Moving into a new home can be an exciting yet stressful time, especially if this is your first time purchasing a home.  You can take plenty of steps to alleviate that stress and ensure a smooth transition into your new house, such as organizing your finances, securing moving plans, and planning the layout of your furniture and key belongings.   Follow along below for some essential tips on planning and organizing your move into your new home.

Organize Your Finances

No matter how organized you think you are, there’s a lot of preparation going into purchasing a home, especially gathering your financial documents to determine what houses you can afford.  Step one is getting pre-approved for a mortgage to help give you a clear view of the houses within your budget and let the seller know you’re serious about buying.  Then you will want to organize these essential documents for your move in a way that works best for you and keep them in a safe, accessible place.  You’ll also want to stay on top of your bills during this transition period to ensure nothing gets lost and disrupts your future finances.

Along with getting pre-approved for a mortgage, you’ll also want to set aside some funds for other essential moving expenses, like paying a moving company, a cleaning organization, paying for new furniture, and more.  If you’re moving from an apartment to a house, you’ll probably need to buy a few more belongings than you had in the past.  Start adding to your savings by saving a little from each paycheck.  There are other unique ways to save money: selling items or furniture you’re not planning on bringing with you, moving during the off-season, and utilizing any employer-offered relocation bonuses.  Getting your finances in order is essential for ensuring your move is as smooth as possible. 

Research Your New Home’s Location

Before purchasing a new home, you want to ensure that you’ve done all the research necessary to ensure it’s in the best location.  If you’re relocating, look at which homes are in a safe area and not too far to commute to your workplace.  Discuss with your partner or family what aspects of your new home’s location are essential for them and see where your lists align or may need some compromise in some spots.  Find a realtor trusted by friends and family or with good reviews to help you find the best location.  They’ll be more than happy to find houses that fit your wants and needs.  This is also helpful when you’re unsure how to find the perfect home and feel like it’s out of your comfort zone.

If you have children, you’ll want to research which schools and districts are the best in the area by checking out the school’s ratings and reviews.  This may make all the difference when choosing between some of your favorite neighborhoods you are considering.  Remember your child’s different learning styles and needs when searching for the right school for them, whether private or public.  If they’re interested in playing sports seriously, ensure that the school district they will be attending has a great sports system. 

You’ll want to have your kids’ medical and immunization records in a spot that’s easy to access so that it’s ready to go before their first day of school.  Prepare by purchasing their back-to-school supplies in advance, so you’re not rushing to get everything together once you’re settled in your new location.  Show them where the school is located before their first day, along with the bus route, to ease the transition to the new school and get acclimated.  Find things about the school that are notable to them so they’ll be excited to attend.  This will make things easier for both of you as you want them to adjust and fit in. 

Pack and Declutter Your Items

Once your home and location are decided, it’s time to begin getting organized before moving!  Step one of this process is to devise a timeline and move-in goal to keep you accountable throughout your packing and decluttering process.  Start by sorting through your items, making piles of what you’re keeping, and donating or throwing away.  Once you’ve set aside your belongings, you will want to organize all the ones you’re taking with you so that it’s easy and convenient to unpack.  Use boxes with organizers inside to avoid shifting throughout your move, and use packing tape to keep everything safe.  Label each box as accurately as you can.  You can request that your moving company group certain boxes to limit confusion while unpacking.  Make an unpacking plan room by room and have your necessities available as soon as you move in.  For more oversized items like furniture, wrap and place some packing material on the sharp corners to ensure they don’t damage anything on their way out or get damaged on the move.  Carpet sliders are a great way to make moving your heavier belongings easier without destroying your floor on the way out or in.

Hire Services to Help You

Moving on your own can be challenging, and having small kids can make it overwhelming.  You’ll want to hire some help who can organize your move for you and be there for you every step.  SolutionsForYou will coordinate with the movers, help organize your belongings, and can even assist with your unpacking process.  If you’re concerned with Covid, we offer virtual organization services. 

Before you move into your home, you want it to be top-notch.  Hiring a cleaning service will take away the stress of worrying about what’s left over from the past owners, and they’ll be able to make your home shine.  This is especially perfect in case anyone in your household has allergies.  They can eliminate common substances like dust that can settle between the move-out and move-in cleaning.  If allergens are your primary concern, reach out to a cleaning service with HEPA vacuums and the proper materials to eliminate as many allergens as possible.  

If planning your move and all that it entails is stressing you out, hire a moving company to help you with all aspects of the move.  You’ll want to budget for how long you’re planning on using the movers, whether you’re moving within the same state or crossing state lines and how much labor you’ll need to get the job done.  There are a few different options available to you if you’re unsure what fits best in your budget, your needs, and the number of items you have.  If you want to do the packing and moving, look into renting a moving vehicle or a storage cube.  Also, have a backup plan if anything goes awry during your move.  Double-check your move-in date and time, and confirm with the chosen company ahead of time. 

