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Pack according to destination. Pack items together that will end up in the same place in your new home. For example, pack kitchen items together, bedroom items together, and bathroom items together.
Ask for help. Your family and friends can be valuable resources when it comes to downsizing and moving. When you are sifting through your possessions, someone else’s opinion can give you a less emotional perspective. Extra hands are also advisable for lifting heavier objects.
There are lots of reasons why moving into a smaller home may be the right move for those of us in the later decades of life. A smaller home usually means lower costs. A smaller home means less housework and upkeep. A smaller home means less extra space we rarely use. A smaller home can also mean fewer stairs to climb, which makes sense as we get older. The list goes on.
Moving to a new place can be an exciting adventure. Of course, it also involves work and can become stressful…even emotional… as well. Leaving a home where we’ve made roots and memories can be more difficult than we imagine. When it comes to moving, the right preparation can make the difference between a positive move and a negative experience.
The following tips are from folks who have survived downsizing from a larger home to a smaller dwelling.
Think about what you need in a new home. It’s important to find a new home that’s right for you with a floor plan that works for you in your current stage of life. For example, you may want your master bedroom to be on the main floor instead of up a flight of stairs and/or you may not need a large dining room if you no longer do much entertaining in your home.
Give yourself enough time. Moving is a time-consuming process. Make sure to give yourself time for everything that goes into it. Just sifting through all the “stuff” you’ve collected over the years is a lengthy proposition.
Spread the news. The list of people, businesses, and other places or resources that need to have an accurate address for you can seem almost endless. It’s up to you to notify everyone. Of course, it’s important to inform family and friends. You’ll also want to give your new address to your bank, your doctor’s office, your dentist’s office, your veterinarian, your place of worship, your lawyer, your insurance providers, etc. You’ll need to update your license and car registration as well as all newspaper or magazine subscriptions. If you belong to any clubs or organizations, you’ll have to let them know as well. The list goes.
Use a trustworthy moving company. Do not hire movers until you’ve done some research and made some calls. Professional movers should be reputable, licensed, and insured. Get prices from a few different companies and compare them. Make sure they will be able to meet your needs, and make sure everything is spelled out in the contract. Some movers also offer packing and unpacking services for an additional cost.
Sort strategically. When it comes to tackling all your possessions, it can be hard to know what to do with everything. Separate items into four categories, items you want to bring with you, items you want to donate to charity, items you want to give to loved ones and friends, and items to toss out.
Remember, it’s okay to feel a little sad. Even if you are thrilled to be moving, you are bound to feel at least a bit melancholy about leaving your old home behind, especially if you’ve lived there a long time. If you are moving a significant distance away, it may be even more difficult. Being sad about moving is completely normal and nothing to be concerned about as long as the feelings are temporary and do not linger too long. If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed by sadness or depression, speak with your doctor. You may need some help dealing with the emotions.
Don’t jump in. Really think about your reasons for moving and how downsizing will make your life better. You don’t want any surprises or regrets after you’ve already made the move.
Label every box. When packing items into moving boxes, it helps to use labels. Make a label for each box that lists its contents and where the items will go in the new house. You may want to purchase a label maker, which can be easier than writing everything down yourself.
Be prepared for the costs of selling and buying. There are costs associated with selling a home and purchasing another. There are closing costs, attorney fees, appraisal fees, etc.
Have one or two “Open me first” boxes. There are things you will want to have access to as soon as you move in to your new home. Place these items in boxes labelled “Open me first.” List the items on the label as well.