Re­lo­cate safely by plan­ning ahead

Chicago Sun-Times - - HOME - BY KELLY LAWLER

The coro­n­avirus cri­sis has gripped the USA since March and shows no signs of abat­ing. And al­though much of nor­mal life has changed or ceased, there are things that have to go on, like mov­ing.

Here are five things I wish I had known be­fore I moved dur­ing coro­n­avirus:

1. Buy more pack­ing ma­te­ri­als than you need.

I try to min­i­mize sin­gleuse plas­tic and other dis­pos­able prod­ucts for the sake of the en­vi­ron­ment, but I should have thought more about the risks of last-minute trips to the hard­ware store dur­ing the pan­demic. When I re­al­ized the day be­fore our move that we didn’t have enough stuff­ing or boxes, we wound up at Lowe’s.

We did end up with more boxes and ma­te­ri­als than we used, but we’re do­nat­ing them to oth­ers who have to move.

2. Check out the pan­demic pro­ce­dures at lo­cal do­na­tion sites.

Mov­ing usu­ally means sort­ing through your be­long­ings and shed­ding items you no longer use. But drop­ping off a bag of clothes at Good­will isn’t as sim­ple as it was be­fore.

Wher­ever you do­nate house­hold goods lo­cally, check their web­site to see how and where to give. Good­will and Sal­va­tion Army lo­ca­tions near you will have rules that re­flect state and lo­cal guide­lines, so make sure you check the lo­cal site, not just the na­tional one.

3. You might have to en­force mask wear­ing and hand wash­ing.

When search­ing for movers, I knew to ask about health pre­cau­tions, and the two guys who showed up to move us were wear­ing masks when they ar­rived.

But mov­ing is ar­du­ous phys­i­cal la­bor, and at one point one of our movers pulled his mask down to get more air in the mid­dle of a tough task. I had to ask him to put it back on, even though it felt in­cred­i­bly rude to do so.

It was a 10-sec­ond in­ter­ac­tion that was awk­ward but worth it. And I hoped the mover ap­pre­ci­ated that my hus­band and I both wore masks for the whole process.

4. Hand san­i­tizer is help­ful, but don’t for­get reg­u­lar soap.

I had plenty of hand san­i­tizer on hand for our movers and our­selves but had packed away the soap in the bath­room. But in the three-and-a-half hours it took to load the truck, ev­ery­one needed to use the re­stroom. We still had some dish soap around, thankfully, but any­thing that kept us in­side longer than we needed to be ex­tended both the move and the time we spent in con­tact with strangers.

5. Every­thing is harder dur­ing the pan­demic. Give your­self ex­tra time and com­pas­sion.

Get­ting up in the morn­ing, cook­ing break­fast, get­ting the kids to bed, work­ing from home or on the front lines — ev­ery task is just a lit­tle bit harder dur­ing the pan­demic.

I spent a lot of time an­gry that the mov­ing process wasn’t go­ing faster or eas­ier. I wish I had of­fered my­self a lit­tle com­pas­sion, taken more breaks and asked for more help. The job got done, but it was prob­a­bly a bit more stress­ful than it needed to be.

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