Plan Your Home’s Layout 

Before moving into your new home, walk through and make notes and sketches of the layout to understand if you need to buy some furnishings or other items ahead of time.  Maybe in this new home, you have a playroom or a den you didn’t have before or a backyard that you didn’t once have with your apartment.  If you struggle with spacial design and planning, SolutionsForYou can help.  It’s one of our superpowers!  You might even find yourself shopping and buying home decor accessories to spice up your home before you move in, then it’s one less thing on your plate after you’re trying to settle in.  

Following these tips should allow your move into your home to be as smooth as possible.  SolutionsForYou is here to keep you on your move-in schedule and take the weight off your shoulders by keeping you organized and stress-free. 

 

On average, Americans move about 11.7 times in their lifetime. Moving to a new house can be a very stressful activity, and since you might have to move several times, you need to make the process more manageable. You can achieve this by getting a little bit organized. If you have disorganized items while moving, you risk losing, breaking some, and leaving others in your older house. Here are some organizational tips that will help make your move a total breeze.

Plan Ahead

The best way to stay organized as you move is by preparing early enough to avoid the last-minute rush. Call the movers early and set a date. If you need help from your family and friends, notify them of the moving date in advance. Next, figure out the supplies you will need while moving. Get enough boxes, garbage bags, label markers, and other moving supplies.

If you have toddlers, you need to plan for childcare on the moving date. For school-going kids, tell them about moving earlier to prepare them emotionally and let them know how they can help. On a moving day, catering to your children’s needs will make the process a bit easier. So, plan for breaks and meals to avoid chaos and distractions.

Create a To-Do List

The moving process involves lots of activities. You, therefore, need to create a to-do list to keep you on track. Once you have your moving date set, the first thing you do is create a moving timeline and a calendar of events. Outline what you should do in the months before the moving day. Break large tasks into smaller ones, so you don’t get overwhelmed by the relocation process. Prioritize tasks in terms of their importance and set a time frame for each activity.

Remember to note down critical information of all the people involved, from the realtor, packers, movers, and inspectors. Write down realtor meeting dates, when you need to make donations, and include packing deadlines on your plan. A well-defined schedule will prevent you from overlooking any details. It will give you an idea of what you need to do at a specific time. A good plan also makes it easier to delegate tasks and supervise different crews.

Declutter

You probably have too many items in your current house that you don’t need or use anymore, and you wouldn’t want to move them to your new home. This is the best time to declutter. Move from room to room, sort out which things you will carry along and those you should let go of. Set up some items for donations. You can sell others, give out broken appliances for recycling and return items that belong to others. Decluttering will make your unpacking process less chaotic.

Label Your Items

The best way to keep your items organized while moving is by labeling them. Label the contents in each box, give your packages a number and prepare a list of what each box contains. This way, you won’t have to open all the boxes if you need something after getting to your new house. Put like items in one package to make the unpacking process more manageable. Also, pack room by room and indicate the boxes that contain a specific room’s items. Once you get to your new house, move the boxes to the appropriate rooms for easy unpacking.

Create an Unpacking Plan

Even before you move, have a well-organized plan on how you will unpack and stick to it. Create a time frame and realistic goals, and hold yourself accountable. As you move, you need to ensure that your family has access to the essential items, so you should pack them last and unpack them first. They include food, toiletries, medication, keys, electronic devices, and chargers. After unpacking the necessities, move to the kitchen, line the cupboards, cabinets, unpack what you need, and have major appliances hooked up. After the kitchen, put the bedroom together, move to the bathrooms, then to the living room and arrange furniture. You can finish up with organizing the garage, basement, and other utility rooms.

The Bottom Line

Moving and reorganizing your new home can be overwhelming, but you can make it easier by staying organized. The above tips will help keep everything in control on your next move.


Author Bio: Colin Crown is a contributing writer and media specialist for North American Van Lines. He is an avid foodie, marketing enthusiast and loves the city of Memphis.

So, you’ve decided to take an exciting new step in your life and relocate to a new town or even a different state. You may be feeling stressed and overwhelmed with all the scheduling, packing, and expenses that go into relocating, not to mention you have to do it all while the Coronavirus pandemic is affecting most things around you. Whether you’re relocating to a more rural area because of COVID-19, or you no longer have to commute into work every day and moving to a small town just seems more ideal for you, there are important steps in the relocation process that can often be overlooked. That’s why we’ve created the ultimate guide to relocating during COVID-19, including steps to take before, during, and after the move.

Before Relocating

Learn about your new city or town

Once you find a new area that you are interested in, make sure you do your research about how your new city is handling the coronavirus pandemic and what restrictions and guidelines they have in place. In addition, become better acquainted with your new community by researching the local culture, weather trends, cost of living, public transportation, while also finding out how much house you can afford in different neighborhoods. If you have any relatives or friends who live in the city, reach out to them for any suggestions or advice. Familiarizing yourself with the new area will help you begin thinking like a local in no time.

