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  • Writer's pictureSarah Albiston

Downsizing Demystified.

Good Words on Senior Living. A new blog column by Sarah Albiston.

Here are 10 smart tips that can help anyone who is planning a move – not just seniors.

1. Start Early. End Happy.

It’s never too early to begin the downsizing process. Begin by focusing on typical problem areas such as the attic, basement, garage, closets, file cabinets.

2. Get Generous.

Since you can’t take everything to your new home, now is the time to make arrangements to “gift” some of your treasures to special people in your life including, and especially, family, helpful neighbors, friends, favorite organizations, or a church/synagogue.

3. Save Your Memories.

You may have boxes of old photos from every holiday, vacation and birthday party attended. What do you do with them? Consider the following ways to preserve family photos and stories: a customized process of audio and video recordings called Life-Storying. Copy your special photos on to your cloud drive. Also, explore services that will take all your photos, slides, and videos and do it for you.

4. New Looks for Books

If you own large quantities of books, you'll want to spend time downsizing your collections. Books occupy lots of space and are heavy to move. Consider donations to public libraries, school libraries, and senior centers, or selling them to used bookstores. Call a book dealer for older books with potential value.

5. Use It Up ... Don’t Move It Out.

Take an inventory of your canned goods, frozen foods, and paper products. Plan to use as many of these products as you can before moving. If you simply have too many of these items, think about passing them on to a local food pantry.

6. Don’t Lose Touch.

Create a list of people, places, and utilities/services that need to be notified of your upcoming change in address.

7. Recycle the Toxins.

Take time to put together a box or two of household, yard, and automotive cleaning products, as well as paint, that are considered hazardous. Visit for more information on hazardous collection in your area.

8. Space Plan Ahead.

Most Senior Move Managers can provide you with a customized floor plan of your new residence. A floor plan will help you determine the pieces of furniture that will fit in your new home, and the best location for each. Knowing which pieces will fit in your new space will help you in your right-sizing process.

9. Pack a Survival Bag. Or two.

Put together a survival bag for move day. It might include personal needs (medications, eyeglasses, toiletries, change of clothes, important papers, etc); kitchen needs (snacks, drinks, folding chair, disposable cups plates); basic tools (hammer, screwdriver, flashlight, tape, etc.); cleaning supplies (sponge, roll of paper towels, soap, etc.); and payment for mover – be sure you know which form of payment they accept.

10. Ask for Help!

Don’t be too proud or independent-minded to ask for help. Moving is not easy and you shouldn’t do it all yourself. A simple Google search for senior moving companies in Richmond, Virginia produces a long list of movers that specialize in downsizing and moving seniors. Expect attention to detail and knowledge of local retirement communities, as some of their benefits. Check out the National Association of Senior Move Managers ( It's a wonderful resource.

Good Words on Senior Living is my new blog column. Topic by topic, I'll do my part to inform, demystify, and clarify this industry for you. If you have any specific topics you would like me to cover here, email me at and I will do my best to help.

#GoodWords #senior housing # retirement industry #senior living #copywriting #downsizing #moving

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