How to plan a successful move

Helpful tips on making a smooth transition to a new home

By Janik Fauteux

Planning a move can be a long and painful process for most people, but for seniors and retirees, this can often be an insurmountable challenge. It is therefore important to plan all steps involved, to prepare your change of address and to organize in advance.

It is better not to wait to get rid of items you don’t need, so they can be handed out and used by others. Here are some basic but relevant information to facilitate the process and make your move stress free:

The first piece of advice is to begin sorting your possessions now; it will make all the difference.

 Two months before moving

• Set the date when you will be moving by choosing a weekday to avoid paying a weekend or civic event premium
• Reserve the services of a moving company registered with the CTQ (Commission des transports du Québec) and covered by liability insurance, and ask for a written contract informing you of the payment terms in the event of overtime or over the limit weight
• Draw a floor plan of your new home to determine the area available and point out the location of important furniture
• Book a storage space if you must store surplus goods
• Take photos of your belongings and valuable furniture

Sell (via an auction, ads on Internet, etc.) or give away unwanted furniture and other goods to recovery companies, charitable works, friends or family members

 One month before moving

• If there is an elevator available, reserve it as well as a parking space
• Envision which doors will have to be removed to allow passage for large furniture such as fridge and stove
• Find boxes of various sizes and pack non-essential items (frames, clothing, trinkets, books). Number the boxes and indicate which room they will go in, and create a list of boxes and their contents
• Advise your banks, insurers, credit cards issuers, telephone and Hydro service and various levels of government (service québécois de changement d’adresse and the Canada Revenue Agency) of your change of address and ask Canada Post to forward your mail to your new address

A week before moving

• Prepare an identifiable 24-hour suitcase that will contain your toiletries, medicines, jewelry and important documents that you will keep with you the day of the move
• Confirm the moving date with your mover and your caregivers, double-check elevator and parking reservations, as well as the time at which you can move into your new home
• Empty your shelves, remove the curtains, get rid of chemical and corrosive products and clean the accommodation you are leaving
• Place the boxes unobtrusively in a corner
• Start cleaning your new place if it is available
• Prepare or buy snacks and drinks for moving day

The day before moving

• Re-confirm the arrival time of movers the next day
• Take the final reading of the electricity and gas meters
• Empty and clean the refrigerator and freezer

Collect and keep on hand keys, the floor plan and list of boxes, your 24-hour suitcase, your toolbox, drinks and snacks


• Prepare a box containing rags, paper towels, detergent, adhesive tape, gloves, flashlight, garbage bags, bandages and antiseptic (in case of injury)
• Make sure your washing machine does not contain any water
• Clear a path for the movers to ensure easy passage of bulky items (refrigerator, stove, washer, dryer, etc.)

Moving day

• Confirm the destination address with the movers and note their time of arrival and departure. Give them a cell phone number to reach you if something goes wrong
• Make sure to have a credit card or slightly more cash than the estimated amount in cases the move takes longer than expected or is over the set weight
• Before you leave your apartment, turn down the heat, turn off the lights, make a last inspection to check that you have not forgotten anything, lock the doors and windows, take out the garbage and leave the keys with the broker, the new owner, or the tenant, depending on the case
• Bring your toolbox with you, as well as a broom, mop and the box containing the household products used to clean the places where you’re moving
• Arrive at your new place before the movers. Identify the rooms in order to help them place the boxes in the right room and make sure nothing has been left in the moving truck when unloading
• Check each box off the list as it is delivered
• Indicate lost or damaged items on the mover’s invoice in order to facilitate compensation later
• Ask for a receipt showing the amount paid including taxes, the name, address and CTQ registration number of the mover
• Take a reading of the electric meter
• Change the locks and check the smoke detectors

In case of problems with the moving company, contact the Office de la protection du consommateur or the Small Claims Court.

Image: Tim Sheerman-Chase via

janik fauteux

Janik Fauteux is the founder and president of Entourage Relocation. Having been very close to her grandparents, she is committed to helping seniors. She  recognizes their needs and, thanks to her past experience, offers solutions to their problems through her blog and the lectures she regularly gives.

Go to the Entourage Relocation listing.

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