Retirement is the perfect time to consider moving to a smaller place or a more relaxing environment. Read on for a few simple suggestions to make the process as stress-free as possible.

Sort and surrender

Getting older often means downsizing to get rid of items that haven’t been used in a while…sometimes for decades. Not unexpectedly, clearing out treasured belongings is a physically and mentally exhausting experience and one that might leave you longing for the past. It is necessary, however, especially if you’re moving into a smaller home, apartment, or assisted living center where you won’t have the space to store unnecessary items. A good place to start is by enlisting the help of your adult children and older grandchildren. Allow them to pick out items they would like to keep themselves, then host a yard sale with the rest. Anything left over will be graciously welcomed at most local charities.

Know your future floor plan

You might be living in a 3,500 square foot home now, but chances are that your new place will be much smaller. You can make better decisions on what large items, such as furniture and appliances, to keep if you have access to your future home’s floor plan. You can get this from your realtor or leasing agent or simply sketch it out with measurements on a piece of paper.

Start with unused rooms and take your time

Even if you have yet to set a moving date, you can avoid being overwhelmed by planning strategically months in advance. Your initial plan of attack might include unused bedrooms, the garage, basement, or closets. Downsizing doesn’t have to be a rush job; starting early ensures you don’t make any rash decisions.

Do small tasks first

You will feel like you’ve accomplished more by making a list in tackling the easiest projects first. A bookshelf is a great example of a small space that may hold positions you’ll no longer need in your new adventure.

Make a list of what’s most important

Hopefully, not everything you’ve stashed away over the years holds significant emotional value. Make a list of personal possessions that are most dear, starting with your top ten. Keep things in perspective by asking yourself as you move further down the list if each item is something you’ll use or will be a cherished keepsake for your loved ones later on. Enlist the help of your friends, who can keep you on track throughout the process. It can be difficult to let go of those physical reminders of days gone by, but it can also be cathartic and allow you to move on to the next phase of your life.

Keep in touch with friends and family

All too often, people move away and don’t leave forwarding information. Don’t forget to share your new address and telephone number with those that you would like to keep in touch with us. If you have an active online presence, you can share this information quickly and efficiently, but a phone call or moving announcement is just as effective.

Interview moving companies

There are some jobs that should simply be handled by professionals, moving is one of them. Take some time to research a number of companies to see if they offer the capabilities you need. For instance, you may require a mover that specializes in moving art or transporting your housewares across country. Make sure your moving company is insured and can track your belongings throughout the process. Shop around and find one that has good rates.

Prepare and be patient

Moving isn’t something done instantaneously so it’s a good idea to have a few items available that you will need in the short term. Pack a suitcase like you leaving for a quick vacation so you will have your toiletries and a change of clothes handy in case things don’t go as smoothly as planned. Be patient with yourself and your moving team, and know that everyone’s goal is the same at the end of the day: to get you settled safe and sound in your new place.

Author: Jim Vogel

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