By Rita Wilkins
The Downsizing Designer

Preparing for a big move is never easy, but doing so later in life can feel almost impossible. With stressors coming from every angle, it can be tempting to stay put as you get older. But, if you’re ready to move and enter the next chapter of your life then don’t let potential moving anxiety stop you.

Instead, read on for helpful tips and tricks to help ease and eliminate stress to prepare yourself for your big move!

Organize Your Finances

Before you start planning your move, hone in on your financial situation to help you better understand what services you can benefit from. Organizing your finances can feel overwhelming, especially if you have no experience, but it will save you from headaches in the long run. There are many helpful tools online from budget calculators to budget calendars that will provide you with a visual insight into your finances. Knowledge is financial power. Make it a priority to understand how much you have coming in and out, especially if you want to relocate. The home-buying process can take as little as two weeks, so it’s essential to take your time beforehand and create a financial plan that will make the transition feel seamless.

Start by creating a budget that gives you a rough estimate of how much house you can afford based on your monthly income. Getting a rough estimate will ease some of the financial uncertainties of buying a home and make sure you are making an investment that works for your budget. For additional confirmation that you’re looking at homes within your price range, start with a mortgage pre-approval online tool. This will give you a better understanding of how much money you can borrow for your new house. Once you’re pre-approved, the house-hunting process will be easier for you and your real estate agent. Understanding how much house you can afford will give you the ability to make smarter decisions during this transitional period of your life.

Plan Ahead

Don’t let the daunting task of moving sneak up on you. Life can get hectic, and moving can add another layer of stress. By starting your planning well in advance, you’ll be able to minimize any unexpected issues. If you have lived in your house for twenty-plus years, the idea of moving can seem impossible. Take things slow and give yourself plenty of time to go through all of your belongings and figure out an effective plan that will allow you to handle any hurdles ahead of time.

There are easy, pre-moving planning steps you can take to help set yourself up for success during your move. For starters, try to mentally plan the layout of your new rooms while packing the old ones for an easier transition into the new home. Make a list of moving tasks and crucial deadlines, and take inventory of important furniture or pieces to be mindful of during the move. Ask for the floor plan of your new place to better familiarize yourself with the layout. This way you will know how much space you have and what you might want to sell or buy. You can’t plan every aspect of your moving day ahead, however, it can help with any relocation anxiety and make the process easier for you in the long run.

Take Care of The Small Stuff

Before you can make your big move make sure you’re taking the time to tighten up any loose ends, like forwarding your mail and updating your bills to your new address. This is an ideal time to finally go through any subscriptions or memberships you have held onto for too long and cancel them. If you’re not too sure how to redirect your mail then visit your local post office and request a Mover’s Guide Packet. This packet will provide you with all the necessary documents and forms free of charge.

Now that you have your mail covered make sure you are also sorting your medications by transferring any prescriptions to the appropriate address. If you’re looking to switch pharmacies then call the new pharmacy to request an RX transfer and provide them with all the necessary information like medications and current pharmacy information. The new pharmacy will handle the process from there. Doing these things in advance will help you feel more organized and prepared when in the process of moving.

Consider Downsizing

Whether you’re looking to downsize the size of your home or simply just want to reduce the clutter, relocating to a new home is the ideal option for you. Downsizing both the size of your home and possessions is a great way to cut down on the time you spend on maintenance and upkeep while also lowering your bills. Now, if you’re still on the fence about downsizing your home but are not sure if it’s for you, then consider if your current home is appropriate for your health. For example, some aging adults might find stairs challenging and a safety hazard, so they might look into single-story homes that are suitable to their needs and mobility.

Downsizing your home is one thing but downsizing your possessions is quite another. It can be challenging for any adult to part with memories they have collected over the years, from your children’s artwork to old furniture that holds sentimental value to you. Start by separating the things that hold real value to you from the things you don’t need to combat the clutter. If you haven’t worn that blouse in a while or haven’t looked through your junk drawer in years, then it’s time to part ways with these items. Give your furniture and clothes a second life by donating them. Remember, downsizing doesn’t mean you are getting rid of memories, but simply making room for new ones.

Ask For Help

If you’re finding it hard to get organized and prepared for the actual moving day then consider investing in movers or asking your loved ones for help to lessen the load. Although movers can be costly, they can be a huge investment for those with no help, limited transportation, or those with physical disabilities. Don’t risk getting hurt or injured to save money and consider senior moving services that can handle most of the move for you.

If hiring help is not in the cards for you, consider cost-friendly alternatives that may be beneficial to you. If you’ve already rented a truck then consider hiring professionals that specialize in labor-only moving jobs, and will handle your stuff with care. However, if you have enlisted your family members to help them consider creating a moving schedule to help space out the move and give everyone direction on what they need to help with. Don’t be afraid to ask your friends and family to come before the move to plan out the day and get any of your last-minute tasks done. Asking for additional help can be daunting, but will save you a headache at the end of the day.

Remember Your Resources

If you’re still not feeling confident in the overall move then remember to look into resources that can be beneficial for you. If you’re a member of the AARP, there are many advantages that can help ease some of the financial stress that comes with moving like 10%-20% off of moving truck rentals or a discount on moving services. Other resources like Move For Seniors can not only help with the actual move but also with donating or decluttering your move as they provide free consultations to get you started.

Although there are many great resources available for aging adults, make sure you watch out for scammers. Always take precautions if you are hiring movers and exchanging money. Spend time reading through reviews and recommendations. Thoroughly read through any forms or contracts they ask you to sign, and if possible, pay with a credit card as you can dispute any unnecessary charges if necessary. If you start to feel overwhelmed looking for the right movers then lean on your resources!

Take It One Room at a Time

Now that you have moved in, you can officially breathe a sigh of relief and start the real work; unpacking. It might be tempting to get organized and unpack every box right away, however, take it one room at a time. You also want to make sure you have taken the time to check the inventory list you made before the move. You have plenty of time to get situated, so don’t rush to get it down overnight. Take baby steps by starting with small rooms like bathrooms or unboxing the things you need for your daily routine.

Going from room to room will help you physically see progress and give you a better idea of how you want to revamp or redecorate the rooms with a clearer mindset. Unpacking your kitchen might be more important than getting your guest room ready, it all depends on your timeline Remember the key is to focus on unpacking what you need to function and go from there.

No matter how prepared you are, there will always be moments of anxiety and stress when moving. Don’t worry if anything doesn’t go as planned because one way or another, you’ll get to the finish line. What’s most important is that you try to organize yourself ahead of time to help manage those curveballs. Moving into a new home and starting a new chapter is an exciting time, so don’t let the moving process ruin the experience!

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Rita Wilkins bio