Planning to move or relocate soon? Some of your plans may need to change. But we’re here to provide you with up-to-date information so that you can still successfully plan your move and stay safe and healthy. Moving during COVID takes good planning ahead.
Most moving companies and furnishing services are still operational.
The good news is that most moving companies and most supply chain services are still operational. The reason Furnishr is still operational is because our furniture suppliers and delivery partners are part of the Supply Chain sector. Their warehouses are available to ship and receive products. That said, they have moved all non-essential staff to work from home so there is bound to be some communication delay. Warehouses are also restricting hours, so they are requiring all logistics providers to route their shipments more efficiently.
We at Furnishr also continue to help those who need to move by providing regular design services and restricting our time spent at customers’ homes during the home services.
CHECKLIST: PLANNING YOUR MOVE
- Start by asking your old & new buildings about move in/move out policies.
- Check with your moving or furnishing company about availability and protocols.
- Find a floor plan for your new place to help the movers.
- Write any special notes about furniture assembly / disassembly.
- Add any info about pets or kids on site, and parking and disposal of moving materials.
- Set aside some hand sanitizer or soap for your movers to use.
- Pack up as much as you can beforehand and clearly label all boxes.
- If you’re moving to the U.S. from overseas, start with this article to get prepared.
CHECKLIST: ON THE DELIVERY DAY
- Have a copy of your floor plan out and available for the movers, if possible.
- Set out the hand sanitizer and soap.
- Practice social distancing by staying 6 feet away from the moving team.
- You may wish to give your phone # to the team lead. This way, they can text you with any questions rather than needing to speak to you face-to-face.
- Keep a garbage bin out for movers to dispose of masks, gloves, and other materials.
- If you’re doing an absentee move, check in with your property manager before and after.
CHECKLIST: AFTER DELIVERY
- Wash your hands and sanitize doorknobs and other highly trafficked surfaces.
- Spritz your furniture with a 70%+ alcohol spray. There shouldn’t be anything there, since your movers were wearing gloves and masks, but it can put your mind at ease.
- Confirm with your property manager that you’re all moved in.
- Tidy up – here’s how to clean your whole place in 30 minutes.
- Send a thank you note to your delivery team.
Now that you know COVID-19 restrictions don’t apply to essential services, we can get to planning. Most moving and furnishing companies have implemented very strict sanitization and social distancing protocols.
So while this epidemic may slightly alter your upcoming plans, you should still be able to make your move if you plan ahead and communicate. Just expect some delays because of the added restrictions to normal operations, and you’re ready to start planning.
Did we answer all your questions?
Here are answers to other frequently asked questions about moving during COVID.
HEALTH AND SAFETY
Q: How are moving & delivery companies adapting their services to protect my health?
A. Each company is responding to this crisis differently. Many moving companies are scaling back their operations and adjusting to the circumstances with new protocols to protect their clients’ and employees’ health. Some companies are asking their movers to practicing social distancing. Others are sending hand sanitizer, gloves, and masks onsite with their employees. If you are planning a move, make sure to ask your movers beforehand what additional health and safety precautions they are taking.
For Furnishr customers expecting a furniture delivery, we will ask our delivery team to assemble as much as possible at the warehouse prior to delivery. On the delivery day, we will blanket wrap each item and move in each piece to each room. Our goal is to limit the number of hours we spend at customers’ home. (Normally, we would assemble everything at customers’ home after we arrive.)
While our team is on site, we ask customers to keep a 6-feet distance from our team members. When each room is completely set up, we ask customers to walk through the home before we leave.
Q: What’s an example of a health & safety protocol that moving companies are taking?
A: To understand how moving companies have responded to the crisis, we reached out to Oz Moving & Storage to learn how they are implementing increased health and safety measures. Oz is following social distancing by instructing all their non-essential employees to work from home. They are also adjusting how they set up their moving crews. Their movers are now working in small teams, which means each mover works with the same group of people, equipment and trucks on every job. This practice limits unnecessary contact and reduces the risk of contamination.
When it comes to the safety of the movers, Oz is monitoring and screening the health of their staff. They are advising their workers to strictly monitor their own health and to stay home if any symptoms appear. Oz movers are wearing masks, gloves and booties as needed.
Moreover, movers are working diligently with buildings that have implemented additional precautionary measures to ensure that they can safely complete moves during this time.
PREPARING FOR THE MOVE
Q: What information will the moving company need from me in advance?
A: To address clients’ concerns, clients should provide as much information as possible regarding the details of their move beforehand. Be prepared for last minute changes in your plans. Before the scheduled move, clients should ask their movers as many questions as possible to ensure every step is well communicated. You should discuss the anticipated schedule, vehicle parking and permits, disposal of materials, presence of pets or small children, allergies, and responsibility for any damages. Make sure that your contact information and address are up to date. Check that you have a floor plan available if the movers will be helping you at your new place.
Q: How can I prepare my furniture & personal items to make it easier and safer for movers?
To prepare for your move, please have everything packed and ready for when the movers arrive. If you’re moving during COVID, please practice social distancing during the move. Leave soap and water (or hand sanitizer) for movers to wash their hands.
