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  • Writer's pictureLaurie Bell

Getting to What’s Important

As many of you know I offer #complimentary consultations in the #GTA.  I recently got a call from a realtor who I work with regularly asking me to please meet with her clients who live just a few minutes outside of the GTA.

I agreed and was greeted by a woman who we’ll call Caroline who was very grateful that I would come out to see her.  She was a little bit younger than the older adults who we generally assist but, without a doubt, this was someone who could greatly benefit from our services. She was feeling nothing if not #overwhelmed.

She and her husband Ed had made the decision to downsize from a large five bedroom home to a significantly smaller bungalow.  Like some of our other clients, their kids had all launched but Mom and Dad’s spacious house had become a “temporary” repository for their adult kids’ assortment of furniture and belongings.  Things had been made to fit over time but that didn’t mean that they went with the other décor in the house.

Caroline had just found out that their offer to purchase their new home had been accepted and now they wanted to get their current home ready to list and successfully plan for their upcoming transition.  

As with many folks who haven’t moved in a few decades, things had accumulated. Well intended but less than useful gifts got tucked away in drawers and cupboards and generations of electronics were piled up in the basement.  Books and paperwork completely covered all desk surfaces and shelves so that workspaces had become essentially unusable.  Of course this did nothing to maximize the potential value of this couple’s home.

When I arrived at the house, the dining room table was covered in items that Caroline had determined that she would not take to their new home.  With a quick glance I could see that some of these things were certainly saleable and some were honestly better donated.

Upstairs the furnishings in one bedroom had been moved into the centre of the room so that Ed’s nephew could paint the walls.  It was clear that many projects had been started but there wasn’t a room in the house that was clutter free and #marketready. Over the last year or two one basement room had been designated for “garage sale” items.  Carolyn shared that she hoped to get these things out on her lawn on the first sunny Saturday in May.  I didn’t want to rain on Carolyn’s parade – or her garage sale plans -  but it wasn’t clear to me how such a sale was going to be a reasonable use of her time or effort right now.

I explained how our dream team could help and described the #stages that I recommended to best address this couple’s needs going forward.  I reinforced the fact that the most value is typically found in the clients’ real estate and not nearly so much in their accumulated stuff. Supply and demand principles definitely apply here. There is not much of a market for used furniture and china in an environment where two generations are getting rid of things and the third generation doesn’t want them.

I suggested a few strategies that would allow this couple to get rid of their unwanted stuff and that would put a little money in their pockets.  I did not recommend holding a garage sale but shared information instead about how an on-line auction could work effectively in their situation.  We talked about safely getting rid of their old electronics and how to most cost effectively dispose of the rest, keeping as much as possible out of landfill.  

I also discouraged the use of a #storage facility for this family unless it was for a very short period of time.  Anything beyond that and people end up paying more for storage fees than what the items being stored are worth. We discussed a timeline for each of the stages that worked for everyone and we began to put everything in motion, including the realtor in each step of the process.

Are you trying to do things yourself but getting bogged down in minutia?  Not sure how to focus on what’s most important in your upcoming move? At the end of the day, if you can make a few bucks along the way and keep most things out of landfill you and the generations that come after you benefit.  

We can knowledgeably, sensitively and objectively help you and your loved ones to navigate your upcoming transition to what is almost always smaller space.  

Not #moving but could use some help staying in your current home? We also offer professional #organizing services to re-create your #space so that it better fits your current #lifestyle.  At Moving Seniors with a Smile Inc. we offer tailored senior move management solutions throughout the GTA and we do it with a smile.  

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