More than 12 percent of the American population is over the age of 65 and an estimated 1.5 million of these Americans will move into new residences this year. Whether you are moving to a retirement community or assisted living facility, or down-sizing to a space that is more appropriate for your new lifestyle, moving can be stressful and emotionally draining. The following suggestions can help you execute a smooth move:
As soon as you decided to move (even before you put your house on the market), begin taking inventory of everything in your home. Start with the most remote corner of the basement and work your way through the entire house until you reach the peak of the attic.
Will it fit?
Most likely you will need to scale down the number of belongings you take to your new home. Compare the size of your new space with your old space. Will all of the belongings you plan to take fit? Visualize where your current possessions will go and then decide what to do with those pieces that probably will not fit.
Rid yourself of possessions you don't need
Inevitably, you have gathered quite a few belongings over the years. Do you still need it all? Family or friends may want to keep some sentimental pieces, but after they have looked through the items, decide whether to throw away, sell or give to charity the things you are not taking with you. This will not only prepare you for moving but will also clear clutter and make your home “show” better to prospective buyers.
Keep emotions in check
The emotional impact of changing one's lifestyle, parting with objects from the past and going through a house full of belongings -- and memories -- is hard work, both mentally and physically. Make sure there is enough time allotted to review possessions and to adjust to the idea of moving. Realistic decisions also need to be made regarding how much packing and moving should be done without the help of a professional.
Don't break your back
The physical demands of packing and self-moving may be too strenuous to undertake. Moving furniture is difficult and most people underestimate the toll it takes on your muscles and joints. Whoever packs the belongings assumes liability for any breakage that may occur, so letting a professional do the packing can help ensure minimal damage – to you and your belongings. It also gives you time and energy to focus on other important matters.
What will the future hold?
Your planned lifestyle will also influence what and how much you take. For instance, if you expect to travel frequently, you may want fewer possessions than if you plan to spend more time at home.
Decision-making: round two
After deciding what you “absolutely must keep,” give yourself a one-week break and go back through your possessions with a more critical eye. Once you get used to the idea of parting with certain belongings, it may be easier to make a final decision the second time around.
Follow a pre-planned timetable
It is a good idea to follow a step-by-step timetable for packing and moving. Your moving representative can give you a detailed calendar to follow, as well as tips of things to remember such as transferring prescriptions to a drugstore in your new community.