woman holding cleaning supplies while wearing mask with moving boxes

Moving During the Pandemic: 6 Ways It's Affected the Process (And What We've Learned From It)

Moving Tips and Hacks

by Karen Dybis Posted on February 17, 2022

For most of us, “normal” life as we know it may never be the same again, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. Work? That’s a totally different experience now. School? It’s been tremendously impacted. Toilet paper? No one could have guessed it would turn into such a precious commodity. Basically anything and everything has been affected by the coronavirus over the past couple of years. 

However, not everything has been negatively impacted. One silver lining in the midst of it all? A booming housing market. And, with that, a fresh start for many people. 

But, like many things, a move isn’t just a move during the pandemic. In fact, moving during coronavirus has actually taught us to rethink many things about how we go about the process. Suddenly, we’re having to think about how to communicate new protocols, how to safely book a moving company without in-person contact, and how to cautiously get movers in and out of our homes, among other things. 

The result? We’ve become more resourceful and, honestly, a bit more thoughtful about moving. We’d even go so far as to say that implementing these changes has actually been better for the long term. Take a look at these six ways moving during the pandemic has made us rethink things, and see how they can help you improve your next move.

A couple doing a virtual home tour

1. In a lot of cases, we had to forgo in-person tours

The pandemic made a lot of people move to new places. Some decided moving back home was best; others opted for the more open spaces of the suburbs or countryside. Many needed more room for their families — due to homeschooling and working from home — so they opted to “size up” their houses with new ones. Others realized how important it was to be close to friends and family, so they moved to see their loved ones more often. And others, hit hard by the challenges of job loss or rising prices, opted for moving out of the city to somewhere with a lower cost of living or better access to healthcare. What do they all have in common? Many of them likely had to decide on a new place without ever stepping foot in it.

Spending a Sunday afternoon going from one open house to another was no longer an option, especially during the beginning of the pandemic. So, instead, we began taking advantage of software features like Zoom and FaceTime for virtual tours. Real estate agents also got creative with their online listings and began including virtual walk-through videos with their images. No, you couldn’t open closet doors or examine the shower tiles, but a virtual tour is certainly the next best thing, right? Nothing’s better than being able to watch a video of your potential new home over and over again! (Or is that just us?)

A man donating clothing during the pandemic

2. We had to rethink the process of donating unwanted items

Some charitable organizations that took clothing and other kinds of physical donations had to step back from accepting new items as a means of helping to stop the spread of the virus (since we initially didn’t know if the virus could survive on items). Add on the popularity of Marie Kondo’s Tidying Up, and you get a whole lot of people with donations without a whole lot of places to give them. But moving often involves decluttering and donating unwanted items, right? So we had to learn a lesson in patience. The good news? In situations like this, there’s always the option of keeping items in short-term storage, so they’re out of the way — and out of the dump — but we’re still able to donate them when the time comes. 

A person cleaning a door knob

3. Obtaining cleaning supplies was suddenly top of mind

Remember when finding a jug of bleach was like finding a pot of gold? Yep, lots of disinfectant and hand sanitizer flew off the shelves at the beginning of the pandemic. With hopes of slowing the spread of the coronavirus, we washed our hands and cleaned surfaces more often than we ever had. And the idea of having other people in our homes to help us move? That meant sanitizing a lot more. Thankfully, the stores began restocking soap, bleach, and other cleaning supplies across the nation, but our idea of a move out/move in clean will likely never be the same again (and we don’t think that’s a bad thing at all!). 

Did you know? Disposable and single-serve snacks and drinks are the perfect treats to offer your moving helpers. They’re quick and easy to clean up and you don’t have to worry about spreading germs! Pandemic hack for the win!
PPE masks in a moving box

4. We took steps to keep healthy during moving day

Having movers we haven’t met before coming into our homes meant that we took precautions to keep ourselves, and them, safe. PPE (personal protective equipment), like masks, and social distancing became important tools to make the process smooth and safe during the general hubbub of moving day. Some of us kept plenty of hand sanitizer and masks close by, and others did as much as they could out of doors. Some assigned one person to a room, and others still left their home and let the movers handle the job. It took some adjusting, but by working together, we were able to make moving day happen while staying safe. 

A woman moving and looking at the PODS website on her phone

5. We always had to have a backup plan

How many times in the past couple of years have you wondered whether a cough was just a cough? If we’ve learned anything during this pandemic, it’s that plans can change in an instant. Someone in your household could test positive right before the big moving day, making your “all hands on deck” plan a no-go. Your movers could be short-staffed due to COVID-related illness. Heck, you could suddenly start feeling ill in the middle of packing boxes. We all know your body is dealing with enough stress already just simply preparing for the move. Add a contagious virus to the mix that affects everyone differently, and your stress level can shoot through the roof.

So what’s the solution? It’s two-fold. First, we had to put contingencies in place, in case someone came down sick or had an exposure (think backups for your backups). Then, we had to make sure we worked with a company that truly knows what it means to be flexible — especially when it comes to rescheduling and canceling. Before signing on, we made sure we understood our moving company’s policies. We didn’t want to end up short-handed or scrambling to meet a rigid schedule.

Insider Tip: Moving with PODS is a great option if you’re looking for a contactless moving service with flexibility. Add to that the built-in storage, and it makes sense that so many people have chosen PODS during this crazy time. PODS will drop your container off right in your driveway, where you can safely pack and load at your own pace. And when (and only when) you’re ready, they’ll pick it up and take care of all the driving. Then, you can have your container delivered to your new home or kept in a PODS secure Storage Center until you’re ready for it. If your plans change, PODS will adapt right along with them.

6. We got a great lesson in patience

Of course no one gets a kick out of long waits, but with changes in the workforce, staffing shortages, supply shortages, and other issues, some companies had to really work with their customers to find the right time to move. Things that once were easy to do, like getting moving boxes or related equipment, took longer and may have been more frustrating. And with the sudden boom in real estate transactions, many moving companies ended up having longer-than-normal wait lists, since their trucks and containers were consistently rented out. But you know what? We all got through it — and we still are! — together, and offering a bit of patience and kindness along the way made all the difference. Your best bet for the future? Plan ahead as much as possible, and use a moving checklist to make sure you’re covering all your bases along the way.

For more info on buying a home during the pandemic, or for more moving and storage tips in general, feel free to peruse the PODS Blog. After all, we know the ins and outs of the business. And we’ve been through it, too, right along with you — toilet paper shortage and all. 

Karen Dybis is a freelance journalist and a frequent contributor to the PODS Blog. Her work has appeared in Time magazine, U.S. News & World Report, The Detroit News, and more.

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