Moving on any regular day is challenging enough, let alone during a pandemic. COVID-19 has changed the way we must approach everyday activities, including how we move. Here are a few practical, must-ask questions for those brave souls navigating the feat of relocation.

1. Can I Postpone the Move?

For starters, do you have to move right now? For example, is this particular relocation essential to your family, work, lifestyle, etc.?

For many individuals, moving during the COVID-19 pandemic isn’t negotiable. Perhaps, your lease is up, or you just landed a new job and already closed on a house. Naturally, these situations aren’t as flexible as others, such as moving for a better climate or a more beautiful view out your window.

Weigh your risks carefully, especially if you’re in a high-risk group, and consider postponing your move.

2. Are Professional Movers Available?

The short answer is probably. In most states, professional movers are considered “essential businesses,” so moving companies are still operating daily. Of course, what is deemed to be essential and non-essential varies by state.

Even if professional movers are up and running in your area, consider alternate approaches. Store your items in a self-storage unit until the pandemic ends or move your items DIY style (aka yourself) to avoid more exposure.

3. Can I Rent a Moving Vehicle?

As mentioned, professional movers are generally in the “essential” workers categories. Franchises with moving vehicles available for rent are typically considered “essential,” as well.

4. Are Self-Storage Facilities Still Open?

Self-storage facilities are still open — but they might have limited hours of accessibility. Some self-storage facilities are only allowing a specific number of clients access to their units at once. This approach is to promote social distancing and protect employees.

Many businesses, including self-storage facilities, are following newly updated hygiene practices, such as additional cleaning shifts or six-feet-space stickers. Although your items are likely experiencing no change in storage standards, expect interactions to be different.

5. What is the Moving Company’s COVID-19 Policy?

On the one hand, many businesses have shuttered during this pandemic. And on the other hand, plenty of companies are successfully navigating the economic slump. One commonality is that companies still in operation typically have a COVID-19 policy in play now.

This safety blueprint could mean buying floor stickers to space patrons six feet apart in the lobby or requiring temperature checks at the front door. Each business is different.

No matter if you’ve already scheduled a moving company or shopping around, an excellent approach is to review the COVID-19 policy. You can typically find this information on the company website or by contacting them directly.

6. How Are Most Moving Companies Handling the Pandemic?

The “in” season for moving is typically from April to September. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, moving companies are still experiencing an influx of people relocating. However, most moving companies are working feverishly — just like many other businesses — to vamp up their protocols to align with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

For example, moving companies are making more reservations over the phone and online. Plus, they’re practicing social distancing in their lobbies and truck rental parking lots. Cleaning and sanitation shifts have increased, as well, in addition to glove and mask-wearing.

7. How Soon Should I Pack Before Movers Arrive?

Pre-pandemic, you could be taping up your last box as the professional movers rolled up to your house. In the middle of a pandemic, however, you want to be packed up 24 hours before the movers arrive.

Coronavirus, the virus that causes COVID-19, can last on various surfaces for a long time. For example, it can live on cardboard for up to 24 hours. As a result, you want to leave your boxes untouched for at least a day before moving. What’s more, some moving companies might include this stipulation in their updated protocol.

And remember, you’ll probably want to let your boxes sit for a day before unpacking them at their destination.

8. Will the Pandemic Alter My DIY Moving Plans?

If you planned to execute your move by yourself, the pandemic shouldn’t change those plans significantly. Naturally, how much your plans shift depends on where you’re moving from and where you plan to go.

In the United States, crossing state lines isn’t generally a problem. However, if you plan on moving out of the country, you might need to rethink your timeline.

9. Should I Cancel My Move?

Although the CDC, the federal government, state regulators, and employers have all issued strict guidelines, canceling your move is up to you. Some considerations include your health, your family’s health, and how this move might impact your overall quality of life — amid the pandemic and beyond. If you choose to cancel your move, though, be sure to notify the moving company promptly.

10. How Can I Shop for Moving Supplies?

The best answer regarding how to shop for moving supplies is, in one fell swoop! Before there was a deadly virus on our shores, running to the store for another roll of tape or some bubble wrap was not an issue. Now, for fear of sounding macabre, it might cost you your health. Ordering supplies online is your safest route.

11. How Should I Clean My Belongings?

Here’s a pro tip: clean as you go. It’s tempting to toss items in a box or pack up without cleaning anything — but that’s a no-go nowadays. Please do yourself a favor and wipe down your belongings before you pack them. Sure, you’ll have to budget some extra time for packing, but it will be well worth it. If you don’t have any disinfectant wipes or spray on hand, use some homemade household cleaners.

12. Does It Make a Difference What Kind of Boxes I Use Now?

Pre-pandemic, any old box would do — but think twice nowadays. Remember that the molecules that cause COVID-19 can live on cardboard surfaces for up to 24 hours. This reality means that “any old box” could carry a deadly virus.

Avoid used or recycled moving boxes. Instead, opt for boxes or totes that you already have in your house. Or, you can purchase them new.

13. Should I Ask Friends and Family to Help Me Move?

Let’s be real; social distancing is challenging. Moving is a natural event that brings most friends and families together. While this can still be your reality, make sure you know what you’re getting yourself into recruiting help.

Some people consider the pandemic more of a threat than others. Be sure to know how your moving helpers feel about social distancing, mask-wearing, and disinfecting. Plus, if anyone in your group of friends or family feels ill, please kindly excuse them from helping.

14. How Do I Thank People Who Help Me?

Donuts in the morning and pizza parties in the evening are standard for moving day. This go-around, opt for some other grateful gestures. For example, make hand sanitizers readily available for your helpers. Be sure that plenty of soap and towels are ready to use, too. Instead of sharing a large pizza, go for individually packaged meals, or give a gift card.

15. How Do I Handle the Kids During the Move?

If you’re moving with children, relocating is a whole other ballpark. Aside from the extra “stuff,” children don’t always make the best helpers or adhere to social distancing guidelines well. Of course, we don’t blame them; it’s unnatural.

Instead of juggling parenting responsibilities and moving, find a safe and trusted sitter for the kids. They’ll appreciate the reprieve, and you’ll feel less stressed in the meantime.

Moving during a pandemic is challenging, but doable. By planning appropriately and taking strategic steps toward your relocation goals, you and your family can stay safe and healthy.

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Dyanne Harvey