Find the right neighborhood for you

The best way to truly get a feel for every neighborhood is by simply visiting and spending time in each one. While you’re exploring and keeping socially distant, decide what qualities are important to you and don’t hesitate to jot down the pros and cons of each area. Perhaps you value restaurants and shops within a short distance, parks and schools nearby for convenience, or just the quirkiness of a quaint neighborhood. Once you’ve narrowed down your options, you’ll be able to compare information like median home prices, walkability, school reviews and rankings.

Lean on your realtor 

It’s the real estate agent’s job to support you through the homebuying process, so take advantage of their neighborhood expertise and industry knowledge. And during this time of Coronavirus, you’re still able to get an in-person perspective while reducing the risk of being exposed to the virus. You can see homes virtually through live video-chat tours or 3D walkthroughs, make an offer online, and close on your new home electronically if need be. Your agent will be aware of housing market trends, potential red flags, or anything else you may have concerns about. When it’s time to make an offer, they will help you make a good offer and assist with the negotiating process. Buying a home is a big decision and can be an emotional process, but working with an agent you trust will give you the support you need.

Research storage options

If you are choosing to move some of your belongings in stages or looking to store items for an extended period of time, you’ll need to consider all of your options and factor in storage costs. Research storage companies and compare rates while keeping in mind the length of time you’ll be storing items, the size of the storage space, and any additional services offered, such as central air/heat and surveillance.

Most storage companies are still operating but are taking extra precautions to protect their customers from COVID-19. Make sure you do your research prior to showing up so you can be prepared, in case they have limited hours or a reduction in the amount of customers allowed at any given time. You may also be interested in the portable storage option, a popular alternative among those storing belongings for a short duration. The company will drop the container off at your home and once you’re done packing it with your belongings, you have the option of storing the container at their facility or shipping it to a specified location.

Research moving companies

Hiring a reliable moving company to do the heavy lifting can relieve some of your stress, and generally results in a safer moving process. If you’re worried about your upcoming move during the pandemic and haven’t scheduled movers yet, it’s hard to say what will and will not be available in the months to come. For now, continue to do research on companies and ask the movers questions about what precautions they’re taking at this time.

Moving companies typically offer different levels of services – full service, basic service, and specialty services – so it’s important to weigh the prices and options when deciding who to work with. Full service typically handles everything from packing, moving, and unpacking. If you opt for basic service, you’ll be responsible for packing and unpacking, while the movers will handle transporting your items. It’s true you’ll save money upfront by handling everything yourself, but you may find that it takes significant time and effort.

Ask for a quote in writing, and don’t forget to double-check customer reviews, licenses, and credentials – knowing you’re working with a reputable company will provide peace of mind. Even if you’re relocating from Sacramento to New York City, their job is to transport your belongings from point A to point B safely.

Hire a cleaning service

Before getting settled into your new home, save time and start fresh by hiring a cleaning company to clean your new home before all your belongings are moved in. During this age of COVID-19 it is very important that your new home be completely cleaned and sanitized before you move in to help you and your family avoid any illness. Sometimes the previous owners of your new home haven’t done a thorough cleaning (which they are not required to), so paying for a cleaning service will allow you to focus on packing and moving safely. The cleaners will be sure to leave your home spotless.

Update your mailing address and retrieve important documents

Before relocating, remember to forward your mail and notify banks and credit cards of your new address. If you have kids, inform the school district of your upcoming move, and request transcripts in advance for a smooth transfer. Don’t forget to retrieve medical records, and cancel any subscriptions or memberships – anything from gym memberships and magazine subscriptions to utilities, electricity, cable, and internet. Consider creating a moving checklist to revisit while you’re packing and on moving day.

Organize and Declutter

Set aside a binder for move-related paperwork so you’re able to access any documents quickly. Before packing, remain organized by creating a detailed inventory of your belongings noting the condition, location, and size of the items. This will help you get a better idea of how much you’ll actually be moving and if any belongings require specialty packing services because of their size or fragility. Also, if your belongings are damaged during the move and you need to submit an insurance claim, an inventory list will come in handy. You can also begin to sort through your belongings and decide what items you’ll keep, discard, or donate. If you’re downsizing, don’t be shy when giving items away – consider organizing a garage sale or donating to a charity. It can be helpful to hire a professional organizer or decluttering service to help you with these tasks.

Sell your home

Before listing your home on the market, be proactive by hiring a home inspector, then make any repairs or minor updates necessary. The time you would save sure beats having to do repairs during the negotiation phase when the homebuyers hire out their own home inspector. Also, research the U.S. housing market and homes that have recently sold in your area to get an idea of what your home is worth and how competitively you should price your home. This will just be an estimate, so don’t forget to hire a professional to get your home appraised. Make your home stand out by hiring a cleaning service and working with a staging company to prepare your home for professional photos and open houses. Staging your home to sell with professional real estate photos will, on average, sell for more.

Make sure you are taking all the necessary precautions if you are holding open houses and during house tours. Have hand sanitizer ready at the door and supply extra masks in case someone forgets theirs. Your real estate agent will be able to assist you with all the proper COVID-19 safety measures.

