Whether it’s moving from a large family home to a garden home, moving in with an adult child or moving to a senior living community, chances are many of us will eventually downsize.
Tara Holman and Brion Carlson are a brother and sister team and co-owners of Trading Places, LLC, a senior move management company. They work with seniors every day to help them minimize the stress that can be associated with moving to a smaller residence. Here are Tara and Brion’s four tips for downsizing which they shared at a recent seminar held at Fair Haven in Birmingham.
Tip #1: Start Early
If a move to a smaller residence is on the horizon, it is less stressful to make decisions over time than to make them when those decisions are forced upon you. Go ahead and begin sorting through items not routinely used, giving away or selling items as appropriate to your desires. You can begin by simply making a list of your possessions, assigning priorities to them so that you and others can know what is special to you that you really want to take to your new home, what you would like to give away to your loved ones, and what are the items of excess that are easy to let go. Start to de-clutter by removing the excess as soon as possible.
Tip #2: Plan
To adequately plan for your move, you need to know what will be the available space in your new residence, when the movers are available, how much time it will take to pack your things, who will help you move, and more.
Tip #3: Test Your Assumptions
To minimize stress, especially on moving day, take the time to test your assumptions:
- How long will it really take to pack your things? If you’ve decided to do your own packing for the move, how long will it actually take to pack your things? Select two kitchen cabinets and time it. You may have assumed, for example, that you could pack your goods in two days and be ready for the movers, but during your test learn that it took you four hours to pack just 2 cabinets. Now you’ve got a better idea of how long it will really take. Talk to someone who has moved within the last two years to get an idea about realistic expectations.
- Will my friends really show up to help me move? Ask those same friends to help you with something else before the move and see who really shows up.
- Do my children really want the items they say they want? Tell your children to go ahead and come get those items they said they want. You’ll discover whether they were just being polite or if they really mean to take and enjoy what you want to give them.
Tip #4: Ask for Help
If you and your family members feel overwhelmed by the enormity of a move, this is where a senior move management company can be of great value. Move management companies take measurements of your large furniture items and provide a scaled-down drawing of the configuration of your new spaces using software or graph paper so to ensure that what you want to take with you will fit. They can also get estimates from movers, coordinate with your movers, and even plan for the disposal of the moving boxes once you’re all set up. They can take on as little or as much of the moving project as you need them to.
In the end, a move to a smaller residence is designed to simplify your freed from the hassles and concerns that used to occupy so much of your time. Downsizing is not an easy process, but you’re almost guaranteed to be happier on the other end of your move if you have followed these four tips.
For more information about life at Fair Haven, including details on our how to make Fair Haven your new home, contact lifestyle specialist Ardell Fleeson at 205-956-4150, or send an email to her at AFleeson@fairhavenbirmingham.org.