December 6, 2021

There’s nothing quite like winter in Chicago. The city is alive with the holiday spirit and the snow glistens beautifully on the lakefront. However, if you’re moving in the winter months, you might be concerned about how the cold temperatures and unpredictable weather might affect your move. If you follow these five tips for moving in the winter, you can have a smooth, efficient, and cost-effective move—even if the weather doesn’t cooperate!

1. Prepare for the elements

If you’ve ever lived in the Midwest during winter, you know that the months of December through February can bring cold temperatures, snow, ice, and that good old Chicago “Dibs” system of parking on the street. Although these elements are facts of life during a Chicago winter, they can really interfere with your moving plans! Fortunately, in addition to expecting longer travel times due to inclement weather, there are a few ways that you can prepare for the elements and keep your moving costs low.

First, check out the weather forecast for your scheduled moving day. Keep in mind that local moving companies are used to working through the snow, so your move will not be canceled even if the weather isn’t ideal.

Second, prepare the walkways to your home. A snow-covered sidewalk or gangway isn’t only unsafe for the movers and your belongings they’ll carry—it’ll also slow them down, which will increase the cost of your move. The best way to ensure a smooth and efficient winter move is to clear a path. So break out the shovels and salt! If the move crew leader determines that a snowy or icy walkway is unsafe, the movers will spend time clearing a path for them to move. Any time they spend clearing a path is time that you’re paying them for.

Third, check your local Streets and Sanitation website for snow removal information and plowing schedule. If your move day forecast calls for snow, you can be prepared with an idea of when your street and alley might be cleared.  

2. Protect your floors

Your moving team will bring neoprene floor runners to protect your hardwood floors. If you have a lot of hardwood flooring in your home—or if you want to ensure that your carpets are protected during your move—be sure to let your moving company know. They can bring additional floor runners as well as carpet protection.

It’s also a good practice to keep some towels handy during your move. If any outside water finds its way inside, you or the movers can easily wipe it up to prevent tracking it throughout your home or damaging your floors.

Some moving clients request that their movers wear disposable shoe coverings or booties. Unfortunately this is not a good option for two reasons:

  1. Safety. Professional movers often have to carry boxes, furniture, and other heavy items up and down flights of stairs or through narrow hallways. Shoe coverings like booties reduce traction and cause a safety hazard for the move crew.
  2. Efficiency. Each mover would need to take their booties off each time they go outside to the truck, and put them back on each time they reenter your home. This will add time—and therefore increase the cost of your move.  

Keep in mind that your move crew wants to protect your floors just as much as you do. So have an open conversation about them to determine the best way to move quickly and efficiently while still protecting the flooring throughout your house. Floor cleaning and repairs get get expensive, so this is definitely a moving cost that you want to avoid.

3. Protect your belongings

Some items just aren’t built for the cold. And although your moving crew will pack and wrap all of your belongings with the utmost care, things could get a bit challenging if you’re using an unheated storage container to move or handling the move without professional movers.

Electronics are prone to malfunction when exposed to extreme temperatures. And breakables like glass and dishware can become brittle in the cold. You can protect these items from the cold by double-wrapping them and packing them inside insulated boxes. You can even use that beer cooler that you haven’t used since the summer to keep some of the elements at bay!

In addition, there are some items you might want to move in your car instead of packing into your storage container or rental truck. Here are a few examples:

  • Musical instruments like guitars and pianos. The wood could warp or crack, and the strings could snap.
  • Any liquid items that might freeze. Water expands when it freezes, so your bottles of water, soda, shampoo, and household cleaners need to be in a temperature-controlled environment.
  • Prescriptions and medications. Whether you have a prescription or take over-the-counter medicine, it’s best to keep these away from cold temperatures. Some medications lose effectiveness when they freeze, and you don’t want to have to replace expensive meds on top of moving to your new home!

4. Keep an eye on your thermostat

Your doors will be open a lot during your move. So if your heat is cranked up, you’re just wasting money and energy by letting all that warm air slip outside. Fortunately, you can save on utilities by setting your thermostat to a lower than normal temperature and dressing in layers so that you can stay warm and comfortable throughout the move.

Speaking of utilities, make sure you’ve switched your gas and electrical accounts from your old home to your new one. If you’re moving within the City of Chicago, that means you’ll need to set things up with People’s Gas and Commonwealth Edison. There’s nothing worse than moving into a place without heat or electricity during the winter. So pre-arrange your utility changes so you don’t have to wait to warm up!

5. Treat your movers well

Movers work hard twelve months a year. And moving in the winter is more difficult than in the warmer months. In addition to safely packing, wrapping, carrying, and transporting your belongings, they’re also dealing with harsh temperatures and precipitation during the winter.

Many moving customers prepare a pot of coffee or hot cocoa for their moving crews, and offer breaks when the crew needs a few minutes to warm up. And tipping your movers after a job well done—while not required—is a great way to show your appreciation.

Cold and snow are no match for the best movers in Chicago

Even though winter homebuying has its advantages, moving in the winter can be challenging. And you need the best movers in Chicago to help you have a smooth and stress-free move that can actually save you money!

Move-tastic! is used to moving throughout the year in the unpredictable—and sometimes inclement—Chicago weather. And we can help you have a smooth and cost-efficient move! Visit our website for a free estimate, or contact us to discuss any concerns you might have about moving in the winter.

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