98 Vanadium Road Building D, Bridgeville, Pennsylvania, 15017Move Management & Organizing Services
Our mission is to make sure that anyone without the financial resources to move from their current home to another home for any reason will not be denied services that include packing, transport and unpacking. This nonprofit agency will serve economically disadvantaged seniors in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania.Moving Services CoordinationWe help choose a qualified, affordable, and respectful moving company. We supervise all aspects of the move and pack for our clients who need help.Packing & Unpacking ServicesAt Safe Moves for Seniors, we are dedicated to making sure all of our clients~ possessions are packed safely and securely - from wedding albums to lamp shades!Moving with DignityWith this initiative, our goal is to promote opportunities for our clients to move when THEY choose to move and not just be at the mercy of an available friend or neighbor "might" be able to help.
The lead cause of derailment during an organizing session is distractions. Distractions from a phone, from other people, and from engrossing-nostalgia are all common occurrences. You can limit these interruptions by turning off your phone, letting people know you will be busy, and being sure of your decisions when it comes to your keepsakes. However, the biggest distraction can often be yourself. Trying to Organize Your Whole Home at Once Will NOT Work!When you are in the middle of sorting, its too easy to pick up an item and think Oh, I know a PERFECT place for this and run to another room to place it down. But every time you switch rooms, you run the risk of distracting yourself with:more items to decide about,tasks that might need to occur in that next roomtiring yourself out from all the movementconfusing yourself by forgetting where you placed certain possessions.\Work in ONE Room At a TimeBefore you start working in your selected room, place some labeled bins by the door for any items that need to be relocated within the house, donated, or thrown away. By having these receptacles ready and waiting, you can simply toss any items into the appropriate bin to be dealt with at the end of the session (or even another time, if the bins are not full yet). Moving between rooms can make an organizing job feel overwhelming; by staying in one place, you can maintain your focus.
Paper is one of the easiest things in a home that can pile up if you are not careful. Its hard to deal with all of those old tax records, saved birthday cards, instruction manuals to kitchen appliances, and all the other documents that seem to crop up every time you turn around. Why is it that there always seems to be more paper when you just got a handle on things? I'll let you in on a little secret:Paper doesnt create piles on its own. It has to be carried, ignored, laid on a table, or placed on top of other papers.In order to get started on managing your paper clutter, you have to start at the source. Let's work together to create a system of dealing with paper as soon as it enters your home. One of the leading causes of paper piles is the mail. Let's admit it, weve all taken a look at the mail, tossed it on a table or desk, and said I'll deal with it later only to come back to a daunting task that was left alone for too long. The best way to deal with this:Create physical and digital matching files in your computer that have these five titles:To PayTo Call/Follow UpTo DoTo Buy SomedayFileYoull want to grab some manila folders, post-its, a cardboard box, and some sharpies. Write your five categories on some Post-its and place them on your manila folders. You will also want to write Shred on your cardboard box for any documents you want to dispose of safely. Set a timer for thirty minutes and get ready to sort! Dont push yourself to sort through your paper for long stretches of time. If you lose the momentum, take a small break before starting up again!But what does each category mean? To Pay: This is for all of your bills, credit card statements, and other things that require money. You can put them in your To Pay folder as a reminder to write a check or you can set up a recurring payment with your bank if youd prefer.To Call/Followup: This is for all of your reminders that need to be scheduled or followed up on. Break out your calendar and write in the important details before placing the mail into your folder. You dont want to forget to go to your doctors appointment!To Buy Someday: This ones fun! This is for all of those magazines and advertisements that look (oh, so) tempting. Instead of breaking out the credit card right away, save these documents to this file. If you find you still want what's in the folder after some time, then it's probably not just an impulse buy. This folder is also great for storing gift ideas for the holidays!To File: This one might sound boring, but it is a very crucial step! This category includes all of your important documentation, tax returns, receipts, car titles, etc. Be sure to actually file these documents away and not just make a new pile!Now that you have your different categories and manila folders for each, go through each piece of mail you get and place them in the appropriate folder. Once you pick up a piece of mail, remember the O.H.I.O method (Only Handle It Once)! Once you have a document in your hand, you must decide where it is going to go right then and there. This will help you from setting it aside to figure out later. Anything that doesnt fit in your categories or that you don't want/need goes to the recycling and anything that has confidential information on it goes into your Shred box.Once youve caught up with your current paper piles, you can use this sorting system for every days mail to stay on top of it. You can even create a digital version of the system for your Emails! If you keep up with the sorting and dont allow yourself to ignore paper piles, you should never have trouble with your mail again!
