10. Make a plan
Begin by making some key decisions. Ask yourself how much of the moving process you want to do yourself. Will your movers to just do the moving or will they do the packing also? Will you be placing items into storage? Next, start from your moving date and work backwards to create a timeline of actions that need to be done before the move. Keep a notebook of all your “to do” items, the mover’s contact information, and material gathered about the various aspects of your move.
9. Start early
It’s never too early to start downsizing. Even if you have not settled on a moving date or the exact place you will be living, you can still start this process. Begin by focusing on problem areas that tend to collect extra items. Those spaces can be the attic, basements, garage or closets. Take time to work through the papers in your filing cabinets as well.
8. Break it into smaller tasks
Accomplishing a large task like moving or downsizing can be overwhelming if you view it as a whole. When the job is broken down into smaller pieces, it becomes more manageable and less stressful. It took years to accumulate all that you currently have so take your time going through your items and don't make any rash decisions by throwing important or sentimental items away.
7. Plan out your space
It is helpful to know what the size of your new home will be, especially if you are downsizing. If you are moving from a 2,000 square foot house into one that is 1,000 square feet you need to know what you realistically will be able to fit into your new space. A good way to determine this would be by looking at the floor plan or your new place and take measurements of your furniture to see how you can arrange and fit all the pieces you want to bring with you.
6. List what is important
Take time to assess what is really important that you bring with you for the move. Again, don't make any hasty decisions due to stress but rather take time to think about what you ultimately want to keep with you. On the other hand, don't hang onto things that you don't need (worn out furniture, items that can be replaced inexpensively, etc.).
5. Save your memories
As you sort through your possessions, some are easy to part with, but others have significant personal value. Everyone has possessions that are kept not for their usefulness but for the memories or sentiment attached to them. When a treasured item is identified, the question then becomes: Can the associated memory be saved in another way or is the item something that you should carefully preserve for yourself or future generations? There are many ways to keep the memory without actually keeping the physical item. Photos can be scanned and stored electronically, special collections like teacups can be photographed and displayed on the wall, or swatches of your favorite t-shirts can be made into a quilt.
4. Let go/ Share with others
One of the hardest things to do when you are downsizing is to let go of your possessions. It is difficult to just get rid of them, because you know their value. They may still have good life left in them or can be used another way. Finding a place where they are needed or knowing that they will be used and enjoyed by other makes letting go of these items much easier. A variety of agencies and non-profits use your goods to benefit others or will wisely recycle them. Consider what interest or cause is important to you and then support that cause by donating your items.
3. Stay in touch
Notify your contacts with your change of address. Remember to include the post office, friends, family, publications, associations, and banks. It’s great to prepare these in advance but mail them just one week before the move. Set up the transfer/termination of utilities. Consider paying for one more day than you think you might need in case you have to go back to finish cleaning, to pick up the last few items or if the movers are delayed. Preparing all of this ahead of time will save you money and stress when the move day comes.
2. Prepare for moving day
Pack a suitcase as if you were going away for a few days. Even if you are only travelling a short distance, it is helpful to have everything you need to get ready the next day contained in a suitcase, instead of buried in several different boxes. Be sure to include clothing, toiletries, and medicines you will need. Create an “Essentials” box. This will be the last box packed and the first one unpacked. It should contain items that are most immediately needed at both ends of your move. Include supplies like toilet paper, paper towels, soap, paper and pen, trash bags, first aid kit, scissors, phone book, snacks, towel, bedding, and tea or coffee pot.
1. Ask for help!
Moving can be stressful emotionally, physically and mentally. This is an exciting and stressful experience, so allow others to join with you in both the joy and the burden of the move. Ask others to be involved but don’t wait until last minute to seek their support. Whether it is assisting with physical packing or organizing different details of the move, take people up on their kind offers.
Whether you are shifting your space around to adjust to a new physical need, moving your household across the country, these tips will make it a bit more bearable for you.
Getting Settled in Your New Home
Once you've moved, take some time to get settled in your new space. Here are some tips to help you settle in more quickly.
Meet the Neighbors -Establishing social connections early will help you feel at home in your new space.
Get to Know the Community - Whether the social events of your assisted living community or the stores and social opportunities around your town, take some time to get to know the community where you have settled.
Unpack Logically - Start with the items you need right away, then unpack a little at a time until you're fully settled in your new home.
Schedule a Party - Invite your family or friends over for a little housewarming. You may need to limit the guest list to ensure everyone will fit, but don't be afraid to show off your new space.
Establish Routines - Routines go far in making you feel at home, so move towards routines as quickly as possible. Bring the routines you loved from your old home, if possible, to your new one.
Change Your Address - Missing bills because you never received them is stressful. Make sure that you change the address on all of your utilities, medical bills, insurance companies and credit or bank statements as soon as possible to ensure you are getting all of your mail. File a with the change of address with the post office as well.
Extra Belongings: Store, Donate/Give Away or Sell?
As you sort through your belongings, you will find that you have a number of items that are still in good shape, but you simply don't need. In these instances, you will need to decide whether you are going store those items, sell them or bequeath them to your beneficiaries now. Making this choice is not always easy. Here are some guidelines that can help.
First, decide which items you want to hang on to for a while. This is a highly personal decision, and will depend on how much storage space you have, or whether or not you choose to purchase a local storage unit after the move. If items hold specific sentimental value, are items you need on occasion and still think you will need or want to give away but aren't ready to do so now, then you need to store those items. Keep in mind that the more you store, the more you will have to spend for storage.
Next, decide if there are any items you want to go ahead and pass along to the next generation. This can be a very rewarding way to part with your items. You will be able to see the next generation enjoy your items, but you won't have to store them. Some items that it makes sense to bequeath now include:
Heirloom furniture you won't have room to use
Special dishes or sets of china
Decor that might have a sentimental value
Antique and vintage items
Finally, decide what items you can sell. Often, antique and vintage items can bring a significant price. Make sure you're getting a fair deal, though. Make sure to have all items appraised by an antiques dealer before selling them to protect yourself.
Tips for Family of Senior's Relocating
If your elderly loved one is planning a move, here are some ways you can help with the transition:
Plan more time than you think for the move. Older people take longer to make decisions, pack and settle in, so give enough time to reduce stress and frustration in both parties.
Know when your help is wanted, and be ready to step in. Provide space when it's needed as well.
Be prepared for frustration on the part of your parent, especially if the move involves a move to assisted living. This is a big move for them and they need your emotional support more than anything.
Encourage your loved one to make friends as soon as possible after they move, which will help them get settled more quickly.
Watch for signs of emotional distress. Even a move that was your loved one's decision can create trauma and stress as the time progresses.
Have compassion for your loved one and the changes they are facing.
Set the time schedule and keep everyone on task throughout the move.
Help with the preparation of checklists that will help everyone stay on task and know their duties during this process.