Transition Tips

You've made the decision to move to a lovely new home - a retirement community. You'll make new friends, enjoy the many services and amenities and have peace of mind. But first you need downsize from your house or large condominium. For many this can be a stressful experience. Here is a step by step guide to help you transition from your current home to your new one.

The Basics

Ask for a floor plan of your suite, preferable with dimensions. Then measure your own furniture so you can plan which pieces will fit and where they can be placed. If the suite you have chosen is currently vacant, take a measuring tape and a camera so you can take pictures. There are also organizations that specialize in downsizing and will coordinate your entire move, including packing and unpacking. If this is something you are interested in, your new residence will be happy to provide suggested moving professionals to work with.


Your new suite will be neutral in its colour scheme and finishing so that you can personalize with your own furniture and artwork. If your new residence has a guest suite or show suite, ask to see it for ideas. You can also visit friends who live in similar apartments. Decorating magazines can give you great ideas and interior designers can be hired by the hour to give you advice.

What Stays, What Goes?

"My furniture won't fit." It's true that you won't be able to fit all of your furniture in your new home. However, you can still bring those pieces that are most important to you. Decide which pieces you use often and are functional, such as your favourite chair, sofa, dresser etc. Small furniture tends to work best. Items that give you the most amount of pleasure such as photos and artwork can easily be accommodated. Be sure to ask about storage at your new residence. Closet organizers can increase available space in your suite. There may also be lockers or common storage available.

Once you have decided what you would like to take with you, here are some ideas on how to share what you won't be moving:

  • Have family members and special friends keep some of your pieces so that you have the opportunity to "visit" them. If you aren't sure, ask if family will store an item until you are sure. 
  • Hold a garage or moving sale.
  • Donate items to a special charity. Many of these organizations will pick up directly from your home.

Moving Day

This can often be the most stressful day for you. If possible hire a professional moving company; they are fast, efficient and will take great care of your treasures. Movers are also insured against damage. Your new residence will be able to recommend a reliable company that specializes in moving seniors. If possible, try not to move at the beginning or end of the month as these are the busiest moving days. Be sure to let your new residence know when they can expect the movers so that they are prepared for their arrival. Finally, let others do the work for you and take time to unpack and settle in. You will have plenty of days to put the finishing touches on your new home.

Your New Lifestyle

Getting settled in your new home may be instant or it may take a bit of time. Make an effort to meet your neighbours and find a community activity that interests you. Many Residents say they wish they have moved into their retirement residence years before. Enjoy your new home and all the wonderful new life experiences that come with it.

Moving Check List 

Download this simple list to help you plan your move. Click here.


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