Did you know that the most common months for someone to move or downsize falls between April and September? Most people find these months to be the easiest to schedule with moving companies because their peak months are May-August, and the easiest to physically complete the move due to calmer weather. But you cant just decide to pack up and head out at the start of April! There has to be some thoughtful preparation and planning before downsizing and moving. Use March as Your Staging GroundMarch is the perfect month to start preparing for a move. March is not too hot, not too cold, and it gives you plenty of time to plan ahead. Do you know what needs to be accomplished before a realtor sets foot in your home? What about what needs to be done before the house goes on sale? Now is the time to research the steps required for a move and make a plan of action!What to do before a realtor gives you an assessment:Lighten up the home! Take down your curtains, wash and refresh them (replace with a lighter more updated look if necessary) and be sure to wash all of your windows inside and out. This will give your house a fresh, natural look and will be sure to dazzle your agent.Tidy up outside! Before your realtor sets one foot through your doorway, they will see the outside of your home and will be making judgments based on how it looks. Take the time to make sure your gutters, driveway, side yards, and exteriors are up to snuff. It will be too early in the year to touch up the landscaping, but keep it in the back of your mind for later.Repaint your walls! Typically a realtor will have a client paint their house in light, neutral colors to allow prospective buyers to imagine how theyd paint the home. If you get a jump start on this by repainting any darkly colored rooms, you will save great amounts of time later.Clean every inch! You probably already have a spring cleaning session every year, but nows the time to be even more thorough. You will want to move furniture so you can clean behind and beneath items that havent received a deep cleaning treatment in some time. You don't want your agent to be shocked by the dust behind the TV!Clear that clutter! One tip that every realtor will tell you is to have clean and clutter-free countertops! You want to show prospective buyers all the space they will have in the home. By clearing off the clutter, buyers have an easier time imagining where they will place their items, and they will be more likely to purchase the home. If you do not have room in your house to store the clutter, utilize a storage unit or an on-demand bin storage service until you move to your new home.After you have prepared your home for your realtor and you have received an assessment, it is time for the heavy lifting. Between the assessment and move date, you will want to donate and remove unwanted items from the home, follow any instructions the realtor gives you, schedule a date with a moving company, and start packing items into boxes. If you want to use your inventory of packed boxes as a way to keep track of your possessions going forward, especially those that are valuable, try using a free home inventory tool like Fair Split or HomeZada.Moving can be a lot of work! Luckily for you, you don't have to do it all alone. There are countless companies that can help with downsizing, organizing, and moving. In fact, Discover Organizing Inc. is proud to offer our services for the full moving process. We can connect you to a realtor, help declutter and organize your home before the realtors assessment, schedule and manage the moving company for you, and we will help pack your entire home! (Plus we can unpack you once you get to your new space.) Discover Organizing also sells moving supplies like boxes, bubble wrap, and paper. Moving takes time and effort. Use the month of March to plan the steps ahead and if you need help, were here for you!
Downsizing can be a major turning point in someones life. Whenever someone moves, they have to pack up everything in their home, interview movers and get estimates for their services, and deal with the stress from shifting their current life to a new location. Downsizing is even harder! Not only are they dealing with the stress from moving, but they are also moving into a smaller space which adds several new challenges to the process. If someone is downsizing, they are probably leaving a home they have inhabited for years. Also, they may have to let go of several cherished items or pieces of furniture in their home to make sure everything fits in their new space. This emotional time can be very taxing! Did you know that accessing and interacting with your pictures and photo albums can make this experience actually less stressful? It can, and heres how:Use Those Pictures Like a Blueprint!When you start to think about downsizing, take a look around your home. Which pieces of furniture display your favorite decorations? Do you have your countertop items arranged in a specific way? What about the curio cabinet that you spent HOURS arranging just so? You have spent the time to make your house into a home. You have organized everything to make sense to you. But now that you're moving, you may feel that you have to start all over again. Not so! By using pictures, you can make the downsizing process go much smoother.Use pictures like a blueprint! Go around your home and find every location that has a specific organizational structure, then take a picture of these locations. Now that you have the images saved, you can recreate your home in your new space! Because you took the time to document how things were arranged throughout the house, you can save time in the new space when you unpack everything. You will not have to second-guess yourself when you try to remember how your curio cabinet was set up; you have the blueprint!Archive your Memories!Another way pictures can help in the downsizing process is by helping you remember the past! When you are downsizing, you may have to let go of items and furniture you have owned for years. But that doesnt mean that you have to forget about them! Before letting anything go, take a picture! (Itll last longer) You can also take photos of entire rooms to remember how they were arranged in your home. And why stop there? Take a picture of your homes outside and any beautiful views you can see from your windows.Once you have collected all of the photos you want from your home, you can compile them into a photo album. By using programs like Mpix, Mixbook, or Shutterfly, you can have a beautiful album created, which you can then show to your loved ones or keep to help you remember your time at your previous house. If you are not sure how to create a digital album, we are always here to help you get it done!Downsizing can be a crazy time. But you can make it less stressful by utilizing pictures to your advantage. Use photographs to make your life easier when you are settling into your new home. When you move spaces, you don't have to forget about your past. Photos can provide reminders of how things were, and you can look back with fond memories while looking forward with positivity.
