Moving from one location to another is a daunting task requiring enormous preparation. There is a myriad of reasons for moving, from being closer to family, job offer, moving to a dream location, as well as many other reasons. With the rise of COVID-19 cases in the country, the pandemic has made things problematic for everyone and non-essential businesses have closed down. Thankfully, moving and storage businesses are considered essential, but the pandemic makes moving anywhere trickier. Below are 7 tips for a safer New Jersey move during the pandemic.
1. Health And Safety
Maintaining your health and safety is of the utmost importance during this time. While you may have been looking forward to this move for a while, or even dreading it for several reasons. No matter the reason for moving, your health and safety are factors to consider when debating whether or not the move should go through at this time.
If you are in a high-risk group, 65 years or older, those with asthma or other people who are immunocompromised, such as smokers, diabetics, obese individuals, and those with other underlying conditions should either postpone their move or cancel it altogether until the pandemic passes. Understandably, it is frustrating to not be able to follow through with plans and seize opportunities, those in the high-risk group would not be able to do do that at all if they contract COVID-19 and die due to their compromised immune system.
If you are in a high-risk group, or are self-isolating after possible exposure, then the best course of action would be to contact the moving company you were planning to use and explain the situation to them. Reasonably, the moving company will be understanding and work with you to either postpone or cancel your move.
2. Minimize Human Contact
If you still plan to go ahead with the move and not wait until the pandemic is over, one of the things you might want to do to stay healthy is to minimize the amount of human contact as much as possible. This involves doing the whole move yourself and not using movers. Movers meet a lot of people and to keep them safe and you and your family safe, it makes sense to do it yourself. If you are moving with your family, then it will be easier as everyone can pitch in to make the process easier.
While it will take longer packing everything up, loading it up, and then unpacking at the destination, it is worth the effort and the time. Not only are you getting exercise in by loading and unloading, but you are also doing your part to stay healthy for your own sake and for the sake of others who come into contact with you, or touched what you have touched. While your main goal is to stay healthy, an added bonus to not having movers do the work for you is that you save money on the move.
3. Strategic Storage
With some movers, you are allowed to rent moving trucks, moving vans, or box trucks. However, with those you are supposed to drop them off at the nearest facility as soon as you move everything into the new residence and can't keep it for storage if needed. While there are likely to be storage facilities in New Jersey near where you moved, traveling there to remove items to permanently take back home increases your human contact and puts you at risk of becoming sick.
There are moving companies, like Harrington Movers that have storage containers that you can fill and empty yourself. Examples would be Uhaul's U-Box containers, U-Pack, SmartBox and PODS. U-Pack offers portable storage options and with all of them, you can choose to keep the moving container as long as you need, which would cost a bit more than returning it right away. Harrington Movers also provides moving containers with weekly and monthly prices. Using portable containers when moving makes it easy as you don't have to worry about driving with a large load behind you or parking and maneuvering a larger vehicle than you are used to. You can schedule a dropoff and pickup date, load the container, move to your new home and wait for them to drop off the container and unpack everything yourself without worrying about human contact.
4. Sanitary Needs
If you decide to use movers during the outbreak, then there are some tips you need to make it a safer move for both you and them. When packing, wipe down each box you are using before you place something inside. Once you have wiped down the boxes, be sure to wipe down each item before you place it in the box. However, if you run out of boxes you shouldn't accept free or recycled cardboard during this outbreak as the CDC has said that while it is a very low risk that it spreads from packaging, COVID-19 can remain stable on cardboard for up to 24 hours. If you do run out of boxes that you already had, the best course of action would be to purchase more from stores that sell them.
Another thing that you need to do to protect your movers and yourself is to have sanitary supplies on hand to reduce the risk of contracting the illness. The supplies that will be needed are:
- Disposable gloves
- Hand sanitizer (if available)
- Masks, or a mask substitute
- Paper towels
- Soap and water (dish soap would work too)
5. Food and Drinks On The Road
New Jersey is one of the small states, but driving from the northern to the most southern part of New Jersey still takes about four hours. More if there is traffic. Or, you could be moving from outside of New Jersey from Delaware, Iowa, or even as far as Washington state. Even though gas stations and convenience stores are considered essential and are still open, it would still be best to reduce your risk of contracting COVID-19 during this pandemic.
You will still need to eat and hydrate, but you can do this and still limit your human contact by planning ahead. For food, bring with you the ingredients that can make a meal that does not need to be heated. This would include ham sandwiches, peanut butter sandwiches, and so forth. If you have a small, portable grill, even better. Then you can include more food items on your way to your new home in New Jersey as long as you keep them cold until you use them.
For drinks, buy a picnic cooler to keep drinks cold unless you are fine with room temperature drinks.
6. Fueling The Vehicle
New Jersey and Oregon are the only two states where people are not allowed to pump their own gas. In other states, people can pay at the pump and avoid human contact. In the case of New Jersey, gas pump attendants may ask you for a card reader or you can pay in cash. If you prefer to use a card reader, be sure to wear gloves as other people have touched the device. If you prefer to pay with cash to prepay, then it would be a good idea to prepare for that beforehand. One way to do that is to have a set amount you wish to pay before each stop and place the money in an envelope while wearing gloves. Then once it comes time to pay for the fuel for the vehicle, you can hand over the envelope with the money inside, and that lessens the risk of the person pumping the gas to contract COVID-19.
7. Rules Of The Road Still Apply
Even though the majority of people are social distancing and following stay at home orders where applied, there will still be people on the road. That being said, the rules of the road will still apply. Just because the streets, highways, and interstates are practically empty in some places does not mean you can speed. Doing so will increase your chances of crashing, becoming injured, and sent to a hospital. In fact, due to the lack of traffic, you will likely reach your destination faster than you normally would.
While there will be fewer distractions on the road, being distracted while driving is still not a good idea. If you decide you are hungry and you brought your food with you, stop somewhere safe and eat. If you are distracted, you might not see other dangers that come with driving, such as wildlife. There are reports all over the world that while humans are isolating themselves during the pandemic, the wildlife is more active than ever and venturing into populated areas. This includes city roads, highways, and interstates.
If you do move during the COVID-19 outbreak, taking these steps to avoid falling ill and potentially spreading the illness to others will provide a much better moving experience. Taking steps during the packing process to avoid recycled cardboard will help as well. Harrington Movers wishes you a safe and healthy moving experience.