Moving is one of the top-three life stressors: NUMBER 3, just under number 2 divorce, or number 1 – DEATH!
Um, ergo moving is just a number away from DEATH. The stress of moving comes from the many moving parts (pun not intended) of the known to the unknown. From picking a new place, getting your belongings all packed up, and choosing the right people to help, moving is extraordinarily straining. Never before is that the case and, may I add, now with a pandemic on top- potentially deadly.
As a realtor in Los Angeles, I help my clients deal with moves and movers all the time. But now I was the one moving. I was the one with the gazillion spinning plates and the stress. I was the one searching for a place to live–the one packing up my past life, and now – just for fun – the one homeschooling my two children due to a citywide school shutdown. And I would be doing all of this in the time of Corona.
I had sold my almost 4,000 square foot, two-story home of eighteen years that I shared with my family. One can imagine the accumulation. Moving from our house was particularly challenging. We had seventy, yep seventy stairs from the front door to the street to navigate.
In preparation for the move, I called my regular guys, who were all booked up (turns out people need to move, even during Corona). The new moving company I selected, although a national company, was unknown to me. Not only was I moving during this historical time, but I was doubly rolling the dice with unfamiliar movers.
A couple of days before the move, several well-intended friends told me I might not be able to complete the
move due to the Armed Guards rumored to be descending onto Los Angeles to control social distancing (Can we pick a better term – but I digress! ) I panicked. Pretending to be calm, I called the movers and confirmed that they were still coming to move us. It was a go. Whew! I then reconfirmed that fortunately Real Estate, and all support services, were considered “ESSENTIAL BUSINESS” by Los Angeles Mayor Garcetti’s office. Here is where it gets interesting.
Just because a business was deemed essential, it didn’t mean all those that were employed by that business subscribed to recommended practices, even basic ones. The day the movers came, none of them wore masks or gloves, nevermind booties. Their attitude, although can-do, was remarkably cavalier about spreading the novel Coronavirus, and they appeared somewhat amused by me not wanting to get it. The movers said that Corona or no Corona, the move must go on. As I worked alongside the movers, I did what I could to protect myself. I kept more than six feet away from them and wore a mask and gloves and washed my hands often.
That first day the movers put in seven hours wrapping furniture and finishing some light packing (I had packed for seven straight days earlier). They loaded and moved the first three-quarters of a truckload. Not exactly a full day’s work, but I figured we were still on track. The next day after only working two hours, they stopped working altogether. It was at this time they demanded more money to finish the move. On a contracted two full-day move, they had worked a total of nine hours and now were demanding more money to complete the job. To hold someone up in this manner during a routine, already stressful move is not cool, but to do so during a pandemic is, well, morally reprehensible.
We had paid this company handsomely in full – the agreed-upon price – before they began, and now they financially and emotionally were holding us hostage. After some back-and-forth with their supervisor, we convinced them to do the right thing and get back to work. And no, we didn’t pay them any more money.
Looking back now, I would have asked more questions and required the moving crew to wear the appropriate protective gear before coming into our house. In my stress and nervousness of getting moved during Corona, I failed to ask and insist on these safety measures. I just wanted it done. There were, however, things we did correctly, such as staying away from each other, washing our hands often, and using sanitizer. My husband and I also had the wherewithal to move all of our food and personal items over to our new place the day before the movers came.
Having finally settled into our new home, I’d like to offer the following bits of advice when moving during this global pandemic.
*Pack the boxes yourself (You’re most likely home from work now – and it’s less handling from others.)
*Have your kids help you pack (They’re home from school now – and it’s a great time to teach them hands-on life lessons. And you need the help!)
*When moving out have a loading area where you bring all the items in your house to and have the movers take from there. (Such as downstairs by the closest door to the truck.)
*When arriving at the final destination, much like you would now disinfect your groceries, have a loading area outside of your home where you disinfect the boxes and furniture before entering the new space.
*Bring food, clothing, and personal items over to the new location yourself in your own vehicle BEFORE the movers arrive.
*Do ask the moving company what their policy for protection against the spread of CORONAVIRUS is, and how they enforce.
*Do have your new home pre-treated with DSV disinfectant, available through pest companies, before moving in.
* Don’t be afraid to ask what the company policy is and INSIST they enforce.
* Don’t allow anyone in your space without protective measures, period. If the job has to get delayed while they go get protective gear, wait.
* Don’t pay the full amount of the move upfront. Negotiate the second installment to be paid at the end to implement full cooperation in safety.
* Don’t get overly stressed. If you have a plan with protective measures, you will get through your move.
Hopefully, what I learned moving during this pandemic will help ease some of your moving stress. I’d like to offer more tips, but the kids are sharpening their #2 pencils with their teeth. I gotta go…
True is a wife and mother to two great kids trying to navigate life together all under one roof in a pandemic. True Cross is a luxury Realtor with PLG Estates in Los Angeles. She is also the founder and owner of True Home Curation, a home concierge service.
She holds a weekly, online, MOVING DURING COVID-19 tutorial. You can reach her at @TrueLAHomes www.TrueLAHomes.com