Client Profile: Long-time Neat Freak clients were making a move from their home of 30+ years to a local assisted living facility. In the year prior to their move, the wife had a series of medical crises and was in a wheelchair. She was still interested in helping to make decisions regarding what may and may not go with them to their new home but with limited mobility and strength we had to get creative.
The family home in which the couple had raised 4 children was packed with memorabilia, more furniture than they needed, hundreds of books, boxes of photos and arts and crafts supplies, and more. Their large basement also held memorabilia from each of their children as well as a huge collection of holiday décor, giftwrap, gifts, and artwork. We had worked together occasionally for more than a year to slowly edit down their belongings, ramping up this activity in the months prior to the official move. However, with the wife’s medical needs, the move became more urgent and challenging.
- The wife’s decreased mobility due to her medical condition.
- Countless decisions that needed to be made due to the size and contents of the home.
- Working in smaller chunks of time so as not to wear out the wife when she wasn’t feeling well or had limited attention.
- Managing the husband’s emotional and physical needs since he was
pulling double duty as move coordinator and care giver.
- Managing the numerous emotions associated with leaving a long time residence filled with memories and looking ahead to a new living situation while juggling health concerns.
- First, working with a blueprint of their new assisted living apartment, we made decisions about large items including furniture and artwork. We were able to clear out some of the unneeded furniture gradually so the change wasn’t so overwhelming.
- Working room by room, we edited down their belongings to only the necessary items they would need to live a much simpler life in assisted living. They wouldn’t be doing nearly as much cooking or entertaining so many of those items were donated or passed on to children.
- We utilized local charitable organizations who would bring trucks and manpower in to move the mountains of items out of them home. I imagine over the course of a year, we removed approximately 10 truckloads of home goods and supplies.
- Working with the children, items were divided to be picked up or shipped to family members.
- Photos were scanned to reduce the huge amount of storage space required for storage.
- We got creative by using our phones to take pictures of items in hard to get to areas and then consulting with the wife using the photos so she could participate in decision making and not have to be moved around the home too much.
Why Neat Freak was right for the job:
Downsizing is a very personal job and requires a lot of trust between the client and the organizer. Because we already had an established relationship with this family, it was easier to provide the necessary tough love but also genuine support and caring they needed to make this move a success, especially with a challenging medical situation thrown into the mix. Because of our years in the organizing business, we have strong relationships with numerous charitable organizations who will often pick up on a moment’s notice. We could not have made this move happen in the necessary time frame without trusted vendors and organizations who quickly responded to the need. Organizers also offer strong visual/spatial skills that can help clients imagine their life in their new home, and also keep in check how much space they have available so tough decisions can be made.
Getting these clients moved into their new home, and seeing how happy they were as they unpacked their beloved belongings was the true reward.