Moving is stressful. Moving during a pandemic may be life-limiting. As COVID-19 is an airborne virus that can linger in your body for up to two weeks before you are symptomatic, any carelessness on your part can actually transport the virus hundreds of miles.
To move, you will need boxes, packing materials and tape. Contact essential service businesses in your area that are still open. Check with the office manager if they have any paper boxes. Call local grocery stores for boxes as well. Glove up to handle the boxes and leave them sit for 24 hours before you start packing. The virus can’t live for long outside a host organism. More importantly, it can’t replicate.
Because you’re going to have to handle all of your belongings, you might as well clean them. Disinfecting wipes will work, but you will run out quickly. Mix up a diluted bleach solution of 4 tablespoons of bleach in a quart of water and spray on any non-fabric items.
When you’re packing, it’s tempting to run out and grab some takeout. However, travel and contact increases your risk of getting the virus. Instead, lay in a supply of food for simple sandwiches and quick snacks. Your diet may get boring as you pack, but it will be safer.
The Packing Process
If you have laundry facilities on site, wash your clothes and linens in warm water before packing. Use your suitcase to stash away a couple of changes of clothing, toiletries and a towel so you can clean up without having to unpack at your new home.
Put Your Linens to Work
The fewer packing materials and boxes you have to handle, the better. Use your linens to wrap delicate objects and layer between plates and other dishes. When possible, be room specific. Plates get wrapped in kitchen towels and tablecloths, and living room wall art gets wrapped in a clean couch throw. Of course, linens from your bedroom can be used to wrap delicates from all over the house.
De-Clutter and Donate
Many thrift stores are closed during the pandemic and you don’t want to dump your old stuff at their door. Instead, clean the item, and get rid of them for free. Those sheltering in place are doing a lot of walking. They may find something they need in the things you can’t take with you. The next morning, check the pile and put the remaining objects in the trash, or pack them as you choose.
If you choose to advertise these items, place them as far from your home as possible in your yard or along the property line to limit your exposure to thievery. Once your possessions are all boxed up, you’re easier to rob.
Pack Your Car
If you’re driving, you may want to pack your electronics in your trunk and load the back of the car with boxes. If you’re using a moving company or renting a truck, your car will likely need to come by carrier. If you’ve never towed a car before, be aware that the learning curve on this can be quite expensive and even dangerous if you do it wrong.
Be prepared to hire a transport company to make your move safer and simpler. Put a container of disinfecting wipes in the glove box. As a courtesy to the drivers, wipe down all touchable surfaces such as steering wheel, gear shift, and indicator levers before locking it up, and wipe everything down again before you drive it.
COVID-19 has made it clear to citizens across the nation that we are truly an interconnected people. With careful preparation, you can safely move yourself and your belongings across the country. Hire help for the big stuff and clean everything before you touch it.