10 Tips for Senior Citizens Downsizing Homes or Moving from Gentle Giant Moving Company


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Gentle Giant takes the time to work with seniors during transitional periods.

Moving senior citizens, retirees, and the elderly is emerging as a specialty service as baby-boomers are faced with downsizing themselves while simultaneously transitioning their parents to one of the many types of senior housing.

Below you will find Gentle Giant Moving Company‘s helpful 10 Tips for Moving Seniors:

  1. Start with a floor plan of your new space.
    A floor plan may be the single most important thing you can have.  It will tell you how much furniture you can fit, and help you decide where everything will go before you step foot into your new home.
  2. Reduce the amount you have to move.
    Downsizing can be physically exhausting and emotionally draining, but many items that have been accumulated in a home over many years can’t or shouldn’t be squeezed into a new home.  So take your time and ask for help.  If you have children who no longer live there, ask them to retrieve their possessions.  Give things to friends and family.  Have a yard sale and/or donate some items to charity.  If you can’t bring certain items that you’re not ready to part with, consider using a storage facility.
  3. Begin in areas of the house no longer in use.
    This strategy will be least disruptive to normal life and will help develop some momentum to carry you through other areas of the home later on.
  4. Have a sorting system.
    Use colored stickers to identify items that are going with you, elsewhere, or to-be-determined.  Make a list of potential recipients, such as loved ones or charity or auction, and match up items to them instead of coming up with different recipients as you sort through items one by one.
  5. Start with large items and work toward smaller ones.
    Sorting through large furniture pieces first will create a sense of progress for the person who is moving.  This will make it easier to sort smaller items later on, because it will be clearer what storage will be available in the new home.
  6. Block off a certain amount of time for working each day and stick to it.
    Start and stop at a certain time. Don’t get sidetracked.  You’ll be surprised how much you can accomplish.
  7. Focus on one area at a time.
    Dealing with a whole house can be overwhelming.  Break it up into smaller chunks by focusing on one part of a room at a time.  Then move on to the next.
  8. Packing – Let the movers take care of it.
    A professional move coordinator like the ones at Gentle Giant can recommend a professional packing crew to help prepare your dishes, linens, furniture, you name it.  Hiring such a team will make packing go by much faster, and your items will be safer as they are moved.
  9. Create a Move-Day suitcase with the essentials for the first 24 hours in your new home.
    Set aside a couple of outfits, a set of dishes, towels and sheets.  Include a first aid kit and a flashlight, or even a night light.  You’ll have what you need at your finger tips instead of having to dive into many different boxes to find what you need.
  10. Be patient – with yourself and others.
    Moving is hard, especially for seniors who may be leaving a home where they’ve spent decades with their family.  Remember it’s okay to be sad about parting with things, however the goal is not to get rid of everything – just to simplify.  Set aside down time, and reward yourself or the person you are helping at various stages in the process.  Accept that there will be a range of emotions.

Tips From the Pros: How to Move a Pinball Machine

With pinball making a huge resurgence across the country in people’s homes and out in public locations, Gentle Giant Moving Company wants to make sure that these classic, beautiful machines stay damage free while being transported. Oh, and we want the people moving them to be safe too.

At first glance, pinball machines can appear intimidating to move because of their size, weight, and fragility. But fear not, because Gentle Giant, with a whole lot of help from the great people at Pinball Fixers, are here to tell and show that moving pinball machines can be as much as fun as playing them… Well, not really, but let’s get started anyway!


The majority of modern pinballs (made in the last 20 years or so) have a hinge system which allows the head box to be folded down. Different manufacturers approached this in different ways, and these systems have changed over time to make it easier.

The early pinball machines had their head boxes bolted on, using either 2 or 4 bolts. All Electro-Mechanical Pinballs use this system, along with the early Solid State ones.

Later machines have hinges, and use a latching system to keep the head box upright. There may also be 2 bolts inside as added safety, in case the latch is broken or accidently un-latched.

Electro-Mechanical Pinballs

EM Rear ViewFor Electro-Mechanical Pinballs, you need to remove the head box rear access panel to gain access to the bolts and plugs inside. Usually this panel has a lock on it to keep it in place, but over time the key may have been lost. Quite often, there is a screw keeping this panel in place.

Once inside, remove the bolts, and unplug the large connectors that have wiring going down into the machine. You may want to label these connectors to put them back in the right spot, but they should be different sizes, making it difficult to plug back incorrectly.

EM Rear View closeupYou can now either remove the head box completely, or fold the head box down onto the playfield glass. Make sure you use some foam, heavy cardboard, or blankets to protect the headbox from rubbing on the cabinet. Foam is best, as it will also help keep the back glass in place.


Early Solid State Pinballs

Bally Playboy Back GlassFor early Solid State Pinballs, you will need to remove the back glass. There is a lock located on the head box in one of 3 locations – left-hand side at the top, right-hand side at the top, or on top of the head box in the centre.

Once unlocked, remove the back glass by lifting it up using the lift channel (at the bottom of the glass) and then pull it out from the bottom. Put the glass in a safe place, as it will most likely be a painted glass, and very hard to replace.

Then, open up the back box lamp panel by lifting the latch located on either the left-hand side or right-hand side. The panel can now swing out towards you, and give you access to the circuit boards, plugs, and the bolts. (Some Gottlieb pinballs require you to lift up the lamp panel in order to swing it open)

Now that you are inside, you can remove the bolts, and any plugs that have wires going down into the machine. You may want to label these plugs to put them back in the right spot, but they should be different sizes and keyed differently, making it difficult (but not impossible) to plug them back in the wrong spot. You may not need to remove the plugs, as the wiring should be long enough to allow the head box to be folded down. You may need to remove some “P” clips for this to happen though.

