There are many reasons why it might be time to move to a new apartment, even during the pandemic. And, while moving day is stressful enough on its own, moving during the pandemic might be even more stress-inducing. However, there are many precautions you can take to make sure your move goes as smoothly as possible — and keep yourself and others safe during the process.
To that end, we asked expert movers and moving companies to give us their best advice for how to move safely during the pandemic. Here’s what they said:
Confirm the Moving Company is Open & Can Operate in the Area
- Ross Sapir, CEO, Roadway Moving:
“First, confirm that the moving company is able to operate in your area. With COVID spikes across the country, it is important to know the rules for both your starting city and your destination. For example, some cities and states have been quarantined by their respective local authorities. Also, confirm with your building management to see if there are new moving policies, regulations and restrictions. It’s best if you ask about this at least a week before the move so the moving company can also adjust on their end.
We also advise clients to follow safety and sanitation protocols and instructions from their health authorities. These include washing their hands multiple times throughout a day for at least 20 seconds. Additionally, clients who want to interact with our movers are advised to maintain social distance and to refrain from physical contact, as well as washing hands before and after.”
Work with a Moving Company with COVID-19 Regulations
- Matt Van Winkle, broker & owner, Re/Max Northwest Realtors:
“Social distancing and wearing masks seem to be the best ways to reduce the risk of exposure. These parameters can be easily met while moving.
I would suggest working with a moving company that keeps teams together on a daily basis. This reduces the risks of movers being in contact with a lot of people on a regular basis. Maintain distance during the process. The whole idea of hiring movers is that they’re doing the work — not you — so just give them space and let them do their work.
I would recommend asking the moving company about their procedures for ensuring a safe environment. What protocols have they instituted amid the pandemic? Many moving companies are using masks and gloves, and also practicing social distancing from the clients to help reduce the risk of spread.”
Discuss a Contactless Move
- Lior Rachmany, CEO & founder, Dumbo Moving & Storage:
“To ensure your move is as safe as possible, ask your moving company about contactless moves. Currently, moving companies aren’t requiring the customer to be present during the move. The client has to unlock the doors to the apartment, review what needs to be moved and then the customer is free to leave. Once the movers have finished, the customer can return to the apartment to lock up, and then head to their new apartment, unlock the door and start the process over again.
Before your move begins, instead of having a sales representative come to your apartment to take inventory, the customer should take a video of everything that has to be moved and send that, instead. It is much safer to pack items yourself. But, if you are unable to, request that your movers wear gloves. Remember, all movers must wear a mask during the move. If they aren’t, notify the moving company immediately.”
Protect Family Members & Yourself
- Kenni Sterns, head of health & safety, UniMovers:
“Keep at-risk individuals out of the moving-day process. Anyone at higher risk of contracting the virus or experiencing more severe symptoms if they do contract COVID-19 would be better off not there. Exposure to fewer people lessens their chance of contracting the virus. Encourage them to go to the new apartment and prepare by cleaning the walls, cabinets and carpets, instead of being there during the load-up process. It’s important to clean the space before moving in. Wipe down all surfaces with a disinfectant wipe or spray. This will kill any lingering viruses or bacteria hanging around before they have an opportunity to collect on your furniture and belongings.
While your movers are in your apartment gathering your belongings, keep everyone safe by wearing a mask that covers your mouth and nose. Additionally, opening up windows and doors to promote extra airflow helps prevent stagnant air from collecting in your space.”
Opt for Plastic Over Cardboard
- Kenni Sterns, head of health & safety, UniMovers:
“Another good tip for a safer move is to opt for plastic totes over cardboard boxes. Plastic can easily be cleaned with antiseptic wipes, sprays and cloths. Be sure to clean the outside (sides and lid) after packing your items safely inside before your movers arrive. After the move, but before unpacking, repeat the cleaning process to remove any unwanted germs. Not only do they clean well, but they’re easy to stack, too!”
Prepare a Special Bag for Moving During COVID-19
- Billy Kornfeld, co-founder, Camelot Moving and Storage:
“A small bag with a mask, hand sanitizer, and enough water and snacks for the day can keep you safe and comfortable, eliminating the need to pop into a convenience store or a grocery store and potentially expose yourself to the virus. If you do need to visit different places during this day, then wear your mask, keep your distance and avoid touching anything. Or, if you do, avoid touching your face until you have a chance to wash your hands well.”
Stay in a Different Place for a Few Days
- Michelle Schenker, co-founder, Safe Smart Living:
“Interview at least two moving companies for quotes, asking them to wear masks and keep their distance during the home visit. Also, make sure they are licensed and insured. To keep socially distant during the moving process, rent a short-term home for a few days before and after the move to ensure that you are not exposing yourself. If you are not home during the move, leave a key for the movers with sticky note instructions on items that needed extra care or were to be left at the house/not moved, and make sure movers have your phone number to follow up with any questions or issues that arise.”
Do Your Part
- Brett Epstein, CEO, Hire a Mover:
“Have everything packed in sealed boxes. This will protect your belongings from being touched or exposed. Wrap mattresses and other sensitive items with shrink wrap or mattress bags. This will ensure they don’t get dirty during the move. Also, during the moving day, give the movers enough space. Let them get in and do their thing; you can be in the property, but you don’t need to be following them around every room. Additionally, it’s very important to keep the air flowing in your property. Keep windows and doors open to keep the ventilation at its best.”
- Marshall Aikman & Padraic McHale, founders, Amazing Moves:
“Most moving companies are currently following protocols and safety measures to protect their employees and customers — for example, social distancing and sanitization measures; wearing masks and gloves; providing virtual moving estimates, etc. And, whether you’re hiring movers or not, there are some things that you can do to stay safe and healthy during your move. We recommend that you:
- Purchase new cardboard boxes and moving supplies (don’t utilize used boxes).
- Wear gloves when you pack and unpack.
- Leave your doors and windows open to improve ventilation and minimize your risk of transmission on moving day.
- Sanitize your belongings as you pack.
- Finish your packing at least 24 hours before the movers show up.”
We can’t put life on pause while dealing with the pandemic, but it’s paramount that we all keep aware and do our best to protect ourselves and the people around us. We hope you’ve found some useful tips for your next move. Then, when you’re ready to browse for a new rental, head over to RentCafe to start your search.