From House to Suite
You have made the decision to move to a lovely new home – a retirement residence. A decision that we hope will bring you great happiness… you will make new friends, have security and peace-of-mind and enjoy the many services provided.
Before you can begin relishing the experience, you may have to downsize from a house or condominium to a more modestly sized suite. We hope to help you through this transition. peopleCare has learned a great deal of practical advice about how to make it a positive experience.
- Visit the model suite or guest suite for ideas; take some photos so you can better visualize when planning
- Ask for a floor plan, preferably one with dimensions
- If your suite is vacant, take pictures – this will help decide where to place furniture and artwork
Look into organizations that coordinate entire moves. Specialists will:
- come to your home, pack your belongings and set up your new suite under your supervision
- dispose of any items you want given to charity
- coordinate the transfer of more valuable pieces to an auctioneer for resale
- arrange for your new phone, change of address, insurance and more
- Determine whether carpet and draperies are provided with your suite; take careful note of the colour
- Hire an interior decorator for a one-or-two hour session to review tastes, needs, current furniture and the new setting
- Decorating magazines, internet searches or library books on decorating can be great resources
What Stays, What Goes
- What are functional and favourite pieces, for example an armchair or sofa
- Smaller scaled furnishings allow for free movement within your suite and allows you to bring more without appearing cluttered
- Furniture with sharp edges and glass tops can be hazardous
- Sentimental items like photos, artwork and knickknacks can be easily accommodated
- Consider storage options – would storage in the suite benefit from closet organizers; are lockers available
Once you have decided what you would like to take with you, it is time to decide on how to dispose of the remaining items. Some ideas . . .
- Share items with family members and special friends – this allows people to share in treasured memories and gives you the opportunity to “visit” your special pieces
- Hold a garage or moving sale
- Donate items to a charity such as the Salvation Army, Goodwill or a bazaar
- Auction specialists can review your furniture to advise which pieces are appropriate – they will pick up the furniture and arrange for its resale
- If you are moving into a residence that provides furnishings, discuss with the staff if you can bring artwork, decorative items and possibly even some of your own furniture
- Try not to make snap decisions – if you are unsure about a particular piece, bring it with you or have your family store it until you decide
There are a variety of organizations you can refer to for advice to help make the move easier.
- The Professional Organizers of Canada (www.organizersincanada.com) can provide a list of members who specialize in organizing, downsizing and moving
- The Better Business Bureau can advise if the company you are considering has had any complaints filed against it
- Get more than one estimate before choosing a company
- Ask for seniors’ discounts or free moving accessories such as boxes and wrapping
- Try not to pack valuables and family heirlooms (moving companies may not insure contents if the box is not damaged but the contents are)
- Carry jewelry and small valuables with you or keep them in your bank’s safety deposit box until you are settled in your new home
- Photograph valuable possessions as proof of their condition before the move should they be damaged or lost
- Label each box with the room your would like it delivered to in your new suite
- The first first or last day of the month are the busiest moving days – consider making arrangements for another date
- Schedule your move with the Retirement Home – so the staff can ensure a smooth transition
- If you have movers, let them unpack under your supervision or have family do the legwork while you provide direction
- Do not exhaust yourself as you will have plenty of time to complete the “final touches” over the coming days
- If you are tired, ask the staff to bring a tray to your room or invite family to eat with you in the dining room
Your New Lifestyle
This is an exciting new experience. Many residents tell us that they wish they had moved into their retirement residence years before. They have made so many friends and have new treasured memories.
Look forward to your move because it is the first step in what can be a wonderful new life experience.