So you’re moving to your very own winter wonderland, and with our chilly winters and tepid summers, you reckon you’ll acclimatise quickly. You might well know how to layer up for the big freeze in Scandinavia or Canada, but your furniture and electronic goods might need a little more TLC.

Electronic equipment can suffer in very cold conditions, and sometimes devices will shut down or malfunction if exposed to too much cold. Batteries are known to suffer damage from extremes of both heat and cold, and many a traveller has damaged the battery life of a mobile phone or tablet by leaving it in a freezing cold car overnight. If and where possible, pack these things in your suitcase or hand luggage.


Cold can damage the effectiveness of batteries and lead to component damage when moving appliances between climates. Allow a laptop (or anything with a hard drive) to warm up to room temperature before switching it on. Back up your data before you travel to avoid losing anything in transit, as hard drives will freeze and fail to operate if left in freezing conditions for too long.

Screens and electronics

The same goes for cameras, mobiles, gaming gadgets and iPods – anything with a screen can suffer from condensation build up if introduced too quickly to warmth after being out in the freezing cold, so protect them with sturdy cases and sleeves and keep them in pockets or in bags.

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Snow joke

Dropping your smart phone, tablet or gaming device in the snow isn’t the end of the world if you know how to limit the damage straight away. Remove the battery first to make sure it doesn’t burn the now freezing electrical circuits, then remove the SIM card if it has one. Use a fine micro-fibre cloth to dry the device all over, and then place in an air tight container or a bowl of uncooked rice to absorb excess moisture.

Vital temps

As a rule of thumb, once the air temperature drops below freezing, you should take proper steps to protect your electrical devices. As it’s unlikely your television, stereo or dishwasher will spend much time outdoors, they’re probably safe. What will need a closer eye, however, are things like cameras, tablets, handheld gaming devices and phones. iPhones operate best, according to Apple, between 32 and 95 degrees Fahrenheit. At 23 degrees, iPhones and other mobile screens will malfunction, and at 14 degrees most iPhones will give up the ghost altogether – that’s minus ten in Celsius.

Soft furnishings

Whether you’re moving into a sleek modern apartment or a rambling country house, you can transform the space and warm it up quickly with the addition of some homely touches. Pack all your household rugs, cushions and blankets in clear vacuum packets to save on space, and if you have time attach the thermal lining to your curtains before you move. It’ll save on energy and prevent you from having to purchase new curtains when you arrive.

Notoriously chilly leather sofas needn’t necessarily stay at home, but armchairs and sofas in this fabric – or synthetic alternatives – will need a throw if you’re going to integrate it with your new home. Tucked in neatly or draped casually, covering your furniture with throws creates warmth and this layered effect invokes an inviting atmosphere.

Fabrics like faux fur, cashmere and wool mixes look stunning in cold-weather homes and will keep both you and your furniture cosy-warm. Pick throws, cushion covers and blankets in neutral tones if you decide to stock up on these before you emigrate – they’ll be more versatile than something jazzy and patterned.

Our top tip: Vacuum pack out-of-season clothing so that it can go straight into the attic or under the bed once you move into your new place. No need to even unpack.