woman shoveling snow


For many people, moving can be a daunting task. Rainy weather or cold winter conditions only increase the stress that comes with a big move. And in a city like Portland, weather can be extremely fickle and unpredictable. If bad weather is supposed to strike on the day you’re scheduled to move, communicate with the moving company about the possibility of rescheduling. Clearly express your level of comfort with the conditions and gauge the moving company’s level of comfort. Sometimes you or the movers are on hard deadlines, and poor moving conditions simply can’t be avoided. While it certainly makes the process more difficult, bad weather by no means makes a move impossible. Nor does it need to be a cause for huge stress if you follow these simple steps.

Rainy Weather:

roof in the rain

Doing a large move in the rain is never ideal, but if you must, follow these steps for a smooth and safe experience.

  • Allow the moving van to be parked as close as possible to your home so that you minimize time you and your belongings are exposed to the rain.
  • Most cardboard boxes can survive a light rain, but with any heavy rainfall, waterproofing protection should be used. Almost all moving companies sell large plastic wraps and provide heavy towels. Garbage bags work great to keep clothes dry, and rain jackets can be used to cover smaller items. With very important boxes, consider shrink-wrapping them to really keep the rain out.
  • The most important items to protect are electrical appliances, wooden furniture, and mattresses. Water and electronics don’t mix for obvious reasons, rain exposure can warp and distort expensive wood products, and water seeps into mattresses, leading to mold and health concerns for anyone sleeping on them. Make sure that all these are completely protected from the rain.
House Proofing:
  • The rain can cause serious problems both for your home and the home you are moving into. Several pairs of wet and muddy feet will be repeatedly traipsing through your door, so consider laying down towels and mats to reduce the mess that could be tracked in.
  • Any important rugs or particularly delicate floors should be protected with tarps, towels, or plastic wrap before the movers show up.
  • Consider organizing an assembly line with the movers so that items can be handed in and out of the door, reducing dirty foot traffic through the house.
  • Similar steps should be taken to prepare the home you are moving into.
Winter Weather:

Cold, snowy, and icy conditions bring a whole host of new challenges to the moving process. Moving with these challenges is even less ideal than moving in the rain- and should be avoided if convenient- but is still very possible if you follow these steps.

  • Along with all the steps you would take to prepare your home for moving in the rain, you also need to make sure that the movers have safe paths from your house to the truck (you may also need to clear a space for the truck to park- the closer to your home the better). Consider doing this the day before the move and then salting the paths to prevent large patches of ice from forming overnight.
  • Given the increased chances of slipping and dropping boxes, valuable items should be provided with extra protection to ensure their safety. If the conditions are snowy, follow the waterproofing steps from above.
  • Make sure that your new home is ready. Clear paths and roads for the movers and trucks. Turn on the heat, water, and lights a day or two before the move to make sure that they are working. Nothing takes the air out of a move like the new home being unusable or impossible to move into.
Dress Appropriately:
  • It is very important to protect yourself from the elements with a warm coat and gloves. Remember that you will be picking up and setting down lots of boxes, so make sure that your jackets or coat allow for good range of motion.
  • Wear appropriate shoes. The last thing you want while carrying a heavy box is to slip on some ice, so make sure that your shoes have good traction and are meant for winter conditions. Waterproof would be a big plus as well.

Finally, whenever you have movers helping you out, it is always a kind and appreciated gesture to provide something for them when they are at your house, especially during bad weather. Here are some rainy and wintertime related suggestions:

  • Hot chocolate
  • Warm Cider
  • Hand and foot warmers
  • Towels to dry off with
  • Holiday Cookies

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