How To Move Safely During a Pandemic

Posted in Moving on Apr 14, 2020, tagged with moving tips

How To Move Safely During a Pandemic

It is a universally acknowledged truth that moving is hard—it’s stressful and it takes a physical and emotional toll, even during the best of times. Having to move at a time when everything is uncertain and—let’s be honest—frightening, is certainly not ideal. But sometimes, a move can’t be put off, not even in the midst of a worldwide pandemic.

In this post, we’ll look at how you can progress with your move safely during an epidemic or pandemic when you don’t have any other choice.

4 questions to ask yourself and others before you move

1. Should you cancel your move?

If your move is not absolutely necessary or time sensitive, cancelling or postponing it till after the pandemic eases is the safest option for yourself and your moving team. There are several factors at play that will affect whether to cancel or postpone your move:

  • Constantly changing information means the timeline for how long the epidemic or pandemic will last is unknown. If your move is time-sensitive for reasons that are unchanged by the pandemic, you may need to move forward anyway.
  • Shelter-in-place orders and social distancing measures may make it difficult or impossible to proceed with your move as planned.
  • The availability of moving services may be limited if businesses are shut down, making it difficult to move your belongings.
  • Whether you are a member of a high-risk group (including individuals over 60, those with a pre-existing condition indicated as high-risk by the medical community, or those who are immunocompromised).
  • Where you are moving to. If you had plans to move out of state, that may not be possible at this time or may be significantly more difficult due to travel restrictions.

If you are able to delay the sale of your home or the purchase of a new one, you should do so. Likewise for moves to and from apartments or condos that you have not yet signed the paperwork for or fully committed to.

If you have already sold your home or given your notice of vacancy, you may have to proceed with the move as planned if you are unable to arrange a delay with all of the parties involved (buyer, seller, new tenant, realtor, landlord, etc.).

If you are already in the midst of a move, complete it as quickly as possible while adhering to any safety practices recommended by local authorities and the CDC and WHO. 

From Business Insider:

From March 18 to March 20, RENTCafé surveyed over 6,000 people who are in the process of searching for a new rental home to see if they were still planning on moving, and 56% said they will still move as soon as they find a new apartment. On the other side, 17% said they will not move in light of the pandemic and 16% hadn't decided yet.

2. Are moving services still operating?

If the government has shut down all non-essential services, some moving companies may have decided to close their doors voluntarily. However, movers are considered an essential service, so others in your area may still be operating.

TSI remains operational, with no disruptions for small moves and specialty shipments anywhere in the US.

If you have already booked movers, they will reach out to you if there are any changes to the plan. If you are feeling uncertain, you should call them to confirm your move and ask about any precautions that need to be taken.

If you have not yet booked movers, you should research companies and contact them directly to find out what types of services they offer and what measures they are taking to keep their employees and customers safe.

Flat rate box shipping

If you’re moving out of state or across the country, TSI’s flat-rate box shipping service is an ideal option for transporting items like clothing, books, decor, and other household goods. Simply order your boxes and they’ll be delivered to your door along with all the other supplies you’ll need. Once your boxes are packed, we’ll return to pick them up, and will deliver them to their destination. Contactless pick-up and delivery are available and encouraged.

Learn more about our flat-rate box shipping service.

3. Can you put things into storage?

If you are not able to orchestrate a move but you can’t stay in your current residence because it is a dorm or another form of student housing, or for any other reason, it may be easiest to put your packed items into storage temporarily. Most major storage companies are continuing to operate—some are even offering discounts—but may have reduced hours or limits on the number of people allowed in to access storage units at one time.

4. What if I want to cancel or reschedule?

If you have decided to cancel or change your moving date, get in touch with your moving company as soon as possible. The earlier you let them know, the faster they can make arrangements to reschedule your move or provide a refund.

TSI TIP: In a normal year, moving season lasts from May to August and trucks tend to fill up quickly during these months. It remains to be seen how this year’s moving season will evolve alongside the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, but it’s important to remember that things could pick up quickly and impact the future availability of space on trucks. It might be worthwhile to reschedule your move instead of canceling outright.

