In an ideal world, rain would be respectful enough to stay away on the day of your move, especially when you’ve planned it weeks or months in advance

But until my weather machine is completed, rainy day moves remain an inevitable part of scooting around on this planet, made all the more frustrating by how impossible they can feel to plan around.

They’re so infuriating, in fact, that I’d hoped you’d never need this article at all. But now that you’re here, and likely staring down a long, aggravating day of precipitation, here’s what I’ll tell you: you’ve come to the right place. 

Everything is going to be fine. We’ve spoken to movers, collaborated with experts, and collected all the rainy day tips and tricks out there to help you positively ace your bad weather move—whether it’s taking place in a drizzle or a downpour.

What things do I need for a rainy weather move?

Since wet weather can spring up out of nowhere, we wanted to limit the list of necessary supplies to items you’d probably already have on hand:

Sheets of plastic: Think everything from a tarp to queen-sized mattress bags, extra-large garbage bags, or even a vinyl shower curtain

Extra cardboard: If you didn’t use all your boxes, you’re about to put them to good use

Towels: Ideally ones you don’t care about too much

Extra sets of hands: Not absolutely essential, but super helpful if you can rustle them up

And that’s it! 

What should I do before I try moving in the rain?

That really depends on the likelihood of rain, its intensity, and how much you’re planning to spend on your move. But across the board, here are the prep steps that will never steer you wrong:

Step 1: Pick out some sturdy footwear (not your old, extra ones)

During a rainy move, there’s a temptation to throw on that old pair of Reeboks with the worn-out soles just because you’d rather not get your Nikes wet, but do your best to resist. Look for shoes with great traction or even waterproof boots, if you have them. Your feet will thank you during those many trips up and down the slippery moving truck ramp.

Step 2: Have a second pair of shoes and a jacket on hand

You’ll likely end up spending ample time both inside and outside during your move, so having outside shoes and inside shoes helps keep your floors clean and dry over the long haul. Meanwhile, having spare outerwear becomes clutch as soon as you notice your first jacket is so soaked that you’re getting things wet just by carrying them.

Step 3: Tape cardboard to the floors inside any entryways

This step is absolutely crucial in order to prevent tracking in water—and to keep from slipping and wiping out under that family heirloom of a dresser you were carrying. It should also be one of the last things you do inside before you start moving so that everything can stay as dry as possible, for as long as possible. 

You don’t have to be too precious about it, though, because eventually, the water and the wear will lead to the cardboard’s destruction. Once they start to get soggy, swap in new dry panels, securing your cardboard pathway with an adhesive that won’t cause damage to your flooring. (Which probably means saving the duct tape for your next project.)

Step 4: Assign an “inside crew” and an “outside crew”

Assuming you’re lucky enough to have friends pitching in, divide your team into two designated crews. One stays inside to move everything between the rooms and the staging area—probably the front hall, the garage, or somewhere similar. The other crew, unfortunately, gets the short end of the stick: they work outside and haul everything between the outer door and the truck. 


“Please ignore the bizarre advice out there to put down sheets of plastic to protect against water and mud getting tracked in.”


The point of this little assembly line, of course, is to avoid tracking water throughout your home, but if you’re moving out, don’t forget about the floor of the truck, either. Your outside crew is likely to be walking all over it, leaving wet footprints where you’re about to set down all your stuff. If you have the manpower available, consider assigning one person to work solely inside the truck. 

What if I don’t have enough people?

If you’re as low on friends with unlimited patience as I am, you can 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: If you don’t want to find your stable of incredibly generous friends dangerously depleted the next time you need to call on them, periodically switch your inside and outside crews, and give yourself the lion’s share of outside duties. Or, 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.

How do I protect my stuff on the (rainy) day of my move?

There are a lot of ways, and it sort of depends on what you’re moving. Now that you and your pathways are all prepped, it’s time to leap into action by answering some specific questions that you might have on moving day.

Are moving blankets waterproof?

Not really, unfortunately. Moving blankets provide an essential layer of protection when it comes to bumps and thumps, but umbrellas they are not. A wet-moving blanket is just going to soak your stuff, so on a truly rainy day, plastic covers are where it’s at.

