Moving alone can feel like a daunting task. However, meticulous planning and preparation will make your solo move a successful and rewarding experience. 

Use these expert tips to navigate with confidence the challenges of moving alone. Whether you’re moving to a new city, another state, or abroad, learn practical strategies, from efficient packing techniques to staying organized, to help you execute a successful move on your terms. And when all is done and you are settled in your new home, tap yourself on the shoulder and be proud of your accomplishment.

Retired lady enjoying her coffee while planning to move alone to retirement village

How to Move Alone

Everything is easier when you have somebody to help. Moving with a partner or a family member means you have someone to share the workload. When you’re moving alone, the task becomes more difficult. But not impossible!

Preparation, organization, and a realistic attitude are crucial. Consider the following tips for moving alone:

Plan ahead: You will have much to do, so start early and give yourself plenty of time. Review your budget, research your moving options, and create an attainable schedule. Shyft’s handy moving checklist will help you keep on track and ensure that you do not overlook anything.

Book your move: Perhaps you can count on your friends to help you pack and load your belongings. However, remember there will be no one at the other end to assist with unloading and unpacking. That’s why it is advisable to use professional moving services when moving alone. Find reliable movers and book their services as early as possible. Also, aim to schedule your relocation at off-peak times. Moving services tend to be more expensive in summer and over weekends.

Do the admin: Set the end date of services at your current address with utility providers and update your personal records with relevant institutions and organizations. Collect your documents and your medical records. 

Declutter: Trimming down your belongings is essential for any move. That is especially important when you’re moving alone. Sell, donate, or throw away everything you don’t plan to use in your new destination. For example, if you are moving from a colder climate to Florida, you probably will not need your winter coats and boots. The fewer items you have, the less you will pay for shipping. Plus, you’ll save time and effort associated with packing and unpacking. 

Consider hiring a storage unit: If you can’t part with some nonessential items, keep them in a storage unit until you’re ready to decide what to do with them. That may be better than making a rash decision and regretting it later. 

Review your insurance: Moving insurance is an additional expense, but it is the only way to get compensation if any of your possessions are damaged. First, talk to your provider to see whether they insure goods in transit.   

Find out what movers won’t transport: Certain items, such as firearms, food, or hazardous materials (including hairspray, nail polish, and cleaning supplies) can not be placed in a moving truck. Many movers also will not transport high-value items. Before you start packing, ask for a full list of items that are not allowed.

Get packing material: You can have your mover pack and unpack everything. You can ask them to supply the packing materials, or buy your own and then proceed to pack yourself. Remember that old boxes in good condition can serve the purpose well, so check your local stores to see if they can spare any. Suitcases, cupboard drawers, or plastic totes are also viable options. 

Pack well: If you decide to do your own packing, ensure that your packets do not weigh too much. Place heavy items in smaller boxes, at the bottom. Wrap delicate or fragile items with towels or bubble wrap. Ensure that nothing inside the boxes rattles or moves. Then create a detailed packing list and label the boxes.  

Know what to keep on hand: Documents, snacks, toiletries, a change of clothes, and other essentials you’ll need for the first few days should go with you. Remember that unforeseen circumstances may delay your shipment.

Take care of yourself: In the frenzy of moving, it’s easy to forget about maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Take some time out when you feel overwhelmed or stressed. By planning and keeping organized, you’ll be able to handle anything your move might throw your way.

Say your farewells: Visit your favorite place, say goodbye to your friends, and make sure to keep in touch.

A retired man taking time for himself to read while moving abroad alone

Moving to a New City Alone

If you are moving to a new city alone, it's only a short distance and if you have a small household, or if you are moving into a furnished retirement home, you will probably be able to handle most of the packing and unpacking yourself.

You may even manage the whole relocation with your vehicle or with a rented truck. Since loading and unloading even a modest number of boxes can cause serious strain, consider hiring some moving equipment and, if possible, a pair of helping hands. 

Having professional movers load, transport, and unload your belongings is more expensive but often worth the cost.

Moving to a New State Alone

According to the National Association of Realtors, Florida, Texas, and the Carolinas were the states with the most net domestic migration gains in 2022. 

AARP reports that Florida was the most popular destination for retirees in 2022, followed by North Carolina, Michigan, Arizona, and Georgia. On the other end of the scale, retirees were most likely to leave Oregon, Maryland, Idaho, Texas, and Virginia.

When moving alone to another state, it is best to work with a professional long-distance mover. Take time to research moving companies and choose the one that can deliver the moving services you need.

