Moving is already one of the most stressful things you can do, but when you add in a worldwide pandemic? Yeah . . . it's not great. The mess that ensues from packing up an entire life into boxes sometimes feels insurmountable, and once it's all in the new place, the reorganizing seems never-ending. Not to mention scheduling the movers or renting the U-Haul, setting up a moving-out and moving-in time if apartment buildings are involved, and doing all of this in a way that keeps within COVID-19 preventative measures for both your safety and whoever helps you with the move. I already went through it, and if you're gearing up for a similar move amid COVID-19, I have some advice.
The good thing is that moving is also really exciting. Even with the pandemic (and the general uncertainty many of us feel right now), moving still signifies a fresh start. You embark on a journey to a new place and everything that comes along with it: baking in your new kitchen, reading next to your new window, and cuddling up on the couch in your new living room. You also get to decorate every corner to represent exactly who you are. That being said, moving is still really freaking stressful. Worth it, yes, but stressful.
I had quite a few mishaps during my move, like having to make multiple trips to shops to buy packing supplies and not scheduling the move-in day with the new building way in advance, not realizing how difficult it would be due to current precautions. But through my mistakes, I've come up with an extensive 12-tip list that will make your life much easier when it comes to the moving-during-a-pandemic thing. That way, you can focus on all the other things going on in your life right now (which are probably a lot!), plus the fun parts about moving like the redecorating and the dream-building.
- Estimates. If you're looking into getting help from a moving service, most companies now offer virtual estimates. That way, contact is limited as much as possible except on the actual day of the move.
- Marie Kondo it. The pandemic has made so many of us realize what we need and what we don't. Take advantage of the extra time at home, and do a total clean-out of kitchen items you haven't used in years, clothing you don't wear, or gadgets that have been neglected under the bed. Make a pile for donations (many donation centers have reopened with windows for drop-offs) or selling and another pile to responsibly recycle or throw out. Give yourself at least a week for this process, and do it in advance, as it's way less stressful!
- Boxes, boxes, boxes. We've all been ordering practically everything online the past few months, so you're bound to have a lot of boxes and packing materials piled up. Reuse them! If not, ask family and friends for theirs. One thing to remember is that COVID-19 can live on cardboard for up to 24 hours, so the safest bet is to make sure the recycled boxes have not been in contact with anyone for at least that amount of time. If that's impossible for you, then buy freshly sealed new boxes and packing supplies.
- Plan in advance. So, I'm not the biggest on planning ahead. When you're moving during a pandemic, that is definitely something that comes back and bites you. About two weeks before your move, write down in an agenda or your Notes app all of the things you need for your move. Think big: this can include packing materials (boxes, bubble wrap, packing paper), water bottles, and snacks for both you and the movers and hygiene products like hand sanitizer, disinfectant, and paper towels for use before, during, and after the move. Once it's all planned out, devise a way to make as few trips as possible to the store, preferably just once.
- Pack early. With moving right now being more stressful than ever, start packing up things way in advance. Pack up books you won't be reading anytime soon, sweaters while it's still warm out, and anything else that will remain unused until after the move. I recommend starting to pack at least two weeks prior to the move.
- Inquire about policies. Something really important to do prior to your move is inquiring about your moving company's policy in response to the pandemic. Make sure gloves and masks will be in use by everyone involved, and you and your family should do the same.
- Try to pack up as much as you can yourself. Even if you would usually opt for movers packing and unpacking your items, the best thing in this situation would be to do it yourself. Try to pack up all your items in boxes so there's minimal contact with your personal objects and less sanitizing needed once you're at your new home. Try to have the boxes ready to go for the movers so it's a quicker process, too.
- Pack and clean, clean and pack. As you pack everything, take advantage and sanitize as many belongings as you can. That way, your items will get to your new place squeaky-clean and bacteria-free.
- Keep on social distancing. Limit the number of people working on the move at once. If you're moving out of an apartment, the best thing would be to keep it to two movers and yourself. If you're not using a moving service, keep the move to just two to three people while still maintaining social distancing and wearing masks. This might make the move more time-consuming, so plan accordingly in regard to scheduling.
- Schedule the move early. One thing I definitely learned after this experience is to always plan way ahead, especially in a time like this. Not only is it peak move-out season, but most apartment buildings have new policies when it comes to social distancing on elevators and how many people are allowed in the building at once. That means way less availability when it comes to scheduling your move. Call and plan way ahead, possibly even a month or more in advance.
- Moving-day precautions. The day of your move, have almost everything ready to go in boxes so it's all as seamless and quick as possible. Confirm neither you nor the movers are sick or presenting any symptoms that morning (most moving companies have policies for this on both ends anyways). Have a large amount of hand sanitizer, paper towels, soap, and disinfectant on hand for everyone, plus water bottles.
- If traveling, plan even further. If your move involves extensive traveling, a good thing to remember is to only book flights/hotels that have a lenient cancellation policy. Anyone even having a cough the day before the move can potentially cancel everything, and having the ability to change the date is crucial.
And that's it! Even though moving is almost always pretty stressful, this list and a little patience will help you glide through it with ease.