How to Plan Your Move

Moving can mean considerable downsizing. In most cases people are thinking of moving out of their larger family homes to a smaller more manageable living situation. The downsizing process can be overwhelming physically and emotionally. To lessen anxiety and to begin this difficult task, owner Theresa Tucciarelli offers some helpful hints to get you started.

The biggest thing to remember is “BABY STEPS!” Downsizing takes time. I suggest ,if at all possible; get an early start on the process. It would be wise to start before you even think about moving.

The best way to start is to pick a room that is seldom used, maybe even start with a closet or a couple of drawers. To avoid clutter, bring medium sized boxes, (you do not want them to get too heavy). Start to bring things out and decide in what category it should go: Charity, family, to sell, or to keep, (make sure you keep a careful log of contents and label all the boxes). As you go through your belongings think about the last time you used it. Has it been a year or more? Will you need it in your new home and will there be a place for it?

The trick is to do a little at a time, keep it clean, organized, and keep good records.

Make a commitment not to spend too many hours sorting, it is not only physically exhausting but going through your life’s possessions is also emotionally draining. Working for one to two hours with regular breaks may help to make the job less stressful and overwhelming and it may even help you make better choices on decision making.

Don’t rush, this is a time you should reflect on. Your life’s possessions have many stories behind them, take the time to laugh and to cry. Write a short story about a family heirloom so the significance of a treasure will always be treasured for generations to come.

These are just a few suggestions to get you started.

As you go through your belongings remember that you will be moving into a smaller residence and you can not take it all with you. So ask yourself these questions:

  • Have I used this in the last year?
  • When was the last time I used this?
  • Do I have more than one?
  • Do I really need it in my new home?
  • Can I get by without this? Would I have to replace it if I choose to get rid of it?
  • Is it a family heirlom? Is there someone in the family to whom I want to pass it down? (If so, it is a good idea to write a note explaining the item’s history and significance so the story does not get lost in the next generations.)

As you ask these questions, either sort them in boxes, or if your not moving for a while, with colored stickers representing where they go:

  • To family
  • To new home
  • To sale ( if you choose to have one)
  • To charity
  • To trash can

If you’re using boxes, label and keep a journal of the contents of the boxes that will be moving with you. It is a good idea not to use boxes that are too big as they are heavy and awkward. A small to medium box is a good choice.

Have family members pick up items, or send the items to them as soon as possible.

Put the items directly in designated boxes that you will either sell at a garage sale or give to charity right away. It is best to free up as much space as possible so you will see some progress. Store in an out of the way place until you’re ready for your sale if you choose to have one. Charity boxes should be put in car or contact charity for pick up as soon as possible.

By organizing as you go, half the battle of moving will be already done

Useful Home Moving Resources

Web Links

Senior Move Related Links

A selection of links that are all related to seniors and moving:


Listed below are related and recommended books that may be helpful to you.

Other Resources

Here are other resources that may be of interest:

Moving Timeline

8 weeks before moving

  • Create a floor plan for your new residence.
  • Before your moving estimate, decide which items you’ll pack, and which you’d like the movers to pack.
  • Get moving estimates and decide on moving company.
  • Remove items from your attic, basement, storage shed, etc.
  • Start to use up things you can’t move, such as frozen foods and cleaning supplies.
  • Contact the chamber of commerce or visitor’s and tourism bureaus in your new community for information on your new city.
  • If not already done, create a work list of repairs needed to sell the existing home.
  • Hire contractors and schedule work for after the move.

6 weeks before moving

  • Contact the IRS and/or your accountant for information on what moving expenses may be tax-deductible.
  • Begin to inventory and evaluate your possessions. What can be sold or donated to a charitable organization? What haven’t you used within the last year?
  • Make a list of everyone you need to notify about your move: friends, professionals, creditors, subscriptions, etc.
  • Obtain a mail subscription to the local paper in your new community to familiarize yourself with local government, community, and social news and activities.
  • Locate all motor vehicle registration and licensing documents.
  • If some of your goods are to be stored, make the necessary arrangements now.
  • Contact financial advisors, lawyers and accountants to obtain copies of personal records. Request referrals for your new location.

