So it’s the middle of a pandemic and you find yourself having to move soon, how do you do it appropriately and safely? There are a few routes to take, whether it’s professional help or just family and friends, but you still need to practice social distancing. Here’s how.
You bought a house prior to the pandemic, and now it’s time to move. Even if you didn’t buy a new place but still have to move, the day is here when you have to pull up stakes and go somewhere else. Yes, some moves are unexpected and this isn’t an especially great time to change places for any reason, but some people are left with few choices. But at this time, when the virus has yet to be contained, is it safe to move? It can be, if you take some precautions. The timing may not be ideal, but if you gotta go, you gotta go.
There are three main options you’ll have when deciding how you’ll be moving; with the help of family and friends, hiring a professional, or doing it by yourself. While you can ask friends and family to help you during your move, some of them might be hesitant due to the virus, so make sure you’re flexible and accepting of others willingness, or lack thereof, to help you pack up and get going. If you decide on hiring professional movers, someone is going to have to come into your current residence to see exactly what has to be moved and tell you what it will cost. Either option is going to result in you having to work closely with those you haven’t been self-isolating with, so keep in mind the proper social distancing protocols to keep you and your household safe.
Tips for Moving While Practicing Social Distancing
When your friends, family, or moving professionals arrive, they should wear a mask, gloves and coverings on their shoes. Have plenty of disinfectant spray and hand sanitizer readily available to spray down boxes or high-touch areas or objects. Make sure you also set ground rules before starting the move so everyone is on the same page. Trying to stay six feet apart as much as possible, no contact with one another, put on new gloves if you’ve taken your pair off, are just some examples. Setting boundaries will help make everyone feel comfortable and safe while helping you move.
Another way to stay as protected as possible, is to buy new boxes or use ones that you already own. Now is not the time to try to save some money by scrounging around for used boxes since cardboard can carry the virus for 24 hours, so for the sake of your health, invest in new boxes. Most movers sell them as well as other packing supplies, and they’ll deliver them to your door. Just be sure to spray with a disinfectant prior to the big day. Another option? Sanitized plastic bins, but leave them outside or in the garage for 24 hours.
Before your dedicated helpers arrive, clean all the furniture that you are taking with you. Then, on the day of the move, wear masks and gloves, maintain a 6-foot safe zone, and ask that everyone washes their hands before jumping in. Follow these same precautions once you and your belongings arrive at your destination. Plus, disinfect everything and that has been padded and wrapped once it is unwrapped, and recycle the packing materials, including the boxes, when the move is complete.
And one more crucial tip: Make sure the move can be rescheduled or cancelled outright if someone in your household becomes ill because of the coronavirus.
Precautions to Take When Hiring Professionals
If you’ve chosen to hire a moving company to assist, you can – and should – accompany them as they go from room to room to answer any questions, but do so from a safe distance. There may be another alternative, though. Bellhops, a moving service company, books moves without the need for someone to come to your home, walk around and give you an estimate.
The Chattanooga-based firm is not a moving company in the traditional sense. Like Uber and Lyft, the company uses technology and a vast amount of data collected from performing more than 200,000 moves to base your cost on the time it believes will be involved rather than on weight or number pieces you need to move. Of course, someone has to actually perform the move. But, Bellhops bonded, licensed and insured movers are fully versed with the hygiene and social-distancing practices outlined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and World Health Organization.
Each mover who arrives at your current location has deliberately chosen to accept the job. Each one arrives independently, wears gloves and a mask, avoids physical contact with his fellow workers, or the client, and cleans and disinfects the equipment used before and after the job.
If this 21st Century company isn’t active yet in your neck of the woods, you’ll have to find another mover. But if you do, make sure you and the professionals you hire take every precaution to protect your family and your things.
Syndicated newspaper columnist, Lew Sichelman has been covering the housing market and all it entails for more than 50 years. He is an award-winning journalist who worked at two major Washington, D.C. newspapers and is a past president of the National Association of Real Estate Editors.