Understanding the Emotional Rollercoaster of Downsizing

clock April 3, 2014 18:42 by author sylviac

            Fear is typically the primary emotion affecting seniors in the downsizing process: fear of relationships, fear of possessions and fear of the unknown. Fear is very real. Being aware, acknowledging, appreciating and accepting this emotion is the first step to aiding in the transition process. The following points below are some of the reasons why downsizing may seem like an emotional rollercoaster.


            Emotions run very high when a senior is getting ready to move. They are leaving the house that they have invested 30, 40 or even 50+ years.   They are leaving the community and neighbors where they raised their family, played bridge once a week, depended upon one another for that missing ingredient to finish dinner and watched over each other’s children. The safe and secure environment is being left behind to be replaced with uncertainty. 

            Family relationships are also taxed during this time. There hundreds of questions being asked, coming from all directions and sometimes even a lack of family support. The senior asks: Why don’t you want my prized possessions?  While the children are overheard saying: Why did she throw that out? I wanted it. Why did Sue get the lamp I was taking? Who gets what? What goes where? Family members often begin to fight among themselves. Each person is an individual and everyone has their own way of doing things. Road blocks are formed and the task becomes a very bumpy ride.


            A housefull of “stuff” can be daunting. Imagine forty years of ”items” packed into a 1400sq ft home. Every crevice full, from the attic to the crawl space and do not forget the shed and garage! There is a fear of having to rush through the packing and the possibility of tossing out treasured items.  What do I do with all the stuff? How can I accomplish this on my own? Where can I get boxes?  What am I taking with me? What will fit into my new space? What do I trash? Will this go to charity? Does Mary want this figurine she gave me? This is going to take forever and I don’t have the time. The house has been sold, and the possession date is coming. 


            Moving to a foreign location can be unsettling. Tasks like figuring out where to get groceries, where to do laundry, and where to catch the bus may have been exciting in our younger years, but for many seniors it is a fearful experience. Will the neighbors be helpful? Will I still see my friends? Are the phone and TV working? They are all very real concerns.

            Some seniors are unable to participate in the process due to failing health as they have either been hospitalized or relocated to a care facility.  They become anxious about not being able to oversee the packing of their items. Can my family do my memories justice?  Are my treasures just seen as trash to them? What will happen to my mother’s lace tablecloth?  Will I be able to find the picture, painted by my granddaughter, or has it been filed in the trash? The fear of not being in control haunts many.

Light at the End of the Tunnel

There is light at the end of the tunnel! Emotions of relief are dominant, once time is made available to sort through belongings. Items no longer needed are let go of and the joy of displaying prized possessions, and therefore memories, is obvious. Rooms become safer for mobility as the decluttering continues. Peace of mind comes to the senior; they are still in control.

            Caregivers/adult children also feel relief as things and details are taken care of and their family member is in a safe and comforting place. Sure, navigating the emotional journey of downsizing is difficult- it’s filled with ups and downs for both the caregiver/family and the seniors. This is in fact why some families have shown increasing interest in the services of a “third party” to guide them on the path.

The following blog post was submitted by Shannon Lang who owns Edmonton's Elder Move Inc. and specializes in senior's re-locations. For more information please visit their website www.eldermove.ca


Moving Countdown Calendar

clock August 7, 2013 00:35 by author sylviac


       In life, few events match the stress of moving from one location to another. In this time of busy new beginnings and important adjustments we at Highland Moving appreciate the opportunity to be trusted with our client’s valuable goods. Moving everything an individual owns is a very personal experience and something that we at Highland take very seriously.

The following moving countdown calendar provided should assist with a rough estimate of what typically should be completed prior to an upcoming move to make the transition as smooth as possible.

6-5 Weeks Prior: Arrange to have a Highland Moving relocation surveyor come to your current residence to complete a free in-home estimation. This will allow us to provide you with the most accurate estimation for your upcoming move. The relocation surveyor will be able to answer any questions you may have in regards to topics such as how to properly pack your fragile items, move plants or specialty items. At this time, the relocation surveyor will also be able to discuss the various types of protection available for your goods.

4 Weeks Prior: If you are packing your own belongings this is a great time to get started on organizing your items for the upcoming move. There is no sense in moving things you don’t want to keep therefore, go through your home – room by room and decide which items to sell, donate or discard. One month prior to the move is also a great time to inform various companies about the change in address. Don’t forget to contact the following companies’: utilities, banks, post office, insurance, schools, credit card companies and family doctors.

2 Weeks Prior: This is a great time to confirm your move date and details with your moving coordinator. At this point, your moving coordinator will also be able to answer any additional questions. During this period it is also a good occasion to return any rented items such as library books and use up canned goods and/or frozen foods before the move. In addition, don’t forget about items in your garage. Safely dispose of any gasoline, matches, paint and remember to drain the fuel from the lawn mower and/or other machinery.

1 Week Prior: A week prior to moving, start labeling all boxes that will be moved during moving day. Label, highlight and set aside the boxes that you will need immediately at your new home such as cleaning supplies and toiletries. Also, make sure all the legal paperwork for the old and new home is complete. If there are young children or pets that will be moving, arrange for someone to care for them during move day.

Moving Out: Ensure that you are available when the moving crew arrives or authorize someone in writing to take your place just in case any important questions arise. If you have any questions or concerns about the moving process, ask your crew leader. They will be happy to assist and answer.

Moving In: Ensure that you are available to accept the delivery into the new residence or authorize someone in writing to take your place. Position yourself during the unloading so you can direct placement of items and cartons to specific areas of the home. Once crew unloads your valuable goods make sure all papers are signed before they leave site. If any items seem lost or damaged contact your moving coordinator immediately to resolve the issue - they will be happy to assist.