During the Move

Pack strategically and stay organized

It’s common to begin packing and realize that you’ve accumulated far more than you’ve ever imagined. In this situation, staying organized and creating a plan of attack is essential. While tossing everything into uncategorized boxes may be the quickest option, unpacking identical boxes will create unnecessary work. Instead, label your boxes strategically using stickers, a numbering system, or even color-coding.

About three weeks before relocating, pack non-essential items that you won’t be needing during the move, such as decorations and books. One week before moving day, begin packing the essentials, with the exception of enough plates and silverware for everyone in your household. Be sure to label “open first” on a few of your boxes containing bedding, toiletries, towels, and tools, and a “valuables” box including birth certificates, fragile belongings, and passports.

Check-in with yourself

Make sure you are staying healthy during the moving process. It is most important to keep you and your family safe and healthy. It’s common for people to experience moving anxiety and relocation depression, especially when relocating during a pandemic. We tend to underestimate the toll moving can have on our bodies, physically and mentally. If you are feeling overwhelmed or stressed during this time activities like napping, journaling, exercising, and refueling with food and drink can change your mood and give your body the break it needs. Your health comes first so be sure to listen to your body and recharge when you need to. And if you’re not feeling comfortable with any of the steps in this process, you can forgo them and figure out an alternative.

Settling into Your New Home

Unpack

If you’ve labeled your boxes and can identify the contents of each, unpacking should be a breeze. Be sure to check all boxes and furniture for any damages associated with relocating, especially valuables and appliances such as the stove, dishwasher, washer or dryer. Refer back to your inventory list to make sure nothing was lost in the transition. As a safety measure, it is best to sanitize all items before placing them in your new home to avoid the further spread of germs. To avoid becoming overwhelmed when you’re unpacking, focus on one room at a time, and if possible, even one box at a time.

Perform a general safety check

Even if you hired a home inspector during the homebuying process, it’s important to perform a safety check throughout your new home. Change locks on the doors, be sure all windows lock, and perhaps look into installing a new security system. Other precautions include checking the electrical system and water pipes, the fire and smoke alarms, and the air filters and HVAC systems.

Decorate with purpose

With the help of an interior designer, you’ll get expert guidance and can make your new space feel like home even prior to moving inExamine the floor plan or blueprint to find what works best with the layout of your new home, and begin creating your masterpiece. Not only will you get amazing results and save time, but your interior designer can help your vision come to life while staying under budget. Moving into a space that already has a touch of your style can even support an easier transition.

Register to vote and update your driver’s license

If you’re moving to another state, visit the DMV with a couple of forms of identification – like your current driver’s license, social security number, and proof of residency – to obtain a new state driver’s license. Pay attention to time restrictions as some states require you to update your driver’s license within a certain time-frame. You may be able to kill two birds with one stone by registering to vote while at the DMV. Otherwise, register online or visit the local town hall to update your voter registration.

Find new services and professionals

During this time it may be more difficult to find new services providers, be patient and stay persistent. Find new healthcare providers, including a new dentist, doctor, veterinarian, day-care, and optometrist. Research different options to find one that is best for you and your family’s needs. When you’ve chosen, keep the contact information handy, and make sure all family members know where these numbers are located.

Check-in with your kids

Moving can be tough on kids, especially during a pandemic, and could possibly affect their mental health. They may have concerns of their own that you’ll need to talk through with them – like going back to a new school, being in a new area that is affected by COVID-19, leaving their friends, or missing their previous home. Explain that the feeling of uncertainty is only temporary, and illustrate the move as a positive shift. Make sure your kids are comfortable in the new spot, maybe even unpack and decorate their room first. Stay consistent with any daily routines they’ve developed and don’t forget to stay positive so your children will too.

No matter your reasoning to move, relocating is no doubt a stressful task, especially right now, but staying organized, planning ahead, and using your resources can help. Follow this guide so you can focus on what is important: enjoying your new adventure.

Originally Published on Redfin

by Lexi Klinkenberg

There are all kinds of benefits to downsizing in your golden years — lower energy bills, a smaller space to clean and maintain, and the potential of moving closer to loved ones. It’s a wonderful way to open the door to the next stage of your life. Even so, decluttering and downsizing can be a difficult and sometimes painful experience for older adults. Saying goodbye to the home they’ve raised a family in doesn’t come easily.

This guide is designed to make the downsizing process as simple as possible for aging adults and their loved ones. It will help you prepare for the transition, as well as offer advice to loved ones on what they can do to help. Keep the lines of communication open, take it one step at a time, and don’t rush into anything before you’re ready.

Step One: Determine the area and size of the new home

It’s important to establish exactly where your loved one is headed. Not only will it affect just how much they should (or must) declutter and downsize, it adds an exciting element to the process. So whether they want to move to Dallas, TX to live with loved ones, or downsize to a condo in Miami, instead of focusing on leaving their old home behind, your downsizing parent can look forward to the new one.

