Seven Steps to a Saner Move

#1. Well Begun Is Half Done–Seven to nine weeks before you plan to move:

Using a measured floor plan (these are often available from your new community) determine which furniture you’ll take to your new home and where it will be placed. If you are downsizing think about using furniture that has a dual purpose, for example a coffee table that has storage capacity.

Ask movers for estimates (in writing). Ask about insurance and delivery time, as well as what items they cannot transport. Moving yourself can be cheaper, but hiring a packing, moving company lightens the burdens considerably. Senior move firms can orchestrate the entire move or do part of it. They will even unpack and arrange your belongings the way you want, making sure lamps are plugged in, computers are hooked up and remote controls are programmed before they leave. Ask for a free consultation.

  • Identify items that can be sold, given away, or thrown out.
  • Open a bank account in your new locale.
  • Request copies of your medical records, one for you and one each to be sent to your new physician, eye doctor, and dentist.
  • Start using up things that can’t be moved; frozen foods and housekeeping supplies.

#2. On Your Mark–Four to seven weeks before your move:

  • Notify the post office and friends, relatives, and businesses about your change of address. Notify magazines that you subscribe to of your change of address.
  • Contact phone, gas, electric, cable, Internet providers, and newspapers and arrange for services to be terminated. You may want to have your phone functioning in your old residence while you are moving.
  • Arrange for similar services at your new place.
  • Pick up dry cleaning, items being repaired or stored, things lent to others, your locker at the gym or golf club.
  • Sell unneeded items at a garage sale or donate them to charities. Arrange for friends and family to pick up things that you will be giving them. Remember if you are moving into a place that has dining, you will want to downsize your kitchen. You may want to eliminate large baking dishes and extra sets of dishes and utensils, but keep your favorite cookbook.

 #3. Getting Set–Four to three weeks before you leave:

  •  Have your car serviced for the upcoming trip.
  • Take pets to the vet for needed shots; get inoculation records.
  • Get refills for your medications – and arrange for prescriptions to be transferred to your new pharmacy.
  • Return library books and other things that you have borrowed.
  • Host a party that allows you to visit with people you won’t be seeing for a while. If you feel that the party would create more work for you, you may want to host the party at a restaurant.

#4. The Countdown–Two weeks before the movers arrive:

  • Use quality supplies and get them in advance; packing tape, boxes, bubble wrap, etc.
  • Label your belongings with colored stickers indicating which room they will be moved into.
  • Start assembling your Survival Kit (see #6).
  • Consider which items should be loaded last and unloaded first (kitchen and dining items, sheets and towels that will be needed immediately).
  • Complete mail forwarding packet from post office prior to move.

#5. P and D (Packing and Departure) Day

  • Secure pets so they don’t get loose, get injured, or nip or scratch movers.
  • Mark boxes clearly, noting the rooms they should be moved into and their contents.
  • Whe n furniture is disassembled, collect the hardware in plastic bags, label them, and make sure they are packed with the furniture or put into your Survival Kit. Write down or photograph how things should be reassembled and what tools are needed.
  • Check behind doors and in drawers, cabinets, and the rafters for overlooked items.
  • Your movers will probably inventory the boxes; if not, before they are loaded number them and label each one with your name and destination address.

#6. Surviving Until Your Things Arrive

If you are moving a distance and having your things moved by van, it can take days or weeks for a moving van to arrive. If you bring these items with you, you’ll have what you need until the rest of your belongings are delivered:

  •  Essential items — Checkbook, credit/ATM cards, travelers checks, keys for luggage and vehicles, new housing, important papers (will, power of attorney, vehicle titles, proofs of insurance, prescriptions, AND mortgage or lease for new housing, moving agreement, inventory, contact information for building management and moving company), driving directions, area map, toiletries, prescription medications, vitamins, painkillers, your address book, old phone directories, alarm clock, flashlight, nightlight, extension cord, sleepwear, changes of clothing, coffee, coffee pot, tea bags, creamer, sweetener; pet food, bedding, cat litter, cell phone.
  • Really useful items — medium-sized pot, toaster, one place setting per person, can opener, cutting knife, salt, pepper, sugar, other seasonings; storage bags, dish soap, towels, toilet paper, facial tissue; hammer, nails, picture hangers, pliers. screwdrivers, measuring tape, duct tape; pens, paper, envelopes
  • Wise to transport yourself – family pets, keepsake jewelry, family medical and, dental records, remote control for TV, tax records (pack or mail copies); laptop computer (make backup disks or backup using an external hard drive and pack or mail separately).
  • Buy when you arrive – Broom, dustpan, mop, toilet brush, cleanser, garbage bags, light bulbs, breakfast food, sandwich fixings, soups, stews, and other easy to cook food; milk, juices and other perishables

#7. Lighten Your Load

  •  At your new place, make sure your utilities are connected and functioning, appliances are plugged in and turned on, and the thermostat is set at a comfortable level. Is your cable service hooked up?
  • Be present when your belongings are unloaded or have a representative there to accept delivery, check that all your boxes have been delivered and in good condition.
  • Make sure boxes are placed in the correct rooms and that their labels are all facing the same direction and can be clearly seen.
  • Set up the essential areas, the kitchen, the bathroom, the bedroom. Take the rest of your unpacking one box at a time, especially if you are physically or emotionally stressed. You don’t have to be organized in a day.
  • Save some time and energy for exploring your new location and meeting your neighbors.

Senior Housing Guide is a Division of Housing Sense