There’s no doubt about it: moving is one of life’s most stressful undertakings. Whether you’re heading three miles down the street or three thousand miles across the country, a move of any size can cause more than its share of sleepless nights. And while a move has always been an anxiety-producing event, it has never been more so than in the era of COVID-19.
As moving concierge and organizing experts, all of us at In Order to Succeed have had to remain flexible over the past few months as we research and engage in best practices to ensure the safety of our team members, the professionals we work with, and our clients and their families. However, we understand that not everyone has the resources to work with professional organizers and productivity consultants like us. With that in mind, we wanted to offer some general tips that can help anyone moving during COVID-19 do so in as safe and efficient a way as possible.
The importance of the “virtual tour”:
The National Association of Realtors strongly encourages realtors to offer their clients the ability to take “virtual tours” of homes and apartments in the era of COVID-19. These tours, which often offer three-dimensional and panoramic views of interiors and exteriors, can provide you with a very good sense of your new home—even if it’s just on a computer screen. While we understand that it can be unsettling to consider such a major purchase based on limited or non-existent physical contact with a home, remember that licensed realtors are there to answer your questions, to help you narrow down your choices, and to find the “perfect fit.”
Should you hire professional movers?
As a concierge moving service, we work exclusively with professional moving companies that are licensed and insured. Although they may cost more, professional movers, organizers, and relocation specialists are trained and experienced. They know how to coordinate a move properly so that your goods will remain safe and will arrive undamaged. They’ve dealt with hundreds of moves and have often handled them with clients not present. Moving coordinators and professional organizers understand how to efficiently unpack the contents of your home and settle you in with as little stress as possible.
Like all of our peer organizations, In Order to Succeed follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure health and safety during COVID-19. Professional movers are, too. The California Moving and Storage Association (CMSA) provides a thoughtful, well-considered series of steps, directed toward moving companies, that allow them to provide the best possible services for their customers. These include “maintain great hygiene,” “provide contactless customer service,” “comfort your clients,” and “remain flexible.” We feel that it’s important to share these steps with you so that you can understand exactly what precautions are being taken for your safety and the safety of those around you.
What questions should you ask before you hire a moving company, organizer, or relocation specialist?
In addition to the basics—questions like “What sort of insurance coverage do you have?” and “How can you ensure that my family’s possessions will get to our new home in one piece?”—you might consider asking some questions that center around these organizations’ responses to COVID-19:
- What type of virtual and contact-free services do you offer?
- Do my family and I need to be present on moving day? If we do, how will you ensure our safety and the safety of your employees?
- How is your company monitoring the health of your employees? Do you offer them paid sick leave? (Employees with paid sick leave are more likely to stay home if they are feeling ill.)
- What kind of moving and sanitizing supplies do you provide?
In addition, the American Moving and Storage Association (AMSA) adds several guidelines for consumers to consider as you plan and undertake a move:
- Give movers the chance to serve you in the safest way possible. Notify them ahead of time if anyone in your household may have contracted coronavirus, or may have been exposed to someone who has.
- Some professional movers can provide virtual estimates, rather than in-home. If this is your preference, please check with your mover to see if they offer this option.
- Try to provide your moving crew access to a sink, soap, and paper towels throughout your move. If this isn’t practical, and it is readily available, provide hand sanitizer.
- If you plan to prepack any items, purchase new moving boxes and tape from your mover; this isn’t the time to use recycled boxes from online sources or from stores.
- Your mover may also have plastic bins available for rental. Wipe down the interior and exterior with a disinfecting wipe before packing items in them.
- If you have shelf-stable food you plan to throw out to lighten your load, consider donating it to Move For Hunger to help feed people within your community.
- Consider deep cleaning your new home before unpacking to mitigate further the risk of contracting the virus.
Finally, the staff at In Order to Succeed recommends that you create a moving plan in advance; that you and your family wear masks if you must be present during the move; that you pack a “last out, first in” box of essentials and keep it with you; and that, if practical, you wait 24 hours before unpacking your possessions (other than that “last out, first in” box).
Here at In Order to Succeed, we understand that these additional steps can make an already-stressful experience that much more challenging. However, we hope that this curated resource—which we encourage you to share with others—will give you and your family some concrete, actionable information as you research and plan your move.
If you live in New York, Connecticut, Florida, or Minnesota and would like to talk about working with us, please contact us directly. If you live elsewhere, you can find a professional organizer or productivity consultant through the National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals’ (NAPO) searchable database. All of us at In Order to Succeed wish you the very best and hope that your move is as safe and stress-free as possible!