Moving is a high stress life event.  Whether its cross town or cross country, tackling the organizing, packing, discarding, cleaning, paperwork and the myriad of other tasks is a major challenge.

When you’re older and moving from the family home to a new smaller residence, possibly in a new community, or your adult childs home, sorting through decades of family history and possessions can feel overwhelming even paralyzing. If you are an adult child helping your parent make a move, this checklist will be helpful

(condensed from the Family CareGiver Alliance)  (

Planning Ahead

  • think about beginning to declutter before a move is on the near horizon, six months to a year is not too early to start
  • Shred, toss or giveaway obvious items such as old cancelled checks, outdated food or medications
  • If you are not sure ask an accountant what records need to be retained.
  • Continue this process monthly until you start the major activites of sorting and packing
  • Collect and keep important papers together
  • Try not to let grown children use the home as a storage unit.  Now is the time for them to claim their keepsakes
  • Try to limit sorting and packing to two hours/day for your parent, try and keep it relaxed
Where to Start
  • Make lists, start a seperate notebook just for the move
  • Find and get estimates from moving companies
  • Set a firm date for the move
  • Make a floor plan of the new home, be sure measurements are accurate
  • Make a plan of where major furniture will go in the new place
  • If pets are involved be sure to have a plan for them to be moved
  • If needed, change providers for utilities such as gas and hydro
  • Refill prescriptions in advance
  • Post office
  • credit cards
  • bank accounts
  • investment accounts
  • family and friends
  • drivers license
  • newspaper/magazine subscriptions
  • notify lawyer, accountant, insurance agent etc
Next Step:  Sorting
Plan on going through one room at a time, don’t try to pack now just sort.
Divide furniture and possessions into four categories:
  1. definitely save
  2. possibly save
  3. donate, sell or giveaway
  4. discard
This is the time to designate items to be given to specific people.  Make a list.

  • Welcome others to help with packing chores, with everything pre-labelled this is easier
  • Pack open boxes first the contents for setting sleeping and the bathroom
  • Pack other important items you can keep with you during the move(residence contract, keys, medications)
Unneeded items
Discard items that are so marked.  You may need to call for extra trash pickup.
Giveaway items as designated
Before selling items get an appraisal from an expert if you are not sure about the value
Furniture and other items can go to:
  • estate sale companies
  • consignment shops
  • garage sale, if someone has time and is willing to organize
Donate the remainder of items to charities that will pick them up.
Be sure you have a written contract from the moving company
Get a firm time for their arrival
Check inventory lists
Have someone assigned to meet the movers at the new residence.  Be sure they have a key
Prepare to spend a few days unpacking and organizing.  Get someone to help if you can.  Work as quickly as you can to make this new home feel homelike.
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