By Dr Eugene Brink
Packing up your house and belongings and moving to a new place and house seems daunting.
Under normal circumstances, moving is one of the most stressful life events. Doing it during a pandemic is even more stressful and less ideal. Nevertheless, many people are making use of lower interest rates to scale up or buy their first house – and this means that they must move.
“Moving during a pandemic? It can be done. Carefully, thoughtfully and exhaustingly,” writes Kelly Lawler for USA Today. “Maybe your lease is up. Maybe you need to combine your household with others in your family for financial reasons. Maybe you were already in the process of changing homes and you can’t put it off.”
Heeding some practical tips before embarking on this exercise will make something cumbersome at least a little better.
- Communicate well
Whether you’re using professional movers, friends or family to assist you, convey your expectations about safety in a clear manner. Things that matter include maintaining a social distance, wearing masks and using proper personal protective equipment (PPE).
- Hand sanitiser AND regular soap
“I had plenty of hand sanitiser on hand for our movers and ourselves but had packed away the soap in the bathroom. But in the three-and-a-half hours it took to load the truck, everyone needed to use the restroom,” Lawler says. “We still had some dish soap around, thankfully, but anything that kept us inside longer than we needed to be (like rooting around for soap) extended both the move and the time we spent in contact with strangers.”
Make sure that your moving company are vigilant about sanitising and disinfecting trucks and moving supplies.
- Clean as you go and finish well in advance
“When is the last time that the switch on your bedside lamp or the outside of your crock pot has been cleaned? Use this opportunity to sanitise your belongings, wiping items down with disinfectant. If you don’t have any, you can make one with a solution of one tablespoon bleach and water,” says Laura Mueller from Moving.com.
She adds that you should preferably finish packing 24 hours before the movers arrive. “Coronavirus can last a long time on surfaces, including up to 24 hours on cardboard boxes. Your movers will be wearing gloves, but for everyone’s safety you should still have your boxes packed and sitting untouched at least a day before your movers arrive.”
- Use the right boxes
Mueller says Covid-19 can live on cardboard for as long as 24 hours. “So now is not the time to be picking up free moving supplies from places that are recycling them. Boxes that you already have in your home are fine, but if you need any extras then you’ll need to go to the store and buy them new.”
- Avoid a crowd on moving day
It is advised that you invite over only the people essential to the move when you load your goods. Even though it is exciting to have friends and family over, they can cause unnecessary distractions and cause problems with social distancing and possible infection.
- Unpack carefully
Sanitise your stuff and new home carefully when you arrive and start unpacking.
Dircks.com, 11 January 2021, “Top 10 tips for moving during Covid”, https://dircks.com/moving-tips-advice/top-10-tips-for-moving-during-covid/.
Kelly Lawler, 4 August 2020, “5 things I wish I’d known before I moved amid the COVID-19 pandemic”, https://www.usatoday.com/story/life/2020/08/04/covid-and-moving-what-wish-knew-before-moved-during-pandemic/5571697002/.
Laura Mueller, 5 July 2021, “Moving During the Coronavirus Pandemic (COVID-19): What to Know”, https://www.moving.com/tips/moving-during-coronavirus-epidemic-heres-what-you-need-to-know/.