If you have a move scheduled in the near future, the timing may seem less than ideal.
“Moving during the coronavirus can be nerve-wracking so you will need to take certain precautions to ensure your safety and the safety of others,” says Jamie Hord, founder of Horderly.
Follow these steps to make a smooth, health-conscious move and minimize your risk of exposure to the COVID-19 virus.
1. Consider Virtual Tours
The coronavirus outbreak has led many buyers and sellers to look for ways to make contactless connections. If you’re planning to rent or buy a home in your new location, check online to see if you can tour it virtually.
Some homeowners or real estate agents may agree to a video chat with you, and during the session they’ll walk through the home to personally show it to you. As they move from room to room, you can ask questions or request that they zoom in on a specific area.
2. Evaluate the Coronavirus Hotspots
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has a map listing coronavirus cases by state. If your move is planned for a specific metropolitan area, such as San Francisco, New York, or Phoenix, look over the recent data for the area. You might decide to delay a move, if possible, to an area that has high coronavirus case numbers until the positive COVID-19 test results go down.
3. Look at Downsizing
Rather than have a moving service take your entire household to a new location, you might opt to store some of your belongings and move to a smaller place. Contact your storage association in the area to check on their COVID-19 policies. Transport items you won’t need in the near future to a storage unit; then focus on maintaining the essentials in your new home until the pandemic passes.
4. Check the Trucks for a DIY Move
If you’re moving on your own and plan to rent a truck, ask the truck rental company about their sanitizing process of moving trucks between customers.
“Many of the major rental truck companies have adopted COVID-19 policies,” says Mike Glanz, president of HireAHelper.
Rental truck companies might also list their new safety guidelines on their websites. The same goes for self-storage companies, who have continued to operate as essential services with few restrictions.
5. Make Sure Movers Use Precautions
“If you’ve hired a full-service moving company, ask them in advance if they are taking the temperature of their workers daily, requiring the use of face masks and gloves, and respecting safe distancing measures,” Glanz says.
You may also be able to find information about their practices on their websites. For an extra measure, ask the company to refer you to customers that hired them to move since the shelter-in-place orders lifted. Then contact those past clients and check on the experiences they had, including if safety measures were properly followed.
6. Bring on the Hand Sanitizer
“It is important to frequently wash and sanitize your hands,” Hord says. In addition to keeping your own hands clean, leave sanitizer out on moving day so the professional movers can easily access it. Putting it by the front door of your home or another visible location will help everyone involved in the moving process remember to apply it frequently.
7. Wear a Mask When Needed
The CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings, aka masks, to slow the spread of the virus. Of course, lugging boxes back in forth with a mask on probably isn’t very comfortable. So when do you really need to wear a mask?
The CDC states that people should wear cloth face coverings “in public settings and when around people who don’t live in your household, especially when other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.”
So, if you and your family are unloading as part of a DIY move and there is no one from outside your household present, you do not need to wear a mask.
However, if there are movers or other service providers present then it is best if everyone is wearing a mask—since social distancing probably isn’t possible!
8. Clean Before Arrival
“Be sure your home is deep-cleaned before you move in,” Hord says. Call a cleaning service to prepare the new home. Ask them about their current procedures and safety measures before scheduling a cleaning time.
9. Shop Safely
Go online to stock up on basic items, like paper towels, toilet paper, and cleaning supplies, for your new place. If you have to go to a store, practice social distancing and look for times to shop when the place isn’t crowded.
10. Give the Boxes Time
After movers deliver boxes and furniture to your new place, don’t settle in immediately if possible.
“Time kills germs and although this may slow your move into your new home, this is best practice during these times,” Hord says.
The time will allow for any respiratory droplets in the air left behind by movers to fully dissipate.