seniors-move-downsizingThere was probably a time, many years ago, when moving meant boxing up a few dishes and calling a friend who could loan you a pickup truck. Now however, if you’re like most older people, you have spent a lifetime lovingly filling your home with furniture, artwork and special mementos. Moving to a new home at this time of life can feel truly daunting.

Don’t know where to start? Here are some tips that might help:

  • Plan ahead — It’s best to plan your move on paper long before packing that first moving box. Plan what supplies you will need like boxes or tissue paper, for example. Decide the best order for packing your items. Books and mementos can go first, while clothes, electronics and perishables should be packed last. If friends and family have offered to help, make a calendar so you will know who is available and when they will be coming. Line up your moving company and find out just what services it has to offer and how much it charges.
  • Pack a bag — When you’re trying to pack up an entire household, it can be easy to overlook the fact that you will still need some of your possessions on a daily basis. Remember, depending on the length of the move, you may not have access to the things you’ve boxed up for a few days or even weeks. Before packing anything else, pack a small suitcase for yourself with a few important items. Include a change of clothes, your personal care items and any medications you take. You might even want to add some fresh sheets, a pillowcase and a towel or two. That way you won’t have to dig through a bunch of boxes looking for these simple necessities the first night in your new home.
  • Simplify — Now is a good time to downsize possessions — especially if you’re moving to a smaller home or an apartment. Sort through your belongings as you pack and decide if you can part with any of them. Consider making digital copies of treasured photos or important documents; CDs are easier to pack than photo albums or filing cabinets. Offer keepsakes or antiques to family members and donate extra furnishings or household items to local charities. Ask the charity if it will send a truck to pick up your donations. If so, that’s one more chore you can cross off your moving to-do list.
  • Take breaks — You may be anxious to complete your move once and for all, but remember to take care of yourself when working through this stressful time. Be sure to get plenty of rest. If you have worked hard all morning, stop and put your feet up or take a brief nap, even if this means sending away well-intended helpers on occasion. Don’t forget to eat regularly and drink plenty of fluids, as well. Taking care of your health will help ensure you have the energy necessary to complete this large undertaking.
  • Find a specialist — Not all moving companies are created equal. Some simply offer a “one-size-fits-all” moving service. However, if you have unusual items — such as antiques, large area rugs, a piano or perhaps a grandfather clock — they shouldn’t simply be packaged and shipped like ordinary furniture; they require special handling. Try to find a moving service that is experienced with these kinds of specialized items. Consider, as well, a moving company that understands the special moving needs of seniors or one that is affiliated with the National Association of Senior Move Managers.

Whether you’re moving across the country to be closer to friends and family, or simply moving across town to a smaller, easier-to-maintain home, planning ahead, taking care of yourself and getting the help you need will smooth the moving process, ensuring that you — and your possessions — arrive at your new home in tip-top shape, ready to begin this exciting chapter of your life.

Chris Crompton is a marketing manager for Transit Systems Inc., a leader in the shipping and freight industry for over 25 years. Transit Systems offers low rates and professional service on long distance shipments and small moves.