Changing homes is a difficult process for everyone as it involves many activities spanning from the decision to move to settle down in a new environment. As a senior, moving might be even more difficult for you than it would be for most other people because, you’re most probably parting with a place you’ve called home for years, essentially leaving behind a wealth of memories that you’d prefer to hold on to.
You may have lived all your life in your current home and due to any number of reasons, retirement, the cost of maintaining your current home, or even just a desire to be around other seniors, you’re planning a move and it’s all beginning to seem like an overwhelming experience that you’d rather just be done with.
A lifetime collection of belongings and memories to sort through as well as the fact that you’re possibly downsizing and would have a hard time choosing between your properties can make deciding what to keep or leave behind emotionally unsettling, not to mention the physical and mental strain that moving brings on people.
We have a very good idea of what this can be like, and that’s why we’ve prepared this essential moving guide for seniors to help you with every step of your move.
1. Make a Plan
Planning has always been the secret formula behind any successful endeavor, and your move is no different. From the moment you decide that you would like to move to a different environment, you should begin planning your move.
Decide if you’ll simply be moving into a smaller apartment that would be easier for you to manage, a retirement community, or to stay with one of your, now grown-up, kids.
Also, it is important that you plan a to-do list, where you create step by step breakdown of all that you will need to do during the process of your move. Keep this to-do list handy as it will be your personal friendly guide in the weeks to come. If more things you’d like to do before you move to occur to you note them down, and proceed with whatever part of the process you find yourself in at the said moment.
You can employ the use of a moving calculator to determine the cost of moving and the amount of time you’ll be spending on the move.
Also decide how much of a part you’ll take in the move if you’d want a moving company to handle all the packing and “moving” or you’d like to pack your things yourself, decide if you even want to get a moving company involved or rent a truck.
2. Start Early
It is very important that you start preparations for your move early, give yourself a minimum of 6 months to make the preparations needed for your move, so as to allow yourself the time to enjoy the process and take it all on little by little.
It’s never to early to start sorting through your belongings and deciding what to take with you and what to give away, sell, donate or throw in the trash. Essentially those are the categories that everything you own fall in at the end, it will be nice to have a lot of time to contemplate which of your cherished belongings end where, and to change your mind about some of them.
Also, you can begin to tidy the parts of the house that contain huge amounts of memory and property, like the attic, your closet, the garage and your basement. You’ll thank yourself later on in the process for beginning early with these little things.
3. Visit the Proposed New Environment
Whether it’s a community for seniors or just another house, it’s great to visit the new environment and get a feel for it. Sometimes, visiting the environment you plan to move to could help you decide between conflicting choices (in cases where you have more than one option) or reinforce your desire to move to said environment.
In the case you’re moving to a retirement community, it’s advisable that during your visit you speak with other residents of the community and learn about the specific issues they have there.
Don’t forget to check for mobility access and proximity to grocery stores, hospitals, recreational centers, the social activities in the area as well as other practical needs.
Note down the things you notice during your visit, these details will help you with contemplating your choice as well as in discussing your options with your family if need be.
4. Get Some Help
Let’s face it, packing, cleaning and the overall process of moving is a strenuous one even on younger folks, for you as a senior, it’s all the more difficult or even dangerous to do all the work by yourself.
For this reason, it’s crucial that you ask help from family, friends or your neighbors, they can help with the heavy lifting as you sort through your belongings, they can also assist with cleaning the attic, basement and other storage areas after you’re done selecting the precious cargo you would like to take with you on your move.
Generally, it’s just good to have someone around during this process that you can tell stories as you sort through items or boss around in an elderly manner, whichever one you like.
5. Take it One Step at a Time
There’s no need to rush the process or get daunted by the amount of work you need to do in the coming weeks, simply take things one step at a time and you’d find that you’re soon done with everything. Start with one closet a day, or one room a week, and meticulously take your time, reordering the process as you like.
As you pack, make a habit of congratulating yourself for the work done before moving on, you should appreciate your own efforts, and this helps you condition yourself to a happy state.
Be careful to give yourself time to adjust to the process, this might help prevent a case of Relocation Stress Syndrome. It’s good you watch out for your mental and emotional health, try to enjoy the process.
6. Packing Tips
It’s important that you take note of some packing tips, they may save you time, money and generally make unpacking easier on the other side of your move. The first tip you need to keep in mind is to pack with unpacking in mind, pack your belongings in a manner that’s would make unpacking a smooth process.
