10 Essential Tips For Moving In The Winter or How To Survive Moving In A Cold Canadian Winter
The Canadian winter isn’t to be taken lightly. Beyond the picture postcard scenery tourists flock to see – frosty mountains and frozen lakes gazed at through the fragrant steam of hot cocoa – us residents have to go about our daily lives in temperatures well below freezing, navigating heavy snow and other wild weather. Moving house isn’t the easiest (or most fun) activity, even when it’s nice out – let alone in the depths of winter. Brrrr!
So to warm you up a bit, we’ve put together 10 of the best tips for moving in the winter in Canada. The list covers everything you need to know about moving in the cold weather, acting as a Chinook wind or steaming mug of cocoa to help warm your chills and moving anxieties.
1. Prepare to be flexible
Moving in the winter means clear skies one day, then the next it could be chucking it down with rain, hammering with hail or blowing a blizzard. With winter weather being so unpredictable, it’s wise to keep a keen eye on the weather forecast around the time you’re moving, especially the week before as the weather forecast will be the most accurate the closer you are to your moving date. If there’s a storm predicted, it might be a good idea to see if your moving company is able to reschedule your move. Winter is off-season for moving companies, so with less booked jobs, they shouldn’t have an issue postponing your move until the weather clears. Remember, the movers don’t want to be stuck in a blizzard any more than you do!
2. Pack well in advance
One of the most important tips for moving in the winter is to be prepared in order to minimise the amount of time spent outside and in the cold. Making sure you are packed up and ready for moving day will make the moving process much more straightforward. Start packing as early as you can, and if you think it’s too early, it isn’t! As soon as your relocation has been made official, grab yourself a stack of packing materials and get stuck in. Beyond the odd last minute box here and there, you should never have to pack anything on the day of your move. All your belongings should be boxed up, taped up, clearly labelled and ready to be loaded onto the truck or container. Moving in the cold isn’t easy, making sure your house is properly packed will help the movers get the job done with minimal trips to and from the truck.
3. Prepare your home for the move
Moving in the winter is more dangerous than the other seasons, especially in Canada, so it’s always a good idea to create a safe environment for moving in and around your home. Before you begin loading the truck, car or storage unit, be sure to shovel snow from your driveway and sidewalk, making a wider path than normal to allow for large furniture and movers to walk down comfortably. Using a de-icer on steps and stairs is also recommended, especially on the morning before the movers arrive to prevent any slipping and sliding. Whilst this slapstick-style visual comedy may be hilarious in the movies, in real life slipping on ice can cause you or the movers serious injury, not to mention breaking fragile furniture or box contents.
Inside your home, lay down plastic sheets on the floor to help any dirt, moisture and snow being tracked through your home. The covering will protect against stains, scratches and excess cleaning, the last thing you want to be doing is cleaning any more than you have to on moving day. If you’re able, sheltering exposed areas can create a more favourable environment to move about in, and party tents or tarps work great for keeping areas dry from the rain. If you’re dealing with snow, you will want to find a covering that is able to withstand the weight of heavy snowfall, or angle the cover in such a way the snow will slide off.
4. Protect your belongings from the weather
Moving in the cold means you will need to take special care with certain items. Dishware and glass have the potential to break or crack during temperature shifts from the warmth of your home and to the cold of the truck or storage unit, and vice versa. You can help minimise the temperature shift when transitioning from hot to cold by double wrapping your glass and dishware in thick blankets, and minimising exposure to the cold by loading the items last, then unloading them first.
5. Look after the movers
Hiring professional movers, rather than opting to do the move by yourself, is one of the safest and smartest tips for moving in the winter. Movers will be much more adept in working in different weather conditions, having experienced all that Canada can throw at them, so will be better equipped for challenges like moving in the cold. That said, the movers aren’t impervious to cold, and you should make sure that they take regular breaks in the heat to warm up. A hot drink goes a long way to say thanks for their hard work, and a pot of coffee or hot cocoa will do the trick to keep them caffeinated and energised, not to mention warm up their chilly hands.
6. Let the movers do the driving
Driving in the winter can be treacherous, especially if you’re behind the wheel of an unfamiliar vehicle. Manoeuvring a large moving truck takes a lot of skill and training, and unless you have experience driving large vehicles and are comfortable behind the wheel, it is always best to leave this to the pros, especially in the winter months. Professional movers are trained to drive in harsh Canadian winters, so now matter how wet, snowy or muddy the road gets, these professional drivers will be able to transport your furniture and belongings safely, giving you one less thing to worry about on moving day.
7. Prepare your vehicle for a long distance move
If you are moving long distances, it’s of paramount importance that you get your vehicle serviced beforehand, even if you use it every day and haven’t noticed any faults. When moving in the cold for long distances it is always best to be over-prepared than under-prepared. Plan for the worst and be ready for anything. In case anything goes wrong, be sure to pack a surplus of nonperishable, high energy foods, any medication or prescriptions that could be needed, a first aid kit, and plenty of warm clothing like blankets, coats, hats and gloves. Load up for driving in winter by including tyre chains, ice scrapers and a shovel.
8. Allow for extra travel time
Driving in snow or other wintry weather conditions always takes longer than on clear roads, so be sure you give yourself plenty of time for you and the movers to get to your destination. Keep in contact with the movers and update them on any delays or issues you are experiencing, and ask them to do the same. Keep in mind that a large, fully-loaded moving truck can take longer than a regular vehicle to cover long distances in poor weather conditions, no matter how good the driver is. On icy, muddy, wet or snowy roads, the driver has to compensate and drive slower than usual, go steadier on the brakes, and take extra time on the turns. If the moving truck arrives before you, make sure the movers have clear instructions whether to begin unloading or not, and if so, making sure they have the correct keys and a clear understanding of where to place your furniture and belongings. Plan your route in advance and be prepared for any changes to the route.
9. Prepare your new home for unloading and unpacking
Apply the same measures as you did at your previous house to assist with moving in winter – clear your walkways of snow, including your driveway, stairs and the sidewalk, ensure walkways are ice-free, protect your flooring inside with plastic sheets, and shelter exposed areas with tarp or heavy duty plastic. As it gets dark earlier in the winter months, plan the timing of your unpacking. If you arrive too late in the day, leave it until the next morning. If unpacking is essential, and there is any unloading of a storage container to be done in the dark, use hanging camping lights and headlamps to help light your way.
10. Just remember to breathe
In this article, we have given you 10 essential tips on how to survive a cold snap whilst relocating in Canada. Although it’s not easy, moving in the winter doesn’t have to give you the chills. With proper planning and care, you can help alleviate some of the stresses involved when moving in the cold weather. Last but not least, take time to catch your breath. Moving house can really take the wind out of you, and it’s important to make sure you don’t burn yourself out. Make sure you eat plenty of protein to help with muscle recovery, fruit and vegetables for nutrition, carbs for energy and warmth, and plenty of fluids – drinking water in cold weather is just as important as if it was hot out. Your body can become dehydrated without you realising, as moving in the cold may not make you feel particularly thirsty. Be careful not to drink too much liquid that can dehydrate you further, such as coffee and alcohol.