Whether your lease is up or you’re moving to a new house, moving is stressful. But moving during the COVID-19 pandemic adds a whole new level of stress. How can you move and keep yourself and loved ones safe?
Before you start packing your bags, the first thing you should think about is whether you should move. It’s one thing if you’re joining the one-third of renters who move each year because you’re an essential worker and need to relocate to be closer to your job or if your lease is up and need to get a new place.
But if you’re moving because you want more space or you think it’s the perfect time to buy a house, you might want to reconsider. Ask yourself if you might spread COVID-19 if you move and if you might expose family and friends helping you to COVID-19. If you have older, chronically ill, or other vulnerable family members who would move with you, are you willing to risk them catching COVID-19? Will you be able to safely and effectively quarantine for 14 days without losing your job or affecting your education if you move? And if you do get sick, will you be able to take the appropriate time off to recover? Finally, depending on where you are, you might not even be allowed to move.
If after all of that you’re still willing to move, then keep those questions in mind. Staying aware will help you stay safe. If you decide your move is worth the trouble, here are five tips for moving during COVID-19.
1. Check State and Local Regulations
If you’re moving across state lines, it’s very important to look into state and local travel guidelines and restrictions. Orders may be in place surrounding crowds and travel that could affect how your move goes.
Moving companies are used a lot, with 44% of people and 38% of businesses using moving companies. If you’re using a moving company, they may have their own internal regulations designed to keep their employees safe so check with them to make sure they can get your stuff where you’re going.
2. Disinfect Everything
When you’re packing heavily-used items and equipment, disinfect everything before you pack it. Whether you prefer to do this with off-brand disinfectant wipes or the name brand products 91% of people prefer to purchase, make sure you clean your belongings. Furthermore, disinfect heavily used surfaces when you leave your old place and when you arrive at your new one. Not only will you be protecting yourself, but you’ll protect other movers too.
However, you shouldn’t try to disinfect everything. Certain items, like kitchen sponges and brushes, toilet brushes, plungers, body scrubbers or brushes, and other cleaning or bathing items that retain bacteria easily should be disposed of when you move.
3. Check Before You Donate
Many people donate lightly used items and old clothes to Goodwill and other donation centers. However, during the time of COVID-19, procedures for this may have changed. Don’t show up with 4 garbage bags of clothes and expect to be able to toss them at Goodwill workers.
Call or contact the store beforehand so you know what the new procedures are and if there are limitations of what you can donate. Then follow those procedures. Limit your time inside stores if you can, especially if you’re using movers, so you don’t inadvertently spread COVID-19.
4. Enforce Masks and Handwashing
Whether you’re working with professional movers, as a third of people moving will, or not, follow social distancing procedures. You might have to enforce it all on your own, but wearing masks and washing hands will help keep everyone involved in your move safe. Make sure handwashing consists of using soap and scrubbing for up to 10 seconds before rinsing.
Hand sanitizer is also helpful but washing with soap is more effective. You may even want to buy gloves if many people might end up touching the same boxes, surfaces, or items.
5. Give Yourself Time
Finally, if you’re moving during this time remember that packing up and moving out might be harder than the last time. You might discover pictures from before quarantine, or start thinking about what Thanksgiving or Christmas might be like.
Don’t push yourself too hard, take time for yourself, and remember that it won’t last forever. Times are hard right now so don’t expect to get through this move as easily as others. And remember that it’s okay to slow down and practice self-care to stay sane and stay safe.