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The last couple weeks I’ve been helping a couple get prepared for their move into a retirement home.  It makes my job so much easier when people are ready and willing to make this type of move rather than when they are feeling forced into such a situation.

Change can be hard (it’s true I’ve shed at least a few tears every single time I’ve moved that I can remember), but it’s so much easier when you can embrace the flow of life and let yourself go with it.  And sometimes a big part of that is knowing when to ask for help.  

I know that the times I’ve moved that were the hardest were when I refused to let people help me.  I thought I was strong and independent and could do it on my own.  Obviously things like moving are far easier when there are plenty of people to help, it just took me awhile to accept the help of others without feeling like I “owed” them something.

If you or a loved one are moving to a retirement home, here are some of my top tips for making this transition:

1) Get a blue print.  Many homes will provide these for you.  If not, get a measuring tape and create your own with graph paper.  I am generally pretty good at being able to assess from looking at a room how much furniture can fit comfortably in it.  However, had I not made a blue print of the current move I’m working on, we definitely would have ended up with more furniture than would have been comfortable for this particular apartment.  It can be easy to overestimate how much space you’ll have at your new home.

2) Although it may make things faster for a helper to make decisions about personal items, it’s always best if the person to whom the stuff belongs can make the decision about whether it stays or go.  Sometimes the rattiest looking doll means more to someone than a very expensive piece of art or jewelry – let that person make the decision for herself if possible.

3) Patience, patience, patience.  If you are working with older (or younger!) people, their attention span or tolerance for this type of work may be much lower than yours, they may tire out quickly.  Respect that and work in shorter sessions – this may require more planning ahead than other moves.

4) Take breaks and drink water.  It’s easy for me to get so focused on a project that sometimes I forget to take breaks.  If you’re like this too, try setting a timer to remind you to take breaks or to signal it’s time to find a stopping point for the day.

Are any of you readers planning to move this summer?  How are you handling it, are you hiring help?


Professional Organizer and Coach at Synergy Organizing, LLC

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