Moving During Coronavirus: 9 Steps for a Safe and Successful Relocation

Moving So many things feel different now because of coronavirus. Extra precautions mean masks and gloves and paying close attention to social distancing. Even hunting for a new apartment, signing a rental agreement and moving during coronavirus have changed.


While you can decide to tour from home or digitally sign your lease, you have to do things in person when it comes time to move. If you can put off moving during coronavirus, do so, but if you have limited choices, here are a few ways to get a move done safely during this uncertain time.

1. Catch up on your new home’s coronavirus rules

The first way to stay safe when moving somewhere new is knowing what the local coronavirus-related rules are. If your move is within the same city, things shouldn’t change.

However, moving further could mean ending up somewhere with stricter rules. This is especially true if you’re headed to one of the coronavirus hotspots like New York City, Chicago, New Orleans, Detroit, Seattle or Miami.

No matter where you’re going, make sure you take a moment to review city and state coronavirus regulations. The National Governors Association has a helpful resource that makes it easy to look up this information.

2. Confirm your moving company is available

If you decide to use a moving company for your move, check and double-check everything is good to go. Not only do you need to ensure your moving company, considered an essential business, is still operating, but that they’ve implemented safety protocols.

Talk to your movers and get verbal and written confirmation that coronavirus won’t delay your move. A phone call or video chat, along with a physical invoice, should cover your bases.

While in contact, ask about the policies and procedures they’ve implemented to maintain safety around coronavirus. They should have an actual plan to share with you. This should include how the company is keeping its staff safe, as well as how they’re sanitizing trucks and equipment.

On moving day, you should see your movers in masks and gloves with a big bottle of hand sanitizer in their truck. They should do their best to stay an appropriate distance apart from you, but help when you can. Try to stay in rooms where movers aren’t picking up or delivering stuff to make social distancing easier.

3. Consider moving on your own

Hiring movers can feel like a more of a risk than you want to take on moving day, and that’s OK. While moving on your own requires a little more time and work, it does minimize contact with other people.

If you don’t have anything too heavy to move or have friends you’re comfortable being around who can help, it’s fine to move by yourself. You can rent a truck and sanitize it yourself or even use a storage pod. Storage pods are great since you do all the loading yourself, but the storage company handles the actual move without coming into contact with your stuff.

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4. Stock up on coronavirus-related supplies

Having movers in your home and traveling the distance to your new place during coronavirus requires extra precautions. You should have the masks and gloves you expect your movers to wear for protection. Cloth masks are the best in this instance since you don’t have to worry about having a lot. You can wash what you wear overnight, so they’re clean and ready the next day.

It’s also a good idea to keep extra disinfecting wipes handy during your move. Wipe down doorknobs and areas frequently touched by the movers to ensure they’re germ-free afterward. If you can find any, or make your own, extra hand sanitizer is always good to have on hand as well.

5. Buy your moving boxes

Most moving advice comes with tips on how to score free moving boxes. This is not the best strategy during coronavirus. While it may create a more cost-effective move to hunt down free, used boxes, now is not the time to handle packaging you aren’t sure where it came from. Coronavirus lives on different surfaces for different lengths of time, but germs can linger on cardboard for 24 hours.

6. Keep your move organized

With all the variables of social distancing and coronavirus safety to worry about, you want to keep your move as organized as possible. Make sure you:

  • Create a packing inventory, so you know what’s in each box
  • Separate what’s going on the moving truck and what’s coming with you
  • Keep all important papers regarding the move and your new apartment together and in your possession
  • Share your moving day itinerary with a friend or family member so they know where you are and can reach you if necessary

If possible, you can add another layer of protection to your move by completing all your packing at least 24 hours before the movers come. Letting boxes sit, at least that long without touching them can help decrease the risk of transmitting any germs from your end to someone else.

7. Plan for pets

If you’re moving with a pet, make advance arrangements for their care. Keeping them at home with you can stress them out, so it’s better pets aren’t around on moving day. Check with your regular vet first to see if they’re still offering boarding services. They may still allow it as long they’re able to pick your pet up from your car.

If that’s not an option, ask a friend or family member you trust to watch your pet. Transfer the animal in a crate so you there’s limited contact between you and your pet sitter. Once you settle in and get your furry friend back, make sure to wash your hands after petting them (or wash your pet.)

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8. Set up utilities way in advance

Since it’s not possible to go crash for a night at a friend’s house if you forget to turn on your power, make sure to set up all utilities before you move. This includes water, gas, electricity and Wi-Fi.

If you can’t completely set up before you move in, at least call early on to schedule a time so you have as little of a wait as possible. Not only can you not cook, flush or shower without utilities, but working from home is almost impossible without the internet.

9. Explore your new community — virtually

If you’re feeling anxious the night before your move, distract yourself by getting to know your new neighborhood. A virtual stroll will keep you socially distant and safe. Plus, you can do it any time of day or night.

Check out a map to locate the closest grocery store, pharmacy and hospital. Do a local search online to see what restaurants are close by who are delivering or allowing curbside pickup. Search your new address in GrubHub or DoorDash to see what options pop up so you know where to order from when you’re too tired to cook.

A little virtual reconnaissance will help you ease into your new home even though you can’t go out and wander.

Reasons to cancel a move

Even though it’s possible to safely move during coronavirus, certain situations may make it necessary to cancel or postpone a move. If you’re in a high-risk group, it’s best to wait and move later. You should also delay if you’re feeling sick in any way.

“If you or someone in your family is feeling sick or displaying symptoms of the virus, the best thing to do is to delay your move until you get the all-clear from a health professional,” writes Tara Mastroeni in Forbes.

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