Moving is hard enough at any time in life. But it’s especially tough for seniors who are also downsizing as they prepare for a move to a smaller home, often in another state.
That happens a lot in South Florida, a place where thousands of seniors move each year, often from other states or even countries. Leaving their home where they have lived a long time – sometimes decades – makes this a particularly tough move.
Here are some tips to keep in mind as you prepare to start downsizing and make a move, compiled from the experience we at Good Greek Moving & Storage have had moving seniors to South Florida for many years.
Keep The Big Goal In Mind
When you downsize, the main goals are getting a smaller place and cutting down on costs. It also allows you to more easily move to be closer to grandchildren or medical services that you need. A secondary benefit is that you clean out all the clutter that has accumulated over the many years, meaning you have less stuff to worry about.
It’s a great feeling once you’ve accomplished it, but it does require having a plan and strong discipline. But one of the advantages of being older is that you understand the concept of delayed gratification! The hard work you put in will be worth it.
Start As Early As Possible
Anytime you are downsizing, the actual work takes longer than you expect. That’s because each room will contain smaller items that might take you much longer to handle than you expect. Don’t give yourself just one week to handle the job. Try to start at least a month in advance.
One Room At A Time
This is going to require all the lessons in discipline you’ve learned through the years, but the thing to do is to take one room at a time. Completely clear out one room and pack it up before moving on to the next one. It’s a systematic way that builds step upon step until you are finished, but keeps the work in doable chunks.
When cleaning out rooms, keep these things in mind.
- Eliminate any duplicate items. It’s amazing how many of these pile up over the years, especially in the kitchen.
- Eliminate rooms. Chances are you are moving into a smaller place that might not have a second guest room or large kitchen. Get rid of items that will not fit into your new home.
- Be decisive. Everything needs to be a hard yes or a hard no – no giant “maybe” piles to sort through later.
Making Tough Choices
Moving is an extremely emotional time for everyone, but it’s especially tough on seniors. You have decades of “stuff,” much of it with emotional attachments to children, friends and family. Throwing out sentimental items can be difficult. It’s best to decide beforehand how much you’ll allow yourself to keep (just a box of your most precious mementos, for example). As for other items, a good rule of thumb is to get rid of anything you haven’t worn or used in a year or longer.
Have a Yard Sale
When the time comes, don’t hesitate to sell some of your items through a yard sale or through online markets such as eBay. A little extra cash can help pay the costs of your move. However, keep in mind that most items won’t bring in much cash, so limit the time you want to spend in this area. It might be better to consider giving many items away to charity.
Another consideration to hire professionals movers who have experience in handling moves, as well as all the supplies you’ll need to pack your items. They also can offer advice on how to manage your move, including fragile items such as artwork that you might have accumulated over the years.
Keep these tips in mind as you prepare for your move. By planning and starting early, you can make this emotional time in life go much more smoothly.