Create boxes to categorize the fate of belongings that you won’t be taking with you. A box for things you’d like to donate, another for things you’d rather sell, another for things you’d give out and one big one for things you’ll throw away. That’s four boxes.
Talking about boxes, it’s better that you make use of more small boxes than big ones, this will enable you to pack smartly and make for an easier arrangement in the moving truck. Also, the small boxes will be easy to carry for you, than the big ones, this way you don’t strain yourself too much.
It’s also important that you label the boxes, so you know what is in each box. On the label, you should note what side of the box is up, the room you packed the items from and the room you plan to unpack them into. As we previously suggested, pack with unpacking in mind.
Convert objects with sentimental values that you cannot carry with you into other forms, you can take pictures of those high school trophies of yours for example and have those to look at whenever you want to remember the old days, photographs can be scanned and stored electronically on a computer as well removing the need to pack photo albums.
The last tip, in case your move is a long-distance move, make use of special packing paper instead of newspapers and magazines, so as to prevent ink stains that can stick to objects.
7. Plan Your New Space
You’re probably downsizing, which means that, not all your current furniture can move into your new home with you, and some of your other things would have to go as well, it’s good to have an idea how big your new space is, so request a plan of your new home or get a good idea what size it is, and compare sizes, this way you don’t end up packing more than your new place can take and at the same time you don’t lose important stuff you could have carried with you if you knew how much space you’d have at your new place.
8. Note Down Necessities
Make a continuous note of all your contacts and everyone that you’d need to inform of your move, this would make it easier to reach them when the time of your move is close and also ensures that you do not forget to inform anyone that needs to know that you’re moving.
9. Give and Donate
It’s going to be hard to part with some of the things you own, many of them carry a lot of sentimental value and are loaded with several memories you’d forever cherish, but you definitely can’t carry everything with you.
You can identify family members, neighbors or friends that you will like to gift some of your things to and simply gift it to them. The smiles on their faces we’re sure would be enough reward.
You should also contact a local charity, or any organization to which you wish to donate the items in the donation box, and schedule a pickup date with them.
10. Arrange a Garage Sale
You’re free to do whatever it is you wish to do with the rest things you are not going to be taking with you on your move, including a garage sale for the neighborhood.
You would definitely have some furniture you can’t take with you, that the family down the street might need and some other things that are of value but you cannot take with you. By means of a garage sale, you can make a little more money to offset some of the costs of your move.
Whatever doesn’t get cold in the garage sale can be given out, donated, or thrown in the trash. The choice is all yours to make.
11. Make Final Arrangements
Make sure you keep in touch with the moving company or truck rental services to ensure that the moving date is still feasible. Check around the house to ensure that there’s nothing you’ve forgotten that you would have loved to pack, or throw away.
Pack a “necessities box” this would contain items you use on a day to day basis, such as medications, toilet paper, soap, paper, pen, trash bags, phone book, towel, first aid kit, scissors, tea, or coffee cups, clothes, snacks, etc.
This will be your start-up pack for when you arrive at your destination, they should be enough to live on through the few days you’d spend unpacking at your new location.
Do a final clean-up, or get a cleaning service to come around and clean the house, it would be profitable to leave the house in a good and clean condition, if you plan to sell your house after your move, this would definitely have an impact on its resale value.
Book your flight in advance, and a hotel if needed.
12. Say Goodbye
Visit friends, members of clubs you belong to, family, and neighbors to say goodbye. Forward your new contact information to all the contacts that you noted down during the process of your move.
Visit places of import that have made an impact on your life during your years of stay in your soon-to-be old location.
If you have been the fun and outgoing type, you can also visit other non-conventional places, like the grocery store, to say goodbye to friends you definitely have there.
13. Moving Day
If you opted for the services of a long distance moving company, moving day should be less of a hassle and you would play more of a supervisory role, ensuring that your property is properly handled and loaded into the truck.
If however, you opted to rent a truck, then you’d need all the help you need with loading all your things into the rented truck and ensuring that they are properly packed.
Make sure you tie down things that may shift while in transit so that you don’t end up at your new location with damaged belongings.
Overall, prepare yourself for the emotional aspect of moving day. For many it would be an extremely emotional experience, this is normal. We would advise that you enjoy every bit of it. Your move is a part of life, after all, and life should be fully experienced.
Finally, we know that moving, for seniors, entails a lot of intricate experiences mushed together in one, however with careful preparations and the help of this guide, you are sure to cut down on the regrettable side of things and enjoy the entire experience a lot more.