Of course, where the older adult moves to will depend on any number of factors. Mobility and ability restrictions, caregiving needs, location of loved ones, and budget will all play a role. Your loved one’s preferences are also crucial to the equation and should be taken into consideration at each step. There will likely need to be compromises, especially if budget concerns are an issue, so be prepared to have multiple conversations to work out all the details. Keep in mind that the arrangements can look just about any way you want them to — many retirement communities and assisted living facilities offer personalized options to meet any need or comfort — so it’s important to make sure everyone feels comfortable with them.

There are five main options for seniors looking to downsize:

  • Buying a smaller house or condo
  • Renting a smaller home
  • Moving in with a loved one (adult child, sibling, etc.)
  • Moving into a retirement community
  • Entering assisted living

The sooner you discuss what decluttering, and downsizing will actually look like, the more time everyone will have to evaluate all of the options. Don’t force the conversation if your loved one seems resistant to the idea; unless your aging parent or a family member has had a recent medical or caregiving issue that could hinder their quality of life, there’s no need to rush into talking about it. Bring the topic up again at a later date, potentially with additional support from family or friends. It shouldn’t feel like an intervention or anyone trying to make decisions for your loved one, but a group of people who genuinely want to help figure out a positive solution to their living situation.

Step Two: Declutter and organize

It’s amazing the number of things you can acquire over the course of a lifetime. From an endless array of dishes to closets full of linens to the many mementos and knickknacks of a life well-lived, addressing where all these items will go can be overwhelming. It’s also an incredibly emotional process for everyone involved. These aren’t just objects; they’re memories; they’re what’s made the house a home for all these years. It’s important to acknowledge and respect this loss. Go into the process prepared to part with plenty, but giving yourself room to keep the items that mean most.

The most straightforward way to sort through items is to ask yourself four questions about the item:

  • Do I need it or want it?
  • Does it have sentimental value?
  • Do I use it often?
  • Do I have another item that performs the same function?

Do I need it or want it?

You don’t have to throw away everything you could live without, but you should be pretty strict about your definition of need. If you have a bread maker that’s been sitting in the cabinet untouched for years, don’t feel like you “should” keep it just because it was a Hanukkah gift. Think realistically about the years ahead: will you use it more than a few times? Are you genuinely excited for the few times you’ll use it? Will it make an important difference in your life to hold onto the item? It’s okay to say yes, but it is also okay to decide you don’t need it. Decluttering and downsizing are about simplifying, so make a decision and feel confident in sticking to it.

Does it have sentimental value?

The hardest items to part with will be the ones directly tied to beloved memories with your family and friends. Still, if you kept absolutely everything of sentimental value, decluttering and downsizing would be impossible. Use the packing and sorting process as a way to reflect and let go. As you and a loved one go through your things, talk about them and the memories they conjure up.

Do I use this item often?

There are going to be some items you’re simply used to having around, but ultimately don’t use very much. Think about your day-to-day routine: which items do you use the most? When looking around your house, which objects have been merely functional décor? Additionally, consider whether where you’re going will have a valuable replacement — just because you’ve always used a traditional toaster doesn’t mean you can’t adapt to your daughter’s toaster oven, for instance. Continue to be realistic about the future, keeping in mind that there might be someone else who would get much more use out of the item than you might.

Do I have another item that performs the same function?

Whether it’s two blenders or a dozen winter coats, duplicate items are the easiest way to declutter and downsize. Choose the newest or best-functioning electronics, and a reasonable amount of more practical items like towels, blankets, outerwear, and other clothing. Use the opportunity to clean out your closet and embrace the opportunity to minimize. Hiring a senior move manager, professional organizer, or declutterer can make a world of difference during this process and make the transition much more simple.

Step 3: Find new homes for the items you aren’t keeping

Moving expenses can become pricey. Yard sales are a great way to make some extra money to help fund the move and a great way to find new homes for your things quickly. Choose a day that’s likely to be nice, even if it’s somewhat far in the future. Having your yard sale on a nice day is likely to draw in more customers who are looking for bargains.

Donate any remaining items that did not sell during your yard sale. Many charities and organizations can even pick up boxes directly from your home. It can feel impersonal and somewhat distressing sometimes — even with a yard sale, your items tend to go to neighbors you’re familiar with — but it’s important to focus on the end result. Someone in need will truly benefit from your donation and appreciate it each and every day.

Step 4: Prepare for the move

After you have taken the time to declutter and get rid of unwanted items, you can start to think about packing and making the move to your new home. Moving can be stressful and difficult. Hiring a senior move manager to assist you with this transition can be very beneficial. They can help make your move as stress-free as possible and will be there by your side throughout the entire process.

Step 5: Say goodbye to the house

Just as aging adults have to say goodbye to their possessions, the time will come to say goodbye to the house, as well. It will be a difficult process, but one with plenty of love and support from family and friends.

The truth is, there’s not necessarily a right or wrong way to say goodbye to the family home. Discuss what will work best for your family in an open and honest setting; don’t feel ashamed if you’re having trouble. It’s vital that the entire family supports one another throughout the decluttering and downsizing process, so don’t be afraid to ask for or offer help.

