Relocating And Downsizing In Modern Times
“Mr. Gorham, can you and your wife meet me in the conference room at 4:00?” asked my boss with a rather serious look on his face. (Little did I know that this was the starting point of us downsizing and relocating.) Now I have been asked to come to the conference room for a meeting thousands of times before as I have worked for this company in New York for 31 years. But most of the time the meeting invitation came electronically, via a telephone call, or a co-worker yelling down the hall.
This time, my boss came to my office, sat down in my guest chair to deliver the request personally. And why does he also want to meet with my wife? We both work for the same company but not in the same department. That’s a strange request. This can’t be good. Or can it? My story will hopefully provide insight on how to survive downsizing and relocating.
Our Reaction To The News
I immediately called my wife to let her know that we have been summoned. We theorize as to what they could want with the both of us. We had to be immune from relocating? The rumors about the company downsizing races through our minds. Four o’clock arrives soon enough. We walk into the conference room and not only are we greeted by my boss but my wife’s boss is sitting at the table as well. Oh boy! “Mr. and Mrs. Gorham, thank you for your many years of loyal service but we want you to relocate and work for the company in Toledo, Ohio,” they stated.
Kaboom! That news bomb exploded in our heads. The rest of what they said sounded much like Charlie Brown’s teacher. Our minds were running a mile a minute. So many questions… What about our friends? What is Toledo like? Oh no, moving again?
Yes, we’ve relocated six times as a married couple; but most of the time, it was always in the same neighborhood. Now we’re on move number seven and this time the move is out of state. It is said that relocating and the subsequent downsizing ranks as one of the most stressful experiences for a human. It’s up there with the death of a loved one, loss of a job, and divorce. In this post we are going to explain with seven steps on how to make relocating as painless as possible.
How to Relocate
- Scout out the land
- Immediately we started doing research about Toledo. What’s the housing market like? What’s the economy like? What are the best neighborhoods? And if you still have school-aged children, how are the schools? Have others relocated and downsized here?
- We made a list of possible housing choices, and booked our flights.
- Upon arriving, we wasted no time in perusing the various neighborhoods.
- When we found the place that we loved, we made sure to visit the neighborhood at various times of the day. What may be a quiet and peaceful neighborhood at 11:00 am, may turn into Bayside High at 5:00 pm. Remember Saved by the Bell? Am I dating myself?
- Create a relocation budget
- Are you going to move yourself or hire a moving company?
- Don’t forget the cost of packing material such as boxes, tape, labels, wrapping paper, bubble wrap, markers, etc. That stuff adds up quickly!
- Start packing
- When we returned to New York with a signed lease and a target move date, we immediately started packing. Or I should say, my wife started packing. In my mind, I had two months before our move date. But how glad I am that she started boxing things up right away.
- She started with items that we most likely will not need for the next two months.
- She numbered and labeled the boxes, created a list that included the box number, contents, and future room location. The list was helpful to the movers, shipping company, and us. We used it to make sure that nothing was missing as we unpacked.
Tip: Consider downsizing. If you have not used an item for 12 months, then get rid of it. Being married for 27 years I cannot believe how much we’ve accumulated. Do you really need all the stuff you have in the garage, attic, basement, and closet? Most moving companies charge by weight and distance. Start selling unneeded items on Letgo, Craiglists, etc. You will be surprised at how much money you could earn. As the move date draws closer, all the items that you could not sale, give away, or donate needs to be disposed of. Companies like Horton Hauls Junk offers competitive prices and friendly service to remove all unwanted items. Best of all, they clean up the mess when they are done! Who does that?
- Notify friends, family, subscriptions, banks, credit cards, Post Office, utility services, etc. about your change of address.
- Contact your health facilities to transfer your medical and prescription records.
- Don’t forget to allow time to go out to dinner with close friends or attend going-away parties.
- Move date
- Greet the movers. Walk them through the process. Point out fragile items or heavy boxes.
- Do a final sweep of your home. Leave your old home in the condition that you would like for your new home to be in when you get there.
- Make sure the movers know the address and directions to your new home.
- Don’t forget to tip the movers or if your friends are helping, get them something to eat. Really good friends might be happy with receiving a beer or two.
- Don’t procrastinate! Set the goal of having everything unpacked within two weeks.
- You might want to start with setting up beds, unpacking toiletries, and basic food supplies.
- Once everything is unpacked, start decorating to make it feel like home.
- Settling in
- Make sure that you enroll children in their new schools, change over drivers’ licenses, register your vehicles, etc.
- Immediately start making new friends and acquaintances by getting to know your neighbors and co-workers.
- Check out local volunteer programs or visit a house of worship. We are too old for the club scene! Plus, you are more likely to meet a better quality of people.
- Explore the local shopping and restaurants.
- Get to know the tourist areas so you will know where to go when family and friends come to visit.
Of course, there are many more details to relocating and downsizing. Admittedly, moving is very stressful. But it does not have to be overwhelming. The hardest part is saying good-bye to the old home and neighborhood that you lived in for years; saying goodbye to family and friends that you love dearly—good-bye to familiarity. Don’t stress too much. Confucius once reportedly stated, “Wherever you go, go with all your heart.”
That’s what we decided to do. Although we miss New York, our old friends, and some of our workmates, we decided to be happy in our new surroundings. We put our energies into making new friends while not forgetting about the old. We poured ourselves into our new jobs and environment. Go Rockets! Go Mud Hens! I almost choked saying that as I am a die-hard New Yorker. But hey! When in Rome…
Are you relocating? It’ll hurt a little, but it will not be the end of the world. You can do it. Not only will you do it, you can make a success of it!
By Derik Hicks