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Getting a Move On

Like many things, downsizing is much easier when you have a plan. We’ll make one with you. First, we'll figure out what you need to do to get ready. We’ll provide recommendations based on years of experience. Then, you decide where you can use our help. We'll do as much or as little as you'd like.

Below is our moving Prep List. Even if you don't have a moving date yet, it's not too early to start planning. Breaking your tasks into small, manageable pieces will help you make progress and keep you from becoming overwhelmed.

Look it over now and check off all the tasks you could use our help with.


8 -12 weeks before the move

  • Create a master move calendar with all important dates.
  • Select moving day.
  • Take pictures of the house the way it is for reference and insurance purposes
  • Photograph and measure key belongings you plan to keep, sell, give to family and friends
  • Send pictures to relatives, companies, and organizations to determine their interest
  • Draw floor plan and mark clearly where furniture will go in new home
  • Write list of things-to-do. Ex. categories of items to sort: i.e.: clothes, books/dishes/linens, etc.
  • Get moving boxes and packing materials
  • Begin sorting. Decide what to keep, sell, donate, recycle, and toss
  • Begin packing. Label boxes
  • Look for and order additional furniture needed for new home. Arrange for delivery to new home
  • Find fabric and get old furniture re-upholstered, as necessary
  • Make arrangements for furniture and rugs to be cleaned before moving
  • Make new home design decisions: choose floor coverings, paint colors, cabinets, countertops, appliances, window treatments, etc.
  • Document belongings for estate planning, appraisal, and/or insurance purposes
  • Arrange for sale, donation, recycling and hauling of unwanted items
  • Maintain clear, complete donation records

4 weeks before the move

  • Get referrals to reliable movers and other vendors.
  • Arrange for pick-up and delivery of treasures to family and friends
  • Compose list of people/companies to notify with change of address
  • Arrange for final clean-up/hauling after your move
  • Contact charities for final donation pick-up
  • Have pre-printed address label with your new address made

2 weeks before the move

  • Notify utility companies (water, garbage, telephone, cable, newspaper, PGE) of your move
  • Arrange for new services to begin on your move-in day
  • Reserve the elevator for moving day if you're leaving/going to an apartment or condo
  • Ask family/friends to pick up their items well in advance of the movers
  • Arrange for deep cleaning of existing residence (so residence is move-in-ready for next owner)
  • Ask family or friends for extra help on the day of the move
  • Arrange for extra trash pickup and disposal of hazardous material (if necessary)

1 week before the move

  • Make sure everything is clearly marked and organized for moving day
  • Declutter and clean surfaces (if getting the house ready for sale)
  • Reposition furniture, light fixtures, and accessories to create more space
  • Pack your “survival bag” for the day of the move (with keys, change of clothes, medicine, jewelry, basic tools and cleaning supply)
  • Pack last minute things

Moving Day

  • Move cars to make room for moving van
  • Meet, direct and oversee movers at old house
  • Meet movers at new house with floor plan to show them where things go
  • Unpack boxes and put everything in its place
  • Remove boxes and packing material
  • Plug in lamps, connect TV, phone, internet
  • Make the beds for first night

Settle In/Design Your New Home

  • Organize closets, office space, kitchen cabinets, bathroom cabinets and book cases
  • Hang pictures, add accessories and make finishing touches

"France and I made a few mistakes as we downsized, but no major blunders. That was because you were so well organized, e.g., the apartment floorplan with photographs and corresponding numbers posted on the wall of the entry hall. That was real genius."

Dennis B.
Portola Valley

"I hired Maria when I could no longer cope with cleaning out the home my parents built in 1965, where I grew up, and where I had been living the last 11 years raising my own family. My parents had both passed away and my kids were off to college; it was time to sell. Maria brought her compassionate personality and organized system to the chaos. She helped me to work efficiently. She had respect for the emotional attachments that one forms for "things". Yet, she would also figuratively hold my hand and open my eyes to the freedom of letting go. I know I could not have accomplished what was needed without her skillful and sensitive guidance."

Christine A.
Los Altos

"I recommend Maria without reservation. I started working with her after my wife died. I just thought I’d clear out my wife’s closet, but once we got going, it made sense to keep going and clear out the rest of the house and the garage. Maria gets right in there with you, helps you make decisions, and gets things done. I wouldn’t have been able to do it without her. I’m a doctor, and I tell all my baby boomer patients that they should downsize now, while they can do it."

Cameron E.

"Daunted by the challenge of getting my home of more than 30 years ready to sell, I also faced a complex move into two new residences. Maria’s talent for organization and her partnership through every step of the process was exactly what I needed. She quickly translated my overwhelming mountain of responsibility into a series of easy-to-conquer humps. In just a few short weeks, we got the job done. I can’t say enough about Maria’s gifts. She brings to her consummate professionalism grace, good humor, and a phenomenal rolodex of resources. For anyone facing a move, Maria is a god-send!"

Sally O.
San Jose

"I worked with Maria for several weeks on downsizing a fairly large house in preparation for moving to a much smaller place. She is very efficient, totally trustworthy and dependable, and completely professional. She also made excellent recommendations on other services I needed, e.g., a moving company. I highly recommend her to anyone who needs this kind of support."

Sara H.
Palo Alto