For most of us, moving into a new home is an exciting time – it may have meant that our family is growing, we have a terrific new job opportunity, or we are simply moving to a more appropriate home given the time in our lives.
The decision to move to a seniors housing community is often made for different reasons – many of which may be the culmination of many important decisions – some difficult – that you and your family have made over the past several weeks or months. It is likely that your new residence will be different from your current home, and that over the years you have accumulated a lot of “stuff” – some of which you will want to take with you, some of which you had forgotten you even had, and some things you may choose to part with.
No matter what the reason for moving, few of us are likely to be excited about packing boxes, loading trucks, and unpacking all of our ‘stuff’ (our friend with the pickup truck was always so popular when we moved). That said, we hope that the following guide offers you some things to consider:
The process of downsizing can be intimidating so it may help to think of the process as a means to simplifying your life. While getting rid of things you no longer need you make more room for those things you truly value.
3 Tips for Downsizing:
- Plan ahead. Set aside specific days to go through your possessions. Allocate a couple of hours a day to avoid being overwhelmed by the task ahead.
- Take measurements. Obtain a floor plan from your new home then measure the pieces of furniture that you wish to use in your new apartment. The staff at your new community will help with this.
- Tag items. Use different colored post it notes to indicate which items you are giving away or selling, those that you are giving to family, and those that you are bringing with you.
Five Ways to Get Rid of Things You No Longer Need:
- Estate Sale. An estate sale group may keep the process from becoming too daunting and groups like this have the ability to get the most for items you have decided to sell. Estate sale groups typically receive 35 to 40 percent of the profit from an estate sale.
- Contact an Auction House. If you have higher-end collectibles, artwork, or furniture you may want to hire an auction house to sell the items on your behalf. Auction house groups typically receive 50-80 percent of the profit from an auction.
- Charity. Contact a charity like your Church, the Salvation Army, or Goodwill and provide a list of items that you wish to donate. The charity will confirm which items they will accept so you may have items left to give to others.
- Shred your papers. It’s important to proceed with caution if you have stockpiled important information like bank statements or financial documents. Home shredding machines are typically not of enough quality to get the job done so consider hiring a third party shredding service to get the papers properly destroyed and discarded.
- Many senior communities have a store where residents can donate belongings that may be offered for sale – the proceeds may fund a common resident account that can be used to pay for special outings, entertainment, and other fun events. And, it can be a lot of fun!
On Moving Day
Much to the surprise of many older adults who are moving, they actually feel better afterward about not having to keep up with boxes of things they were not using or had not set eyes on in years. Unburdened by so much stuff, many people can focus on the enjoyment of their new home and be revitalized by new people, their new surroundings, and the satisfaction that someone in need is enjoying the charity of having received something special and useful.
It’s important to plan on the logistical tasks, like sorting and packing. If this part of moving gets bogged down, it really can impact you emotionally. Nowadays, there are many options for people to get outside assistance to help with sorting and downsizing. There are companies that specialize in relocation for seniors, and your new community can assist with securing trustworthy assistance. In addition to the physical tasks of moving, these companies can guide you through decision-making and give you feedback uninhibited by family or friends – this can help move the process forward.
Moving a Pet
- If you are moving a pet a pet carrier will help the pet feel safe. Make sure the carrier is large enough so your pet can stand up and turn around easily.
- Consider a pet relocation service – they will pick up and deliver your pet to your new home.
- Keep your pet calm. Considering bringing a favorite toy.
- Ease your pet into your new home. Try to keep your pet away from the commotion. You may want to consider boarding him or her during the moving day. Once he is home, let him take his time getting to know the new space.
It is normal and healthy to feel apprehensive about moving. Without proper planning and plenty of help along the way, moving from a familiar environment where you feel safe and comfortable to a new environment can be stressful. If you are moving from out of town or out of state can make it seem more difficult.
Moving is an important decision, and a big step toward being happy in this next stage of your life. The key to an easy transition lies in allowing the staff at your new community to help you make the move and connect with your fellow residents. Once you know your way around your new home, take the time to meet new people and join social activities such as attending a welcome lunch, finding a new church in the area, attending lectures at the community or joining one of many clubs offered in most modern senior communities. The possibilities are limitless, and it helps to go slowly – there is plenty of time to get involved. The willingness to help you after you’ve made this decision is an important part of your choosing your next community carefully.