10 Tips to Downsize and Destress Your Move

Spend time downsizing your book collection

10. Start Early! End Happy!

It’s never too early to begin the downsizing process. Begin by focusing on typical problem areas such as the attic, basement, garage, closets, and filing cabinets.

9. Get Generous

Since you can’t take everything you own to your new home, now is the time to make arrangements to “gift” some of your treasures to special people in your life including, and especially family, helpful neighbors, friends, favorite organizations, or a church/synagogue.

8. Save Your Memories

You may have boxes of old photos from every holiday, vacation and birthday party attended. What do you do with them? Consider the following ways to preserve family photos and stories: a customized process of audio and video recordings called Life-Storying. Back up your special photos to an online photo storage solution like Shutterfly, Google Drive, or Dropbox; or try your hand at scrapbooking. There are also services that will take all your photos, slides, and videos and do it for you.

7. New Looks for Books

If you own large quantities of books, you need to spend time downsizing your collections. Books take up lots of space and are heavy to move. Consider donations to libraries or senior centers, or sales to used bookstores. Call on a book dealer for older books with potential value.

6. Use It Up . . . Don’t Move It Out

Take an inventory of your canned goods, frozen foods, and paper products. Plan to use as many of these products as you can before moving. If you simply have too many of these items, think about passing them on to a local food pantry .

5. Recycle the Toxins

Take time to put together a box or two of household, yard, and automotive cleaning products, as well as paint, that are considered hazardous. Visit Earth911.org for more information on hazardous collection in your area.

4. Don’t Lose Touch

Create a list of people, places, and utilities/services that need to be notified of your upcoming change in address.

3. Floor Plan Ahead

With a floor plan of your new place, cut out furniture templates to determine the pieces of furniture that will fit in your new home, and the best location of each. Knowing which pieces will fit in your new space will keep you from moving too much furniture.

2. Pack a Survival Bag

Put together a survival bag for move day. It might include personal needs (medications, eyeglasses, toiletries, change of clothes, important papers, etc.); kitchen needs (snacks, drinks, folding chair, disposable cups/plates); basic tools (hammer, screwdriver, flashlight, tape, etc.); cleaning supplies (sponge, roll of paper towels, soap, etc.); and payment for mover—be sure you know which form of payment they prefer.

1. Ask for Help!

Don’t be too proud or independent-minded to ask for help. Moving is not easy and you shouldn’t do it all yourself. But don’t wait until the last minute to ask for help. Some of these downsizing steps take time to accomplish. Remember your goal is to move into your new home happy, healthy, and ready to enjoy your new lifestyle!

Source: Janice Landry, Transitions, Reading, MA for NASMM