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Moving Tips for Seniors by Lauren Berkowitz, Cheerful Transitions

Daunting. Overwhelming. Frustrating. The thought of moving almost always evokes these negative feeling when people consider the myriad tasks involved. No matter your age moving is always stressful. For older adults relocating is all the more challenging since they are usually downsizing into a smaller apartment, condominium or senior living community. Often there is no one available to help with all the details, and many must move quickly without time to plan. Decisions to relocate are difficult to make as they are frequently a result of one or more factors such as age, illness, family separation or the need for a more manageable lifestyle. Emotions run high with worries about what to do with years of accumulated stuff. Most seniors are not prepared to give up or “downsize” a lifetime of cherished possessions. Who will sell the furniture or arrange and estate sale? Who will deal with the sale of the home? Transition trauma begins to take over.

You’ve decided on a community and are all ready to go. Now what? First, take a deep breath and know there is help to ensure the moving process is smooth, efficient and stress-free. The following tips are utilized by senior relocation specialists and are invaluable to anyone who is moving.

Begin downsizing as early as possible
Even if you have not decided on a moving date or where you will be living, you can begin this process. Start by focusing on rooms/spaces with extra items not needed on a daily basis. For example, the attic, basements, garage or closets. Take time to sort through the papers stored in filing cabinets and desks. Get rid of any duplicates in kitchen and bathrooms.

Divide work into smaller tasks
Choose one small area such as a cabinet or a drawer and start working there. Completing a small amount each day will move you forward in a manageable way. By breaking the job into components, the process will seem less overwhelming. Non-emotional spaces are an excellent place to begin such as the laundry room or bathroom.

Plan your space
Using the square foot measurements of both your current home and your new home, you can calculate the percentage you will need to downsize. If you presently are living in 1,600 square feet and the new place is 800 square feet, you will need to downsize by 50 percent. Have this in mind as you make decisions about furniture, dishes, collections, books and clothing.

Only most important possessions go
This decision-making process will help you take only items you absolutely want to move with you. Criteria should be: how well the item fits my new lifestyle, functionality of item, expense to move, and emotional value of two similar items. Moving too much can be costly, but having items remain in boxes because of lack of space must be avoided so you can utilize and enjoy all of your most important items.

Keeping memories alive
Some items are easy to give up while others are more difficult because of their sentimental value. When a treasured item is identified there are many ways to keep the memory without actually keeping the physical item. For example, photos can be scanned and stored electronically and special collections like dolls can be photographed and displayed.

Now is a great time to be charitable
It may be easier to let go of your possessions knowing someone in need will enjoy and benefit from them. This makes the job of downsizing your valuables easier especially items that are in good condition. There are numerous agencies and non-profits in which to donate items or support the cause that is important to you.

Let everyone know
Notify your contacts with your change of address. Remember to include the post office, friends, family, publications, associations, and banks and make sure to mail them one week before the move. Set up the transfer/termination of utilities.

Remember to pack your own suitcase
Prior to moving day, pack overnight necessities for easy accessibility. Be sure to include valuables, clothing, toiletries, medicines, glasses, cell phone/charger, hearing aids and important documents for the move. Also, pack one box with essential items you will need immediately at both ends of your move including toilet paper, paper towels, soap, paper and pen, trash bags, first aid kit, scissors, phone book, snacks, towel and bedding. This box should be the last on the truck and first one out.

Let others assist you
Ask family, friends or neighbors for help with different aspects of the move. Ask in advance so your house doesn’t become too unmanageable or the process too stressful. Whether it is assisting with downsizing, packing or organizing different details of the move, most people are happy to provide support in any way they can.

Whether a local or long-distance move, if you, a loved-one or friend needs assistance with relocation, contact Lauren Berkowitz at Cheerful Transitions. A full-service relocation company specializing in coordinating stress-free moves for the senior population at (954) 818-6727 to receive a free, in-home, no obligation, flat-fee quote.

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