Downsizing and Moving Checklist

The following checklist will assist you with a smoother, stress-free transition to your new retirement lifestyle.

1. When do I wish to move?

  • Allow yourself at least 6 to 8 weeks to plan your move
  • If presently living in a rental property, you are required to give sixty days notice that you are moving
  • If presently living in a condominium or house, be sure that you arrange to move 10 to 15 days prior to your closing date.

2. What do I wish to have in my new home?

  • Determine what will fit in your new home by obtaining or designing a floor plan of your new space
  • Adequate lighting is essential, so be sure to include an assortment of table and floor lamps
  • A single bed for one person, double or queen for a couple is a good choice
  • Depending on the retirement facility, you may need to take a choice of a few dishes and glassware, bed linens and bath towels, as well as a selection of memorable items such as pictures, artwork or figurines. Depending on the storage space provided, three sets of bedding and bath towels and four to six of each item of glassware and dishes (for entertaining) is usually sufficient.
  • If a microwave oven is present or allowed in the suite, appropriate microwave-safe utensils and cookware are necessary.

3. Where will I place all of my furnishings?

  • Because space will be at a premium in your new home, you will want to be comfortable but not crowded. Aside from basic bedroom and living room chairs, and possibly a sofa, make a wish list of favourite furnishings you would like to take with you, bearing in mind that large bulky pieces are not always suitable
  • If you require the use of a walker or wheelchair, additional space must be considered for mobility.
  • Advance planning is essential in reviewing and identifying what pieces will be moving with you into your new home. Using a colour-coded sticker placed discreetly on items that will be going with you to your new home is a good way to remember your choices.

4. What should I do with everything I can’t take with me?

  • Divide surplus items into four categories: those you want to give to friends and family, those you wish to sell, those you wish to donate and those that can be thrown out.
  • Think about donating useful items to local charities. Clothesline, the Diabetes Association has a free pickup for unneeded clothing, household items, small appliances and furniture.
  • It is a great idea to pass on family heirlooms now, enabling you to reminisce and tell stories, reflecting on the memories and pleasures you had with them and in turn giving you the ability to see your family do the same.
  • If sending items to an auction house, be fully aware of the costs and charges associated with their sale by an auctioneer.

5. How do I plan on moving?

  • Tackle and complete one room at a time, before moving on to another area
  • Begin in a room that is not in use everyday (spare bedroom)
  • Select a mover who is familiar with the specialized needs of moving into retirement facilities.
  • For peace of mind and to relieve the stress of the transition, as much as possible, engage a company specializing in the relocation of seniors, such as Organizing Lives. We can help you with the sorting, decision-making, packing, moving, unpacking of your belongings and disposing of surplus items.

Article featured in Living Life Magazine (Summer 2007)
Written by Sandra Wright

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