Congrats! If you’re planning a fall move, or if it has come up unexpectedly, you’re in luck: fall is an awesome time to move. The busy, and often expensive summer season has come and gone, families looking to relocate and beat the rush of back-to-school are settled in, and temperatures tend to dip into more comfortable ranges. Lower prices, lower temps, and lower competition all work in your favor. That said, you’ll still want to plan ahead as much as possible. With different seasons come different challenges and different considerations. And if you’ve never moved during the fall, you’ll want to brush up on the basics before diving in.
1. Negotiate to Take Advantage of Lower Moving Costs
Bonus – moving in the fall is typically much more affordable. Moving companies have cleared the summer rush, gas prices can be lower, and there is more truck/crew availability. Whether renting a truck or hiring a full moving team, this typically means you have a greater ability to cost-compare and negotiate on moving estimates and bids. So be sure to shop around, and perhaps do a little digging online about cost-comparisons between the summer and fall.
2. Declutter from Summer
You may have a number of clothing items, swimwear, beach gear, outdoor furniture, toys, and other seasonal items that just won’t make it to next summer. Instead of packing and moving these items, only to discard them next year, take some time to declutter and either ditch or donate items you don’t want to pay to take with you. And, if there are old cold-weather clothing items you or your family have grown out of, consider donating those before the colder weather hits.
3. Rethink Storage
If you live in a climate with challenging seasonal weather, reconsider the benefits of putting some items in storage during your move. This will help clear your moving truck of heavy or bulky items you may not use until late next spring or summer (like outdoor furniture, gardening tools, and barbecues), and can streamline your move by helping you pack everything at once. It will also make move-in that much easier when you arrive.
4. Pack for the Season
While you’re considering bulkier items, don’t forget about clothes and sporting gear that you may not need right away after the move. Pack seasonal items together so you can find them easily later – and make sure you’ve left out all those cold-weather items you’ll need shortly after you settle into your new place, like rain boots and raincoats, snow gear, and snow-removal equipment. If you’ve stored them away, now’s a good time to make sure they’re easy to access and unpack after you’ve arrived.
5. Unpack for the Season
If you’ve stored away crock pots and sandwich presses, large dutch ovens, and other seasonal dishware and service wear, consider talking to your movers about placing them in more accessible locations in your house or apartment upon your arrival. Instead of trudging out to the garage or down to the storage closet to find items you packed away last year, they’ll be in your kitchen or dining room, ready to be put into service for the fall and winter seasons.
6. Setup Utilities in Advance
There’s nothing worse than arriving in a new place during the chilly, wet fall to find you haven’t set up all the proper utilities like electricity and gas. Often times, waits for new accounts can be several days. Not so great when the temperature drops. So be sure you’re clear on what’s required to setup or transfer your accounts, so that you arrive to a warm, bright environment on day 1.
7. Put Down Plastic During Your Move
When both moving in and moving out during the fall, the potential to track in wet leaves, dirt, and mud increase. You want to get back your security deposit, or at least ensure your post move-out cleanup doesn’t involve scrubbing a rug (more than you might already have to). So buy plastic painter’s sheeting, or cut open large black trash bags and tape to entryways and other pathways where movers and friends will be coming and going. When you arrive at your destination, be sure the movers wait for you to lay down more plastic before unloading your items.
8. Keep a Broom Handy
During the fall, no matter your preparation, you’re going to track in a lot of leaves and dirt. Have a broom, paper towels, and sponge mops ready so you can clean as you go. This will ease the post-move cleanup, and help to avoid tracking materials into and out of your moving truck, onto your furniture and boxes, and into your new home or apartment.
9. Clear Outdoor Pathways
Despite your precautions for protecting your existing and new home or apartment, you should take extra steps to clear the outdoor paths to and from the moving truck. Sweep away leaves and shallow puddles with a stiff broom, and put down flat pieces of cardboard in any particularly wet, muddy, or slick spots. Cleaning while you go can help keep your place tidy (and help with that security deposit) and can also help avoid injuries you might sustain while carrying heavy items to and from your place. If wet weather is in the forecast, and you feel like taking extra precautions – try a bag or two of Turface. Designed to deal with water quickly on sports fields, it absorbs its weight in liquid, and doesn’t cake, making it easy to clean up and discard after your move is complete.
10. And an Umbrella for that Matter
Rain is the worst for moves. There’s simply no avoiding taking your things outside into the weather to load them into the truck. So be sure you have an ample supply of umbrellas and other plastic covering to keep furniture, upholstery, and boxes dry as they’re loaded into and out of the truck. Wet boxes can break or mold—especially if headed for prolonged storage. And it’s just no fun starting out in your new place with a wet couch.
11. Dress Appropriately
We know, you’re probably used to the tried-and-true moving uniform: running shoes, shorts, and old T-shirt and a baseball cap. But during the fall you’re going to have to plan ahead or colder, and potentially wet weather. Be sure you’re wearing shoes with good traction, have a hooded rain jacket on hand, and that you’ve considered layers so you can dress up or down depending on temperature fluctuations, and how challenging your move becomes.
12. Get Your Car Serviced
While this isn’t necessarily related to your move, relocation is a good reminder to do those things you’ve been putting off throughout the year. While there’s a lot you can do online, some things, like your car, require professional support. So take your ride for service to ensure it’s running and in good shape prior to the colder, wetter seasons. Have your service technician rotate the tires and check them for over wear, triple check the heater, change the oil, clean air filters, add antifreeze and new wiper fluid, and replace your old windshield wipers.
And, hey, if it turns out that your move was indeed last minute, and you’re not pumped at the idea of a complicated moving process, Get Dolly. We’ll give you a guaranteed moving estimate and connect you to a helper you can discuss your move with. Whether you need your apartment, or a single couch, moved across town—or just need some muscle to help you unload your truck—we’ve got you covered. We’ve performed hundreds of fall moves, and can prep you on the basics you need to know to pull off your relocation.
Sonal is the Sr. Marketing Manager at Dolly. She loves storytelling and building great experiences for customers.