Moving houses on any given day is so stressful it’s easy to want to throw in the towel midway. Make that moving houses during a raging pandemic, at the height of an imposed community quarantine at that, and it feels like an exercise in self-hatred.
Which is not to say it can’t be done. In fact, it presents opportunities to do things you’ve been putting off doing—like the monumental task of decluttering. Decluttering, from experience, is the hardest part during a move, but once you get past that, most other tasks will be easy.
Prepare and buy enough packing supplies—boxes, tapes, zip ties, bubble wrap, box markers, plastic twine—in one trip so you won’t have to keep going back to the store.
Even if you think you’ve been generous in giving stuff away, you still don’t quite realize the amount of objects you’ve accumulated through the years until you commit to sorting through them.
I should’ve known—did exactly that on a mountain of books years back (sold for a pittance with proceeds donated to a pet charity)—and still, there were more books left that were either too painful to part with or you had no space for in the new house.
Then there are the clothes—balikbayan boxes full of barely used or unused pieces that would be so dated by the time we emerge from this pandemic. Remember what they said about donating, giving away or throwing away—and if you had the will and energy, selling—stuff you haven’t worn for a year? That applies to about 80 percent of what’s hanging in your closet now. So all (fast) fashion must go.
You’ll need to exercise tough love on yourself as you go through your stuff. Be realistic: There’s just no room for CDs in the time of Spotify or DVDs in the age of Netflix. Some appliances and furniture have to go, however much you love them.
All those unused gifted coffee mugs stay behind. Why do you have so many plates when you can’t even have guests over?
Bye-bye to those winter clothes you won’t get wear till god knows when. Décor that has been stowed away for so long must also go.
And all those ratty, well-used linens? As Marie Kondo might say, thank them and bid them goodbye for serving you well.
There will, of course, be nonnegotiables. In my case, it’s the shoes. Those were the first to get packed and moved.
Ordinarily, there are services you can pay to pack away all your junk, but not during a pandemic. It’s easy to hire movers with a tap on your phone, but not during an enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), where the driver is allowed only one helper due to physical distancing guidelines. And once you’re booked, prepare for the possibility of rebooking, owing to the changing rules of COVID.
If you’re moving to a condo building, they also don’t allow moving in during an ECQ. They also require a negative COVID test.
If you’re moving with a pet, all the excitement and change can be as stressful to your pet as it is to you. Give him time to be familiar with the new place and keep his normal routine.
Scheduling other services also poses a challenge at this time, like the installers of your air-conditioning or cable TV, for instance, so prepare for those snags. If you’re still under contract with an internet provider whose services aren’t available in your new place, prepare to break off your contract (and pay the hefty pretermination fees) and settle for the sh*tty service of another provider.
Not gonna lie—moving houses is stressful, especially during a pandemic. But it can be done—safely. Unpacking all your stuff once you’ve moved? Well, that’s another story. INQ