At this point, you can lock up the lamp panel and replace the back glass.

You can now either remove the head box completely (if the plugs have been removed), or fold the head box down onto the playfield glass. Make sure you use some foam, heavy cardboard, or blankets to protect the headbox from rubbing on the cabinet. Foam is best, as it will also help keep the back glass in place.

For more detailed pictures and instructions, visit our “Opening a Pinball” page.

 Modern Solid State Pinballs

Modern Solid State Pinballs use a couple of ways to keep the head box in place. For Data East, Sega, and Stern pinballs, there is a turnable latch system located at the back of the head box. Using the supplied large allen key, turn the latch 90° counter-clockwise.

For Williams, Bally, and Gottlieb, you can easily unlatch the back box at the back of the machine. This is a simple setup and requires no tools.

If you can now fold down the head box onto the cabinet, you’re done. Make sure you use some foam, heavy cardboard, or blankets to protect the headbox from rubbing on the cabinet. Foam is best, as it will also help keep the back glass in place.

If you can not fold the head box down, then you need to get inside. There is a lock located at the top of the back glass in the centre. Use the supplied key to unlock, and remove the back glass by lifting it up from the bottom, and then pulling it out from the bottom.

Next, you will need to remove the display panel. You can do this by lifting it up and out. And finally, open the lamp panel. There will be a latch located on either the right-hand or left-hand side. (Some newer Williams and Bally pinballs do not have a seperate lamp panel, it is part of the back glass panel. And later Sega and Stern pinballs use a fluorescent tube for the back glass lighting)

Remove the two bolts, put the back box back together, and fold down the head box onto the cabinet. Make sure you use some foam, heavy cardboard, or blankets to protect the headbox from rubbing on the cabinet. Foam is best, as it will also help keep the back glass in place.


Pinball LegPinball Machine legs are held in place by 8 bolts. They will be either 5/8 inch or 9/16 inch heads. The modern pinballs have captive nuts or threaded plates inside for the bolts to screw into. These bolts can be removed, and the legs will come off.

But these captive nuts and threaded plates can be damaged, and the use of extra nuts may have been required. If this is the case, you will need to open up the front door of the pinball, slide out the playfield glass, and lift up the playfield.

With the front door (coin door) open, move the lock down bar latch across and remove the lock down bar. Then slide out the playfield glass, and put in a safe place. Next, lift up the playfield by placing your hand where the ball drains, and lift the playfield up.

You should now have access to any nuts that may have been used.

Once any nuts have been removed, replace the playfield glass and lock down bar, and lock the front door.

Be sure to mark or remember which legs are for the front and back, as they will be adjusted differently to suit. Typically, the back legs will have their leg levellers screwed almost all the way down, while the front legs will be screwed all the way up. The back legs are always longer than the front legs (Except for most Sega pinballs – front and back are the same height).


You are now ready to transport your pinball machine. Before you load it, make sure you remove the balls so they don’t bounce around during transport.

If you are moving the pinball using a Van, SUV, Ute or Wagon, then it may be easier to remove the legs just prior to loading the machine. Grab a friend to help and have one of you supporting the pinball, while the other removes the front legs. Slide the machine in, and then remove the back legs. It is much easier to load the machine front first.

Make sure you strap the pinball in, as you do not want it moving if you have to stop suddenly!


If after reading this, you still don’t feel comfortable (or all of your friends are “busy”) moving the machine yourself, or need to crane it out, give Gentle Giant a call today at 1-800-443-6863 or Request an Estimate.

Moving Yourself? Pack Like the Pros with These Helpful Tips – Part 2

In Part 2 of the Original Gentle Giant Blog’s profile on Packing Like the Pros, we will discuss setting up your packing workstation so that it is easy and safe for you to pack.

In Part 1 of this series, we reviewed the selection of boxes available, and what they should be used for. So Step 1 of setting up a workstation is putting an assortment of moving boxes in a close, convenient location so that they are easily accessible.

When our Gentle Giants get ready to pack, they find a dining room or kitchen table to work at that they can cover with a pad to prevent scratching. Tables are best because it provides ample space and negates constant bending over. If an appropriate table is not available, the Giants have developed a system where we tape up a large 5.2 Dish Box, then lay a 5.2 on top of it, like the picture to the right.

Once the workstation is set up, grab a ream of the white packing paper and lay it out in front of you. Also, bring several items you will be packing onto the table or around your workstation so that you can easily grab the items, wrap them in paper, and place them in your box. But before you load anything into the box, place Paper Bumpers across the bottom of the box. Paper Bumpers can be easily made by crumpling up a sheet or two of white packing paper, then rolling them up in another piece of paper like a high fiber, papery burrito. Once you have a few bumpers made, you can line the bottom of the box with them, which helps greatly to prevent damage.

Be plentiful with the paper. Some people feel as though it is being wasteful, but the fact of the matter is Gentle Giant recycles and reuses paper, depending on the condition of course. Wrap plates together with crumpled paper separating each plate with paper, then place the tightly packed plates VERTICALLY in the box.

After a layer or two of tightly packed plates (separated by another layer of bumpers) go into the box, top it off with safely papered glasses placed vertically side by side. Fold down the flaps, and tape that bad boy up. Next step, repeat the first step.

For a visual representation of what we’ve discussed here, please check out this helpful video!