moving after losing a loved one

Moving On and Moving Out After the Loss of a Loved One

There are many reasons someone might move to a new home and/or city after losing a loved one. Some people find it necessary financially to downsize, while others just need a change of environment and a fresh start. Others find it comforting to move closer to family. Whatever your reason, you will have to make some decisions in the upcoming months to make your transition easier.

What to Keep

Most people struggle with getting rid of their loved one’s belongings after they pass away. But it’s important to remember that those belongings did not define them and that throwing them out doesn’t mean you are getting rid of the person. When it is time to start this task, make a plan. Set limits for yourself and take your time. It’s also a good idea to ask for some help or just a friend to be there for moral support.

Selling Your Home

The same emotions you have for your loved one’s things will undoubtedly come up about the home you shared. That is perfectly normal, and the decision to sell should be entirely yours. But if you do decide to move, there are a few things you need to take care of. For example, if your loved one died inside the home, you will have to disclose that in the sale. You will also need to gather every financial document dealing with your house that you have, including the will, insurance, receipts, inspection and improvement documents, etc.

Buying a New Home

Buying a new home might be a little different by yourself. It’s important to keep in mind why you are relocating. If it is to save money, make sure you know your budget. If it is to downsize, decide exactly how much room you will need. Also, talk to your realtor about any needs you have and don’t be afraid to share your trepidations. It’s important you find someone who will work with you at your own pace and understand your uncertainties.

Four Weeks Before Moving Day

Giving yourself a timeline is an important step in getting through the process. Otherwise, you might start to feel overwhelmed by all the things you need to do to prepare for your move. At the four-week mark, you should have already sorted through your things and decided what to get rid of. You should have also researched and scheduled a moving company and talked to your friends about helping. And now it is time to take care of the rest:

  • 4 Weeks: Pack everything you don’t need. Be sure to label your boxes carefully and note the room they belong in.
  • 3 Weeks: Contact all the utility companies that will be serving your new location and find out the exact steps you need to take to get those turned on. Also, contact your current utility companies and notify them of your move. Find out what you need to do to disconnect or transfer them.
  • 2 Weeks: Confirm plans with your moving company. Start using up any food supplies you don’t want to take with you.
  • 1 Week: Arrange for child or pet care for a few hours if you think it is needed while the trucks are being loaded. Take apart large furniture that will have to be disassembled for the move or call a professional to help. Pack up everything except for what you will be using that week and put together an essentials box for the move.

It’s easy to become overwhelmed with the moving process, especially if you are still grieving over the loss of a loved one. So try to remember all the reasons you decided to move any time you start to feel doubt. Most importantly, don’t try to do it all alone. Enlist the help and support of trusted friends and family to get you through, and try to look forward to the new life you will soon be living.

This article was contributed by Lucille Rosetti of

The Dawn Thomas Team artfully unites special homes with extraordinary lives in Silicon Valley and Santa Cruz County. Contact us today and we can assist you in selling or buying your home.