Even during normal circumstances, moving to a new state or city on PCS orders is a pivotal and stressful time period in life. And now, the novel coronavirus has upended all aspects of daily life, exacerbating the challenges that come with packing up all your belongings, moving them safely across the country, and settling into a new home or region. As states announce new waves of restrictions on business, schools, and their citizens, moves are being delayed to help slow the progression of the virus. The current mandates on social distancing and restrictions on travel are impacting the military personnel and their families’ ability to relocate across the nation. This is forcing many families to decide whether or not they even want to move their current furniture or rent/purchase new sets when they get to their new home.
4 Changes to Moving During Coronavirus
Though the current crisis continues to drive more and more businesses and jobs into the digital world, moving is not one of them. Professionally packing and moving someone’s goods and furniture is, by its very nature, an in-person task. Nevertheless, the way moving is conducted has changed significantly — from PPE to decreased crew sizes — as a result of the ongoing pandemic.
1. Virtual Surveys
In order to minimize the time outside individuals spend inside your home, many moving companies are now offering to conduct virtual appraisals in order to give an estimate of your moving costs. So you can get a quote (or multiple quotes) without breaking social distancing guidelines.
While individual companies are responsible for their own cleanliness guidelines, most of them are being increasingly diligent in their sanitizing practices based on those set by the CDC and federal government. From hand sanitizer and gloves for movers to regular applications of disinfectant to trucks and dollies, moving companies are taking steps to keep the disease from spreading. Check individual companies’ websites or call when you’re considering to find out their exact policies and procedures.
But the responsibility doesn’t end with the company’s obligations. It all starts with your home. You should also be extremely diligent with ensuring your home and goods are thoroughly cleaned and disinfected throughout the duration of the moving process. Just as you don’t want your movers spreading viruses to you, you don’t want to risk them catching anything from your home either. If you and your movers both do your parts, the chance of anybody spreading COVID-19 (or any other disease) will be greatly minimized.
3. Social Distancing
While the members of a moving team must work together closely to get your things packed and unpacked, CDC guidelines require and encourage them to maintain social distancing wherever possible. They may coordinate with you to pick a day when you and your family won’t be at the house. Or they may have a process to move from room to room in such a way that you and your family never have to directly share space with them. Work with your movers to figure out the best way to keep everyone as distanced and safe as possible.
It’s literally lifesaving to understand just how important effective mask wearing is to contain and minimize the spread of the novel coronavirus.
And in most states it is a punishable offense not to wear one. So wearing one while interacting with others, and making sure those others are wearing their own masks, is one of the best ways you can keep safe. It can be particularly uncomfortable to wear a mask doing any kind of sweat-inducing work, like moving, but the discomfort is a small price to pay to stay healthy and protect others. Your movers should absolutely wear masks, as should you and any family members who will be around during the moving process. If your moving company doesn’t require their employees to wear masks when they are in or around your house or family, we encourage you to find a different company or not be at home while they’re working.
Photo by Fixed To Thrill (@FixintoThrill) for CORT
Getting to Know Your New Area
While the move itself is surely the most difficult and stressful part of relocating, it’s by no means the last step in the process. Even when all your boxes are unpacked and the movers have bid farewell, you probably won’t quite feel at home until you really get to know the area you’re living in. And if your new area is in a different city, or even a different state (as is pretty common when you PCS) you may be completely at a loss about what’s where. The best way to address that issue is to seek out where your nearest and best amenities are. Here’s a list of key things to help you get started:
Big Box Stores
Walmart, Target, CostCo and other large retailers where you can purchase everyday products that everybody needs.
Finding the nearest one that carries the products and brands you prefer is a key part of setting up a new home.
If you have school-age children in your family (or are planning to in the near future) knowing what the nearby school districts are and their ratings/reviews are a big part of moving your family.
Buses, van services, local or light rails, Uber or Lyft services and other such systems are common in larger cities but may be sparser in smaller towns.
Malls & Shopping Centers
Whether mini ones with a few shops or big, multi-floor mega malls, it’s good to know where the major shopping centers are and what stores are there.
Make sure to visit your new installation’s page on MyBaseGuide – where you can find what’s going on, the best schools to local foodie favorites, and more.
Photo by Katie M Crenshaw (@KatieMCrenshaw) for CORT
How to Get Your House Set Up
Whether you move with a few boxes of clothes or a truck full, it can feel overwhelming to style your new home and set it up just how you like it. And if you are using this move as a fresh furniture start, there will still be more you need to purchase to really turn your house into a home.
Once you have your new home one of the first things you may want to do is give your walls a new coat of paint. Maybe the whole place needs a new color or you just want to give a room a different feel. Lots of big hardware chains, like Home Depot and Lowes, sell paint and supplies online or have curbside pickup so you can do it yourself without breaking social distancing rules. If you want to hire professionals, however, you should be sure any company you hire adheres to strict guidelines of the same sort you held your movers to.
If you are starting over or you brought furniture with you from your last home, you’ll most likely find that you need a few pieces to complete your new space. Most big retailers sell their items online with contactless delivery or are doing curbside pickup so you should have no trouble getting anything from an end table to a sleeper sectional. Another more practical option to consider is renting furniture. This is particularly handy for military personnel and families who will likely be PCS-ing again within a few years. CORT allows you to avoid the hassle of having to take it with you across the country next time you change stations. They also have rent-to-own options if you decide you want to keep something. CORT also provides special packages and discounted pricing starting at $99 per month for military personnel.
Photo by The Magnolia Mamas (@TheMagnoliaMamas) for CORT
Paint and furniture are the big, obvious touches that make a house into your home. But there are so many everyday items that you’ll discover you’ll need as you get settled. From cleaning supplies to kitchenware, toiletries to new curtains, the small details, goods, and appliances that every home needs really help a move feel complete. And from Amazon to Walmart, it’s never been easier to purchase pretty much any of these things online and stay socially distanced.
Online Grocery Shopping
We mentioned above the importance of finding the nearest grocery store. But a big trip with a whole lot of heavy bags is a time consuming task. Between the move and getting checked into your new unit, you or your significant other may not have the time to physically go out and get everything you need to stock the fridge, cabinets, and pantry. Plus, grocery stores are not the easiest places to maintain a healthy social distance. Luckily, online grocery delivery has become an essential service during the pandemic.
The process of picking up and changing your life every few years is never going to get easier. But we hope that this information and tips can help your move to a new state less stressful and more safe for you and your family.