Another popular alternative is to work with a design & furnishing company. Rather than packing up all your old furniture and paying big money to move it, design-and-furnish is a model where you start totally from scratch. You collaborate virtually with a professional interior designer. Together, you choose furniture that works with your new floor plan and your lifestyle needs. Many of these furnishing companies work with delivery & assembly partners. So, your new place will be furnished from top-to-bottom without paying any moving fees. A slightly different model is rental furniture. These companies do utilize sanitization protocols between rentals, but during a public health crisis it’s not something we would recommend.
Overall, design-and-furnish can actually be a surprisingly affordable and efficient solution to relocating, especially during a pandemic.
HOW TO LIMIT IN-PERSON CONTACT
Q: In my new place, will I need to be onsite with movers so they know where everything goes?
A: You will need someone who can let the movers into your space. But it’s not always necessary for you to be onsite yourself all day. You should provide a comprehensive floor-plan for the movers, instructing them how to arrange your personal items. Send this to them before the day of your move. Inform the movers about specifics regarding the layout of the new house. How should all they arrange the furniture? Provide information about assembly and disassembly of furniture. Moving is an intimate process, so providing movers with this information beforehand helps limit contact between movers and customers, to further reduce unnecessary risks.
If clients need to schedule an absentee move, in that they have already left the unit, but did not have time to retrieve their belongings, they can arrange for movers to have access to these units and perform this move.
Q: What is an absentee move, and what health & safety benefits does it have?
A: If you’re moving during COVID, you may prefer to schedule an absentee move to reduce contact. In these situations, you can request movers to facilitate a full-packing service and pack your belongings for you. Those who need this service must provide as much information as possible regarding the assembling and disassembling of furniture. The key in all of these situations is communication, which reduces unnecessary risks. The goal is to help both clients and movers work in as safe of an environment as possible.
CANCELLATIONS AND DELAYS
Q: What if my building isn’t allowing people to move in or out because of COVID-19?
A: In these situations, moving companies should work with the building to make an exception or re-schedule the move. If this means a sooner date or attempting to coordinate with the building, moving companies will adjust for that. Moving during COVID requires flexibility from all parties. If the move cannot be completed at this time, moving companies can provide a solution for you. Many moving companies have fully operable storage facilities. They can transfer your belongings into a safe and sanitized storage unit until the situation improves and movers can gain access to the building.
Q: If I have to cancel my move last minute, will I be charged cancellation fees by movers?
A: There are many operational challenges that have arisen throughout this crisis. A major challenge is the unpredictability of this situation. During this time, most companies understand that people might need to cancel or postpone their move without much notice. As a result, professional movers are responding to this crisis and providing customers with increased flexibility. At present, many moving companies are waiving any cancellation and rescheduling fees. To reduce uncertainty, companies encourage clients to schedule any future moves as early as possible. The situation is changing daily, and moving companies want to ensure that clients are able to safely complete their move. Moving during COVID will naturally be more complicated than moving at any other time, so be prepared to be flexible.
MAKING NEW PLANS
Q: What are some temporary housing options that are still available?
A: There are still some hotels and Airbnbs that are accepting reservations. You’ll need to research local options, and communicate directly with the front desk or property manager. It’s important to consider what safety and cleaning protocols they have in place. For instance, an Airbnb in a mother-in-law unit might see less traffic than a hotel. Many Airbnb hosts are experiencing lost revenue, due to a new policy that allows guests to cancel reservations without a penalty fee.
Finally, remember that circumstances can change last-minute. You may think you have a reservation, but any hotel chain or Airbnb host may decide last minute to close down. If you’re moving during COVID, always have a backup plan. This could be a friend or family member who might allow you to stay over. Be sure to practice safe protocols wherever you go, including sanitizing regularly touched surfaces, washing hands regularly, and covering your nose and mouth. Some experts recommend changing your clothing and mask as soon as you enter the building.
Q: When will this all be over, so I know when to schedule my move?
A: Experts are predicting a wide range of dates. Some think that restrictive measures will lift as early as June. They estimate the peak will occur in mid to late April, depending on your location. Historically, we have seen other pandemics last between 12 – 36 months. Vaccines take between 12 – 18 months to develop, so that is likely when full relief will come. Summer may be a time of reduced infection, as the virus can’t survive as long in hot weather. Plenty of moving and furnishing companies have already adapted their policies. So, you may still be able to schedule your move very soon. Depending on how close or far your new destination is, you may wish to wait until flights are running regularly. You may also wish to reschedule for when your new workplace begins to resume in-person office hours.
Overall, our society is more prepared to combat the spread of COVID-19 than at any other time in history. 3D printers and collaborative manufacturing initiatives are uniting people around the country to help flatten the curve and reduce risk. It is probable that restrictions will lift gradually, as we develop systems to protect vulnerable people while industry resumes. Because moving is considered an essential service, you should be able to continue with any planned relocation if absolutely necessary.
We hope this guide to moving during COVID answered your questions! Please reach out if you have lingering concerns about relocating, and we’ll do our best to help you find a solution.
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