Moving During COVID-19? 5 Tips for Preparing Safely

Moving is a major, exciting event — one that involves plenty of planning ahead. That’s especially true when you’re moving during COVID-19.

The typical move requires interacting with a lot more people, places, and things than usual. In the midst of pandemic, it’s worth considering how social distancing guidelines, potential lockdowns, and other restrictions might impact the process.

Here are five things to keep in mind as you begin life in a new home while coronavirus remains an ever-present risk.

1. House hunt virtually

If you are househunting during a pandemic, in-person meetings may not be as enticing. Find a real estate agent or agency that is prepared to work with you virtually — many now offer virtual home tours using real-time video conferencing software or, in some cases, even create 3D video of the property that you can explore on your own.

You will likely eventually need to see the best properties in person, but virtual tours let you narrow down your selections safely. When it does come time to go in person, be sure the real estate agent follows appropriate social distancing guidelines.

2. Pack safely

Even before moving day, work pandemic procedures into your planning. For example: The fewer trips you make to buy moving supplies like packing tape and boxes, the better. Buy more supplies than you think you need to prevent multiple eleventh-hour emergency trips to the store for boxes, packing paper or bubble wrap. Save your receipts; you can always return unused items at the end of the move.

If your move includes donating unwanted clothing and household items, contact the agency you plan to donate to and get a sense of their pandemic procedures are. The agency might require special sanitization or pickup/drop-off procedures.

3. If possible, perform the move yourself

Of course, hiring a moving company might be unavoidable (and preferred), especially if you have a large house and lots of belongings. But if you’re able to manage the move without extra help, this is a good time to do it. There’s nothing safer when moving during COVID-19 than just doing it yourself, perhaps with the help of a friend or family member whom you’re confident hasn’t been exposed to the virus. Most truck rental companies are still operational because transportation is generally deemed an essential service, so you should have easy access to your own moving truck.

If you plan to use a moving company to get your things from point A to point B, perform due diligence and assess the company’s safety protocols beforehand. Be sure to call and find what protocols and safety rules they follow.

Moving During COVID-19? 5 Tips for Preparing Safely

4. Give your new home time to disinfect

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the coronavirus can live on many common surfaces from “hours to days.” This means that one of the best barriers to infection is time itself. If possible, wait a couple of days after the previous occupants vacate and the last repair crew or cleaners have come through before you start to move in. (It’s still worth breaking out the sponges and disinfectant cleaning solution yourself once you walk through the door, though.)

5. Both clean and sanitize your new home

In ordinary times, you probably cleaned your new home or apartment before moving in. Now, to help protect against the coronavirus, it’s even more critical to thoroughly clean your new place — and make sure to disinfect it as well when moving during COVID-19.

What’s the difference? Cleaning usually involves soap, while disinfectants (usually made with a bleach solution) eradicate germs. Make a point of cleaning high-touch spots in the house, including doorknobs, switches, windows, and the entire kitchen and bathroom. After cleaning, make a second pass with a disinfectant. Be sure to wear a mask and gloves while cleaning, and discard them as soon as you take them off.

Whether in your old home or your new one, following these steps can help you feel secure that your move is a safe one.

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