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Ten Tips to Downsize and De-stress Your Move

Original to Senior News, October 2017.

Is it time to move to a smaller place? Here’s some handy advice to help you through the process.

1. 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, storage unit, garage and closets.

2. Get Generous

You can’t take everything, so now is the time to give your treasures to special people in your life — family, helpful neighbors, friends, favorite organizations, etc.

3. Save Your Memories

Boxes of old photos from every event you’ve ever attended? Consider a customized process of audio and video recordings called Life-Storying. Or, call the Area I Agency on Aging’s Gold Star Photo scanning for your photos.

4. Books

If you own large quantities of books, it’s time to downsize your bookshelves. Consider donations to libraries or senior centers, or sales to used bookstores. Call a book dealer for older books with potential value.

5. Use It Up, Don’t Move It Out

Inventory your canned goods, frozen foods and paper products. Use as much of it as you can before moving. If you have too many cans of soup, pass them on to a local food pantry.

6. Recycle Toxins

Put together a box or two of hazardous household, yard and automotive products, as well as paint. Take them to the hazardous waste collection in your area (Humboldt Waste Management, 1059 W Hawthorne St, Eureka, 268-8680).

7. Don’t Lose Touch

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

8. Space Plan

Senior Move Managers help with the emotional and physical aspects of downsizing and moving. They can provide a customized floor plan of your new home, which helps you decide what furniture will fit in what rooms, helpful in your right-sizing process.

9. Pack a Survival Bag

Put together a survival bag for move day. 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, paper towels, soap, etc.); and payment for mover in the form they accept.

10. Ask For Help

Don’t be too proud or independent-minded to ask for help. But don’t wait until the last minute. A good place to find help is through the National Association of Senior Move Managers (

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