In the age of the coronavirus pandemic, major travel plans are mostly on hold, large gatherings are off-limits, social distancing and face coverings are the new norm in public, and people are spending more time at home than ever before.
Home design & build by Hogan Design and Construction
But even as much of the world hunkers down at home, a record number of people in the United States are moving — thanks to rock-bottom mortgage rates and a solid market inventory, new home sales are skyrocketing across the nation.
Between homeowners and renters who want a more spacious home, a less densely populated neighborhood, or a more affordable monthly housing payment, Americans are on the move.
In fact, according to a recent survey by the Pew Research Center, more than one in five (22%) adults in the U.S. has moved or knows someone who has moved during the pandemic.
Moving is usually an all-hands-on-deck process but moving during a pandemic can be even more intense. Here’s how to proceed safely (and efficiently) when hiring movers, packing up your household, cleaning your new home, and unpacking your belongings.
1. Screen Your Movers Carefully
Unless you and a few close, strong friends are going to manage your move from start to finish, chances are you’re planning to hire professional movers.
Before you consider scheduling a move or signing a contract with a specific company, however, it’s imperative to find out how they plan to ensure a safe, low-risk process for all involved.
How — and how often — do they monitor the health of their crew? What supplies (face masks, gloves, hand sanitizer) do they provide for their crew? In short, what protocols have they put in place to protect their crew, and what do they expect from you?
Open communication with your chosen mover is key, as is the full transparency of their current workplace practices. Even though most movers provide this vital info on their website, often on a dedicated FAQs page, don’t be afraid to ask questions for full confirmation or reassurance.
2. Request a Virtual Moving Quote
Avoiding close contact with people outside of your immediate family is an important part of limiting the spread of COVID-19. To that end, any part of the moving process that can be done virtually should be done that way, starting with your moving estimate.
If your chosen moving company gives you a choice, opt for a virtual survey of your belongings rather than a traditional in-home survey. You simply need a strong Wi-Fi signal, a fully charged tablet or phone, and a tape measure.
When you’re showing your belongings to the estimator over the video call, be sure to turn on all the lights in the room for optimal viewing; you should also open every cabinet and closet to ensure they see everything you plan to move. They may ask you to measure certain items, as well.
3. Pack Household Necessities Yourself
Every move is different: some people prefer to pack household items and personal belongings themselves, while others leave the entire process — packing, lifting, and moving — up to the professionals.
Even if you’re planning a cross-country move, it’s a good idea to pack your most used and/or important household items and personal belongings yourself. This means packing up the most essential bathroom and kitchen essentials as well as items of clothing you want to have quick access to once you’re in your new home.
The professionals will still move these boxes (unless you want to transport a few in your own vehicle), just as they’ll still pack everything else, wrap furniture, and do all of the heavy lifting.
Once you’re moved in and you’ve had a chance to clean, you can unpack these essential items without having to stress about washing, laundering, or wiping anything down.
4. Follow Social Distancing / Masking Guidelines
Whether you’re hiring professional movers or relying on the goodwill of family and friends, it’s vitally important to follow the CDC-recommended protocol for reducing the risk of viral spread when you’re in the company of others.
This includes avoiding close contact with people who aren’t from your immediate household, including family members who have come to help. Proper social distancing measures call for a 6-foot space (about the length of two arms) between people both inside and outdoors.
When indoors, everyone should wear a fitted mask or face covering over their nose and mouth. Keep children, vulnerable family members, and pets in a separate area, or, if possible, out of the house completely.
Ask your movers to wash their hands at the door and give them a designated restroom for the duration of the packing/moving process. Keep disinfectant wipes on hand so you can keep light switches and doorknobs as clean as possible.
5. Clean Your New Home Before You Unpack
Before you unpack a single box, take time to clean and disinfect your new space. As tempting and time saving as it may be to hire professional cleaners, it’s safer to minimize the number of people who spend time inside your new home and simply tackle the job yourself.
The CDC provides detailed guidelines on how to clean and disinfect your home in the time of coronavirus; these guidelines also contain important information on how long the virus can live on different surfaces (it dies within a few hours on some surfaces, but may last for a few days on others).
Many people worry that the virus may have made its way onto some of their belongings during the packing and moving process; if you don’t want to wash, launder, or wipe down every item of concern as you unpack, leave as much stuff as possible in a three-day quarantine.
Like reputable moving companies across the country, Hogan Design & Construction has put strict new protocols and practices in place to ensure all our remodeling and renovation projects are as safe and prudent as possible.
If you’re already thinking about customizing your new space, give us a call — our virtual design process can help you get started from the comfort of your new home.