Moving in the rain is not fun or recommended. However, there’s not much we can do to control the weather, especially when moves are planned months in advance. Of course, we could decide to move in the summer instead of the winter or avoid the rainy season, but sometimes an unexpected downpour hits us when we least expect it.
There are some other things we can do to prepare for the just-in-case weather moments that don’t cost a lot of money. In fact, we don’t recommend going out and buying rain-specific moving materials and boxes unless you feel inclined.
We have some clever ways you can use items you already have to make moving in the rain easier. We also have some logistical advice to consider. Some of these tips might seem obvious, but they should come in handy when you’re in a high-stress environment trying to scramble at the last minute.
1.Wrap items in plastic.
Many people finish packing and don’t consider putting things like hanging clothes in baskets. Their plan is to roll a garment rack on a moving truck and cover it with a sheet. When a downpour hits, plans like these need to be reconsidered. Ideally, anything that can become damaged when wet, like electronics, should be protected. One common solution is to wrap items without boxes in plastic.
Many movers have shrink wrap on hand that can protect furniture pieces from some rain. However, if you are moving yourself or your movers charge extra for this service, consider implementing household items to protect furniture and other items. Remember that plastic repels water but items like cotton sheets are not nearly as protective.
How to protect items when moving in the rain:
- Toss clothes and paper items in trash bags. Keep each family member’s clothing separate, but don’t worry about keeping them folded at this point. If the clothes do happen to get wet, you might need to launder the clothing after the move anyway.
- Wrap art in plastic wrap. Anything that is on the small side but is usually moved outside a box can be wrapped in plastic wrap you can buy at the grocery store. Excess bubble wrap will work too.
- Cover furniture in comforters. Sheets might be too thin to repel water, but some thicker comforters can protect furniture temporarily in light rain. Lay the thick blanket around the furniture and use bungee cords to secure it in place.
- If you have time, consider purchasing shrink wrap. The investment might be worthwhile if you are moving valuable items that should not get wet, like antiques or fine art.
2. Don’t skimp on rain gear.
The obvious first step when moving in the rain is to protect your belongings, but don’t forget to protect yourself. Moving in the rain makes everyone involved more prone to injury.
Minimize your risk by finding non-slip shoes. Beyond that, pull out the following items to make the move less miserable.
Rain moving supplies:
- Rain slickers and boots
- Baseball caps or hats
- A change of clothes
3. Get to the new place before the movers.
Carve out some time in your moving schedule to prep your new home for the movers to arrive. A few simple steps can make all the difference between an unorganized, chaotic moving day and one that runs smoothly.
Prep your home for rain:
- Lay down a welcome mat. If you don’t have a mat, any cheap rug will do. Don’t lay down an expensive wool rug, but use your best judgment. If there are no rugs for people to wipe their feet on, go purchase some at a dollar store or use towels.
- Crank up the heat. If your utilities are on, make sure you turn up the heat in the home. The furnace will work to remove moisture from the air and will make it more comfortable overall.
- Put out plenty of old towels. Have towels on hand that you don’t mind getting potentially ruined. If the rain is heavy, movers will need them to wipe their hands, face, and even to dry off the items they are moving.
- Lay down dry cardboard boxes. If you have extra moving boxes, these create a somewhat anti-slip surface on the floor. Bare tiles and wood floors can get really slippery when you go in and out with wet shoes, so these walkways are essential.
4. Set up an assembly line.
To efficiently load a moving truck in the rain, you need a system. In all weather, we recommend designating one or two people to stay with the moving truck to work on packing it in an organized fashion. This tip holds even truer when it’s raining out.
In the rain, the fewer people have to move from A to B, the better. Keep some people stationed at the moving truck, but also set up an assembly line for the whole process.
For instance, have one person moving boxes into the house from the garage or another drop off point (more on this in a minute). You can then have other people unpacking or cleaning. By setting up stations with specific tasks, you’ll have fewer people in the house and therefore have less water in the house and less risk of people slipping and falling.
Moving tips for inclement weather:
- Unload boxes to one area. If you have a garage, unload everything here first. If not, set up an area a few feet into the house for the majority of the items. Someone else with dry shoes can work on moving these items to the appropriate rooms.
- Set up a pop-up tent. You can put up this drying station anywhere, but ideally place it right at the end of moving truck. This way someone can have extra space to load and unload items.
- Move durable items during a heavy downpour. In most cases, there are lulls on a rainy day when the rain isn’t as hard. However, you can’t wait all day for a break in the rain because you pay the movers by the hour. Assume to move the most durable items like plastic totes during the heavy rain. Once there’s a break, quickly switch gears and move electronics, mattresses, or the like.
5. Manage moisture in the moment.
The more you can do to clean up rainwater while you’re moving, the less you’ll have to clean up after the movers leave. If you have an extra person, designate water clean up as their job for the day. Have them work to minimize the number of puddles that accumulate in both homes.
Ideas to manage excess water:
- Wipe items down with towels as soon as they come in the door. Furniture and other items should not be left with standing water.
- Unpack compromised boxes. Cardboard is resilient but if it spends enough time in rain, it can fall apart. Immediately unload these boxes and dry off anything inside so things don’t become irreversibly damaged.
6. Practice self-care after the move.
Self-care might be a buzzword currently, but it’s so important to remember when you are approaching a stressful relocation. The stress doesn’t stop when moving day comes to a close. There are boxes to unpack, furniture to arrange, and an entire household to set up. That stress tends to be exacerbated when you are forced to move in rainy weather.
Plan some time to unwind before you rush into unpacking or other moving duties. Don’t get so wrapped up in what needs to be done that you cause yourself more stress in the long run. This step might not come naturally if it’s hard for you to carve out time for yourself, which is why we are taking the time to mention it. Order take-out, watch a movie, take a bath, or do whatever you need to do to recoup from a rainy, exhausting day. You’ve earned it!
Remember that with some additional steps, moving in the rain might still be stressful, but it doesn’t have to be a nightmare. Good luck!