8 safety tips for moving during a pandemic

If you do have to go ahead with your move, it is necessary to take the proper precautions to ensure both the safety of your movers and your family. Follow these tips:

1. Illness

Let your moving team know immediately if anyone in your family has or is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 or other seasonal illness. They may push your pickup/dropoff date a few weeks, change their pickup/dropoff procedure (such as utilizing contactless methods by having you leave or pick up your boxes from the curb or doorstep), or proceed as planned with some additional protections in place.

2. Provide sanitizing products

While your movers will likely have their own personal protective equipment (PPE) and hand sanitizer, providing hand soap, access to a sink, paper towels, and hand sanitizer will help them do their job safely. If you don’t have enough supplies to share, let your moving company know in advance so they can ensure their movers have everything they need to complete the move.

3. Keep your distance

Current public health recommendations ask that you maintain a distance of 6 feet from other people at all times. This includes your movers. If you can’t arrange a contactless move for any reason, for your safety and the safety of your moving team, select one person to interact with the moving team. Keep other members of your household isolated, maintain the distance recommendations as outlined by the WHO, and stay out of the way as much as possible while remaining available to answer questions or sign paperwork.

4. Moving supplies

Even in normal circumstances, it is recommended not to reuse free or recycled cardboard boxes because they are weaker from repeated use and therefore less structurally sound and more likely to tear or fail to keep your belongings safe.

While the CDC and the WHO both agree that the risk of contracting COVID-19 from packages is low, out of an abundance of caution you may wish to use only brand new moving materials during your move. They may be difficult to track down with non-essential services closed, but many moving companies, including TSI, have moving boxes and other moving essentials available for purchase.

5. Travel

While travel is not recommended at this time, if you are moving to another state you may need to book accommodations for your journey. Check the CDC travel website for current information about travelling safely, including whether or not you can travel, what methods of travel are available to you, and best practices at this time.

Wherever possible, limit your risk of exposure by avoiding large groups of people. It may add a few days to your travel time, but travelling alone by personal vehicle is your best bet to avoid delays, cancellations, and reduce the risk of contracting any illness.

6. Following local recommendations and laws

Currently, many people across the country are being ordered to shelter-in-place. With the situation constantly changing, it is important to stay apprised of the latest developments and what you can and cannot do at this time. 

If you are concerned about not being able to move and having nowhere to stay, many cities and states are putting a moratorium on evictions and foreclosures during this time. Regularly check in with your local news outlet and local government website for information.

7. Donating items safely

Many donation places, including donation bins, are closed and not accepting or picking up items at this time. Call ahead to find out if donation centers in your area are open and accepting items, and what items they may not be taking at this time.

If you are unable to find an acceptable donation center, consider bringing your donation bags and boxes with you and setting them aside in your new home until donations are being accepted again. If you are not able to bring them with you, do your best to recycle items appropriately.

8. Cleaning

While your home’s new tenants will almost certainly be doing a deep clean when they move in—as you should be doing in your new home—it is always courteous to clean your home as much as possible before vacating. It is especially important to do this during a pandemic. Take extra care not to leave anything behind and wipe down all surfaces after you leave following the CDC guidelines for sanitizing:

Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces such as tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks. If surfaces are dirty, clean them using detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection. To disinfect, most common EPA-registered household disinfectants will work. See CDC’s recommendations for household cleaning and disinfection.

Follow these same procedures upon entering your new residence for the first time and after any movers have finished unloading your belongings.


While moving during a pandemic is certainly a daunting prospect, just remember to take extra precautions as recommended by trusted experts such as the CDC and the WHO, and be logical:

  • Only move if you have to
  • Stay in contact with your moving team and keep them informed of anything they need to know for their personal safety
  • Use contactless services wherever possible
  • Clean and sanitize your residence(s)
  • Maintain physical distance
  • Adhere to the recommendations and laws outlined by your governing body, the CDC, and the WHO
  • Only use new moving supplies
  • Avoid public travel unless absolutely necessary

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