The Pros and Cons of Moving in Winter

What’s covered in this article – click on a link to learn more:

If you have an aversion to chilly temperatures, escaping brutal winters might be the driving force behind your next move. Maybe you’re dreaming of barefoot walks on the beach in February instead of chiseling ice off your windshield in the dark morning hours?

If you know you need to find a warmer climate, but haven’t landed on a location yet, check out this helpful guide detailing factors to consider when deciding where to move.

But whether or not you’ll be heading south, you will need to consider the best time of year to move.

Most people opt to move during the warmer months because kids are out of school, there are more homes on the market, and there’s no risk of blizzards or ice storms. However, the cost-conscious customer should consider thinking outside the box in terms of a move-in date… 

If you need help deciding whether a winter move is right for you, read on for a closer look at the pros and cons.

Is it actually cheaper to move in the winter?

Cost is the main consideration for most people planning a move. It’s an expensive process no matter how you slice it, but the good news is that moving in the winter is one of the best hacks you can find to achieve a lower-cost move! Why? Three big reasons.

Lower moving costs

Whether you are buying or renting your new home, prices are likely to be considerably lower during the winter months. That’s capitalism baby! Demand goes down and prices follow. During the busy summer months, moving companies are typically booked solid, so they keep prices high. In the winter when business is slow, they often try to drum up business by offering reduced rates.

“You’d be astonished by the discounts that general moving companies provide during this time,” said Ryan Carrigan, CEO and Founder of MoveBuddha. “Moving companies like ours give around 20-35% discounts during non-peak moving months.” 

Lower storage rent

Many families rent a self-storage unit during the moving process, especially if there is a lapse between your move-out and move-in dates. Self-storage can also serve as a longer term solution if you are downsizing. In the off-season, it’s often possible to rent storage units at a lower monthly rate. 

Lower housing costs

In some markets, homes actually rent and sell for less during the winter months when demand is lower. If this is the case where you plan to live, moving in winter could help you save on more than just a lower-cost move. A winter move; the gift that keeps on giving.

Let’s look at some of the other factors that come into play when considering this important decision.

Benefits of moving in winter

More scheduling flexibility

If you decide to move in the summer, you better be booking months in advance. Even then, you might not get your first choice of moving company or date. Booking in the winter means that movers have significantly more availability, so you don’t have to compete for the date you want and you can make last-minute adjustments if needed. This allows you to mold the move around your schedule rather than theirs.   

Ashley Graber, owner of Cool Hand Movers, says winter is also a time when movers can be more flexible on their typical arrival windows. “Afternoon arrival windows are usually wide blocks because teams are performing another service in the morning,” she said. “If that morning slot is open, you may be able to book a more specific PM arrival time.”

Faster relocation

Moving on a summer weekend often means traffic. You might have to contend with beachgoers returning home from the lake, vacationers heading to the airport, or campers being shuttled to and fro. 

In winter, you have a better chance of empty roads, meaning you could get to your new home sooner! With fewer people moving, there’s also less congestion at loading docks. This can lead to quicker transit times and smoother relocation experiences, which Carrigan adds can be especially beneficial for long-distance moves. 

“One industry secret I’ll share with you is that moving in winter will also mean your belongings have a faster drop-off if moving to another state,” he said. “Since moving companies have less demand for drop-off, they’ll get your belongings there in a week whereas it could take a month during the peak summer season.” 

Plus, more availability means you may have an easier time booking a last-minute move given movers typically book up in advance during the peak season months. 

Move-friendly weather

If you’ve ever moved during the summer, you know the feeling of sweat running down your back as you struggle to move boxes up and down stairs. In the winter, cooler temperatures mean you can avoid the dreaded overheating associated with hot-weather moving days. Cold temperatures are not only less taxing on movers, but your items are also less susceptible to heat-related damage. “It’s imperative for movers to get you unpacked and organized, as daylight is at a minimum and it’s cold,” Carrigan added. “This extra incentive can motivate everyone to work faster and more efficiently.” 

Carrigan also shared an unexpected bonus of moving during the winter. “It can give you more time to acclimate to your new neighborhood. There is less pressure to get out and about, and you can get settled before you start to socialize.” 

Downsides of moving in winter

Risk of inclement weather

While you won’t have to deal with sweltering heat, in many regions winter brings the constant threat of a blizzard or ice storm. A serious storm or dangerous road conditions could require you to reschedule your move.

Fewer daylight hours

Moving when it’s dark outside can pose significant risks to the moving crew, especially in a dimly-lit area. Unfortunately for those that decide to move in winter, it’s usually dark before 5pm, meaning opting for a longer day to get the move finished may be out of the question.

Extreme temps can damage belongings

Some common household items are sensitive to cold weather. These include electronics, dishware, art, and plants, all of which will need to either be moved quickly from the truck or kept warm with a heat source like a space heater. “If you’re in a location that experiences cold and snowfall, make sure to hire a moving team that has a strong reputation for follow through,” Graber said. “And if you’re concerned about precipitation, opt for reusable moving bins instead of cardboard boxes. This sustainable solution offers better protection from the elements.”

You may miss out on the holidays

Getting your holiday decor up or hosting a party may very well be impossible if you’re planning a winter move. Make sure that’s a sacrifice you’re willing to make this year if you go that route!

Kids are still in school

If you’re moving with kids, and includes your kids changing schools, a winter move could be a big downside. Not being able to finish out the school year can be very hard on kids, to an even greater extent than starting at a new school in the fall (when they won’t be the only “new kids”). 

“I’d hate to have to pull my kids out of school to move,” said Brittany Brown, a Massachusetts mom of four who has moved three times in seven years with her crew. With another move on the horizon, she’s aiming for a summer date. “I’m tempted by the lower costs and better availability during winter months,” she said. “But I would have been furious with my parents if we’d ever moved in the middle of the school year, so I’ll try to be organized and book a moving date early once our plan is set!”

If a move is in your future too, we hope this guide has been helpful in framing the many factors to consider when deciding if a winter move is the right thing for you!

Categories Moving