Moving Safely and Cheaply During the Pandemic 



By Mykal Kaminski

For most of us, 2020 at best is getting a one-star, “do not recommend” review. Literally billions of humans are hoping 2021 will be a better run around the sun, and it probably will be, especially considering how low the bar was set this year.

The one thing that can be predicted with a fair degree of accuracy for 2021 is that a good deal of folks will be moving. Some moves will be Covid-connected; financial pressure forcing a relocation or a move due to a desire to be closer to relatives and a support system. Hopefully for many, the moves will be on to bigger and better things as the economy re-starts and new opportunities open in new places.

Moving during normal times is never fun, but it can be made less painful. Moving during the pandemic, however, poses a host of new issues, with safety and health now top concerns.

Obviously, there are major differences between moving internationally or domestically; but with the world likely to remain in a state of flux – to put it gently – for a while, it’s a fair bet the majority of moves by Americans will be domestic in 2021.

The first thing that can help alleviate stress is knowing what the move will cost. Having a clear price tag in mind frees up mental space for other considerations and allows you to budget for things such as redecorating or even something as simple as whether you can get that new doghouse or birdfeeder.

Start off by checking one of the many moving company websites, such as those listed on this International van lines review, to see what deals might be had. Some companies offer instant price quotes, while many don’t. Find out if the service you choose contracts work, and if so, what parts of the job. You want to feel comfortable with the moving service you choose, and knowledge is power. Check all the boxes: Is the deposit refundable? Do they offer customizable options? How flexible is the firm? Does their customer service feel up-to-par?

After getting answers to the questions above, make sure to take advantage of the calculator service provided by trusted moving companies. As noted, having a firm cost number in mind allows you to move on to the special challenges of moving during these difficult times.

Following the guidelines set by the CDC is essential. Both you and any moving professionals should wear masks and stay six feet apart. Most moving companies aren’t sending representatives into homes to make cost assessments these days, but rather are doing it virtually via a video service. You can use a smartphone, tablet or laptop and take the company on a “tour” of your home. And you probably want to be honest when doing so; getting into a squabble after the company finds out your 19th century heirloom table is a lot heavier than it looked online is only going to cause you unneeded stress – and likely unplanned expenses.

Visit your mover’s website and find their Covid-19 policy. What are their rules on disinfection and social distancing? Are you comfortable with it? If you’ve got even an iota of doubt, call or video-conference with a human rep and have them spell it out.

Take advantage of a great opportunity to clean as you go. Everyone has that lamp with several inches of dust on it or that suitcase that could really have used a wipe down a decade ago. A cheap disinfectant is old-fashioned bleach. Head here for info on using bleach safely from the Michigan State University’s Center for Research on Ingredient Safety.

Don’t do what most people do and finish taping up the boxes before the movers arrive. The sealed containers could provide an added layer of anti-viral protection. Of course, you’ll want to wipe down the boxes before you open them at your new location.

The cheapest way to move has always been DIY. Grab a friend or two, promise them some free munchies and you’re good to go. That option might not now be available, and you certainly shouldn’t push friends into doing something they might feel is safe; regardless of how much pizza is offered. If a friend does sign up for the job, make sure to prepare all the equipment you’ll need ahead of time: gloves, masks, disinfectants, hand sanitizer, etc. And naturally, you’ll have to find a way to stay six feet apart, which likely means your friend can’t ride in the rental truck with you.

It is possible to move safely and cheaply during the pandemic, but it will require a bit more homework and a lot more preparation. Happy moving!    

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