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How to Survive a Rainy Weather Move

Posted in: I'm Moving, Loading & Unloading Guides

So you’re completely prepared for your upcoming move; You’ve got all your bases covered, you’ve taken care of every last detail and everything’s going to go perfectly according to plan.

Then you check the weather forecast. So much for your perfect plan, right?

Hey! Don’t let the rain ruin your move! Keep it in gear – and keep your stuff dry – by making a few strategic moves. This is what you’ll need:

  • Plastic
  • Extra cardboard
  • Some towels

And, if you can gather them up, a couple of extra sets of hands.

“You can’t change the weather.” But you can survive the rain. Here’s how.

Tape cardboard to the floors inside any entryways.

This is absolutely crucial in order to keep from tracking in water and to keep from slipping and wiping out and getting crushed by the dresser you were carrying. Keep your eye on that cardboard as the hours pass – eventually, the water and the wear will lead to its destruction. When this begins to happen, replace with new pieces of cardboard.

In a light drizzleand a short walk from your door to the truck – you may be able to get away with just wrapping your furniture in furniture pads. If your furniture is also shrink-wrapped you should definitely be good to go. For your boxes and all your random assorted items (bicycles, toolboxes, guitar case, dumbbells), it’s helpful to have a few old (but dry and clean!) towels not being used for the floor to wipe away any excess rainwater.

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Anything more than a drizzle can soak your furniture pads and cardboard boxes enough to turn everything moldy and musty if your belongings will be on that truck for any length of time. If you can get from door to truck in a few seconds, feel free to take your chances. Otherwise, get yourself some extra-large trash bags and slip them over the stacks of boxes you’re carrying out the door. Larger items, particularly your furniture, call for more than trash bags. If you don’t have anything like a tarp hanging around, try to get your hands on a few queen-sized mattress bags, which are pretty darn big when cut open to make one single sheet of plastic.

Note: Some people out there (quite a few actually) suggest putting sheets of plastic down to protect against water and mud being tracked into the house. Seriously?? First of all, plastic can hardly be considered water-absorbent. Also, guess what happens when plastic gets wet? There’s a reason Wham-O made their Slip ‘N Slide out of plastic and not cardboard.

If you can muster up the manpower, have two designated crews.

One crew stays inside to move everything to the front hall or the garage (or wherever your staging area is). The other crew gets the short end of the stick; they work outside and haul everything the rest of the way to the truck. The obvious reason for this is to avoid wet feet walking all over your home.

Remember too that your outside crew will be walking onto and off of the truck, getting water all over the floor where you’ll be setting down all your stuff. If you’re overly blessed with friends willing to help you move, assign one of them to the inside of the truck to avoid this problem. If not, tape some cardboard to the floor of the truck. And keep a few old towels or blankets on hand to periodically wipe those floorboards.

Protip: Periodically switch your inside and outside crews to avoid having one crew getting totally soaked and irritated. If it’s just you and a buddy, work together inside to fill up your staging area, then put on your jackets and move all that stuff out onto the truck. Then head back inside, wipe your feet well and start filling up your staging area again.

These are some extra (but still important) considerations.

To further the success of your rainy move day here are a few more ideas:

  • Wear Decent Shoes

Don’t wear those old Reeboks with the worn-out soles just because you’d rather not get your Nikes wet. If you have a pair of waterproof boots, even better.

  • Have an Extra Pair of Shoes and a Jacket on Hand

Whether you’re working with two separate crews or not, you’ll likely end up spending ample time both inside and outside. Having outside shoes and inside shoes helps keep your floors clean and dry over the long haul. Meanwhile, having a second jacket helps if you’ve been outside a while and your first jacket is so soaked you’re getting things wet just by carrying them.

  • Don’t Push Yourself Too Hard

Even if you have waterproof boots or sneakers with great traction, the potential for slipping remains… especially on the ramp and up into the truck. No matter how light or heavy the rain, a few extra seconds outside won’t make a difference to your furniture or your boxes.

But hey, if it really starts to come down and you don’t want your stuff out there for even just a few seconds, you can still keep things moving. Get everyone inside and haul as much stuff as possible as close to the door as you can. You’ll be that much closer to done by the time the rain lets up, and no one will have gotten dumped on.

If you’ve done all you can and it still hasn’t let up, you have two basic choices: go crazy with the plastic and keep filling up that truck, or kick back and order a pizza. While you’re waiting, and if your clothes dryer is still hooked up, throw in all those damp towels and wet jackets and drenched socks (and shoes?). You’ll be happy you did once it’s time to get back to work.

Illustrations by Vicki Tsai


  1. Barbara Radisavljevic

    It poured the day we moved to our rural property 25 years ago. We had lots of help, but one of the trucks got stuck in the mud. Luckily someone from church with a tractor pulled it out. It took two trucks to move all our stuff and the house wasn’t big enough to hold everything. We had to leave some things outside for days covered with tarps until we could find places to put the boxes. Moving from a five-bedroom house to a three-bedroom house with much less room is quite a challenge. Somehow we finally cleared what was under the tarps, but we did need help.

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