Moving ranks as one of life’s most difficult events, along with loss of a spouse, divorce and job change. Senior relocation expert Greg Gunderson said people often feel overwhelmed and wonder, “Where do I even start?”
Gunderson is owner of California-based senior relocation company Gentle Transitions. Speaking to a roomful of guests at Covenant Village of Turlock, a faith-based, not-for-profit continuing care retirement community, he offered tried and true tips for making the move as seamless and as stress-free as possible.
The first step, Gunderson suggested, is to downsize.
“Of the many challenges of moving, downsizing is the most difficult,” he said. “You have to make decisions about every personal possession in your home.”
Gunderson recommended starting with small goals, and sorting for a just few hours at a time.
To make the process run smoothly, he suggested the following:
* Sort through the easiest and obvious first. Choose a room where what needs to go or stay is the most obvious – like your bedroom or a room that’s rarely used.
* Use colored stickers, labels or Post-It notes to identify where items will go. More efficient than writing out a list, movers and family members can use the stickers as guidance on moving day.
* Assess practicality and sentimentality. Items that are both practical and sentimental should move with you. Items that are neither should be left for family, sale or charity. Gunderson reminded guests, “It’s the sentimental items that make a house a home. Those are just as important as packing up your sensible shoes and kitchenware.”
* Eliminate duplicate items or items that are the wrong size. Chances are, you only need three sets of towels, not six. If clothing doesn’t fit, don’t bring it with you.
Before the move, Gunderson recommended taking measurements and creating a floor plan to determine the practicality of existing furniture.
“Don’t go out and buy new furniture. Instead, be open to using furniture in new ways,” he said.
Consider charities and estate sales when looking for ways to dispose of unwanted items. On moving day, he said, enlist the help of family members or hire an insured, reputable moving company. Senior moving companies, like Gentle Transitions, can help seniors make the move from start to finish.