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Have you ever had to move in the middle of summer? The sun. The heat. The humidity. It may be worse than moving in winter. After all, you’d rather be enjoying the warm weather, not fighting it.

If you live somewhere like Phoenix or Las Vegas, moving in summer can mean 100+ temperatures and blazing sun for 12 hours of the day. Even in cities like Chicago and New York, the temps can rise up into — and above — the 90s in the height of summer. If you find yourself facing a move during those months, it can be dangerous.

The Dangers of a Summer Move

heat wave in the cityThe biggest worry about moving in hot weather is heat-related illness. If you’re lucky you’ll find yourself tired and sunburned. If you’re not careful, though, you could find yourself suffering from heat exhaustion, dehydration, or even heat stroke. Young children and older family members are especially susceptible to heat illness.

It’s not just your health you need to consider. If you’re moving with pets, you’ll need to take special care to protect them from hot weather conditions. They need to be kept hydrated and they should not be stuck in the back of a hot moving truck or car. Their moving crates should be well-ventilated and protected from the sun.

If you’re moving to a hot climate after living somewhere cooler you should be aware that your belongings are also at risk. If you’re moving food items, be mindful of the temperature in your moving van or the trunk of your car. This concern should also be applied to electronics, which are vulnerable to heat. You also need to consider anything made of plastic or vinyl and items like candles that are prone to melting.

A Safe Move

The first step in a successful summer move is to make sure your new home has electricity, water, and that you or someone else has turned on the air conditioning there well before you arrive. This will ensure that you have a cool destination when you arrive.

Next, plan your move for the cooler hours of the day. Avoid being outside during the hottest hours of the afternoon. If possible, consider loading up the truck the night before or getting up in the wee hours of the morning. Yes, it will be dark, but it will also be much cooler. Ideally you want to move in the early morning, before the day gets really hot. If you can’t get everything done before the thermometer rises, take a break for lunch or even a siesta out of the sun and heat, then resume once the sun starts to set.

taping up boxPlan ahead for the heat. This means having sunblock, light, loose-fitting clothing, appropriate shoes, and even caps or scarfs to protect your head from the sun. You might want to have gloves handy for unloading. Metal and hard plastic items will be hot to touch after a day spent in a hot moving truck.

Have a good supply of water available and make sure that everyone drinks throughout the day. Remember that you’re trying to avoid dehydration or heat exhaustion. It’s a good idea to alternate between water and drinks with electrolytes. It’s also important to remember to eat. You need to keep your energy up as you’re using up a lot of calories moving. Try to keep to light snacks and meals and avoid heavy, rich foods that will weigh you down. Wait until you’re all unpacked for that big burger, steak, or pasta dinner to replenish the calories you used

Think about the care you would take before engaging in hard labor or exercise in hot weather and apply that same caution to moving. If you plan ahead and stay alert during the move, you can minimize all those risks and have a successful move where all you really have to worry about is where to put the couch in your new home.

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