Going to assisted living is a major lifestyle change that requires prepping for the move. Downsizing is common for older adults who are moving to assisted living, since most senior living residences are smaller than a typical house. If your loved one still has things they’d like to keep, then knowing how to store them properly can give them peace of mind as they sort through their items and pack for their move.
Identify Items to Keep Versus Sell or Toss
This first step is critical for helping everyone to communicate clearly about which items your loved one wants to store or move to their new home. Before you ever grab the packing tape and boxes, do a walk-through of your loved one’s home. As you do, take a moment to carefully consider which pieces of furniture and other items will fit in their new residence. Many families find labeling items with sticky notes that tells everyone where they should go makes it easier to avoid mishaps such as donating a favorite piece of art or furniture.
Establish a Temporary Storage Place
The process of moving your loved one’s belongings to storage can take a few days. During this time, it helps to have a safe place to put items until you are ready to transport them to the final location. Portable storage containers are an option that can be stored right in your loved one’s driveway. As you identify items to move to storage, you can place them in the container while you sort through the house. Then, all you have to do is arrange for the container to be moved to the final storage destination where you can unload all of your loved one’s belongings.
Prepare Storage Items for Transport
Storage containers have durable exteriors that limit damage, but you’ll still need to take precautions to protect items from being harmed if they get jostled around during transport. One option is to pack smaller items in boxes that you place in the larger container. Using packing materials can help to prevent things such as dishes from breaking. If you have furniture that you are storing, then wrapping it up in moving blankets that are held in place with shrink wrap is another option for keeping everything safe while you move it to storage.
Create a Schedule for Rotating Items
Your parents may prefer to keep some items available for use at various points of the year. For instance, holiday decor and other seasonal items may need to be moved in and out of storage. The same is also true regarding seasonal clothing, which your loved one might not have enough room to store everything they wear in a smaller assisted living apartment. Making sure to put items that your loved one will need soon at the front of the storage facility can help when the time comes to swap things out.
The process of sorting and storing items for a major move to assisted living is challenging, but you can accomplish everything on your to-do list by staying organized. As you begin the process, remember to honor your parent’s wishes. While it might seem silly to store a certain item, it could have sentimental value to your loved one that deserves to be honored. By respecting their desires, you can even learn a few things about your loved one’s history and grow together as a family.