Time to Downsize & Move? Answers to the Most Frequently Asked Questions

A senior couple posing with a cutout of a smaller home.

Senior moving may be stressful but working with a senior moving manager can help you save money and time.

Seniors often postpone even thinking about moving. Understandably. Change can be stressful. Add to that the worry about downsizing many years of accumulated possessions and it’s no wonder they feel overwhelmed. Often, they don’t want to burden adult children who either live out of town or are working full-time and have families of their own (the “sandwich” generation).

But worry no more—help is available! And the peace of mind that it brings is invaluable.

Q:  Who Provides This Help?

A:  They’re called senior move managers. Senior move managers (SMMs) assist with every aspect of the transition and are generally involved from the very beginning. After an initial consultation, they provide move planning and coordination, space planning, sorting & organizing, packing, unpacking, settling in, and disposition of extra contents. 

Q:  So How Does This Work?

A:  It begins with a plan. After gathering information at the first meeting, the senior move manager and the client develop a plan together. The goal is to provide support throughout the process, with the SMM team sharing not only expertise, but physical assistance where needed. 

Once a move destination is determined, a space plan is crucial. The SMM specialist can create it, using the measurements of the new place and exact dimensions of the actual furniture designated. In most cases, clients can review several layouts. The space plan shows not only what furniture will fit, but indicates size of closets/cabinets in the new residence.

This knowledge will inform sorting decisions (for example, if the buffet doesn’t fit, what about the contents?) And, if needed, the SMM team can assist with the actual sorting & organizing needed.

Q: What Else Does the SMM Do?

A: The SMM team will carefully pack belongings, coordinate movers, and then unpack & settle everything into the new home. Empty boxes are cleared out, beds made, everything is put away. The big reveal! 

Q: So What Happens to the Things That Don’t Make the Move?

A:  A common refrain is “What am I going to do with all my stuff?”  People know that, if they are listing their home for sale, the realtor will suggest “decluttering.”  Extra items generally fall into 4 categories: family, sell, donate, remove/cleanout. Some of this happens before the move; some of it after. SMMs help find the best solution for each situation.

Q: Tell Me More About Those Categories for Extra Contents.

A: Let’s talk about family first. Sometimes we think our family wants things, or should want things left over from the downsizing process. But don’t assume. Always check! In addition, many seniors find themselves storing things for their adult children who have “forgotten” about the things in their old bedroom closet, the attic, basement, or garage. But now a move is happening. Give them a deadline for removal.

Q: What About Selling Items? How Does that Work? 

A:  Experienced move managers have developed and vetted resources to assist their clients with items to sell. Every situation is different. From private specialty buyers to online auctions, the SMM can recommend a solution.

Q:  And the Donation and Trash Categories? 

A:  SMMs want to save their clients hassle as well as money. Taking too much to the new home costs money to both pack & unpack, and now where is it going to go? They also want help get as many of the extra items dealt with in a no-cost or low-cost way.

So before paying to have items hauled away, consider donation sites that will schedule a pickup. And coordinating with your local trash service (you’ve paid your taxes) to take an oversized amount from the curb. Again, a seasoned SMM has a list of local resources to deploy.

Bottom Line:

Seniors and their families who use senior move managers are happy they did. They gain support and, most of all, peace of mind by delegating countless, time-consuming tasks to a compassionate, skilled, experienced team.Whether you are helping an aging parent downsize to a senior apartment or moving a spouse into an assisted living community, transitioning a loved one can prove to be difficult. Our life care planning team can help. Depending on each unique situation, our Elder Care Coordinators are here to help you choose the right facility for your loved one or ensure they are able to safely age in place. Contact our office today at (856) 857-6007 to learn more about our life care planning services.

This article was written by Jared Willmann, President of Byron Home, a family-owned senior move management service operating locally for 23 years. Byron Home has helped with more than 3,000 moves to over 80 different communities. (856) 573-7840, www.byronhome.com.