It can be a lot of people’s worst nightmare – never mind the packing and organising, but actually moving house in Winter and at Christmas time is a thought that many people dread. Snow, ice, limited daylight and cold weather conditions don’t equate to many a persons’ dream move scenario, as some of the entries from our recent moving day horror story competition which we ran in conjunction with Rightmove prove:
“Our move was a nightmare from start to finish – thick snow, a miserable husband and naughty children. I had been ill and got a big surprise when I walked into the new house soaked and freezing to find all the decorating had been done by my Mum and Nan while I was ill – my Nan had even filled my freezer with loads of homemade food!”
“Everything was planned down to the T with all boxes packed and labelled; we were set to move a mile down the road! Woke up that morning to 6 inches of snow and we couldn’t start the van we hired. A very, very stressful day – our helpers didn’t turn up and our day seemed to go from bad to worse.”
Our tips for moving house at Christmas time
1) Book a professional Removals Company
Not only will having the professionals take some of the work off your plate at a time of year where you’re going to be busy anyway but this also helps reduce the impact of bad weather. Moving in snow or ice will always be difficult and can be dangerous.
Professional removal companies are trained to handle bad weather situations and will come fully prepared. Not only will their trucks be suitable for snowy and icy conditions (some even come with snow chains), but the crew will be fully trained and able to lift and carry things properly and safely in icy or wet conditions, understanding and planning for the risks.
They will ensure your belongings are protected from the elements and they should also (where appropriate and safe to do so) put floor protectors down to minimise mess at both properties and will pack and load their truck quickly and professionally, saving you the hassle of traipsing to and fro in the cold.
2) Be ready for the weather
That being said, even the most hardened of Removal Companies with the best prepared winter fleet are going to be beaten by the weather occasionally, especially if you’re property has difficult access or is in a remote area where roads are not safely passable.
If the weather does delay your move then don’t panic, work with your Removal Company on a back-up plan, they will do their best to make sure everything happens with as little disruption to your plans as possible within their power. Have the contact details of important people to hand, like your estate agents and solicitors so that you can communicate any changes to your move day plans.
3) Book Early
There are two peak seasons in the Removals Industry – Summer (all of it!) and Christmas as the rush is on to get settled in time for the festive season - both of which coincide with school holidays, of course.
Extra demand during this peak times means that Removal Companies can get booked up early. On average, customers get in touch with us 4.5 weeks before their moving date - so when it comes to peak seasons we advise giving as much notice and planning as early as you can to avoid disappointment.
4) Pack an Essentials Box
Always pack your essentials box with the weather in mind – in winter a kettle and lots of warm drinks or mugs of soup are top of the list, and don’t forget some snacks to keep your energy up too; mince pies or some fruit cake are great festive additions when moving house at Christmas time!
If you can’t get someone to watch the children for the day then remember to pack lots of toys and DVDs in your essentials box to keep them entertained. Keep a bag packed ready in your car with a fresh, warm change of clothes, some towels and toiletries so that you can have a nice hot bath or shower on arrival and perhaps even see if the previous occupants can set the heating on a low temperature so it’s nice and cosy when you first arrive.
If you’re expecting particularly bad weather then including a few provisions like grit and snow shovels would be a great idea in case you need to clear pathways or your driveway.
What to pack in your winter essentials box for moving house
5) Get extra help
If you’re really pushed for time and want to get settled as quickly as possible then you might want to consider using the extra services offered by some removal companies such as a handyman or housemaid – help with cleaning and unpacking or getting fixtures and fittings sorted quickly on arrival can make a huge difference.
Don't forget to label your boxes carefully before the move, especially mark those Christmas decorations clearly and keep them to one side during the move so you can start decorating the house once you’re settled in – if nothing else it will keep the children entertained and make you feel more at home! Consider taping a list of what's in each box to the top so that you can quickly find what you need without having to search every box for that extension lead for the lights...
7) Talk to your vendors about heating
Consider speaking to the previous occupants of your new house about leaving the heating on low so that your new home isn't freezing when you arrive. If there will be a period of time in between them moving out and you moving in then leaving the heating on a low setting also helps prevent pipes freezing and you facing a big issue like that when you arrive.
8) Think about your floors
Moving boxes in and out of your property from the Removals Lorry in winter brings a risk of damaging your flooring. Winter weather means muddy boots and wet shoes traipsing all over your house so make sure your removals company knows the type of floors you have at your new home so they can bring the appropriate floor protector for surfaces like light carpets. In addition if you have laminate or polished floors then also be sure to let them know so they can take the right health and safety measures to avoid slips and falls that could hurt them, you or damage your furniture.
9) Buy proper removals boxes
If you're buying your own boxes then make sure they are specially designed removals cartons. The boxes you pick up from supermarkets or reuse from old purchases may not be as durable and can be more likley to break apart if they get damp or wet when moving inside your house in the rain or snow. Make sure to also cover any furniture that could be damaged by getting wet, you can use sofa covers or mattress sacks - ask your removal company if they provide these.