Moving Apartments in Winter

Currently, I am packing up our belongings as I watch the temperature drop in the northern united states because we decided to move… in the middle of winter. The majority of sensible people tend to choose to move in warmer seasons due to the easy nature of not having to wear head to toe snow gear while hefting your microwave from truck to the inside of your new abode.

I had scoured Google and Pinterest on tips on how to move apartments in winter, what you can’t store in a moving truck overnight, what can be damaged, what could freeze or explode and make a mess ( I’m looking at you soda cans). To my surprise, there wasn’t anything out there on this topic!( or we were the only ones to move in winter, ever) So I thought I could make this post based off of my research and my personal experience living in the cold vortex of Northern Wisconsin.

When we decided to make the decision to move in winter, many people questioned our sanity. But there are many benefits (along with several downsides) to moving in winter that people might not think about.

 

BENEFITS:

  • The rental price of a property can actually be lower per month if you sign and move in a winter month because landlords desperately want to get their vacant units sold and filled so they can be kept warm. This way they don’t have to worry about checking on winter issues if there is a tenant to worry about that instead.We actually got a better deal on the apartment we are currently moving to because we are moving in winter, compared to if we rented this apartment in the busy moving months, would have become a higher premium price.
  • Another benefit is that many moving companies or rental businesses ( U-Haul for instance) have more availability and customizable options due to the slow months that winter causes for the moving business. (although we are lucky enough to have my parents that own a large truck and a trailer to use for free, there is never any harm in asking around!)
  • We also found that by touring apartments in the winter, it is a great way to see how well the house is insulated and how well it keeps heat and it is easier to check for any broken seals around windows and doors to find any drafts. These issues are hard to catch and if you don’t check for them, it could cause your heating and your electrical bills to skyrocket no matter how energy efficient you try to be.
  • If it is cold enough, many cloth items like your mattress, pillows, blankets etc, harbor dust mites which thrive in warm environments. If they are outside in the storage truck or in your car for several hours in freezing temperatures, you will kill off all of the dust mites! ( win/win for allergy sufferers like myself!)
  • If you are moving after the holidays, this is a great time to move! Many stores are mega clearancing out holiday themed plastic storage containers ( mostly red or green). These do the exact same job as their not-so-festive cousin containers and are half the price, so stock up and use them as sturdy boxes for things you don’t want to risk in cardboard boxes. The best part is that you can use these over again for your next move and use them to organize storage in your new place!

Some of the Downsides/ Things to keep in mind:

While moving in winter, there are certain items that you can’t store outside for long periods of time if you have your moving vehicle and are loading it up for several days due to the drops in temperature that could damage your property.

  • DVD’s CD’s and Videogames can be damaged in below freezing temperatures
    -Our plan to circumvent this is to move these items separately or wait till everything else that isn’t temperature sensitive is moved.
    -Another way to prevent this is by packing your DVDs, cd’s and video games in a box that you can line with some of your linens such as towels or throw blankets, this way you provided insulation for your belongings.
  • Liquid cleaning chemicals can also become compromised, check the label for the range of safe storage temperatures.
    -Our plan to combat this is taking our bottles of cleaner with us as the first load to go into our new apartment, along with our “First Box” full of moving essentials that you will need over and over.
  • Bathroom items such as Shampoo, conditioner, lotions etc.
    There is a reason why many people pack these items in plastic bags so they don’t explode while flying, along with the change in pressure, the temperature of airplane cargo bays drops dramatically causing crazy things to happen to improperly secured toiletries. So pack these at your own risk, or at least wrap them up in your bath towels and washcloths to insulate and protect them. If worse comes to worst, all you’ll have to do is wash some towels and wipe up what is left.
  • Artwork/ Art Supplies
    If you are an artist and art collector such as myself or you own any collections of paintings that aren’t the canvas printed ones you can buy at most stores, I am talking about Oil, Acrylic, Watercolor etc. Paintings need to be stored with at least 50% humidity and at a consistent temperature between 70°-75° F (21°-24° C) and not stored in direct sunlight. If stored below or above this temperature and humidity, they run the risk of damage in the forms of warping, sagging, cracking, and flaking.
    Artist supplies are in a similar boat. Depending on your craft, they can involve materials and chemicals that are also temperature sensitive, for example : tubes of acrylic or oil paint, turpentine, ink bottles, markers, machinery such as sewing machines ( anything with fine-tuned electrical components) Store these items with great care and with enough insulation to provide a temperature barrier for those long moves.
  • Most Electronics and Household Appliances X
    The internal components of many electronics do not handle extreme changes in temperature well, especially for instance if it is 70°F in your apartment and outside as well as in the moving truck its -3°F. TV’s are especially vulnerable to this issue and should be transported safely with a few blankets surrounding it (we use our comforter and then tie it to secure it closely to the tv)

Other Items that should be evaluated carefully before moving in winter:

  • Musical Instruments: when in doubt, if you can’t picture yourself being comfortable and taking a nap (temperature wise) where you put your instrument, don’t store it there.
  • Collectibles
  • Leather Items/ Leather Furniture
  • Glass Items ( too cold and they can become brittle/unstable and shatter)
  • Household Plants

 

My plan is to add more to this list once I finish moving at the end of this month, and add tips and tricks to moving in snow and ice! If you enjoyed this article please like, share and subscribe for more!

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