If moving in the dead of winter (or, really, doing anything other than wearing a Snuggie and watching Netflix) doesn’t sound ideal, we don’t blame you. The kids are in school. There are holidays to deal with. The days are short and dark. And it’s cold—really, really cold.
But there are a few very good reasons to break out those coats and boots and start hauling boxes—or better yet, paying someone else to haul boxes for you. If you have any control over your moving schedule, you might want to zero in on the winter season. Here’s why:
Reason No. 1: You’ll save money
There’s a certain ebb and flow to the moving business. Things peak in the summer, when the weather warms up, then start to die down in the fall, when the back-to-school grind begins. By winter, the number of moves is down to a trickle.
You see where we’re going with this: By going against the grain and moving during the winter, you could save mucho dinero on the cost of your professional move.
“The busy season is ending in September, so discounts are starting to pop,” says Nimrod Sheinberg, sales manager for Oz Moving and Storage in New York City. “As we get closer to December, prices continue to drop and stay low for the months of January and February. The way back up starts in March, and we hit the busy season by the end of April.” So, why not take advantage?
And you won’t just save with moving companies. If you’re downsizing or need to store your stuff between moves, renting a storage unit can be cheaper in the winter, too.
“Storage facilities’ occupancies typically drop [in winter], so consumers can take advantage of the best prices and the best promotions of the year,” says Matt Casady, marketing manager for Stor-N-Lock Self Storage.
To boost your discount potential further, schedule your move during the week (not on the weekend) and toward the middle of the month. That’s when moving company schedules are generally the lightest.
Reason No. 2: You’ll have less competition
If you live in an urban area, moving during the high season can be a pain in the butt. The last time I tried to move (even with booking a month in advance), my preferred moving company didn’t even have an opening on a Wednesday morning during the entire month I needed to move.
And trying to haul your stuff in and out of self-storage is no picnic, either.
“In the summer, there’s often several tenants moving in and out on a given day of the week, so sometimes you may have to maneuver past a few different moving trucks,” Casady says.
But if you move in the winter, all of the not-as-smart-as-you folks won’t be vying for the movers’ attention. You’ll have more freedom to schedule your move when you want—even at the last minute.
Reason No. 3: Your belongings might be safer
Most of the country can reach scorching temperatures in the summer. But the temperatures you feel outside are nothing compared to the temperatures inside a moving truck or your own car trunk.
You can drastically lower your risk of ruining everything you own by packing carefully. But one slip-up could mean goodbye to your fragile record collection or one-of-a-kind oil painting. And slip-ups happen—of this I can attest. Here’s a brief list of items that have been ruined from being left on a hot truck or in my car for too long:
- 1 Creedence Clearwater Revival vinyl record
- 2 Ella Fitzgerald vinyl records
- 3 brand-new soy wax candles
- 6 bars of overpriced soap
- 1 hair flat iron (after a soap and candle avalanche)
- 1 entire refrigerator’s worth of perishable food (The movers grabbed the box by mistake, put it in the back of the truck, and then left it there while they unloaded and reassembled my furniture.)
But if you move in the winter, you might find yourself quite grateful for those frigid temps.
“If you move and store stuff during the winter months, you greatly reduce the risk of your belongings being damaged by overheating,” Casady says. “Moving trucks and storage units generally stay plenty cool in the winter.”
But don’t be a hero
Now that we’ve highlighted all of the advantages, moving in winter seems like a dream, doesn’t it? But don’t forget to employ some good old-fashioned caution when you’re planning your move.
Check the weather reports ahead of time. If you’re moving to an unfamiliar area, ask your Realtor® or landlord if the streets around your new home are salted quickly after a storm, just in case it snows. And finally, don’t forget to bring extra blankets and tarps, just in case it does drizzle or snow a bit while you’re moving.