Spring is a time of new beginnings. Trees are bright with leaves and blossoms, flowers are blooming, and new life is everywhere — baby birds, fawns, puppies, kittens.
Springtime also brings the urge for people to perfect their nests, cleaning, organizing and updating. Walls are painted, windows washed, furniture rearranged. Many also simplify or consider a move. While some would love to move, a sense of overwhelm holds them back.
Moving is always stressful, even while being exciting. There are almost always unexpected expenses, and countless decisions include when to start packing, what to take and what to leave. Stress can run high, and even be crippling when one has things collected over decades.
Imagine delaying a move that would improve your life because you feel overwhelmed. Imagine spending thousands of extra dollars a year to stay in a home because the prospect of moving is just too much. So rather than moving into a home that really fits your life today, you stay put, and pay the price. People do just that, every year. Some spend their golden years yearning to downsize but never do. Here are some simple but impactful tips to help achieve your goals with no regrets:
1 Start a detailed moving checklist months in advance. This step is important as it will help ensure you don't forget something important, such as canceling cable and utilities. Great, step by step checklist samples are available free online — customize the list to meet your needs. Here are a few helpful examples:
Mymove.com – Pre-Move-Checklist
Moving.com - Senior Moving Checklist - Elderly Move Planning
Whereyoulivematters.org - Moving & Downsizing Checklist for Seniors
Movesforseniors.com - Senior-Moving-Checklist.pdf
Many of us have items from generations, and a checklist — even very detailed — isn’t enough. In that case, consider professional help. Many professionals require immediate payment, but some will wait until your home sells to get paid. Request referrals from your Realtor or friends or check reviews online.
2 When it's time to downsize, downsize. If you find it difficult to part with favorite items even when no longer needed or you lack the space to store them, decide in advance what to do with them. It helps to group things, like:
• Take to the new home
• Sell – individually or in a moving sale
• Give to relatives or friends
• Donate (get a tax receipt!)
• Recycle or throw away
It can help to photograph things cherished but no longer needed. Enlist the help of ruthless adult children or friends who lean toward minimalism.
What happens when you can’t get through it all and need to rent storage? Here are some ideas: Don't store anything unless there's a reason and a deadline. I know people who have spent thousands on rented storage for things they’d never use again. Years later, tired of paying for things they didn’t miss, and decided not to pay another year to store items not even worth the cost of storage. I've even been one of those people!
It’s tough to get rid of things you have memories and emotion attached to or have monetary value and exhausting to sell items one at a time to strangers. It can be tempting to save things for later, when you can find a place for them. I’ve been there.
If you must rent storage, consider paying the year in advance. Or pay by the quarter, and work to empty the unit before the next quarter begins. Sometimes a storage unit is wonderful, like when you realize that blue rug in storage works better than the green rug in your new home. Usually, however, renting storage after moving is like paying for the luxury of avoiding dealing with things.
If you do rent storage, empty it as soon as you can so you can have closure on your move and totally enjoy your new home. It’s wonderful when everything in your forever home has a place, and your home feels comfortable. When you’re left with the items you most value, then no matter where you look, you'll see something you care about. That's a great way to start your next chapter.