DO: Take note of the history and stories behind any special items. Give your parent or loved one the time to share these, as they will prove invaluable when passed on to other family members.
DON’T: Rush your parent or loved one through the sorting process. This is how heirlooms are lost and the history and meaning around special pieces gets forgotten.
DO: Have a system in place for what is being kept, donated, passed down and thrown away. If your parent or loved one is able, they can begin doing this well in advance of the move to expedite the process.
DON’T: Plan to figure it out as you go. These decisions need to be made well in advance of any deadline.
DO: Sort a little at a time.
DON’T: Overdo it. Planning 10-hour days in a fit to get things done will only overwhelm you and your loved one and lead to hasty decisions.
DO: Get rid of things not worn or used in a year.
DON’T: Move unneeded items. It’ll cost more and cause more headaches during the unpacking process.
DO: Take photos and/or video of your loved one’s home before downsizing or packing a thing so they can remember their home as it was.
DON’T: Assume their memories of home are as good as any picture or video would be. These images are priceless for both your loved one as well as any family members who grew up there.
Preparation for the Move: Planning for the New Space
DO: Draw up a map, to scale, of the new space prior to the move. This will help you and your loved one decide which furniture to keep and how it will be arranged. This map can also be displayed on moving day so the movers know where specific items should go.
DON’T: Wing it and plan to figure out how to set up your loved one’s new space on move-in day. This can cause confusion and make your loved one overwhelmed.
DO: When mapping out the new space, plan the layout as close to your loved one’s current layout as possible. Creating a similar atmosphere in their new home will aid in the process of settling in.
DON’T: Think of this move as an opportunity to change rooms around and redecorate — regardless of how appalling you may think that old plaid lounger is. Having continuity between old home and new will help your loved one feel more at ease.
DO: Figure out what, if anything, will be needed for the new residence. Often furniture from the family home will be too big for an apartment or care facility. Help your loved one make a list of any new furniture, towels, décor, throw rugs, kitchen essentials, etc., they will need in their new home.
DON’T: Assume what’s needed and go on a shopping spree without input from your loved one. This is their home and they should decide how to furnish and decorate it.
DO: Make shopping for any new items an exciting process to put a positive spin on what can be an upsetting situation.
DON’T: Think of any move-related shopping as a hassle and a waste of your time. This will only add tension to the situation.
DO: Visit the new residence as many times as needed to ensure any renovations are complete before moving day and to check that all appliances are working, water is running and electricity is on.
DON’T: Depend on the new residence to have everything in working order.
DO: Set up cable, Internet access and phone systems prior to the move. If the phone company can’t make it out before move-in day, arrange to leave a cell phone with your loved one until the line is set up so they can reach out for help if need be.
DON’T: Wait until after the move to have utilities set up. In order for your loved one to enjoy as smooth a transition as possible, these details need to be worked out before they move in.
DO: Work with your loved one to pack a bag or box for their first night in their new place. Include pajamas, fresh towels and bedding, bathroom necessities (including a shower curtain, if needed, shower mats and toilet paper), an alarm clock, any necessary medications, books and magazines and a few pictures and other mementos to display.
DON’T: Pack this for them. They may have very specific ideas of what they’ll need during their first night. If anything, pack them a little gift box with special teas or coffees and treats for their first morning in their new home.
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