Top 10 Tips on Surviving a Move

Whether moving from one home to a similar size one or downsizing to a smaller one, moving is not just an event but a process.  It starts when you first consider the possibility of a change and continues through many stages until you are settled into your new place and feel comfortable enough to call it home. At times this process may feel overwhelming and your moving goals may seem out of reach. There are some steps you can take along the way to make sure this project moves forward in a smooth and efficient way.

10 Tips for Surviving a Move; The Senior List

10. Make a plan

Begin by making some key decisions. Ask yourself how much of the moving process you want to do yourself. Will you hire a move manager or movers to just do the moving or will they do the packing also? Will you be placing additional items into storage?  Next, start from your moving date and work backwards to create a timeline of actions that need to be done before the move. Keep a notebook of all your “to do” items, the mover’s contact information, and material gathered about the various aspects of your move.

9. Start early

It’s never too early to start downsizing. Even if you have not settled on a moving date or the exact place you will be living, you can still start this process. Begin by focusing on problem areas that tend to collect extra items. Those spaces can be the attic, basements, garage or closets.  Take time to work through the papers in your filing cabinets as well.

8. Break it into smaller tasks

Accomplishing a large task like moving or downsizing can be overwhelming if you view it as a whole.  When the job is broken down into smaller pieces, it becomes more manageable.  It took years to accumulate what you have, so it may take some time to work through it all.   Choose one small area, such as a cabinet or a drawer, and start working there.  Doing a small amount each day will move you easily forward towards your goal.

7. Plan out your space

It is helpful to know what the size of your new home will be.  Using the square foot measurements of both your present home and your new home, you can calculate the percentage of your downsize. If you currently are living in 2,000 square feet and plan to move to 1,000 square feet, you will be downsizing by 50%.  This should be your guideline as you make decisions about furniture, collections, books and even clothing. Use a floor plan of your new home and cut out furniture templates to determine what pieces of furniture will fit and where the best location for each piece will be.

6. List what is important

Take time to clarify which possessions are really important to you, not just what you like or are used to having around. Sometimes it helps to ask yourself the question, “If I had only 5 minutes before disaster hit my home, what would I grab to preserve?” This process will help identify items you want to make sure to move with you.  Moving can be expensive.  The more “stuff” you have, the more it costs. Don’t move things that you don’t need, but be careful to take the things that are most important.

5. Save your memories

As you sort through your possessions, some are easy to part with, but others have significant personal value.  Everyone has possessions that are kept not for their usefulness but for the memories or sentiment attached to them. When a treasured item is identified, the question then becomes: Can the associated memory be saved in another way or is the item something that you should carefully preserve for yourself or future generations? There are many ways to keep the memory without actually keeping the physical item. Photos can be scanned and stored electronically, special collections like teacups can be photographed and displayed on the wall, or swatches of your favorite t-shirts can be made into a quilt.

4. Let go/ Share with others

One of the hardest things to do when you are downsizing is to let go of your possessions. It is difficult to just get rid of them, because you know their value. They may still have good life left in them or can be used another way. Finding a place where they are needed or knowing that they will be used and enjoyed by other makes letting go of these items much easier.  A variety of agencies and non-profits use your goods to benefit others or will wisely recycle them. Consider what interest or cause is important to you and then support that cause by donating your items.

3. Stay in touch

Notify your contacts with your change of address. Remember to include the post office, friends, family, publications, associations, and banks.  It’s great to prepare these in advance but mail them just one week before the move.  Set up the transfer/termination of utilities. Consider paying for one more day than you think you might need in case you have to go back to finish cleaning, to pick up the last few items or if the movers are delayed.

2. Prepare for moving day

Pack a suitcase as if you were going away for a few days.  Even if you are only travelling a short distance, it is helpful to have everything you need to get ready the next day contained in a suitcase, instead of buried in several different boxes. Be sure to include clothing, toiletries, and medicines you will need. Create an “Essentials” box. This will be the last box packed and the first one unpacked. It should contain items that are most immediately needed at both ends of your move. Include supplies like toilet paper, paper towels, soap, paper and pen, trash bags, first aid kit, scissors, phone book, snacks, towel, bedding, and tea or coffee pot.

1. Ask for help!

Moving can be stressful emotionally, physically and mentally. This is an exciting and stressful experience, so allow others to join with you in both the joy and the burden of the move.  Ask others to be involved but don’t wait until last minute to seek their support.  Whether it is assisting with physical packing or organizing different details of the move, take people up on their kind offers.

Whether you are shifting your space around to adjust to a new physical need, moving your household across town or transferring to another country, these tips will make it a bit more bearable for you. This top 10 list will help make your moving process easier and more organized.   ©2012 Beth Giles