Moving is stressful on an average Tuesday. Mix in the coronavirus pandemic and you have a recipe for misinformation, uncertainty and anxiety. Your clients likely have a ton of questions about how to move safely, so here are answers to the top questions.
Related to moving in general
1. Is moving an essential service in my state?
Check your state’s executive order for essential businesses, and do so frequently as officials update their guidance daily.
2. How do I know if my move is allowed?
While your local officials may deem moving essential, some apartment communities and HOAs are not allowing residents to move during stay-at-home orders. Check with your management company, board, etc. before booking anything for your move.
Related to the moving company
3. What should I ask moving companies to ensure they can handle my move safely?
During this pandemic specifically, here are a few questions you should ask.
- Do you provide virtual or digital estimates?
- Are the trucks and movers equipped with hand sanitizers, masks and gloves?
- What other measures are being taken to ensure the safety of your customers and crew?
- How often are high-touch surfaces within the trucks sanitized?
- If I opt for packing services, can you pack my home without me there?
- What is your cancellation or rescheduling policy?
4. What should I do to best accommodate my moving company?
You should provide a few accommodations to make the move safe for your family and the moving crew.
- Wear a mask and gloves.
- Don’t forget to pack your disinfecting wipes, cleaners and soap. Allow the crew to wash their hands frequently (before, during and after).
- Disinfect high-touch surfaces often. Think: doorknobs, sinks, cabinet pulls, refrigerators and more.
- Keep your windows open during the move to provide additional air circulation
5. What happens if I need to cancel my move?
If you need to cancel your moving company, don’t worry. In most cases, booking a moving company is non-binding, allowing you the freedom to cancel at any point prior to your move — without a penalty.
However, if your moving company collected a deposit prior to your move, it may be nonrefundable. Contact your moving company about your deposit. Many reputable moving companies will be flexible or make an exception considering the pandemic. They may refund your deposit or provide credit for a future move.
6. I don’t feel comfortable with others touching my stuff. What are my options?
There are a few things you can do.
- You can move using your own vehicle, which is the safest option.
- You can rent a truck.
- You can rent a container. It’s contactless, and you can pack everything yourself.
7. I want to rent a truck and do it myself. What should I do to ensure my safety?
If you rent a truck, be sure to wear gloves and disinfect the truck’s “hotspots” before getting behind the wheel. This includes the steering wheel, keys, door handles (outside and inside), seats and seat belts, the gear shifter or selector, knobs and buttons on the dashboard, console and touch screens.
Related to disinfecting belongings
8. How do I make sure my things aren’t infected? My boxes, my stuff, my furniture, etc.
This is a great question because it seems nearly impossible to disinfect every item in every box. If you don’t have to move in right away, move your belongings first and then move yourself and family into the house 72-96 hours later.
The New England Journal of Medicine published a study that tested how long the virus can remain stable on various surfaces. They found it was still detectable on cardboard for up to 24 hours and on plastic and steel for up to 72 hours.
If you’re moving at the same time as your belongings, pack an “open first” box or two. When you get to the new home, drop your “open first” boxes in a safe place, and place the rest of your boxes away from them. (You can cover them in colorful tape or use colored markers to make sure they don’t get swallowed up in a sea of other brown boxes.) Prepare to disinfect the box and the items inside.
Here are some items to include:
- For the kitchen: disinfectant spray, water bottle, plastic cups, non-perishable snacks and paper towels.
- For the bathroom: hand soap, body wash, shampoo, conditioner, toilet paper, shower curtain, shower liner, towel, toothbrush, toothpaste and deodorant.
- For the bedroom: sheet set, blanket, pillow, T-shirt and phone charger.
- For the next day: change of clothes and instant coffee or cold brew.
9. When/how should I clean the new home properly?
Be sure to deep-clean and sanitize your new home before you move into it. Here are a few resources and tips to help:
- CDC’s recommendations on how to clean and sanitize your home.
- EPA’s list of disinfectants that meet the criteria to fight COVID-19. When purchasing any product, check if its EPA registration number (located on the product label) is included in this list. The products on this list may be marketed and sold under different brand names, but if they have the same EPA registration number, they are the same product.
- Use disinfectant wipes for quick cleanings over the most high-touch areas like doorknobs, sinks, cabinet pulls, refrigerators, etc.
- Use disinfectant sprays for areas that can’t be wiped clean. You can use Lysol, for example, on your couches and mattresses which will touch many surfaces during a move (the ground, the inside of a truck, etc.).
- Use this CDC bleach mixture recommendation on your new tile floors. Use a disinfecting wet mop cloth on your hardwood floors.
- As you unpack, be sure to also disinfect your computer and accessories (keyboards can get pretty gross), your television remote controls, credit cards, wallet and more.
10. Is it safe for installation teams to come into my home?
Many television and internet providers now offer self-service solutions for installing new equipment like routers, DVRs and such. If you’re healthy and capable, that’s your best option. Regardless of installation technique, you need to prioritize your internet setup. Under stay-at-home orders, your internet connection is your connection to work, family and friends.
There have been 1-2 hour call wait times, as more and more people call to increase speeds and bandwidth. You can’t bank on getting an appointment as easily as you have in the past. Additionally, you may also want to consider a high-bandwidth plan to account for changes in working from home, video calls and multi-device streaming and more.
Jenna Weinerman is the VP of Marketing for Updater. Follow her on Twitter.