Storing Your Items

clock April 25, 2013 22:14 by author Janet Corniel


Often times you will not be able to move straight away into your new home.  When this happens, you need to consider storing your things.  There are many options available to you.  Whether or not it is a definite possibility, it is wise to ask what your options are with your professionals here at Highland.  This way there are no surprises.  Further, you can anticipate and budget for any potential increase in cost to accommodate storing your things.  This is really important if you are purchasing another home and that purchase is contingent on the sale of your current home.  Remember, anything can happen at closing.  Therefore, you may have a delay or even worse, something could fall through.  If that is the case, make sure to ask your professionals here at Highland about your options.  We will do our best to accommodate you.  However, you will want to know this ahead of time so that you can plan for any unforeseen circumstances.

If you are moving internationally or a long distance, storage may be a necessary part of transport.  Therefore, you will have to discuss the details of your impending move with your professionals here at Highland.  Keep in mind that there are several things that can be done to best meet your needs.  These include long-term storage for the items you may not be able to take with you.  Short-term storage for the items that will be transported to your new location and air shipment of a few things that you can’t live without.  In order to best meet your needs, take inventory of your things and think about what you will need immediately, short term and not until you return if that is apart of your relocation.

If you are on a corporate relocation, there may be storage as a part of your relocation package.  If so, clarify what is covered and what is your responsibility.  Often times there are limits on the length of time covered by your relocation package.  You will want to understand this ahead of time so that you can budget accordingly.  

Storing your items may be new to you but it is something we are very familiar with and we can identify options that can best meet your needs.


Steps to Organize for a Move

clock March 23, 2013 23:43 by author Janet Corniel


The key to any successful move is organization.  The more organized you are the easier your move will be.  Granted there will be unplanned events.  However, the more you do up front to prepare, the better position you will have to mitigate risk.

Step 1: Start early

The earlier you start to organize your move the better you will be.  You want to be in a position to optimize your opportunities.  Therefore, starting early allows you to secure dates, coordinate resources and downsize.  Granted you may not have the luxury of time but if you start the process as soon as you know you are moving, you will be able to get your things in order right away.

Step 2: One place for your things

Moving can be disruptive.  Therefore, taking steps to organize your things and putting them in one location will help prevent you from wasting your time looking for something.  Identify all the important paperwork you will need for your move and somethings that you just should have like birth certificates and put them all in one location.  This could be in a portable file folder or scanned into a digital file.  

Step 3:  Timeline

Understand your time constraints.  Consider your move as a large project that you need to manage.  Think about the tasks that you must do and identify any of them that affect the completion of other tasks.  List these out and use a calendar to plan what must be done first.  This will help you decide on what you have to do and when.  It will also help prevent you from missing an important task. 

Step 4: Budget

Your budget will dictate what you are able to accomplish.  Therefore, you want to make sure you have one set out at the beginning.  If you have a tight budget, you will have to entertain options that will save you money, like packing or unpacking yourself.  Feel free to ask your professionals here at Highland.  We have various options to help with your budget.

Step 5: Pick a System and Stick with it

Find a system that works best for you. Some people like paper while others prefer everything electronically.  Therefore, think about what will work best for you and use that system religiously.  You will be more likely to use something that you feel comfortable with and stick with it.  Keeping on top of your move will help you make it with ease.


Moving is stressful at times.  However, taking steps to organize yourself at the beginning will help to alleviate the stress.


Packing Yourself? Here are Some Great Tips.

clock February 13, 2013 21:14 by author Janet Corniel



Even if you are hiring a full-service professional mover, like Highland, you can still choose to pack yourself to save on costs.  This is a great way to get the best of both worlds.  It gives you an opportunity to weed through your things as you pack and get rid of the stuff you simply do not need or want.  There is only one exception to the rule.  If you are moving internationally or a long distance, have your professionals at Highland pack you for your own protection.  The longer the distance the greater the chances of something happening.  Therefore, for insurance purposes it will be in your best interest to have professionals pack you and take the extra steps necessary to protect your goods.


However, if you are moving locally and packing yourself, here are some great tips.


Packing Supplies

Make sure to get packing supplies.  You want to use boxes that are meant for moving because they can handle the transport of your goods.  If you are looking for a bargain, check around town or on Craig’s List.  You can often find reasonably priced packing supplies from recent transplants looking to get rid of their packing supplies.  Word of caution. Take the time to inspect the supplies and make sure they have only been used once before.  Like any other reuse of goods, the more worn they are, the less likely they will fulfill their purpose.  Therefore, check and review and then buy.  The only exceptions are wardrobe boxes.  For some reason, they do not repurpose as well so consider getting new ones.


Get tape.  Get more tape than you think you need.  You want to buy packing tape with convenient dispensers.  This will allow you to make quick work of preparing the boxes for packing.  Do not be conservative with your tape.  Tape the box seams several time to ensure it will hold together.


Permanent Markers.  This is another must when packing yourself.  Buy more than you think you will need because chances are you will pack a few in the fray.  


Label well.  Take the time to label your boxes well.  Note the room the contents is from, your last name and a general idea of what it contains.  Do not forget to label fragile if it requires it and an arrow for up.  This is essential in protecting your fragile items.


Have a packing party.  Bribe your friends with some wine or beer and food.  Have them over and help you make quick work of your packing.  Just make sure the friends you ask are not jokesters.  You don’t want them using creative writing to label your boxes.


Don’t worry if you run out of time.  If you simply run out of time, ask your professionals at Highland to help.  They will be glad to help you out if you simply run out of time.  It happens to the best of us.  Just make sure to notify them as quickly as possible so that they can make plans to accommodate you.


For more great moving tips, check out this list from Highland.


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