How Do I Move During Covid-19?
You are about to Close on your new home, or you are securing the rental property and getting ready to prepare for the big move. Now the next obsession becomes how do I move during Covid-19?
Take it from me, a single mom of two younger children, a perfectionist and a stereotypical type A personality with an already somewhat germaphobic nature-it is possible! I recently purchased a home on Maui (see my most recent Blog “Would You Try to Buy a Home During Covid-19?”), and as soon as it becomes clear that my escrow is likely to close, I begin the process of planning and budgeting for the big move.
At the time of my move, the world is in the peak of panic over the Corona Virus. There is still a lot of confusion and uncertainty as to what are the rules, how we can get infected (is cardboard the enemy?) and the main question I am trying to figure out is how I can accomplish this transition during a Shelter in Place status?
Am I Allowed to Move?
I find myself doing covert quiet op missions to research what the rules are. It is still uncertain if I am allowed to move, if movers can help me and even some of the professional moving companies themselves are not quite clear on the rules. I am hesitant to post my need for assistance on Facebook. We have all seen how one post that may be factually incorrect, or disapproved by the day drinking trolls of the internet, can quickly become fuel for an online fire that spews chaos and might put someone’s profile on display like a circus sideshow!
I finally find a company that seems to think they are considered essential, and I make an appointment for them to come to my house and assess my belongings and the cost. This is itself a bit anxiety-producing as this will be the first person outside of my clan to enter my home since Covid reared its ugly head. Prior to this we are disinfecting items in the Costco parking lot before they even touch the truck, we have a handwashing station in the back of my car (look for my upcoming Blog on Handwashing On The Go!), and I am even tying up my waist-long hair in a covered bun before I go out. We likely look like complete extremists, but having a friend that is a medical professional in a coronavirus hot zone and personally knowing someone that is hospitalized and ventilated due to Covid-19, I am and determined that no virus will get to me or my kids.
Should I Hire a Moving Company?
I make an appointment and when the moving company assessor arrives, I find myself quietly judging this poor guy in my head. Does he look like the type of person that manages good hygiene? Does he sound sick? Is he one of those people that wears the same mask for days and touches it repeatedly while shopping and running errands? Is that sneeze under his mask because he has unusually long nose hairs that are snuggling against the mask or, is he secretly sick and trying to hide it so he can make money on my move? My normally non-judgemental self has to get the brain under wraps and let this poor guy do his job without me mentally assaulting his character, while smiling and pointing at items. We do a social distancing masked dance as I point to the various items that will be getting moved and he busily pokes at his iPad. I’m sure adding up dollars for every item.
A few days later I get a quote for over $5000.00 for a move from Kula to town and that is with a lot of my belongings already being packed. I reach out to a few friends and get a bradda bradda price of more like $800.00. I decide to go local style of course.
Now the next question, do I need to leave my belongings in the garage untouched for a few days so ensure that there is no lung eating virus living on the surface that could eject itself up our noses or in our eyes if we touch the brown boxes? Do the movers need to wear hazmat suits while they move our belongings to ensure that they themselves don’t infect anything in case they are carriers and not visibly sick? Do I need to move secretly in the middle of the night wearing all black and with night vision goggles so that no one reports me for not Sheltering In Place? What only a few months ago would seem like a most ridiculous consideration is now a fairly reasonable question as people are dying across the globe, and medical professionals are wearing trash bags as PPE for fear of getting infected.
How to Pack Your Belongings
Ultimately, I decide to spend the extra money and pack all of our belongings in plastic bins myself. There are too many uncertainties regarding cardboard, and I don’t want an outsider touching my stuff that is not able to be disinfected. I find the best deals on bins at Target, and with their drive-up service, it is a breeze. I use all my towels and linens to pack fragile items to keep the risk of using newspaper or anything from outside of the home to a minimum and of course I disinfect every bin before anything gets packed. I feel pretty confident at this point that our home is safely packed, we find an affordable way to move as like many others our income is affected by Covid, and now is not the time to spend carelessly. One of the silver linings of Covid is we actually enjoy packing up and preparing for the next chapter. Without having to pack in between appointments, homework, and running around like is the norm, we actually can take our time, put the stereo on and revel in this unique and likely never to happen again extended quality family time.
Now that we are safely packed and counting the last few days to the move, I feel confident that I am doing everything possible to ensure that a move during a world-wide pandemic is handled properly, safely and legally. Yes, there are a lot of questions currently surrounding how to live in the world today as it is rapidly adjusting to the new norm. But a bit of research, some common sense and a lot of humor will help ease the worry and let us focus on gratitude and the blessings in disguise that have accompanied the Shelter In Place.
So How Do I Move During Covid-19?
Just like when you do anything else. Plan, prepare, ask for help, and don’t forget to have fun! Nothing will go as planned even with the best planner. At if all else fails, just remember — it’s always five o’clock somewhere!