Moving & Downsizing
Updated: Mar 22
Spring seems to be the season to move. Folks are quick to get to the next location. There are stresses and expenses that come with moving all your treasures to the new abode. There are things to consider when moving that take time and money. Lets look at some things about moving and downsizing and see if we can shed some light that will help some folks with your new home.
First, moving is one of life's most stressful events. It may or may not happen more than once a year or once a decade. It may be across town or across the country, but its still stressful. Why? Because there are a lot of moving parts and all those parts depend on you to get done. If you are moving one person or several people and dont forget pets, you will have more moving parts. Budget is a big factor in moving. Moving is a multi-billion dollar industry. Anything that has to do with logistics is going to be costly. But there are a few things you can do to keep costs down.
Downsizing is a great way of lowering your logistics costs of moving. Shedding those treasures that you do not use or your kids no longer show an interest in. If the kids hesitate, they really dont want it. If its a pillow or a piano, it could cost your $150 just to pick it up and put it into a moving truck. Go through your items. Count each book, each pair of socks, each spatula. How many do you have how many do you use? If you are downsizing for your parents or grandparents. You may not know what to get rid of or keep. If the items are in a curio cabinet or out on display, its a safe bet those things are most dear to the person and bring them joy every day. The items that are in the bottom drawer all the way in the back of the closet are kept over time, but probably dont bring them as much joy and they most likely never use them or view them. Box up the curio cabinet and things on the TV and nightstand as they are probably their real treasures.
If you find family members are overwhelmed and stressed by the packing and downsizing process, you might want to consider packing the items as mostly used or curio cabinet treasures and store them to be downsized at a later time. I never throw out my clients treasures as they may have agreed to the downsize in the heat of the moving moment, but need one more glance before the final decision. You can always get rid of it, but you can not get it back. Downsize backfire is when you toss something out because they agreed to get rid of the entire load and then they regret the purge and ask for the items back. If you find your family is growing more anxious throughout the packing process, you might need to take a break and then try again the next day. Remember pets get stressed too. Have a plan to leave pets at boarding or with family during the move. They are very sensitive to each item moved in the house and they dont have the capacity to understand the move process.
Also there are generations of folks who lived through the depression era and tend to save money in the oddest of places. Make sure you go through items before truly tossing them out. I found $5K in a bag of clothes. I found a wallet full of money and recently found a cash box with , yep, cash inside. If you find a quarter, you found money, and its a good find. This unknown treasure hunt is one of the reasons why I dont throw anything away and why moving companies who offer packers need to be aware of such finds during packing.
Start as early as possible once you have decided to move. The earlier you start, the less overwhelmed you will be on moving day. Keep a list of all the things you feel are important to go with you to your new location. Be aware of your physical limits. What can you do and what can you afford to hire out? Can you save money buy stocking up on barely used moving boxes and wrapping supplies? Ask friends and neighbors for left over moving supplies and boxes. Many of us have moving supplies including moving dollies, moving blankets, tape, sharpie pens, and extra bubble wrap. Most often they are excited to donate them to your cause.
Keep track of places to gift your downsize treasures to. Is there a charity or organization that can use your items. It appears most people will not take mattresses, but keep checking crisis centers and homeless shelters as they are increasingly popular need of many items. Food pantries are always willing to take non expired foods. Dont forget trash, as it is the most overlooked on moving day. Purge as much trash out of each room as you can. Why pay hard earned money to move items meant for the trash. Plan to make a dump run or have trash hauled away before closing day. You will be surprised at the amount of trash accumulated by a move.
Get help. Good help is not cheap, and cheap help is not good. Get friends and family who are really good at moving you have experienced first hand. Good moving companies are golden and need to be praised for their service. It is not mandatory, but tipping 15%-20% can mean $60-$75 per mover per 8hr day depending on where you live and the move. Use your movers for all the heavy lifting. If you can only hire them for 4 -6 hours, have them move all the heavy items you can not physically lift. You can move the smaller boxes, linens lighter items on your own and save money. Packers run about $150 for two men and a truck of supplies. Some companies charge for packing supplies. Double check your contracts.
In the end, moving is just a stressful event and we all experience it. If you plan ahead, keep the forward movement toward your goal, you will experience less stress than if you wait until the last minute. Make a timeline and a budget. Work within both your timeline and financial goals. Try to remember you last move and what would you do differently? Visualizing your move will help plan a smoother transition.