When faced with unprecedented and confusing circumstances, the knee jerk reaction is to try and take as much control as possible. PCS moves are on the horizon and many are wondering if they should scrap their plans with a moving company and do it themselves.

The short answer is yes, it is still safe to hire military movers. Along with everything else during a pandemic, you just need to be more attentive and aware of your surroundings. Apply that same level of awareness to your moving process. Or as they say in the military, continue to keep your head on a swivel.

The big concerns

Many families fear exposure to contaminated rental equipment, boxes, or other people. But trying to do it all yourself will be a serious strain on time and your back. Not to mention the challenge of trying to get help from friends and neighbors in a social distancing era. Fortunately, many moving companies have already implemented new procedures, making professional movers the better option.

The DoD has issued new guidelines stating military movers are responsible for certain health and safety procedures. For example, most companies now have mandates in place to regularly wipe down equipment or frequently-touched surfaces, maintain six feet between themselves and you, and wear personal protective equipment. They should also provide written paperwork on the day of the move disclosing names of the moving crew and verification that each have undergone health screening within a recent time frame.

You should be doing your part as well: Wear a mask and provide cleaning supplies, hand sanitizer, or wipes. Any questions or lack of safety protocol should be reported to your Move Coordinator. You’ll be able to stand back like a Staff NCO and, you know, supervise.

While the heavy lifting and moving is on the pros, you can make the job a whole lot smoother with three steps.

Use all new boxes

Used boxes from wholesale clubs and friends fit the needs of the past, but with health authorities reporting the potential for COVID-19 to live on cardboard for up to 24 hours, it’s best to use new boxes. A military moving company will provide their own packaging materials, which should be new and specific to your move. Most can provide untouched boxes prior to your move, or you can pick up plenty of new boxes at your local Lowe’s or Home Depot. It may cost a bit more than you anticipated, but it’s worth it for peace of mind.

Pack everything early

The best way to ensure a quick move is to have everything packed prior to movers’ arrival and nothing left loose. Use these pre-packing tips from PCSgrades to save time and money in the moving process. Use large ziploc bags or trash bags to keep your things contained, so they can be thrown into a moving box without anyone touching them. If you are using a military moving company, you should not seal the boxes. Otherwise everything will be marked PBO (Packed By Owner) and the moving company will not be liable for the contents. If you pack the box and leave the top unsealed, movers can glance inside, verify what’s in the box, and then seal it up and add it to their inventory sheet. This will help your moving day go quickly, while limiting the amount of people touching your household goods.

Be smart when unpacking

Once everything is unloaded, wait 24 hours before unpacking just to be sure that the surface of the boxes are safe. What’s one more night of sleeping on the floor while your boxes are in the garage, right? For necessities, use alcoholic wipes to clean off the surfaces of the boxes prior to opening. Just be sure you’re wearing gloves and masks while doing so. This will help you get settled safely into your new home.

Using professional movers is safe as long as you’re staying on top of the latest health and safety updates. Check out PCSgrades for moving tips and weekly COVID-related webinars made by military families, for military families.

This article is sponsored by PCSgrades.