The Best Time to Make a Household Move

A couple celebrating moving into their new home
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Moving any time of year is difficult, but if you have a flexible schedule and are not on a specific timeline, there are several factors to consider when deciding when to move. Keep in mind that these factors could also be part of a negotiation deal with your employer if you are being relocated or if starting a new position.

The Ideal Time

If you could choose any time of the year to move, we'd suggest spring or late fall—times when it'll be easier to find and hire movers and when rental companies are not charging the highest rates. Also, weekend rates tend to be highest, both for truck rental agencies and moving companies. The times to avoid are weekends, the first of each month and summer when moving is at its peak. Of course, most of us have other considerations, such as kids, spouses, jobs, school and a myriad of other reasons why picking our move date is difficult. Here are some considerations that most people face.

School Calendar

If you have children at home, it is best to work around the school calendar. Summer is an ideal time, as children have completed another grade and have said their goodbyes to school friends. Planning to move directly following the end of school, however, does not give your child time to adapt to the idea of moving, to say goodbye to neighborhood friends and their home. When setting the date, allow a few weeks at the new destination for children to unpack and meet new neighborhood friends. They will be better prepared for the school year if they have time to make their new house their home. Too much change can be detrimental to performance and emotional well-being.

What works best for your children, also works best for you. As part of the settling in process, take a few days for you and your child to check out the new school, meet some teachers and find appropriate transportation. Both you and your child will be better prepared, leading to a smoother transition.

Holidays and Special Occasions

When possible, avoid moving before major holidays, such as Christmas, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah or Ramadan, since part of such holidays is being with family and friends. Birthdays, anniversaries and other family events can also be difficult. Give yourself enough time in your new place before the holiday season begins to allow for you to meet new people and feel a sense of community. Better yet, save your move for immediately following a holiday. Holidays provide a perfect opportunity for goodbyes and final get-togethers.

Seasonal Considerations

Most people would agree that summer is the best time to move. Children are out of school, the weather is almost guaranteed to be perfect, and friends are available to help. If this is your ideal time to move, make sure you check moving company schedules and rates before confirming your move date. Most companies have peak times and will charge higher rates accordingly. Also, if you are planning to move at peak times, you will need to be better organized to ensure that a moving company or a moving truck is available for the date and times you require. Keep in mind that the level of service often changes between the summer months, when students replace full-time experienced movers and off-season.

As much as summer could cost you more, winter, as common sense indicates, is also not an ideal time to move. Travel is difficult, both for you and your family, along with the moving company. Items kept overnight in a truck under freezing conditions may result in damaged goods. If you are moving from one climate to another, water damage may occur when the mode of transport that is moving your household items travels from a cold environment to a warmer climate. Freezing and thawing cause the most damage if items are not properly sealed. Severe and quick climate changes are hard on wood and even some plastics. If you have a lot of valued antiques, you may wish to pay the higher costs and move when the weather is more conducive. For more information on packing up your stuff, go to Packing Supplies: What Do I Need?