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Packing an Estate: Change in a Box

January 24, 2011 (Originally published by SpringsOver40)
By Chris Race
Packing an Estate: Change in a Box
Change is an inevitable part of life. We take a new job and move across the country or around the world. Kids are born, and we move to bigger homes. Memories and things are accumulated over a lifetime. Some of them become sentimental items, and some of them are just things. By the time midlife rolls around, we’ve got lots of stuff – household items, clothing, family heirlooms, generations of photos, memorabilia, collections, artwork, and so on.

Eventually, most of us downsize. Although we downsize for a variety of reasons, such as when the kids move out or when we tire of maintaining large homes, the process is basically the same. We sort through our things, identifying categories: Keep, Sell, Give-away, and Donate.

Sometimes this sorting looks a bit different. An aging parent may distribute family heirlooms over time. Over the past 30 years, my mom, now in her mid-80s, has given each of her five children family treasures. She has asked each of us to write our names on the back of the things that still decorate her home. I consider this to be a gift from our mom; there will be fewer decisions to make during inevitable, difficult times.

Often, however, these decisions are not made by the owner of the items. In these cases, family often gathers after a memorial service to sort and distribute their loved-one’s estate. Or maybe Mom or Dad is ready for assisted living or full-time nursing care. Again, the family is likely to gather to sort things through.

Estate-Packing Tips

Situations like this can be overwhelming. People are often upset, and the sorting process can be difficult. Other times, it can be fun to reminisce. Usually, it’s a little of both; it’s bitter-sweet. Having a plan for the process can help to ease things. Here are a few tips to smooth things out:

  1. Tackle the job one corner, one closet, one room at a time, working as a single team.
  2. Allow time to reminisce—part of the “sweet”—but don’t get too bogged down. Keep moving forward.
  3. Look at each item and put it in one of your categories: Keep, Sell, Give-away, or Donate.
  4. As you make these decisions, pack the items in clearly labeled boxes. If you use new moving boxes of uniform shapes and sizes, they will be much easier to pack into cars and trucks.
  5. Clearly label each box with your decisions. For “Keep” items, note the contents of the box and who the item’s new owner will be.
  6. For “Donate” items, note the charity who will receive the items, and again, the contents of the box.
  7. “Sale” items can be listed online (for the computer savvy), or sold at an estate sale.

Senior Move Managers: Bringing in the Professionals

Lots of people don’t realize that there is help available if the process feels too daunting to tackle alone. Professionals called “senior move managers” can assist families through this difficult time. There are several good sources for referrals:

Wherever you find your senior move manager, you should always ask for references and make sure that the services are clearly defined and that they will meet your needs.

Shipping Heirlooms

Let’s say everything is sorted—some items were kept, some were sold, and some were donated. Probably some items remain to be distributed to family and friends. The shipping of family heirlooms and other items is an important matter. The last thing you want is to have your brother in Australia (or your cousin in Des Moines) receive chipped or destroyed mementos.

By using a professional packing and shipping company, you will ensure that family treasures—from the largest piece of antique furniture to the tiniest teacup—arrive safely at their new homes. A skilled shipper will help you determine the safest and most economical way to pack and ship the items. For information about reputable shippers, you can look online or in the phone book. Or you can check with the Senior Resource Council or the local Better Business Bureau.

Sometimes having expert advice can make all the difference when so many decisions have to be made. I urge you to make use of the experts who are available to help see you through your downsizing and estate distribution efforts.

Pak Mail 232
Chris Race owns Pak Mail 232, a packing and shipping store located at the corner of Garden of the Gods Road and Centennial Boulevard, two doors north of Albertson’s. She works directly with families or in cooperation with local senior move managers to expertly pack and ship family treasures. Pak Mail 232 is a member of the Colorado Springs Senior Resource Council, is accredited by the Better Business Bureau, and is an authorized shipper for UPS, FedEx, DHL, and USPS, in addition to freight trucking, small move blanket wrap, and ocean carriers.

Why Choose Pak Mail

Pak Mail Colorado Springs is a full service shipping store located in Colorado Springs that specilaizes in custom packing, custom crating, and specialty freight shipping. Request a Free Online Estimate or call us at 719-593-1212.


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