Moving into a new home — especially if you’ve lived in the same place for years–can be overwhelming, and the planning involved in the beginning stages can be stressful. For seniors who want to downsize or aid in their financial situation, it’s important to prepare well before even considering putting their house up for sale. Having a good plan will help you reduce your anxiety and feel in control during a big change in your life.

Here are some of the best tips on how to handle a move when you’re a senior.

Start Small

Many seniors find that after living in the same home for several years, they have accumulated way too many belongings to take to a new, smaller home. For this reason, it’s important to start going through your things as soon as you make the decision to move; don’t wait until you sell your house, when you might have limited time to get everything done. Start in one room and create “take”, “trash”, and “donate” boxes so you can separate items easily. If you have a lot of clutter, consider getting some help from friends and family, or enlist the resources of a company that can come and haul things away.

It’s a good idea to have immediate family members on hand anyway, as you may want to ask them to take some things off your hands.

Consider Your Needs

Take a look at your current home to see what works and what doesn’t, so you’ll have an idea of what to look for in your new home. If you have stairs that are getting more difficult to climb, or a large lawn that needs a lot of care and upkeep, take that into consideration and look for a one-story home with a smaller yard.

Save as Much as Possible

From the moment you begin thinking about making a move, start saving as much as you can. You can start by clipping coupons before you go grocery shopping, saving on your utility bills by sealing up cracks around windows and doors, and carpooling whenever possible to save on gas. Moving is never cheap, and it will help to have some extra cash for unexpected expenses.

Pack Smart

After you’ve gone through and pared down your belongings, make things as easy as possible on yourself by carefully labeling each box and creating a packing list to tape on the outside, so that after you get everything moved in, you won’t have any trouble finding the necessities.

You can also create makeshift dry – cleaning bags by poking a hole in the middle of the bottom of a large trash bag and slipping it over several pieces of clothing that are already on hangers. This will make moving day so much easier when it’s time to unpack; simply slide the trash bag off and hang up your clothes.

Use Technology

If even the thought of getting out and touring properties exhausts you, look to technology to help simplify your search process. Work with a real estate agent that is willing to do a lot of the legwork for you in identifying properties that fit your needs and have them send property specs via email or their MLS. Also consider using new touring technology, like Realync, to be able to tour the space live with your agent while sitting in the comfort of you own home.

Don’t feel like you need to figure it all out yourself though. Again, turn to family or friends with computers, smartphones or tablets and have them help you in the search process to make it as easy and simplified as possible.

Finding a new home doesn’t have to be an overwhelming, stressful process. With some planning and a little help from friends and family members, you can downsize and get moved with ease. Being prepared is half the battle.

About the Author

Jim Vogel focuses on helping ensure seniors are able to thrive throughout their golden years by sharing pertinent resources and information. He works with his wife to provide useful resources to aging seniors and their caregivers.