However, the goodbyes are said, make it a point to bid farewell. You’re closing a major, important chapter of your life. It’s okay to feel sad, even as if you’ve suffered a loss, but don’t lose sight of the exciting next step that lies ahead.

Step 6: Make the transition

No matter where you are headed, your new home won’t feel like home right away. Do what you can to bring in the most important items first, those that will make you feel especially comforted. Move-in day should be a family affair, even if you already have help from a senior move manager or movers. Any family member who is able to should stop by to help out, bring food and refreshments, troubleshoot issues, and simply make the occasion a happy one. Keep the mood as light and exciting as possible: focus on the fact that it’s a new beginning rather than an end.

You should check in on your loved ones regularly to discuss how things are going. You don’t have to stop by every day, but a nightly call for the first week or two can certainly make aging adults feel less lonely. It’s especially important if they’ve just moved to an assisted living facility or nursing home. Find the balance between hovering and checking-in, even rotating responsibility among family members.

Decluttering and downsizing are often one of the best choices an aging parent can make, but it’s their decision when and if they want to. Ease into the idea and keep the conversation ongoing. It will be painful, but the inevitable sting of leaving the family home should never stop anyone from simplified and happier living.

Originally Published on Redfin

by Lexi Klinkenberg

Moving is a daunting task during the best of times. Throw a pandemic into the mix, and you have a recipe for stress. If you’ve been considering moving, you may be tempted to postpone your move until life calms down. But what if circumstances won’t allow it? Maybe you need to relocate to another state for a new job, or you just had a baby and need a bigger home, or maybe you’re renting an apartment, and your lease just expired.

Whatever the situation – don’t panic. Moving is still possible. To help you prepare, here’s what you need to know about how to move during the coronavirus.

Can I move during coronavirus?

The short answer is yes, you can. However, to ensure the safety of you, your family, and the local movers, it’s critical to follow the guidelines set by the Centers for Disease Control to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

In addition to thorough hand washing, keeping a distance of at least 6 feet, and wearing masks and gloves, here are a few more sanitation tips for moving:

  • Deep clean your home before the movers arrive, whether hiring professionals or enlisting members of your household.
  • Sanitize your moving supplies frequently. This includes anything other people will touch like moving boxes, packing supplies, bubble wrap, tape dispensers, scissors, or dollies.
  • Use new cardboard boxes rather than discarded ones from items you’ve ordered online. Once packed, wipe them down before the movers handle them. Then wipe again before you unpack.
  • Deep clean your new home before the movers arrive with your things.
  • Provide your movers with handwashing supplies, sanitizers, masks, and gloves.

Should I consider postponing my move?

It depends. If your move isn’t essential or you are in a high-risk category, it’s best to reassess your options. Similarly, if you or someone in your home is sick or has been exposed to the coronavirus, it’s best to postpone your move. On the other hand, if your move is essential, like relocating a new job or moving to a larger home to accommodate your family, moving may be the only option.

If you plan to travel by air for your move, make note that many airlines have reduced the number of flights. It’s best to have a backup plan in place if your flight is canceled, such as renting a moving truck and driving to your destination.

Are moving companies essential services?

Yes, moving companies are considered an essential service. However, it’s always best to check your state’s website and contact your local authorities. Regulations are different all over the country and change rapidly. For instance, if you are living in New York City, some apartment complexes have canceled move-ins, and many smaller businesses may be on a reduced work schedule.

When the time comes to hiring movers or choosing a truck rental company, ask them what steps they’re taking to protect their customers from the coronavirus.

Make sure to ask:

  • What social distancing measures do they have in place?
  • How often are they disinfecting their facilities, trucks, blankets, or other supplies?
  • How are they ensuring that employees aren’t sick?
  • If they have to cancel due to illness, how much notice will you receive?
  • What are the terms if you have to reschedule your moving day due to illness or exposure?
  • Can you get a refund if you cancel your move?

Are storage companies closed?

It depends. A few states specifically list storage facilities as essential businesses, while other states are unclear. If you need to put your belongings in storage, it’s best to check with your state’s guidelines or contact the storage company you plan on using.

By understanding how to move safely during the coronavirus pandemic, you’ll be able to make this transition as smooth as possible and protect yourself and those around you.

 

Republished with Permission from Emily Huddleston, Redfin

Originally published by Redfin

Congratulations, you have made the tough decision it is time to downsize your home. Whether that choice was made to reduce your carbon footprint on our fragile planet or to make life easier with less to manage or born of the desire to age in place, thousands of little decisions await you. The challenge of what to take to your new home and what to leave behind can feel a bit overwhelming, but it is important to keep the end goal in mind and envision how terrific it will feel to lighten your load of possessions. Think about how much better life will become with far less stuff. The process often takes longer than we anticipate, so starting early will relieve some of the stress. A variety of strategies can be utilized to tackle the project.

