5 Tips for Moving During COVID-19

Even before New York City started re-opening, people were still moving out of their apartments to find new ones. With many leases ending in summer, more people are on the market for a new place. Even without the pandemic, it’s notoriously difficult to find a good apartment in the city. With the threat of COVID-19 still looming and the potential for a more deadly second wave on the horizon, it’s even harder to apartment hunt.

Luckily, it’s not impossible to leave, though it’s a good idea to check with your building prior to moving to make sure they are allowing it. Once you’ve confirmed that it’s okay, it’s time to get ready.

Disinfect and Pack Everything

Before you pack everything away, make sure to wipe or spray everything down. This way you won’t be bringing any old germs or issues from your old place to your new one. Remember, COVID-19 can survive up to 24 hours on cardboard and 48-72 on plastic and stainless steel. It might also cost you a lot of money, but it’s probably a good idea to also give all of the clothes you normally wear a good wash as well to make sure everything is nice and clean when you arrive at your new place.

While most movers do offer a packing service, they also have to follow social distancing rules so it will take them much longer to pack and carry everything out of your house. Unless you have to move out immediately for some reason, you should have enough time to pack everything yourself. Make sure to have everything in boxes a day before your actual move date to ensure that you don’t spread the virus to the movers.

In addition to disinfecting all your personal items, make sure to wipe down all of the surfaces as well including the doorknobs/handles, light switches, counter tops, etc. Of course, don’t forget to clean the rest of the apartment as well. You might be moving out, but you should make sure the apartment is as clean as possible to get back your security deposit.

Get Movers

Yes, movers are still in operation and have been through the duration of the shutdown as they are considered an essential service. Don’t randomly choose a NYC moving company. You should do a little research beforehand. While you won’t be able to have them come to your house for an in-person quote, you can do a quick tour of your home to get an estimate.

From there, you should ask the companies what measures they’re taking to ensure a safe moving experience. Most reputable movers understand that safety is your number one priority and will already have a system in place. With that said you should ask the following questions:

  • What precautions are your movers taking to prevent the spread of COVID-19?
  • What precautions are you taking to protect your drivers and crew?
  • What precautions should I take during the move?
  • What will you do if you find out a worker or customer is diagnosed with COVID-19?
  • Is there a list of FAWs or additional information addressing moving during COVID-19 I can review?

Most reputable movers will be able to answer theses questions without any issues. If you find that they are not giving you clear answers, use a different service. It’s important to make sure your as well as the crew’s health is prioritized during these times.

Ask About Rescheduling

If you need to postpone your move for whatever reason – you’re sick or maybe your new apartment isn’t ready yet – you should do some research beforehand. Of course, ask the movers what their policy is on rescheduling. Most will have more flexibility due to these uncertain times. Still, it’s important to know what their refund and/or deposit policies are in the event you need to reschedule or cancel your move.

In addition, you should make sure to ask your building manager their policy on staying longer in your apartment. Some might have already found another tenant to take your place, so you won’t be able to stay any longer than the end of your lease. If there isn’t another tenant lined up and your new apartment isn’t ready, you might be able to work out a deal to pay a pro-rated amount for the number of days you stay over lease.

Practice CDC Recommended Protocol During the Move

Just because businesses are opening back up doesn’t mean COVID-19 is gone. It’s important to continue following the CDC protocols to reduce the chance of infection for yourself and for the moving crew. The day of the move make sure you do not shake hands and stay at least six feet away from the movers. In fact, it might be easier to move all the boxes into one room and stay in the other room during the move.

Most movers will probably be wearing gloves, but if they’re not, it’s a good idea to provide them with hand sanitizer when they arrive or ask them to wash their hands before they handle your boxes. If you notice that one of the movers appear sick, call the main office to report them and to figure out next steps. It might just be a cold, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

Clean Your New Home

Once you’ve gotten all the boxes into your new apartment only unpack your cleaning supplies and then clean and disinfect everything. Since most of your possessions besides your furniture should be in boxes, it will be much easier to wipe down everything. Make sure to pay special attention to areas where you will touch often such as light switches, doorknobs/handles, cupboards, faucets, etc. While you’re at it, take a good look at your walls and floors too and note any cracks or holes. You should take the time to close everything with some spackle to avoid mice and bug infestations.

Once you’ve cleaned everything, try to wait a day before handling your boxes. Again, COVID-19 can live on cardboard for up to 24 hours, so it’s a good idea to wait a bit before you handle everything. Only unpack the essentials like your toiletries, clothes for the next day, and bedding. Make sure to wipe down everything you can before you use it.

The following day, unpack and disinfect everything you can once again. It might seem like overkill, but it’s the best way to avoid bringing anything into your home. It might be tempting to keep the moving packing materials, but it’s best to dispose of them as quickly as possible.  Moving during the pandemic requires much more planning than before. If you don’t have to move, it’s probably a good idea to stay put. If your lease is up, talk to your management company to see if you can renew your lease with no or very minimal rent increase. Many companies will be wary of renting to new people especially now and would rather stick with someone they know will pay their rent on time. If that’s not an option, then hopefully these tips can help keep your move COVID-19 free.