Given the advanced medical care that is available today, it only makes sense that your parents and grandparents are often living longer than they planned or expected to. Therefore, it is frequently necessary for retired persons to sell the home they have been in for decades and relocate to a smaller home with fewer expenses and less upkeep. Fortunately, there are several tips that you can use that can make the process of moving decades of their belongings and physical memories easier and less stressful for everyone involved.
Organize for as Long as Possible Before Packing Anything
It is helpful to note that professional organizers will often work with senior citizens facilities and financial planners. The moving company with whom you will ultimately entrust your parents’ items may have referrals to an organizer that can make appropriate recommendations.
For example, you may have heard that a good rule of thumb is that if you have not used an item for six months or more, you should get rid of it or donate to it to your favorite charity. That rule may be applicable to your home and family, but would not be as logical for people of your parents’ generation. They will benefit from getting rid of items that they have duplicates of, if using it would be unsafe or it has been a year or two since it useful. If items are spread throughout the home and stored in areas that only make sense to them, it will help everyone to divide everything into sections.
Plan What Can and Cannot Go to the New Home
It is not unusual for people to accept the need to move, but then have a lot of trouble getting rid of their items. Obviously, that is usually a huge priority when moving to a smaller home. As a result, it is necessary to use the exact measurements of the new home and the specifications of each item of furniture to plan where it will all go.
If available, the floor-plans of the new home will be useful. If that is not an option, you can use a computer program to illustrate the available space. If the existing home has multiple bedrooms, living spaces and storage like a basement, attic or garage, this step will take time. Do not forget that if your parents choose to use a smaller bed in their bedroom, they may be able to add in a smaller sofa or chair that was formerly in a living space.
Digitally Store Their Photographs
Even though the bulk of your personal photos are probably digital ones that are stored electronically, many older people have not yet made that transition. Their photos take up a lot of space and are typically some of their most treasured belongings. In order to protect old, fragile photos and their negatives, while simultaneously making space for other items, it may be time to offer to convert their photos to digital ones.
If you, your siblings or other family members have extra space, it may be comforting to your parents if the existing photos are safely stored somewhere else. If the worst happened and the storage and backup device containing the photos experienced damage so severe that some or all of the newly digital images were compromised, your parents will need to know that they still have access to them.
Move Important Items Personally
You are probably already aware that fragile, irreplaceable and treasured items should be moved without the assistance of a mover. In general, it is easy to assume that doing so would be just one car trip, but when your parents have more memories and more stuff, plan for extra time.
One good idea is to pack everything securely in the boxes and tape supplied by the moving company and then move it personally over a few trips, if needed. If there is not much overlap time between your parents evacuating their current home and moving into the new one, a rental storage unit may be necessary. They rarely have long leases and a month or two of extra storage time on the other end of moving could be helpful to your parents.
In conclusion, helping your parents plan and implement a move from the family home to a new one could be one of the most emotionally difficult events that you will share with them as an adult. By planning ahead, taking their feelings into account and organizing everything as much as possible, you can make it a little more bearable. It is also important to point out that your parents may not be as bothered by getting rid of their personal belongings when they are able to do so over a longer period of time, in lieu of a stressful day or two.