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Downsizing and Moving? You Need a Plan...

“I’m ready to downsize but what do I do with 40 years of accumulation?”

To be sure, the downsizing and moving process is a daunting and overwhelming prospect for us all, regardless of age, ability, resources, accumulation, square foot delta, and inclination.

The good news is that you can get on top of the process and manage the disruption with some straightforward tips…so plant your Project Manager’s hat firmly on your head and read on.

What lies ahead is a big job, no doubt, but a Move Plan will help to alleviate move stress by putting you in control. A Move Plan will lay out what you do when, and who will help you do the work. A Move Plan can be a simple one-pager or an in-your-head organizational plan consisting of elements of time and timing, resources, supplies and implementation.


  • If you have 12 weeks before your move, you have enough move preparation time, even if you have a very full household. The packing itself is not the issue – packing can physically happen in just a day or two with the right resources. What takes time is sorting, deciding and disseminating, particularly if you have things to sell. The right timeframe for the initiation and implementation of your move project, then, depends on how much accumulation you have and your plan to dispose of the items you no longer want. Having enough time to make decisions that feel right to you will allow you to feel prepared and satisfied with your move.


Helping Hands

  • Find out which of your family, friends and neighbours have some “capacity” to help you with your move and how much time they can realistically contribute. If son John can help out for three hours every Tuesday evening for the next four weeks, daughter Margaret two full Saturdays, etc., you can count on that help in your move preparation plan while respecting the busy schedules of your help team. Once you know what you’re looking at, put an achievable schedule together based on the help you have. Call in a professional for additional help if there are gaps to fill.


  • Collect key supplies to have on hand so you can get started when you are feeling motivated and optimize your help team’s effectiveness. You’ll need boxes, clean wrapping paper, large bags for donation, labels, markers, a tape gun and tape. Tissue paper, bubble wrap and styrofoam peanuts are useful for fragile items. It’s a good idea to invest in proper moving boxes you can purchase from a moving company that sells these and can advise you on quantities and sizes.


  • Sort and pack one room at a time to keep things focused and organized. Start in a room that will be the least disruptive (ie used infrequently) such as the basement storage or attic. Start in one corner, and make your way methodically around the room dealing with each item as you encounter it.

  • Make your sorting decisions based on items you will Keep, Gift, Donate, Dispose, and Sell. Pack small items immediately and sticker large items with a colour-coded dot (Keep = Red, etc). Once you have a full donation or waste bag or box, organize it in one area for further processing/dissemination.

What you can accomplish in just half a day will likely surprise you. Do your best to stay on top of your Move Plan and you’ll be in great shape. Good luck on your project!

Theresa Shelton | T’s Complete Move Solutions | 226-820-1032 |

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