Many seniors choose to live in their own homes during their golden years, but for some, making a move to a smaller place or into a family member’s home is the right decision. Preparing for such a big change can be a little overwhelming, especially during the packing process; there are so many things to consider, including what to keep and what to get rid of in order to downsize.
Fortunately, there are several easy tips on how to pack smart before a big move. Here are a few of the best.
Find the Right Boxes
One of the first things you’ll need for a move is boxes, but it’s important to make sure you get a variety of sizes so you can have smaller containers for fragile items. Bigger boxes should be reserved for bulky items--pillows, blankets, etc.--rather than several things that will make it too heavy to carry.
Clean and Organize
Before you pack up, it’s important to go through your belongings one room at a time and create three piles: keep, toss, and donate. If you’ve lived in the same place for a while, it’s likely that you have quite a few things stored in closets and drawers that you don’t use anymore. It might be helpful if you have a family member or two around to help you go through these things, because they may take a few items off your hands. You can also take this opportunity to give possessions such as jewelry or photos to grandchildren or other loved ones.
If you have a lot of belongings, it may seem overwhelming at first to go through everything. Start in one section of one room and work your way out from there rather than trying to multitask. Also, clean as you go--come armed with paper towels, furniture polish, trash bags, and rags--so you can reduce the amount of work you’ll have to do later.
It’s also important to think about new ways to keep prized possessions; for instance, if you have a lot of photo albums, consider condensing them all onto a thumb drive that you can use in a digital picture frame. This way, you can create space and look at all your photos at the same time.
Keep Track of Your Things
As you pack, write down each item on a piece of paper and, when the box is full, tape the paper to the outside so you can find things easily once you get to the new house. Keep like items together and stack the boxes in the room they were packed from after marking them with the section they go in.
Leave the Important Things for Last
Reserve a box just for your medications, toiletries, and other necessities which can be packed up last and keep these in the car with you rather than in the moving van or truck. Also, keep a box free for paper towels, trash bags, cleaners, hand soap, dishes, cups, utensils, napkins, and anything else you might need on the first day in the new place. This way, you won’t have to dig through several boxes to find those necessities.
Remember, making any move can bring up a lot of emotions and can take a toll on your mood, so try to de-stress as much as possible. Compare rates for movers. Designate family members or friends to help out as much as possible and take breaks often. Stay hydrated and keep several small snacks available throughout the day to help you stay motivated and energized.
*Jim Vogel created ElderAction.org along with his wife after they became caregivers for their aging parents. The site is dedicated to promoting senior health and providing valuable information to seniors and their caregivers to help ensure our nation’s seniors are able to thrive throughout their golden years.