Ideally, you should hire a full-service mover. They know how to pack your fragile possessions to keep them safe on the road. Also, check what kind of insurance they offer in case of damages.

You will pay more, but relying on professional help will save you time and effort. And when you add to that the peace of mind that you’ll enjoy, it usually beats trying to do too much on your own when moving alone to a new state. 

Moving Abroad Alone

Many Americans choose to spend their golden years after retirement abroad. Moving abroad alone to a different country is challenging, but with good planning can be invigorating. It is crucial to research the country thoroughly and get familiar with its customs and traditions.

The main attraction for moving abroad alone for American retirees is a relatively high quality of life at a lower cost. Several countries, including Panama, Portugal, Costa Rica, Thailand, Ecuador, Spain, and Mexico offer retirement visas to people who have a stable source of income. Conditions vary from country to country, so it is a good idea to work with an immigration lawyer.

You may opt to move to your new country with only a couple of suitcases and a backpack. In that case, you don’t need any help. However, if you intend to bring some of your household possessions with you, hire a professional company that can handle international moves.

Moving alone to a foreign country is a journey filled with excitement and endless discoveries. But it also comes with challenges.

Pros of moving abroad alone 

  • Boost your confidence as you learn to deal with a new situation.
  • Immerse yourself into a different culture.
  • In many countries, the expat community will provide support.
  • You will learn a new language if you move to a non-English-speaking country.

Cons of moving abroad alone 

  • You may be homesick and lonely in the early days.
  • The red tape can be frustrating. Dealing with bureaucracy in a new country and language is not easy. 
  • You’ll need to adjust psychologically to living abroad. 
A retired man settling down on his new home after moving alone

The Best Help You Can Get When Moving Alone

Moving alone can be overwhelming. Fortunately, you are never alone when AARP® Moving Services powered by Shyft organizes your relocation. Your dedicated Move Coach will always be there to help, answer your questions, or address your concerns.

Download Shyft’s handy moving checklist to keep track of everything and relax while Shyft handles your move, ensuring a smooth and stress-free experience. 

To make the start of your exciting new life even better, Shyft is giving all AARP members an exclusive discount of up to $250. 

What is Shyft?

Shyft is a technology-enabled moving marketplace. Shyft uses state-of-the-art digital tools to take your inventory virtually and connect you with reliable movers. With its vast network of vetted professional moving companies, Shyft can provide any type of move and every moving service you require. 

Your dedicated Shyft Move Coach is always ready to lend a helping hand, ensuring you have a smooth and stress-free moving experience.  

AARP® Moving Services powered by Shyft is tailor-made for people over 50 because Shyft understands they may need special services and extra support when relocating.  

The advantages of moving the Shyft way

Shyft aims to make every relocation a safe and secure experience. The main advantages of entrusting your move to Shyft are:

  • Peace of mind: All moving companies in Shyft’s network are vetted. You don’t need to spend hours searching for reliable movers.
  • Virtual survey: With the help of the highly accurate ShyftNext mobile app, a Shyft representative will take your moving inventory virtually. You don’t need to have moving company agents visit your home.
  • Competitive quotes: Vetted moving companies bid for your moving project on the Shyft platform. That process ensures you get the best pricing.
  • Fixed prices: When you accept a quote, it becomes binding, protecting you from extra fees and unforeseen charges. Shyft’s pricing will not change unless you alter the size or destination of your move.
  • Personalized support: Your dedicated Move Coach will be your single point of contact. They will supervise your move door-to-door, ensuring consistent quality standards. 
  • Round-the-clock assistance: Shyft is at your service seven days a week, 24 hours a day. 
  • Privacy and security: Your personal information is safe with Shyft. 

How many times can I claim my AARP discount?

AARP members get an exclusive discount of up to $250 every time they move, regardless of where they move.

How do I book my move with Shyft?

It is easy to book your move with Shyft. Follow these steps:

  1. Get in touch by completing a short online form or call 1-888-501-3181.
  2. Download the free ShyftNext mobile app for iPhone or Android.
  3. Schedule a video call with a Shyft representative, your dedicated Move Coach.
  4. Take your Move Coach on a virtual tour of your home. Point the camera on your device at the items you want to move and discuss your options with your knowledgeable Move Coach. The video survey usually lasts about 30 minutes.
  5. Receive your inventory list, which is typically 95% accurate. Amend it if necessary and approve it.
  6. Receive at least three top quotes and choose the one that suits you best.
  7. Welcome your movers.

Relax and enjoy peace of mind, knowing that your dedicated Move Coach will oversee your relocation. Then settle in your new home and start building your exciting new life.

Book your stress-free moving experience now

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