Moving at any age is stressful, but it’s particularly challenging for over 55s. You’ll likely have a lifetime of belongings and memories to sort and pack, and if you’re downsizing, you’ll also have tough decisions to make about what you can keep. On top of this, moving is physically challenging and mentally draining, and we feel the effects of this more as we age.
But the good news is, with some careful planning, the right attitude, and a little help, your move can go smoothly. In this article, we’ll share 5 moving tips, plus a handy checklist, to help you plan and organise a stress-free move in retirement.
1. Declutter Your Belongings
This is one of the most important pre-moving tasks. The less you have, the easier it is to move and unpack. Decluttering is time-consuming, so be sure to start as early as possible and have a clear focus. For example, you might tackle a room a week, or a cupboard or drawer a day.
Sort your belongings into four categories: keep, give away, donate, or throw away. Decide what to keep first, and box it up if you won’t need it again before you move. Next, divide what you can’t keep into the other three categories. Give away anything that has sentimental value or might be useful to someone you know. Donate other items that have plenty of life left and throw out whatever else you come across that has seen better days. It will be tough, but also liberating!
2. Organise Your Furniture
Find out if your existing furniture will work in your new home by measuring it against the floorplan. You can even draw it on graph paper or cut out your furniture to scale to see how it will fit. Do this well in advance, because you may need to set aside extra money to buy things like a smaller couch or dining table. Being 100 percent prepared with the right furniture will make settling in so much easier.
3. Update Your Details
Another essential task is to update your contact details. Make a list of every person and organisation that needs to know you’re moving and keep it on the bench or fridge so you can add to it as you go. Include friends, relatives, doctors, utilities, insurance, Australia post, and more. Be sure to note their preferred contact details to help you get through the list faster.
4. Enlist the Help of Others
Put the word out to see who can help you pack, clean or move on the day. Offer to put on lunch or dinner afterwards to say thanks for the hard work. If you can’t get the numbers you need to make it go smoothly, you might consider using a removalist. It can be pricey, so shop around to find the best rates.
5. Have a Plan of Action
Good planning is often the difference between a successful move and a stressful one. Put a little time into drafting a plan of action, to keep you on track and ensure everything gets done. Use the following handy checklist as a guide.
Four weeks to go
- Pick up some boxes, packing tape and markers for packing
- Start to declutter, boxing up and removing as much as you can as you go
- Write a list of people and businesses to update, including phone numbers where possible
- Speak to your doctor about any health concerns or medications that need to be managed
- Look into services and facilities in your new home town including doctors and hospitals
Three weeks to go
- Plan out furniture in your new home and organise to sell or give away items you can’t take
- Get quotes from removal companies and storage facilities if you’re considering using them
- Organise transport for your pets and update their registration and microchip details
- Complete outstanding home maintenance tasks and start using up food in your freezer
- Return borrowed items and put a list of important numbers in your phone or wallet
Two weeks to go
- Arrange new house and contents insurance and advise cancellation date for existing policy
- Contact Australia post to change your mailing address and let family and friends know too
- Ask around for help with packing, cleaning your old home and moving on the day
- Put all your important documents together including passports and birth certificates
- Organise your medications and prescriptions to ensure you have an adequate supply
One week to go
- Contact everyone on your list to update your details
- Clean your stove, fridge, windows and anything else you can do in advance
- Confirm new insurance, removalists (if using) and help on the day
- Decluttering should almost be done by now – if not, get cracking!
- Plan what you will need to keep with you on moving day – clothes, toiletries, etc.
The day before
- Empty your fridge and disconnect and drain hoses of your washing machine
- Pack your overnight bag of essential items to keep with you and charge your phone
- Finish any packing and clean the house from top to bottom
- Try and get a good night’s sleep!
On the day
- Pack your overnight bag, bed linen, important documents, phone and charger in your car
- Don’t forget the keys to your new home, snacks, drinks and important phone numbers
- Make sure your old home is secure, double check everything is locked and switched off
- Leave a forwarding address and a note with any extra information for new owners
- Enjoy your first night in your new home!
Final Word on Moving for Seniors
If you’ve decided to downsize in retirement, freeing up your finances and reducing the time you spend on home maintenance can make a huge difference to your lifestyle. Let’s face it, the moving part is never much fun, but with planning and organisation it can go smoothly. And the reward of a new home and lifestyle is waiting at the end.
Over to You
Are you considering downsizing and have a question about your options? Or have you already done so and have some advice to share? We’d love to hear from you!
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