Is It Downsizing Time?






Settling In:

At last, you're in!  Whew...  Now what?  

There's more to moving and relocating than getting yourself and your belongings into a new home - and your "now what" period will go more smoothly if you prepare some things in advance (including preparing yourself mentally to make the most of these early days and weeks in your new abode).

Does everyone know where you are?:

  • Do you know where you are?:  Be sure to provide yourself with new maps of your area if you've moved out of range of your known territory!
  • Do your friends and family and business contacts know how to find you?:  If you have time before you move, you'll save yourself a lot on postage and phone calls if you provide folks with your contact information in person (if you know it, of course) - one of a few good reasons to arrange for your phone service ahead of time.  (At least with email, it doesn't cost you - except in your time! - to notify those in your online address book of that change.)
    An elderly woman I know purchased her new address mailing labels with this in mind...  She just quickly pasted them onto index cards to pass out to everyone (or tuck into an envelope), and she found it extremely useful to have them with her as soon as she moved into her retirement home.  When we retired and moved to another state, I gave hand-addressed and -embellished index cards to co-workers I hoped would keep in touch.
  • Do your left-behind service professionals and utility companies, etc. know where to send your records and final bills?:  If you haven't already made arrangements for forwarding of medical/dental records and bills, be sure to put that to the fore of your current to-do list!  You'll need to call some utility companies to cancel service (and every day you put it off costs you money - so it would be a good idea to have those phone numbers handy).
  • Mail forwarding in general:  If you didn't know precisely when you'd be at your new address so as to be able to arrange for mail forwarding with the Post Office before you moved, you'll want to do that right away.  (A mail forwarding form taken with you will save a trip to the P.O. when you're in the process of moving and relocating.  You can even send it off en route!)   Remember that you could lose out on some magazines if you don't arrange for special forwarding procedures for them.  Also, the Post Office can provide you with change-of-address postcards if you'd prefer to let some contacts know in that way.

And your new neighbors?:

  • Meet and greet:  You know how we all wish to move into a really friendly neighborhood... but often don't have the treat of our neighbors extending themselves to meet us?  A lot of people think in terms of not bothering you while you're busy moving in - and then the time goes by, maybe they work and hesitate to launch themselves over to your house at night (they don't know your name and phone number, of course), maybe they're shy, or shut-ins... and so you and the neighbors find each other "cool - not really friendly".  That's too bad...  So why not just prepare yourself to be the one to initiate introductions?  (Almost all of those people are friendly after all!  I've introduced my neighbors to each other after they've lived across the street for years, not having met.)  Take your specialty food over to their house, if you feel like it.  Take your name and phone number over to their house!  (And keep a list of their names and numbers and locations - you have way more information along these lines to remember than they do.)
  • Others nearby:  There will be some other folks in the vicinity who might like to know who you are...  And letting them know about you might grease some wheels for you.  I'm thinking of such as:  the trash haulers; the local fire station (if there's someone in your household with special physical needs, it would be wise to let them know that); the police, perhaps; dog catchers? (if you establish a personal relationship, your dog might be returned to you instead of taken to the pound) - you get the idea.  (And I think it's always a nice thing to be acquainted with your mail deliverers.  They have lonely jobs, anyway!)

Taking stock: 

  • Inventory time?:  If you've already gone to the trouble to prepare an inventory of the things you moved (useful - if time consuming - for those hiring a moving company), you'll have realized that this is a task you've pretty much gotten done.  You'd only have to tweak your lists - put some things in new rooms, maybe.  And it's always a very good idea to take new photos of items in place, to be able to prove that you still had them in this home.
    If you have yet to inventory your belongings, you'll probably find that this is an optimal time for it.  It really entails just a little more effort to keep track of things as you unpack them - and less effort than going through all your belongings at a later date.  (You're handling them now anyway.)  If you "start from scratch", it's a bit of a daunting task - but it is something that's really a good idea to have accomplished (which we found when lightning hit a transformer near our house and took out random expensive appliances!).
  • How to do an inventory:  Go room by room, and write down a-l-l the objects, or collections of like objects, that have enough value to make it seem worth your while.  By this I mean, you probably won't care about your minor office supplies! - but even though craft paints don't cost much singly, a box full of 40 of them is another matter.  (By the way, it's not a bad idea to add your safe deposit box contents to the list while you're at it - lots of us neglect to list them, and someone may one day wish very much that we did.  And while you're at it, are your personal papers organized?)
    Two more passes through the list should do it...  Once to note down any pertinent details that help establish value (makes/models, serial numbers, date/cost at time of purchase, provenance of antiques, etc.) - and once to add values, if known, as you would if you were donating the stuff and listing it for a tax write-off.  I.e., if any family member has a good idea of what those craft paints would cost to replace, or what a used inflatable boat would cost at a flea market or sports equipment exchange, jot it down - it may be useful later, and you might forget.
    The last step is to photograph everything.  Don't worry, you can jam a number of things into one picture! - or just videotape the whole thing.  Photograph the full open box of craft paints with one or two on top, labels showing (the box may have a value too, remember).  If you have a ton of books, you can just photograph them all on their shelves - something is better than no evidence of the expense you went to in collecting them.  Then if there's physical evidence to keep on your inventory (prints, videotape), put it with your lists in your safe deposit box.  (I'd put a print copy in there, with a CD of the photos, even if I had the lists and photos digitized and archived on a computer.)


Don't forget to celebrate!: 

  • This is good - enjoy what there is to enjoy:  Yeah, you'll be tired.  Moving is work.  I hope you can take it easily...  But in any case, you have to make sure you take it as easily as you can:  Breathe deeply!  Don't forget to drink water and to eat regularly.  The pets and/or kids need attention... but you need to set yourself up for enjoyment, too.  Take a luxurious bath, perhaps?  Stop unpacking and go for an exploratory drive, a walk through the neighborhood - even just another tour of your yard (or balcony, is it?), or sitting in a favorite spot.  At least daydream about some plans you have for your new abode, some fun things you'd like to do in your new community.  If you're at the point of settling in, you've come a long way! - reward yourself.
  • When's the housewarming?:  Have a party only if you want to (or a series of gatherings? - neighbors, new co-workers, visiting family... whatever).  Housewarmings can be a great way to "close" a moving-in period and make you feel like you've passed into the "being-in" phase (and you can always keep it very simple).  It's a gift to others, too, to let them share in your enjoyment of a new home.  But you can make sure your house is "warmed" in many different ways, just on your own - and those flowers, candles, pleasurable walk-throughs and envisionings of spaces yet to be transformed can enliven your relationship with your new dwelling space on a daily basis.





BACK TO:  Moving in
BACK TO:  Moving, out and in


Gordon Pioneering - Copyright 2007 & onward