How we moved my 79 year old mother-in-law: tips on moving, downsizing and getting your home ready to sell

March 29, 2017
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Are you planning to move any time in the next 20 years? This blog post is for you! We recently helped my mother-in-law (Tine – Dutch for Tina) move from Texas to North Carolina. She has been living in Houston for 23 years and lost her husband 15 years ago; she’s never moved or sold a home by herself.

Moving is the 3rd most stressful thing a person can experience. You are often changing your zip code which means getting used to a new area, making new friends, finding new doctors and getting a new driver’s license (yuck). It does not have to be a terrible experience; follow these steps to make it easier:

Step 1: Decide where you want to live?

Do you want to move into a smaller space? Maybe a condo, apartment or independent living is right for you. Is the yard work too much or the stairs to get to your bedroom? A one-level ranch may be your perfect fit.
Tine decided to come back East and live closer to family. She did not want to be responsible for a house or yard anymore and she is physically and mentally fit. The best option for her was an apartment.

Step 2: What do you want to take with you?
Moving is the perfect time to purge! If you are moving into a smaller space, you can’t take everything. Stick to the necessities and irreplaceable keepsakes such as photos. Go through each room and make a list of your “must have’s” and your “really wants”.

I recommended 4-6 of each dish, glass, a few pots and pans, one of each used small appliance (coffee pot), the clothing you wear, the furniture that will fit in your new space, framed photos and art, linens, towels, toiletries, cleaning supplies, electronics, etc.

Don’t worry, anything you don’t take can be donated or maybe even sold.

Step 3:Plan ahead for the move: Get moving and packing quotes ahead of time.

Movers will come to your home and give you a free quote. I highly recommend getting at least 2-3. You may find that storage pods are a better fit or renting a truck yourself.

We decided to hire movers and rent a truck that my husband and his brother drove from TX to NC. This is not the best option for everyone but they wanted a bro road trip and we were able to save Tine some money on a cross-country move. I packed her belongings for her 2 days before the move, the movers loaded everything onto a U-Haul we rented, the guys drove to North Carolina and another team of movers unloaded at her new apt. I also hired unpackers for her so she could be completely ready to spend the night in her new place.

Step 4: Estate sale or donation pick up

Anything you don’t want or need anymore is much appreciated by charities. There are many who will pick up your house hold items for free and give you a letter for your taxes. Go to www.donationtown.org to find a charity near you. Would you rather try to sell your items? Contact some estate sale companies in your area and get them to come give you an estimate (estatesales.net will have a list). Most have minimum requirements and take a % of profit. If you are living in your home, there are some online estate sale options too: try max sold or everything but the house.

For Tine’s house, we went with an auction clean out company. Her HOA does not allow estate sales so this was a good option for her. What they did not take, we had a charity pick up.

Step 5: Getting your home ready to sell

You may have to do this step while you are still living in your current home. If so, just move this to step 1 or 2. The key in this day and age is to make your home as neutral as possible for the buyer. You will want to start with a budget; how much can you afford to put into the home without losing too much. The most important thing is to fix anything that needs an obvious repair: leaky roof, water stains in the ceiling, stains or bad odors in the carpet, etc.

For Tine’s house, I interviewed and hired a roofer, painter and floor company to give the house a fresher look without breaking the bank.

For detailed tips see my blog: www.simplyorganizedyou.com/gettingyourhomereadytosell

You will also want to hire a reputable real estate agent. I interviewed 3 in Texas and chose her neighbor who is experienced, knowledgeable about the neighborhood and can keep an eye on the house for us.

 

Step 6: Enjoy your new home

After you have done all this hard work, made your repairs, sold your house, moved into your new place and unpacked, it’s time to sit back and relax! Yes it’s hard to make big changes in your life but you have your future to look forward to. Life is not about the stuff you had to part with, it’s about the memories you have made and the new ones you are going to make.

Need help with project management, packing, unpacking, pre-staging or more? Contact us at 404-825-2105 or heather@simplyorganizedyou.com

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Tips for seniors and anyone downsizing

October 28, 2016
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It seems like October has been senior month for Simply Organized. I gave three presentations to 55 and older groups and also had an elder care panel at our NAPO meeting. Not only did I give a lot of advice, I learned a ton too!

I usually tell people what to keep, what to donate, what is worth reselling and help with creative use of space in their new smaller home.  I’m usually the bearer of bad news when it comes to value of “antiques” and letting people know that most of their adult children do not want all of their stuff. I have zero attachment to my clients belongings so it is much easier for me and sometimes comes across as very unsentimental.

During our elder care panel, one of our speakers, Valerie Darling from Home Care Matters told us that most seniors want to leave their legacy. It’s important to them to know their memories will be passed on. I needed to be reminded of this so I will now use more patience and compassion with my senior clients.

Owner of Life After Loss, Doris Vaughans, taught us that older people are more emotionally strong than we think. They have experienced a lot in their life time and have handled more than we know. We should not assume that they can’t get through a loss or a move. We should also give everyone the time they need to grieve and adjust to their new surroundings; it takes some more than others.

