(Editor’s Note: Martin Zepeda is a Long Distance Fleet Planner in JK’s Residential Moving Division. Today he shares his tips and suggestions he learned from moving his mother.)
My mother, who at the time lived in Utah, mentioned she would like to move to Virginia and be closer to me and my wife. Upon hearing the news, my wife took it on herself to find a house for Mom. The chosen house, close enough to ours yet not next door, was perfect. We emailed Mom the photos, she approved, and we went on to complete the transaction.
Moving your parents into a retirement community or a smaller home can be stressful for all parties involved. To help with the move, I came up with some helpful tips from my personal experience that are easy to follow.
1) Make a list of all of your belongings, breaking the list into different categories.
A) Items to keep
B) Items to sell
C) Items to give away
D) Items to throw away
By listing all of the items she owned, my Mom was able to understand the volume and types of belongings; making it easier to get rid of items no longer needed.
2) Separate items depending on their category. Mom designated items in each room using yellow sticky notes with the category written on paper.
Separate items in each room where they are located so the items do not need to be moved over and over. You can simply work on each category at a time in each room of the house.
3) Organize and hold a yard sale
Keep in mind, others will not have the same feelings for your treasured possessions, and will ask you to lower the price. Don’t feel insulted; simply go with the flow and if you can lower the price, you’ll sell more items than if you stand your ground. Keep in mind, anything not sold will need a different category. These categories are: give away, throw away, or move into the new home. If you don’t sell it or give it away, you will need to find space in your new (and perhaps smaller) home.
4) Donate items to organizations or non-profits that will accept used furniture and household items.
We initially thought this would be tough for my Mom, but it worked out great. We called several churches and were able to donate items to families that needed a helping hand. It felt good to help others and we helped ourselves in the process.
5) Throw away any unwanted items.
This was the toughest for Mom. She wanted to keep items we made for her when we were in grade school. It’s a nice gesture, but if I can let it go I felt she should have been able to as well. I was wrong in some cases. A great way to keep these memories alive without holding onto the actual items is to take pictures of the items and put them in a scrapbook or album.
6) Pack up any remaining items and prepare for the move.
After the yard sale and donations, it was much easier to take an inventory. We knew what still needed to be packed and we had the room to do so.
7) Contact a reputable moving company.
Do your homework. Ask friends, family or your realtor for recent referrals and then get at least three in-home estimates. Go with a moving company willing to stand behind their commitment to transport the goods in a quality fashion, not one driven only by the price of the move.
If your parents decide, like my Mother did, that the smaller house is still too big and they want to move into a retirement community; repeat the steps above. It is important to note, many retirement communities have rules regarding move-in times. Make sure your moving company and retirement community are on the same page when it comes to move-in times and locations.
If you have any questions regarding moving your parents or would like to share your experience or tips please leave a comment below.