Facing the prospect of downsizing to a smaller, more accessible home can seem insurmountable. From carefully going through every treasured item you’ve accumulated for the last 20 or 30 years, to organizing and packing. Even picking a moving company feels like a monumental task. Add the emotions that come from leaving your long-cherished home and downsizing can quickly feel like a big downer.
There are plenty of upsides to consider, though. For example, according to the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, by cutting your housing-related expenses you can free up income that allows you to draw down your savings at a slower rate. And don’t forget, a new home can also help eliminate things that have become burdensome as you’ve aged, like stairs, lawn maintenance and too much space to keep clean.
While plenty of sites offer a detailed checklist of all of the essential steps for downsizing, we’re going to take a look at a few specific tips to help you get started now.
Selecting a Moving Company
When selecting a moving company, it’s wise to remember the old adage, “you get what you pay for.” Oftentimes, the finest moving companies won’t be the least expensive. It’s important to avoid fly-by-night companies or companies with new names, and to be wary of moving scams. Keep these tips in mind:
- Research moving companies you’re most interested in using and set about doing an initial screening of each one. Look at various review forums, like the Better Business Bureau or Yelp.com. You’ll also want to check out the consumer advocacy site movingscam.com.
- Make sure you end up with estimates from a minimum of three companies. Always ask for a written binding estimate or a not-to-exceed-estimate so as to cap moving costs.
- Before you make that final decision, call the FMCSA’s Safety Violation and Consumer Complaints hotline at 888-368-7238 to check for any complaints.
Understanding How Your Animal Will Handle The Move
It’s never too early to start to thinking about how your pet is going to handle the transition. Here are some things you should do to help keep your animal settled during the process.
- Condition your pet by getting out a few boxes and suitcases in advance so your pet doesn’t associate those items with you leaving them.
- Train for any necessary behavior modifications in the smaller space.
- Talk to the vet about medication if your pet is displaying signs of anxiety.
- Either board your pet or leave them with a pet sitter on moving day.
- If possible, have a few of their items in place at the new home before they arrive so they have a familiar scent.
Don’t Try To Do It All
As you familiarize yourself with the various tasks of making the move, consider carefully what you want to take on versus what you may be able to outsource. The National Association of Senior Move Managers offers services that will step in where you want to be less involved, say packing for instance, or they’ll take you through the whole process from laying out your new space, deciding with you what you’ll keep and move, sorting, packing, moving, and setting up your new home.
Take Care of Yourself
Let’s face it, moving is stressful so there’s a few simple things you can do to make things easier on yourself.
- Give yourself plenty of time.
- Get plenty of sleep
- Listen to relaxing music as you sort, clean, or pack.
- Take time to enjoy things other than your move, such as exercise or reading.
- Eat healthy.
As you set about downsizing, try to focus on the positive outcomes of your move, like less yard work, making new friends, fewer cleaning chores, and so on. And remember, getting settled in the new spot will take time just as it did when you moved into your current home. Allow yourself some downtime to recoup from the stress of the move, then get out there and make the most of your new neighborhood.