Topics & Perspectives

Dispatch from the Transition

Part 2: Packing Up and Moving On.

In the last issue of fyi50+, I explored my decision-making process that led me to decide to relocate. Once the relocation decision was made, it took at least a year to choreograph the move. I preferred to let my community commitments “term out” rather than resign, so I chose a window in the future when the timing would be favorable.  Then I made a list of what needed to be done and when.

I had many conversations with friends about my decision to move. These provided closure and reckoning for me with my feelings on leaving. It gave me a chance to tell close friends and associates how valuable their friendship will always be.


A most difficult task was separating myself emotionally from the possessions I had to part with. I was shocked to learn my children didn’t want most of my things — later discovering that this is common with nearly all my friends with grown children.

I chose what I wanted to keep and offered the rest to them. If they didn’t want it, I was free to dispose of it how I wished. In some cases, these items were sold; in other cases, I gifted special items to friends.

I recommend hiring professionals to run a “Living Estate Sale” to dispose of the residual furniture and belongings you don’t want to take. This will turn the stuff you need to sell into cash to help pay for the move. It’s more efficient than consignment or individual item sales on Facebook. Whatever remains unsold you can donate or trash.

If selling a home, it is best to obtain a contract on your house before holding an estate sale. “Staging” a home full of furniture sells a home more quickly than an empty one.

With a few months to go, I started planning meals that emptied the freezer and cabinets.


My move was cross-country, so everything had to be carefully packed for long-distance travel. I compared moving company costs to storage containers and decided to go with the POD option, packing everything myself. One large 16-foot container held all my belongings.

I preferred to buy new boxes for the task, along with good wrapping materials (bubble wrap and paper). Boxes are available at multiple stores. I recommend purchasing the boxes specifically designed for flat-screen televisions. They’re worth it. Wardrobe containers hold a lot of clothing, plus miscellaneous items on the side and bottom, and protect these items from damage. Standard-size boxes stack better than odd-size boxes in the vehicle you choose to move with.

Each box was numbered on all sides; the contents of each were recorded in a small notebook. Boxes to be opened immediately had numbers circled in red. This made unpacking much smoother: I knew which boxes held what items.

No matter how well-organized you are, there will be some degree of chaos. But a system that helps prioritize the unpacking helps a lot.

I arranged for a two-men crew to load the POD and another two-man crew to unload at the end. If the furniture and boxes are organized, the process should take two or three hours on each end.

For me, nothing broke in transit, and I had only a few scratches on one old desk.

With everything packed up, I was finally ready for the final stage of my move: Getting there. Read the next issue of fyi50+ to find out how it all went!


Barbara Glass

A Yankee by birth, a Midwesterner and Southerner by heritage, Barbara Glass lived in Texas for 20 years and em­braced all things Southwest. She celebrates aging by experiencing it firsthand, and helping the next generations along the way, including her own children and grandchildren. “I try to bring an understanding of the aging perspective within the context of community and nonprofit initiatives”. Part of this engagement is writing about aging in celebratory and thoughtful ways. “I’m living the dream by telling our stories.”

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