There are several reasons to move during the winter, from relative price for hiring professionals in their off-season to a requirement to transfer to a new job or a new school during the holidays. But of course, there are potential issues that you need to prepare for during these moves. Some tips to handle a winter move are:

Flexibility is Key

While snow on the ground or in the forecast does not necessarily mean the move is canceled, you should pay close attention to the shifting weather. Give yourself extra time for every part of the move, from starting to pack well in advance of the moving day, to scheduling a range of days to move rather than planning on one specific day. Also give yourself more time to drive to the new location and move in, because of course road conditions may change quickly.

If you’re using professional movers or renting trucks, remember to stay in contact with the companies. Because this is the slowest time of year for them, they should be able to work with you if you need to change days or times for moving, within reason.

Prepare for Weather

Keep your eyes on the forecast, not only for your current location and new location, but for the route you’ll need to travel, at least a week before you move. Check every day, a few times a day. If the day looks clear, excellent. If there’s supposed to be snow, find out the estimates. Moving in light snow is annoying, but relatively safe. Extreme cold, ice, heavy snow, or blizzard conditions should result in rescheduling your move.

Use ice melt on every outdoor surface people will be walking and shovel snow early and often to keep the walkways as clear as you can. See if there’s a route to the truck that is relatively covered, such as through your garage.

Also, make sure your vehicles, including rental truck, are in good condition for winter travel. If you’ve never driven a truck in snow or ice before, think about recruiting family or a friend who has experience, or hiring someone who can drive for you. Also, remember that being paranoid about weather should apply to local streets; you can expect most interstate highways to be plowed, but how snowpacked will your neighborhood streets be?

Keep the House Cool, Bathroom Warm

Turn the thermostat down or off for the day. After all, you’ll have at least one or more doors open, and you don’t want to spend more money paying to heat the outside air as well. If the temperature outside be painfully low, you can leave the heat on at a low level, which might save you some on the energy bill. If you do have the heat turned off, remember to put space heaters in the bathrooms–it can be a nice treat to get out of the cold once in a while to take care of business, and it keeps your pipes from freezing.

Be Ready for Messes

Cover your floors if you can, with painting tarps, large doormats, even cardboard runners can help preserve tile or hardwood floors. Make sure your floor coverings are weighed down so that they don’t slip under your feet while carrying heavy objects, and don’t get too slick when wet. Any good construction tarp, whether plastic or canvas, should work for this. When someone inevitably gets water on your floor where the covering comes up, remember to dry it quickly but don’t otherwise worry about it until it’s time to give a last cleaning; moving is messy even in dry weather.

Also, have extra towels, sheets, or blankets ready to throw over furniture to help protect it from the elements if you have to. Electronics and other items may be sensitive to cold or moisture, so wrap them well before getting them out of your home.

Check on Movers

This holds true whether you’ve got volunteers or you’ve hired professionals–moving is hard work and it’s not made any easier in the cold or winter weather. Keep checking in with people to see how they feel. Do they need something warm to drink or eat? A chance to sit and rest out of the cold? Have some good treats for them while they’re warming up. And also find out if there are places getting too slick outside or if they have specific concerns about the weather.

And remember, no matter what the season or the weather, Gerber Moving and Storage is here to help.