Skip to main content

THE MOVE

My mother, Priscilla, is 86 years old and her husband, Don, is 90. Until recently, they lived in a mobile home park for 18 years. Don has dementia and it has been progressing to a point that in recent years Priscilla has taken care of everything; the housework, their finances, meal planning and preparation, arranging for home repairs/maintenance, yard work, all the driving... everything! Priscilla also has neuropathy in her feet (due to a foot surgery gone wrong) causing difficulty to walk and has experienced a few too many falls lately. My siblings and I said, enough! It's time for Priscilla and Don to move to a community where they have freedom from all of the day-to-day chores and upkeep, plus on-site care.


We found a wonderful community--it's like living on a cruise ship. The apartments are very small (600 square feet), but right outside their door are all the amenities of a cruise ship: saline pool, exercise room and trainers, massage therapists, gift shop, library, movie theater, demonstration room, bar, restaurants, hair salon, chapel and a concierge to arrange everything for you. Heck, I want to move there! At 86 Priscilla, amazingly, does yoga three times a week and she loves to swim--so this is going to be heaven for her.
This is one of the moments in your life that you know is coming, but you can easily get overwhelmed by the thought of doing--DOWNSIZING and MOVING. Because, before THE MOVE there is the ENORMOUS task of going through all of the STUFF, STUFF, and more STUFF. Priscilla and Don were wildflower and scenic photographers. You can't even imagine the thousands of slides they accumulated over the decades. As we started, my siblings and I (all very opinionated) were disagreeing on how to move "mom" and sell the house.  I said to my siblings, "To keep the family peace we are going to divide and conquer!" My role - THE MOVE, my brother - GARAGE/ESTATE SALE, and my sister - SELL THE HOUSE.  
With any project that seems overwhelming it is helpful to break it down into tasks with deadlines. It can help you gain control and feel a sense of calm. I pulled together our project plan and gave Priscilla her tasks that she could complete on her own. Such as, change of address notices, cancelling utilities not needed before house sale, mail forwarding, changing home insurance, collect important papers/valuables, etc. For complete lists I use ListPlanIt.
Priscilla and I went through their entire house and put "dot" stickers on everything they wanted to take with them. This made it very easy when I worked with the movers to pack. If it had a dot it got packed, if not it was left behind.  It took quite some convincing for my mother to not pack up her entire kitchen.  I had to remind her one of the reasons for the move was so she wouldn't need to meal plan and cook as much--if at all. The one area she would not downsize--her spices, not even her pumpkin pie spice. We contacted Lile Moving and Storage to pack and move their belongings.
Priscilla wanted some new furniture and we needed to maximize their small space. We designed a floor plan to determine where and how the existing and new furniture would fit. 
Then, we went to Ikea. I thought Priscilla would faint at the enormity of it. Even though we were armed with a plan of what specific items we wanted, we were there three hours. I was exhausted, but not Priscilla! From there we went to several stores in search of wall-mounted switch lights--not an easy find these days. We found two at Lowes.  

I drove Priscilla home and continued on to the Container Store to purchase elfa drawer systems and other organizing goodies for their downsized space.
The weekend of THE MOVE Priscilla and Don stayed at my sister's home while my husband and I worked with the movers, assembled furniture, installed lamps, shelves, and pullout drawers, got all of their electronics working, and organized their downsized stuff in their new home. You can view THE MOVE activity and before/after photos here.
If you, or someone you know is ready for downsizing consider working with professionals, such as myself and Lile Moving and Storage. It will be less overwhelming, less emotional, and less stressful. It will also save time and money. 













Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Garage Organization Demystified

Does the thought of organizing your garage seem too daunting?  Do you wonder where to begin when you can’t even walk in there?  When was the last time you were able to park your car(s) in your garage? Let me help you get started--because sometimes that's the hardest part!  Here’s how:
Preparation Set aside an entire weekend – schedule on your calendarSchedule a donation service to pickup your donations after the weekendGather Materialsdrop-box or a bagster for your mountain of discards that can’t be donatedtent canopy to set up in your driveway or yard to keep you shaded or dry during the process3-4 folding tables to set up under the canopy for sortingboxes for sorting items you want to keep and labeled by categoryIdentify the different categories of things you want to keep in your garage; i.e. sports equipment, tools, gardening, household supplies, automotive, camping, holiday, etc.Set-up your staging areaKeep Area - sorting tables and boxes labeled by categoryDonate Area - place t…

Fall - A Time for Letting Go

Photo by Anne Blumer
October 14, 2016

The season has shifted and we are “officially” in fall.  When I think about the seasons and how they relate to organizing activities fall is about letting go.  Take a look outside, the leaves have turned to shades of golden and red hues and little by little each one is letting go.  This is a necessary process for trees to grow and become stronger.

The same can be said for our stuff.  When we hold on to stuff that isn’t serving us today we can’t easily experience personal growth because we stay stuck in our past or live in the futurejust in case we might need it someday.  Maybe we can’t let go because we have difficulty deciding what to do with something.  Perhaps our ADHD keeps us from focusing on organizing because it’s mundane. 

Whatever the reason is that you are holding on to stuff, I invite you to think about falling back into organizing habits that may have gone by the wayside. Take a cue from nature and let go.  Give yourself permissionto let g…

D.E.C.I.D.E.

A serious contender for why clutter and disorganization occur is an inability to easily make decisions about where to put things and what things to keep. How do you decide where to put your stuff?What stuff do you not know where to put it away? If this is a challenge for you, try the D.E.C.I.D.E. model to determine what to do with items that are cluttering your environment: Ddefinewhen and where you use the item. E = establish the criteria for whether or not to keep the item (i.e. do you use it, do you love it, is it beautiful. etc.). C = consider all the alternatives of not keeping the item (i.e. can you borrow it or easily replace it later if you do need it). I = identify the best placement for where to keep the item based on use.