Can my wood furniture get wet?

Listen, lots of things can happen, but that doesn’t mean that they should. Wood is porous, so it’s going to take the first opportunity it gets to absorb water. If it succeeds, that will cause expansion and contraction as it wets and dries, which often leads to warping. This means that even if your wooden piece looks the same, doors or drawers might catch or stick permanently. 

Additionally, even a small amount of dampness can damage surface paint, varnish, veneer, or glue—plus, it can encourage mold growth. Repairing water-damaged wood is possible, but it’s also an intensive and often expensive process, so try to avoid the whole situation if you can.

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Should I rush so things get less wet?

No. Take breaks. We encourage them, in fact. The potential for slipping is highest when you rush, so if it starts really coming down, you can always shelter inside while you regroup. If you want to keep things moving, haul as much stuff as possible as close to the door as you can, so you can be that much closer to done by the time the rain lets up.

Or if you’ve done all you can, you can either go crazy with the plastic and get back out there, or kick back and order a pizza while you run a load of damp towels, wet jackets, and drenched socks through the dryer. You’ll be happy you did once it’s time to get back to work.

The most important tips for a rainy do-it-yourself move

Things won’t be so bad if it’s just a light drizzle. Especially if it’s a short walk from your door to the truck, you may be able to get away with just wrapping your furniture in furniture pads. And if your furniture is also shrink-wrapped, you should definitely be good to go. For boxes and random individual items like bicycles, toolboxes, guitar cases, and dumbbells, it’s helpful to have a few old (but dry and clean!) towels not being used for the floor to wipe away excess rainwater.


“A wet-moving blanket is just going to soak your stuff, so on a truly rainy day, plastic covers are where it’s at.”


Anything more than a drizzle can soak your furniture pads and cardboard boxes enough to turn everything moldy and musty. Especially if your belongings will be on the truck for any length of time. If you can get from door to truck in a few seconds without rushing, feel free to take your chances. Otherwise, get yourself some extra-large trash bags and slip them over each stack of boxes before you carry them out the door. 

Larger items like furniture will likely call for something bigger than trash bags; try to get your hands on a tarp or a couple queen-sized mattress bags, which you can double in size by slicing them open to make a single sheet of plastic.

Please ignore the bizarre advice out there to put down sheets of plastic to protect against water and mud getting tracked in. Plastic is one of the least water-absorbent materials out there, so what you’ve essentially just done is installed a Slip ‘N Slide right inside your entryway, with no guarantee that it will even protect your floors.

How to Manage a Rainy Day Move with Movers

If you have the resources and want to give yourself a treat, there’s nothing quite like leaving an inclement weather move to the professionals.

If you know you’re moving during a rainy season, for example, or are considering a move to Portland, Oregon, or another city where rain is a safe bet pretty much every day of the year, having movers wrap all your stuff can be a weight off your mind (not to mention your shoulders).

It can also be an added stressor for anyone worried about cost, last-minute changes, or straight-up cancellations, so let’s address some common mover-related questions as well.

Can movers move in the rain?

Yes! That is unless they gauge the situation as too dangerous (which is possible, depending on how much rain we’re talking about here). For the most part though, movers are well equipped to battle the elements.

It’s going to rain tomorrow—can I get last minute movers?

Almost certainly, yes! Sometimes, your best bet is labor-only help plus a truck, but hop on over to HireAHelper at the first sign of storm clouds to see what your options are. You’ll be able to scroll through a list of available companies skilled in the art of solving all manner of ridiculous moving problems—up to and including snagging some last-minute movers who know how to handle a little bit of rain.

Can I postpone my move if I’ve already hired movers?

In most cases, yes, but in this scenario, you would almost certainly want to work with your moving company to decide if it’s your best option. And I will say, if you’re working with HireAHelper, you’re sitting pretty here once again, since the cancellation policies and overall flexibility of a mover marketplace are far greater than the typical van line. (You can’t see me, but I’m sitting over here boastfully batting my lashes, and raising a glass to your dry and successful rainy day move.)

Illustrations by Victoria Tsai

The post Here’s How the Pros Move in the Rain appeared first on Moving Advice from HireAHelper.

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