Is Winter The Best Time To Move?

Moving In Winter

This post is a collaboration with House Method.

Conventional wisdom says that moving during the spring and early summer is the way to go but is it actually? Moving during the winter has several big benefits over moving during the warmer months, making it an attractive option for some people. If you’re considering a winter move and want to know if it’s a good idea, or if you’re planning on relocating and are trying to decide when is the best time of year to move, this article is for you.

Benefits of Moving in the Winter

Moving in the cold isn’t the most fun, but there are several major advantages to moving during the winter. Here’s a look at the biggest ones.

Moving in the Winter is Cheaper

Most people don’t move during the winter, lowering the demand—and therefore the price—for things like professional movers, packing supplies, and truck rentals. Gas prices are usually lower in the winter, too, so you’ll save a decent amount on fuel if you’re moving an appreciable distance.

Technically, the cheapest time to move is between September and April, so you’re not strictly limited to the winter months if your main goal is to save some money.

It’s Easier to Schedule

Another benefit of moving in the winter is that it’s usually easier to organize a move since most people have less on their schedule in the winter. Summer is vacation season, wedding season, and generally a more hectic time of year for many people, especially if you live in a colder climate where people tend to hunker down when it gets cold outside. If your schedule is usually open from December to February or March, a winter move is likely the better option for you.

You’ll Sweat Less

Speaking of getting cold outside, the winter is the perfect time to move if you don’t want to deal with moving your stuff in the blistering heat. Moving in the summer is generally considered more dangerous, as the risk of overexertion causing serious problems is much higher when the weather is hot.

Another advantage of moving when the weather cools off is less worry about heat-related damage to your stuff. Moving trucks trap heat, making it possible for some of your heat-sensitive belongings to warp or melt during an extended trip. The risks of damage from extreme cold are much lower, making a winter move a safer bet overall for your stuff.

Disadvantages of Moving in the Winter

Before you go ahead and schedule your move for January, there are some less-than-ideal aspects of moving during the winter too.

School is in Session

If you have children, moving during the school year can be tough. First, they probably won’t be happy about leaving their friends and teachers in the middle of the year. Moving is always hard on kids but moving during the school year makes it just a little bit harder for them.

Second, finding time to move in the winter restricts you to holiday breaks; otherwise, you risk your child missing several days of school and falling behind. The December holiday break is a good option from a scheduling perspective, but not many people savor the idea of moving during the holidays.

Weather Might Delay Your Move

One of the most annoying aspects of moving during the winter is having your move delayed by bad weather. Snow and ice storms can make moving impossible, disrupting your plans and causing headaches. You can mitigate these risks somewhat by paying careful attention to the weather or moving earlier in the winter before snow becomes a major factor, but you can’t eliminate them entirely.

If you’re moving far from your current home, don’t forget to check the weather along your entire route. Getting halfway to your new home before getting stranded by an unexpected storm is a great way to swear off winter moving for good.

Cold Weather Can Cause Damage

We said before that hot weather is more likely to damage your possessions than cold weather, and while that’s true, it doesn’t mean that cold weather doesn’t come with its own risks. Cold things can become brittle, making them more likely to break if they’re jostled around during the move. Packing for a winter move requires a bit more care and attention to make sure your more fragile items are protected from bumps and physical damage on the way to your new home.

It Might Take Longer to Get Your New Home Set Up

Just like how your move might get delayed by weather, setting up your utilities and services might also take longer in the winter. We recommend having your utilities set up a few days before you plan to move in as a buffer in case the weather disrupts service. There’s nothing worse than being unable to thaw out with a warm shower after a bitter move.

Final Thoughts

Whether or not moving during the winter is the right choice for you and your family depends on where your priorities lie. If you’re looking to save money, winter is the clear winner, as fuel costs are lower during the winter, and most moving companies charge lower rates between September and April. Winter is also a great time to move if you don’t have kids since most people have more open schedules in the winter, making it easy to find time for a big move.

On the other hand, if you have school-age children, your winter moving options are more restricted. You’ll probably have to move during one of the holiday breaks, which usually means missing out on many people’s favorite time of year.

Besides scheduling issues and cost, whether you prefer to move in the winter or summer depends on your temperature preferences. If the thought of your fingers going numb while you load a moving truck fills you with dread, you’re probably better off waiting until the Spring thaw to move. But if you don’t relish the idea of wiping sweat from your eyes and guzzling water during a July move, winter is probably the better choice for you.