“No use in a year” approach

Yep, if you have not used the item in an entire year, it has to go. For the fashionistas out there, that means if a garment is not worn at least once in the appropriate season, say adios. If only half of your holiday decorations are used each year, get rid of the unused ones. If your shelves are laden with books you vowed to read but have not given a passing glance to in 360 days, gift them, sell them, donate them.

“Does the furniture fit?” approach

Measure your current furniture, especially the larger pieces to see what items will work in your new home. Those that do not, try consigning them or selling them on Craigslist. Are the appliances included in your new abode? If not, make certain yours will fit in the appropriate spaces. If you are moving from a three- or four-bedroom home down to a two or even a one-bedroom, you can bet there is no space for the furniture from those extra rooms. Perhaps the new owner of your current home would appreciate having some of the furniture left in the house. It couldn’t hurt to ask. They may even pay you something for it.

“Do you really need the stuff in storage?” approach

While the storage areas (attic, basement, garage) can be home to an abundance of belongings and some of the most challenging areas to sort, they can also be the places to unburden yourself from a ton of stuff. Will your new home require that you maintain a yard? If not, you can easily dispose of lawnmowers, garden tools, blowers, and an array of other bulky items. If you don’t even remember what all you have in those vast storage vaults, you may find a lot to readily get rid of. If there is quite a lot, consider a yard sale, where lawn and outdoor items typically sell well.

“What about antiques and family heirlooms?”  approach

Check with family members to learn what items they would like to inherit and give it to them early. You will really make points with your loved ones. Your local antique consignment store may wish to take some of the things, too. Again, advertising the pieces online with good quality photos could be a great way to go.

These are just a few workable strategies that you can mix and match or dream up your own. And remember, a valuable resource to support your downsizing project is SolutionsForYou, including an experienced Certified Professional Organizer and Senior Move Manager.

Team”  approach

Do you know that when you hire us as a team, our hourly rate is $50/hour per team member? Compare that in the marketplace, and you will not find another Professional Organizer in our area for that rate with the level of experience (35 years collectively), industry memberships, and certifications we hold.

We have seen the power of numbers and the results it brings to many, many clients over the years. We know it is the most effective way to give you the results you want to achieve in the shortest time.

Choose from two team packages; the Ultimate Team Package or the Transformational Team Package. We are also available to work with you one-on-one with our Get Started Package and our Basic Package. Learn more about our packages and find relief from being overwhelmed.

Anne, Katie, and Melissa are looking forward to working with you to achieve your organizing and productivity goals.

503-706-3502

Anne [at] SolutionsForYou [dot] com

In addition to being the start of a brand-new decade or end of the decade, depending on what you believe, a host of significant things are happening in the upcoming year, which will affect us nationally and globally. What about those individual Earth-rattling life events. For instance a new job?  A new city?  A new home? A new relationship or co-habitant? How about a new stage of life?

What if you reach a point in life where you have raised your family, thrived in your professional arena, worked hard, and contributed to society? What is next? Are you all set to relax, travel, take up new hobbies, play with the grandkids, live your dreams? Good for you! But, the “Third Act of Life” is a tricky terrain to navigate, my friend.

You may be marathon-ready fit and still have physical surprises: grumpy knees, snarly backs, or a host of other challenges potentially impacting baby-boomers. As we gain more birthdays, major life-altering change is often in one’s living situation. That charming three-story Tudor where you raised your family is suddenly too massive for a couple of seniors to deal with. Even that beautiful, scenic townhouse condo, the one you thought had a built-in fitness feature of 15 stairs to the second level, no longer works for you. Who wants to suddenly ignore half of the home’s total square footage, plus not be able to use the place where you sleep, work, and store things?

In this new chapter of life, can you successfully age in place, or is a move to a smaller, single-story home the best option, or does a transition into a senior living community seem the right choice?

Whenever a senior must downsize, it typically requires disposing of a substantial amount of possessions. Be it you or a loved one in this situation, the prospect of sorting two, three, or even four decades of accumulated “stuff” is daunting to be sure. Leaving behind items representing meaningful memories tugs at one’s heart. The sheer physicality of moving boxes and belongings from storage areas is demanding. And, the time-consuming nature of the overall task may feel intimidating.

In addition, it is wise to call in reinforcements: Family members, neighbors, and even the pros. Trained professional organizers and even rare Certified Professional Organizers and Senior Move Managers can partner with you to relieve the stress of moving in one’s golden years. It is beneficial to have someone guide and support you as you sort, choosing what to retain, gift, donate, and dispose of.

Above all, whether 2020 will be your new chapter or not, a positive, inquisitive attitude is definitely the best way to greet the adventures awaiting us in the future.

Happy New Year! Happy 2020!

