More than 12 percent of the American population is over the age of 65 and an estimated 1.5 million "senior" Americans will move into new residences this year.
Whether 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 decide 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?
You will most likely 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.
Declutter your curio.
Inevitably, many of us gather considerable collections over the years, some of which can be distributed among family or sold for supplemental moving funds. Ask family and friends about taking sentimental pieces and then consider selling or donating additional items to cut moving costs.
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 exhaust yourself.
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.
Remember, your body and belongings need to make it to your destination intact. If you hire a professional mover you 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.