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Tips for Moving During Winter in Chicago

Happy young couple piggybacking and smiling at camera while moving during the winter holidays


From snow drifts and icy walkways to bitter cold temperatures, moving during the winter comes with its own set of challenges – especially if your new apartment is in a frigid city like Chicago. While November through March is not the most ideal time to move into a Chicago apartment, you may not be able to control the timing of your move. If you find yourself looking for a new apartment this time of year, here are a few tips to keep you safe and help you save money (and your sanity) during the move.

Hire Movers

If there was ever a time to hire movers, this would be it. While there is a cost to hire professionals, it’s often comparable to renting a truck or van for yourself – and the last thing you want to do in snow and ice is drive an unfamiliar moving truck. In addition to the safe transport of your belongings, movers have the right tools and know the best tricks. They will likely move you in half the time, and ensure all of your furniture remains intact.

Be Flexible

Chicago winters can be unpredictable, so keep a close eye on the weather forecast in the days leading up to your move. Whether you are renting a truck or hiring movers, if a large storm is coming through, or the roads are expected to be icy, it’s best to reschedule. If snow and ice are anticipated in advance of your move, confirm with the landlord or property manager that the sidewalks, parking lots and/or driveways will be cleared, salted and sanded by the time you plan to arrive, and consider tracking Chicago’s snow plow trucks in real time.

Turn on the Utilities

The only thing worse than moving during a Chicago winter is doing it without electricity, heat and hot water, so make sure that all of your utilities are turned on at your new apartment and are in working order at least two days before you move. With that said, we also recommend that you turn off the heat on moving day, since it will only escape while your items are moved in. Instead, put a space heater in the bathroom and keep the door shut – at least the toilet seat will be toasty.

Protect Your Floors

There’s always a lot of foot traffic in and out of your home on moving day, but moving in winter means the potential for tracking in slush, mud, salt and sand. To keep your carpets and hardwood floors clean, use large pieces of cardboard or plastic runners to cover high traffic areas, and secure them to the floor with painters tape.

Dress Appropriately

Even though it’ll be cold outside, you’ll work up a sweat while moving, so dress in layers. Wear waterproof boots with a thick tread (or slip-on snow cleats) to prevent slipping, and don’t forget good gloves. Instead of mittens or bulky winter gloves, which can make it difficult to grip a moving box, consider work gloves from a home improvement store, and keep a few backups on hand in case your first pair gets soaked.

Bonus Tip: Warm yourself, and your movers, from the inside out. If you own a microwave, consider having hot cocoa packets and insulated paper cups on hand. You can also brew up a crock pot of hot apple cider, or pick up a box of joe from a nearby coffee shop.

Happy Moving!

With a little preparation and flexibility, moving in winter doesn’t have to be so bad. For more moving tips, check out What to Do if You Are Moving to a New State and Packing Tips for a Smooth Move. May your move into your new Chicago apartment be a happy one!

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