5 weeks before moving

  • Contact utility and related companies (gas, electric, oil, water, telephone, cable TV, and waste management) for service disconnect/connect at your old and new addresses. However, remember to keep phone and utilities connected at your current home throughout moving day.
  • Pack items you won’t need over the next month.
  • Check homeowner’s insurance policies to see if moving is covered. Be sure your new home is protected by transferring fire, theft and other personal property insurance.
  • Tour your house and decide which items should be discarded or donated to charity.
  • Start to tag items.
  • Consider a moving sale to sell items. Start to price items or schedule estimates/appraisals/estate sale.

4 weeks before moving

  • If moving from an apartment, notify landlord and request apartment deposit back.
  • Notify the Post Office and get change-of-address forms. Notify magazines to which you subscribe. Note: fill out a change-of-address form for each person receiving mail at your address.
  • If you have house plants to move, start preparing your plants for the move.
    Plan for the transfer of pets (or at least have someone watch them during moving day). Request pet records from veterinarian.
  • Schedule garage or estate sale for the weekend.

3 weeks before moving

  • Movers can’t take aerosols, flammables, ammunition or bottled gas. It’s best to use them up or give them away before you move. Contact your city/ village for information on hazardous waste disposal.
  • Arrange to have major appliances serviced if/before you move them.
  • Check and clear tax assessments if the home is owned.
  • Collect important papers and put in a safe place (insurance, will, deeds, stock, etc.)
  • Arrange for closing or transfer of bank accounts and open new accounts in new location. Account for all outstanding deposits and checks.

2 weeks before moving

  • If you’re moving out of or into a building with elevators, contact the building management to schedule use of the elevators.
  • Have your car checked and serviced for the trip. Also, make sure that your automobile is prepared (filled with the necessary antifreeze/coolant, for example) for weather conditions.
  • Arrange to discontinue delivery services.
  • Return library books, video rentals and other things you’ve borrowed.
  • Collect things you’ve loaned, and items in the dry-cleaners, lay-away, cold storage, safety deposit box, etc.
  • Call your mover to verify details of the move.
  • Give away plants not being moved.
  • Movers cannot take down TV antennas or satellite dishes. Arrange for third party service.
  • Arrange for cable/satellite TV disconnection.
  • Your local service provider can help you with phone, internet, cable or satellite service for your new home, if not provided

1 week before moving

  • Arrange payment method for moving company and confirm mover arrival, loading and delivery dates.
  • Drain gas and oil from power equipment (lawn mowers, snow blowers, etc.).
  • Drain water from all garden hoses.
  • Set aside maps, games, snacks, flashlight, and other items you’ll take in your car.
  • Gather medicines and important papers for the car trip.
  • Keep your CRTS Moving File in a safe place to locate phone numbers, moving documents and home inventory.
  • Prepare specific directions to your new home for your moving company. (Include your itinerary, emergency numbers, etc.)
  • Back up computer files. Label storage devices.
  • Start packing suitcases.
  • Pack a local phone book for future reference.
  • Have major appliances disconnected and prepared for the move (arrange for a third party to provide these services).
  • Pack boxes of personal, bath toiletries, bed linens, kitchen staples and non-combustible cleaning items that will be needed upon arrival at your new home. We recommend putting these items in a clear or colored storage container for easy identification. Have these boxes loaded last or carry with you in your car.
  • Organize, set aside and label those things that you are leaving or taking with you so that they don’t get loaded on the van in error.
  • Anything movers are packing should be left in place.

1 day before moving

  • Finish packing all suitcases.
  • Defrost, clean and dry refrigerator and chest freezer.
  • Keep a cooler on hand for a few food items to take in car
  • You may wish to record utility meter readings.

Moving day!

  • Be on hand all day to answer questions and to sign the Bill of Lading.
  • Confirm your delivery date, new address and the phone number where you can be reached. Read your bill of lading for valuation and inventory carefully before you sign them. Keep these—and all related papers—in your CRTS Moving
  • File until all charges have been paid and all claims, if any, have been settled.
  • Make sure your glasses, wallet, medicines, car keys, maps and other important items are with you.
  • Make final check of every room and storage area. Make sure windows and doors are locked, keys are transferred, garage door openers are left behind and lights are out.
  • Note: It’s a good idea to confirm utilities are connected at the new residence.