The estate attorney on our panel, Meridith Bush, made us all more aware of estate planning. Tell someone you trust where you bank, prepare a notebook (or two) with account information, your will, your living will wishes and any other documentation that will be needed if you are in an accident or in preparation for your loved ones. Don’t assume someone knows your passwords or can find your safe deposit key.

If you are planning to downsize in the next 5-10 years, if you are planning to move, if you need help with home health care, grief counseling, estate planning, packing, unpacking, de-cluttering or anything else, please contact us. We have many resources to help solve most of your problems. 404-825-2105 or heather@simplyorganizedyou.com

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Why This Generation Does Not Want Our Parent’s Stuff

September 28, 2015
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There was an excellent article earlier this year in the AJC titled “We collect stuff all our lives. Then what?” It brought up an important discussion between my parents and I as well as sparked a lot of debate with my fellow organizers and our clients.  I’ve been accused of being “cold hearted” by my mother because I do not want her china cabinet and Spanish inspired walnut dining furniture from 1968.  My goal in writing this post is to explain to our baby boomers and their parents that we are not cold hearted or lacking in sentiment but have been raised in a materialistic disposable time.

My parents were raised by the generation who lived through the depression and two World Wars.  They were taught to appreciate everything because they survived a time where there was nothing.  While I was raised to appreciate hard work, my parents also gave us a very easy life full of whatever food, clothes and toys we wanted.  Each generation wants to provide the best for their children. My generation has been able to buy whatever we need at affordable prices making us mass consumers of everything from electronics to cars and homes. This has lead to a disposable attitude towards the goods we purchase.

It is also much harder to find furniture and goods that are high quality and long lasting. We can buy a room full of furniture for less than $1000 so we don’t care as much if it is out of style or breaks after 5-10 years. Many newer homes don’t even have dining rooms or formal living rooms anymore. The number one hardest thing to sell right now in the furniture world is a china cabinet. Most of my friends don’t use real china or silver when entertaining; we are much more casual. I think this is a combination of two-income households and being way too busy.

I’m not trying to make excuses for my generation but I do want our elders to understand, we aren’t trying to be rude or callous when we tell you not to hold onto your stuff for us. We want you to get any money or value you can from the items you worked so hard to buy for yourself. You do not have to know the person who will wind up with your treasures. If you can sell it or donate it, I promise someone will love it and take care of it as much as you did.

I also want to re-iterate a point I made a couple of years ago about storage. Please do not waste money storing items you will never use again or items for your kids or grand kids if they tell you they do not want them. The AJC article brings up two alarming statistics: “Last year, we spent about $7.7 billion on stuff to organize our stuff and another $24 billion to store it”.

I know all big changes like moving or getting rid of items can be very stressful. Please contact us so we can help you feel less over whelmed. We now have a re-selling division of Simply Organized. What we can not re sell for you, we will find a charity to give it to.

Heather Rogers 404-825-2105 or Heather@simplyorganizedyou.com

 

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Downsizing At Any Age

April 3, 2014
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You may be nowhere near retirement age or ready to move into a smaller home or assisted living yet but that doesn’t mean you can’t start downsizing now! I taught a class on Monday at the ALTA independent living apartments in John’s Creek on downsizing. My group of “students” were all people who had already downsized into an apartment but know one day they may have to live in a smaller space.

The worst experiences I have witnessed with clients are when they are rushed. I’ve been given one week to whittle 55 years worth of prized possessions down to a small enough amount to fit into a 500 square foot room. Or one day to pack up an entire house so it would look decent enough to list it for sale.

Even though my clients were appreciative, they were left feeling like maybe they got rid of something they wanted. Instead of waiting until you “have” to why not take your time so you can do what you “want” to.

Here are my tips to a successful downsizing experience:

1. Where do you want to live? Independent /Assisted Living, with a family member, etc.

2. Hire Real Estate Agent to sell home

3. How much square footage do you have in your future home/ what can you take?

4. De-clutter and Sort
a. Donate

i. Goodwill (will take everything but mattresses – many locations)
ii. Truck to pick up: www.donationtown.org or – Pat’s Place: 770-873-6058

b. Sell

i. Ebay (under 25 lbs.): 855-322-9826
ii. Estate Sale: Charleen Tittle 404-451-2295

c. Trash

i. Shred company: A-1 877-747-3319
ii. Removal: Just Trash IT 770-399-6605

5. Moving Companies

a. Atlanta Peach: 770-447-5121
b. McGregor: 404-630-9042

6. Pack

a. Make sure you take your most precious photos and important items
b. Don’t over crowd your new space
c. Do not rent a storage unit (you will spend the same amount of money in one year of rent as it would cost to replace all of the items in storage)

7. Un-Pack – Getting settled in your new home

a. Creative Use of Space
i. Use your vertical space
1. Bookshelves
2. Hooks
3. vertical wall pockets
ii. Doors
1. Inside closet doors – hanging shoe/ clear pockets
2. Inside cabinet doors – kitchen and bathroom
3. Behind office, bedroom and bathroom doors
iii. Under the bed
1. Bags (and space bags)
2. Boxes

Call me for help with any or all of the above Heather 404-825-2105 heather@simplyorganizedyou.com

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