Moving alone can be stressful, but having to make a big move during the pandemic only makes it more difficult. COVID-19 has disrupted our lives and made once simple things more complicated. We have had to rethink how we do even the most basic things to make sure we keep ourselves and others safe. Before you make a big move, it is important that you do your research and make sure that you take all precautions to keep you and your family safe.
1) Viewing Houses and Apartments
The virus that causes COVID-19 can live, depending on the surface, for up to five days. If the apartment or house you’re looking at has been empty for a week, you should be safe to go in unmasked. If not, mask up. Wear gloves or cover your hand with a baggie so you can turn on light switches and pull ceiling fan chains. If the water is on, wash your hands before you leave, or carry hand sanitizer so you can clean up when you leave. Do not remove your mask until you get the chance to clean your hands. If your move is short term, consider renting for a month from the images on the website.
2) Getting Boxes
If you can’t afford to buy boxes, use all the storage bins you have in your home to move as much as possible. Use all your suitcases to pack up your clothes and wrap your fragile items in your extra towels and sheets before putting them in plastic bins. If you have strong friends who can help you with furniture, move whole drawers after wrapping them in a large trash bag. The challenge isn’t so much that the virus can live on cardboard, though that is a concern. The problem is that you’ll have to enter several buildings to collect the boxes. When you get the boxes home, try to leave them sit, untouched, for at least 24 hours so the virus will die on the surface.
3) New Patterns
Your new grocery store will be a totally different experience than your previous one and you may have to spend more time looking for things. If possible, go early in the morning before too many people are out and about. Carefully walk down each aisle, noting where things are so your next trip will be a bit quicker. As you can, do this at every retail establishment you need to shop at for your basic needs. Carefully review your neighborhood. Are there dog walkers? Joggers? Make sure you get in your exercise during a quiet time of the day, or wear a mask to protect yourself from airborne droplets that may carry the virus.
To unpack safely, wear a mask but skip the gloves. With gloves on, we often forget to wash our hands. Color code your moving boxes so things get put in the right rooms by those unloading the truck. Treat everything those folks touch as contaminated. Once you’re in your new home for good, leave your shoes by the door. To successfully decontaminate your new house,
- clean the area with a mild bleach spray or straight peroxide
- wipe down everything as you take it out of the box
- wash your hands after every box with warm water, soap and lots of scrubbing
- dry your hands with a paper towel
As you unpack your dishes, move all your linens right to the washing machine and wash things in warm water, with soap. If you don’t have laundry facilities, put the linens in a big trash bag for transport to the laundromat. Do not shake the linens as you put them in the washer or the plastic bag; any virus clinging to them will be dispersed in your new home.
Time and disinfectant can protect you from the risks of COVID-19, but masking and proper hand-washing are critical to staying safe. Get a packet of disposable masks you can remove and discard and take water breaks when you need them. Do your best to get the proper rest so you can also avoid ordinary illness.