If you need help from the Professional Organizers of SolutionsForYou (one of whom is a Certified Professional Organizer and Senior Move Manager), give us a call 503-706-3502 or email us at Anne [at] SolutionsForYou [dot] com

May is National Move Month


Are you, or do you know someone, who is moving to a new home?  Do you know that moving is considered by many to be more stressful than experiencing the death of a loved one?  It doesn’t have to be!  I have three tips to reduce the stress:


#1 Make a Plan

Moving is a massive project, and if you look at it as such, it can be very overwhelming.  So overwhelming that you might not even be able to think how to begin.  Sit down. Breath.  Take out a sheet of paper and a pen.  Start writing everything you can think of that you need to do to prepare for your move.  Don’t worry about what order or assigning dates to the tasks.  For now, get all of your thoughts about your move down on paper.   Once you have all of your ideas and tasks out of your head and on paper, you will feel more in control and much less anxious.
Take a break and the next day come back to what you wrote and think about what sequence your tasks need to complete in and how much time each one requires.  Next, make a schedule by week what tasks to do before your move.  If you are uncertain of what you need to do for a stress-free move, give me a call, and I will help you get your move plan together.


#2 Start Decluttering NOW!

The less you pack, the less it will cost to move.  Go room by room and start weeding out everything you no longer use, love, or consider beautiful.  Sometimes it is easier to do this by placing a removable dot sticker on the items you no longer want.  Once you have “dotted” all the things in a room you don’t want to move, box them up for donation, recycling, trash, or resale.


#3 Don’t Go It Alone

There are many, many resources available to help you with your move including; moving companies, house cleaning services, home repair services, home stagers, rubbish haulers, places to donate, eBay sellers, and of course Professional Organizers.  I have a list of trusted resources that I will be happy to share with you.  Email me if you are interested.

THE MOVE

My mother, Priscilla, is 86 years old and her husband, Don, is 90. Until recently, they lived in a mobile home park for 18 years. Don has dementia and it has been progressing to a point that in recent years Priscilla has taken care of everything; the housework, their finances, meal planning, and preparation, arranging for home repairs/maintenance, yard work, all the driving… everything! Priscilla also has neuropathy in her feet (due to a foot surgery gone wrong) causing difficulty to walk and has experienced a few too many falls lately. My siblings and I said, enough! It’s time for Priscilla and Don to move to a community where they have freedom from all of the day-to-day chores and upkeep, plus on-site care.


We found a wonderful community–it’s like living on a cruise ship. The apartments are very small (600 square feet), but right outside their door are all the amenities of a cruise ship: saline pool, exercise room and trainers, massage therapists, gift shop, library, movie theater, demonstration room, bar, restaurants, hair salon, chapel and a concierge to arrange everything for you. Heck, I want to move there! At 86 Priscilla, amazingly, does yoga three times a week and she loves to swim–so this is going to be heaven for her.

This is one of the moments in your life that you know is coming, but you can easily get overwhelmed by the thought of doing–DOWNSIZING and MOVING. Because, before THE MOVE there is the ENORMOUS task of going through all of the STUFF, STUFF, and more STUFF. Priscilla and Don were wildflower and scenic photographers. You can’t even imagine the thousands of slides they accumulated over the decades. As we started, my siblings and I (all very opinionated) were disagreeing on how to move “mom” and sell the house.  I said to my siblings, “To keep the family peace we are going to divide and conquer!” My role – THE MOVE, my brother – GARAGE/ESTATE SALE, and my sister – SELL THE HOUSE.  

With any project that seems overwhelming, it is helpful to break it down into tasks with deadlines. It can help you gain control and feel a sense of calm. I pulled together our project plan and gave Priscilla her tasks that she could complete on her own. Such as change of address notices, canceling utilities not needed before house sale, mail forwarding, changing home insurance, collect important papers/valuables, etc. For complete lists I use ListPlanIt.

Priscilla and I went through their entire house and put “dot” stickers on everything they wanted to take with them. This made it very easy when I worked with the movers to pack. If it had a dot it got packed, if not it was left behind.  It took quite some convincing for my mother to not pack up her entire kitchen.  I had to remind her one of the reasons for the move was so she wouldn’t need to meal plan and cook as much–if at all. The one area she would not downsize–her spices, not even her pumpkin pie spice. We contacted Lile Moving and Storage to pack and move their belongings.

Priscilla wanted some new furniture and we needed to maximize their small space. We designed a floor plan to determine where and how the existing and new furniture would fit. 

Then, we went to Ikea. I thought Priscilla would faint at the enormity of it. Even though we were armed with a plan of what specific items we wanted, we were there three hours. I was exhausted, but not Priscilla! From there we went to several stores in search of wall-mounted switch lights–not an easy find these days. We found two at Lowes.  


I drove Priscilla home and continued on to the Container Store to purchase elfa drawer systems and other organizing goodies for their downsized space.

The weekend of THE MOVE Priscilla and Don stayed at my sister’s home while my husband and I worked with the movers, assembled furniture, installed lamps, shelves, and pullout drawers, got all of their electronics working, and organized their downsized stuff in their new home. You can view THE MOVE activity and before/after photos here.


If you, or someone you know is ready for downsizing consider working with professionals, such as myself and Lile Moving and Storage. It will be less overwhelming, less emotional, and less stressful. It will also save time and money.