Safe Moving Tips While Physical Distancing

During these times, we highly recommend people wait on moving until government mandates have been lifted if possible. However, perhaps you went under contract in late February or early March, and you are already in the middle of a closing process locked into a move date. Perhaps you have other reasons where you may need to move during these times such as a new job assignment or moving as part of the military. Even after mandates have been lifted, there are still basic safety precautions that you should follow in these uncertain times.

Plan Ahead, But Be Flexible

Even with regular moving, it is always a good idea to plan ahead and take your time packing. During these times where you won’t be able to recruit friends to help you pack and unpack, start with boxing and organizing items that you won’t need to access for a month or more. Save enough for one of each kind of dish for each person in your household and pack the rest. Start packing room by room, as this can help from feeling overwhelmed while packing. Plus you can label each box by room and contents so that it is easy to organize once you are in the new space. Save the daily essentials for the week you plan to move, but you can organize them in a way to make them easier to move. If you live in an apartment, reach out to your landlord and neighbors to let them know what day you are planning to move to help avoid social contact.

If you have not signed a home contract yet, you can make a request for an addendum of flexibility in case either party must be quarantined or become unable to complete the transaction. If you or any of your family start to experience COVID-19 symptoms, you should postpone moving. The health and safety of you, your family, and your community should come first, and you should follow your local and state guidelines as far as quarantine procedures.

DIY Moving

If possible, we recommend moving on your own. This is the safest way to minimize contact with other people. If you need to rent a moving box truck or van, ask the company what their sanitation procedures are between vehicle uses and what their safety procedure is for picking up and dropping off the vehicle. Make sure your hand soap is the last thing you move so that you can wash your hands frequently while you are moving in and out, and if you can, make some available at the new place immediately as well.

Since you have saved your daily essentials to pack together, keep those in the most available tote or box that you can access after your move. Since you should not invite friends over to help you unpack, you want to make sure to take your time and not worry yourself with hunting for your essential items. Also make sure to pack some cleaning supplies with your essential items so that you can perform a deep clean to high-contact surfaces in your new home. The CDC provides some tips on how to best clean and sanitize your new home. Careful planning will help you avoid a great deal of anxiety and stress, but if you start to feel overwhelmed, remember to step away and take a breather. Remind yourself of all the positive reasons why you are moving and drink plenty of water to stay hydrated!

Hiring a Moving Company

In some cases, there may be too much to move on your own or you may be in some way restricted from lifting boxes and furniture. Currently moving companies are still considered essential businesses, but they may have reduced hours and employees. You may need to be more flexible with timelines during these unique times; however, you should absolutely check to see what their safety procedures are during these times. Look for features such as:

  • Virtual surveys to provide price estimates (as opposed to an in-home walk-throughs)
  • Health screening procedures for their employees
  • Availability of hand sanitizer, gloves, and masks for movers and drivers
  • Cleaning procedures in place for trucks, equipment, and high-contact surfaces in your home.

Always keep some hand soap available for the movers to be able to wash their hands frequently. While you should expect the moving company to provide gloves and non-medical masks for their employees, it never hurts to keep extra on hand just in case (as well as extra for you and your family). You still want to keep in mind the six foot physical distance rule and wearing masks yourself when interacting with movers. Communicate through phone and email as much as possible to reduce contact. Masks and gloves are not substitutions for keeping 6 feet apart as much as possible and frequent hand washing.

Moving Long Distance

If you are moving to a new state, many local guidelines ask that newcomers self-quarantine for at least 14 days once moved. Check with both your new state, county, and city/town guidelines to make sure you are following the proper mandates. Make sure as you are driving to a new place to wear masks and glove when filling up gas and avoid entering convenience stores unless absolutely necessary.

Bringing along some non-perishable foods supplies such as dry or canned goods can help while you wait to be able to go to the grocery store. With some careful planning ahead, you may be able to utilize grocery delivery websites and phone apps to have groceries delivered to your home. Many of these services have been overwhelmed with use, so plan for groceries to possibly take up to a week to be delivered. Some restaurants are even offering touchless delivery to help minimize contact, which gives you another option. You can also plan ahead by calling your utility companies to have essentials such as power, water, heating, and internet turned on by the time you arrive.

Hopefully if you have to move during these times, these tips can help you stay safe and avoid stress. Remember to stay flexible in case things change, and plan ahead for ease of moving and anticipating possible contingencies.

You can always each out to the experts at the Real Estate Store to find out more about real estate!

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My brother Jack and I co-own The Real Estate Store. I grew up and live in Scarborough, ME. I became a real estate broker in 2005, but Real Estate is a family business for us. We are second generation Real Estate Brokers. My experience working with apartments and with residential construction has given me insight into cost-aware construction and green construction and design.

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