This will keep your objects and your apartment safe from the damaging effects of moisture. Put padding down on your apartment floor to soak up any excess water that clings to boxes or your shoes.
Niccole Schreck is the rental experience expert for rent.com, a free rental site that helps you find an affordable apartment and provides tips on how to move.