Moving can be a big, stressful job, but it’s even more so when you’re moving from the home you’ve raised your family in to something a bit smaller. Seniors face more challenges when downsizing, so heed these tips to reduce the stress of moving day.
Know When It’s Time to Downsize
Life happens pretty quickly. One day you’re knee deep in raising your kids, tripping over one another in a house that can’t contain you all, and the next your kids have long since flown the coop and you’re left with what seems like a huge house that’s more work than it’s worth. As you enter your senior years, the reality of owning a large home has probably started to catch up with you.
Here are some signs you should consider downsizing:
- Stretch the Budget: Your retirement savings will only go so far. You may need to downsize in order to stretch your housing budget to extend into the retirement years.
- House Upkeep is Overwhelming: If cleaning and maintaining your home has become overwhelming and nearly impossible, and you can’t afford to hire a cleaning company, downsizing may be a good idea.
- Vacant Rooms: If you have many rooms that you never use, you don’t really need them because they’re costing you money to maintain and heat.
- You Require a Modified Layout: You may be experiencing mobility issues that are preventing you from getting up and down the stairs. Got a multi-story home? It may be wise to downsize to a single-story home, condo or apartment so you know you can more safely and easily navigate your surroundings.
Sort Through Your Belongings
Once you have decided to downsize, now’s the time to sort through your stuff and de-clutter. When moving to a smaller place, you know you can’t take everything with you. This may be a tough step for many seniors who like to hang on to sentimental items.
Divide all belongings into four basic categories:
Start with one room of your home at a time and go through each one, sorting into piles. Here’s a good rule of thumb for knowing what to throw out instead of keep:
- You never took the item out of the box
- It no longer fits your style or needs
- It’s old or out of date
- You know you won’t use or read it again
- You haven’t touched it in more than a year and it holds no sentimental value
- Furniture that will not fit in your new space
Now comes the packing. Give yourself enough time to do the job efficiently. Check out these tips:
- Tackle Small Jobs: Break up the task of packing your house into smaller jobs. Set aside an hour or two each day to work on the task until complete.
- Be Aware of Box Weight: Even if you have enlisted some help on moving day, you may still find yourself moving around some boxes. Consider the weight of the boxes as you pack. Mix heavy items with light items to ensure boxes weigh no more than 50 pounds.
- Ask for Help: Ask for help from your family, hire movers and hire those movers to do your packing as well.
- Handle Fragile Items with Care: Wrap fragile items carefully, adding more layers than you think would be necessary – just in case.
- Use Plastic Tubs: For things you plan to store for the long-term, use plastic bins or tubs rather than cardboard boxes for protection and safety.
- Label Well: Label each box in detail in order to make the unpacking process easier.
Stay Safe on Moving Day
Take measures to ensure you stay safe on moving day. Wear comfortable clothing and shoes with tread. To avoid back or neck strain, make sure you:
- Get enough help.
- Refrain from packing any boxes that weigh more than 50 pounds.
- Use proper lifting techniques.
- Use a dolly for the heavy lifting, or ask a mover or a young family member to do it.
- Keep a clear path into your home and out of it.
- Ask someone to watch your pets so they don’t get underfoot on moving day.
Don’t skip meals, so you can keep your strength up. Take frequent water breaks to stay hydrated.
Prepare for Emotions
Particularly if you have lived in your home for many decades and raised your family there, be prepared for a flood of emotions as you pack, move and leave. These transitions can be quite challenging, as this home where your children were raised and grandchildren were welcomed can be very difficult to leave.
Embrace the emotions as they come. They’re normal, and indeed they are a healthy part of the moving on process.
Get Settled in Your New Home
Once you’ve made the move, take some time to get settled in:
- Meet the Neighbors: It’s important to establish social connections early on so you can feel at home. Go for walks, introduce yourself, and accept social invitations.
- Learn the Community: Explore your new surroundings, check out the social events of your assisted living community, visit stores in the area, and engage in social opportunities around town.
- Unpack Logically: Begin with the items you need right away, then proceed from there until everything has been unpacked.
- Schedule a Party: Invite your family or friends to your new place for a housewarming. You may have to limit the guest list in order to accommodate them all in your smaller space, but holding a party will help you mark the transition of old to new.
- Change Your Address: Change your address right away so you don’t miss bills, which can be a stressful prospect especially when starting anew.
Contact Best Fit Movers
We work frequently with seniors looking to downsize. To get a free quote, contact us in San Diego, Orange County or the San Francisco Bay area. Lean on our committed senior moving crew for the friendly and kind service you need, backed by professionalism and efficiency.