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Ten Tips to Downsizing and “De-Stressing” Your Move

The first question many clients ask during the consultation with a senior move manager references the cost of completing the project.  The good faith estimate is principally based on the services you request and the amount of “stuff” that is involved.  Ultimately, price is based on the senior move manager’s time.

Many clients require full service because they in fact have a lot of “stuff” and have no desire or ability to complete the move themselves.  This approach eliminates most of the physical and mental stress.  But, it also costs the most money.  For the individuals that want to manage cost by getting involved and managing some of the move themselves, NASMM (National Association of Senior Move Managers) has develop ten tips for downsizing.  Following all or part of the these suggestions will minimize the scope of your project and as a result, better manage your cost of completing the move.

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, basement, garage, closets, or file cabinets.

2).  Get Generous:  Since you can’t take everything 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 church/synagogue.

3).  Save your memories:  You may have boxes of old photographs 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 recording called Life-Storying.  Copy your special photos on to CDs, or try your hand at scape booking.  Also, services now exist that will take all your photo, slides, and videos and do it for you.

4).  New Looks for Books:  If you own large quantities of books, you need to spend time downsizing your collections.  Books occupy 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.

5).  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 items, thinking about passing them on to a local food pantry.  Check to see if the Senior Move Manager you hire participates in the NASMM Move for Hunger Initiative.

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

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 Ahead:  Most Senior Move Managers can provide you with a customized floor plan of your new residence.  A floor plan will help you 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 help you in your rightsizing process.

9).  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, paper towels, soap, etc.); and payment for mover – be sure you know which form of payment they accept.

10).  Ask for Help:  Don’t be too proud or independent 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 assistance.

Some of these downsizing tips require months to accomplish.  The best place to find help is through the National Association of Senior Move Managers ( or Smooth Transitions ( if you are located in the St. Louis area.

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