Let's say that you came across a shoebox full of old loose photographs or a few inherited family photo albums when you were in the process of decluttering your home. Let's also assume that you have made the conscious decision to have these pictures scanned by a Professional Photo Organizer in order to share them with your friends and family. The question will inevitably arise: what do you do with the original photos after they've been digitized? In the spirit of downsizing and getting rid of things that take up space in your home, your first thought may be to throw them away. The photos already on a flash drive, your cloud drive, and your computer - why would you need to keep the originals? The original photos are the best backup, especially if you use a cloud sync service to view/share your digital photos (i.e., Apple Photos, Google Photos, etc.). There are few worse things than accidentally deleting a photo on a synced drive (meaning it gets deleted EVERYWHERE) and realizing that you have no way of getting it back!Storage hardware and cloud software failure are rare occurrences, but they can be devastating. If you experience a power surge that damages your computer or the cloud software you use shuts down, you are really going to regret throwing the originals away! It is also important to note that hard drives have the potential to fail within a year, and most external hard drives only last around 3 years before they start experiencing data loss.Destructive edits made to a photo (i.e., cropping, lighting/color adjustments, etc.) can be difficult or impossible to undo, especially if it is the only digital copy you have access to. The original copy is always going to be your best reference if edits go awry!The original, printed photos are format-less. That is to say, you don't have to worry about "paper technology" changing as we advance further into the digital world. These "analog" photos are going to be able to be viewed by anyone at any time without the restrictions of cross-compatibility or file format.Using some sturdy archival boxes and labeled divider tabs as you sort through your photos can optimize your storage space! This means you can still maintain your goal of downsizing and clearing space! However, in order for this to be most effective, proper storage practices need to be used. Photos should not be stored in the attic, basement, garage, or anywhere where temperature and moisture levels fluctuate. By the way, you don't have to keep ALL your printed photos - just the ones that you consider the best and most meaningful! If you have already sorted through your photo collection and removed the blurry and "finger-in-frame" photos before they were scanned, finding the space in your home to store the originals of your favorite photos should be a non-issue. Also keep in mind that having photos you took on your phone printed is a great idea, as long as you create space on walls, in albums, or in photo books for them.
How does using a storage unit help you have a stress-free holiday season? People typically do not associate storage units and storage containers with having a smooth and simple holiday but let me explain how this might work to give you some peace of mind this year. Usually, when we think of holidays we think of guests, food, and the accompanying stress to meet the deadlines of having guests and making the food. We also worry that our home is too cluttered, not decorated enough, and if there are comfortable amenities for our visitors. It also means breaking out appliances (Hey Hun, when you go over to the storage unit, grab the pizzelle maker!), cookware, and bakeware that you don't normally use throughout the rest of the year.A storage unit is a great place to put away seasonal decor and to give you a chance to evaluate how much of those decorations you are actually using each season. A small unit will help you stay honest and accountable for the amount of decorations that you are using and rotating throughout your home every year. When I moved and downsized my home into an apartment I had to make some tough decisions about how many door wreaths I really needed, and how many linens I needed for each holiday. I like a good spooky ghost candle as much as the next gal, but having 5 in varying sizes might have been too much: too much to store, and too much to put out on my now limited surfaces. Often, we don't realize that we are putting the same decorative items back into the same storage bins and not decorating them with them this year because they just don't fit into our idea of what the house should look like right now or that for sentimental reasons are not ready to throw it away or donate it just yet (that old faded garland wreath was my Aunts I just feel so guilty getting rid of it). Here are some tips to keep your holiday storage unit easily organized and actually fun to visit for you (or whoever you are sending over):Buy clear bins (at least 18 gallon-size), and labeling the sides and tops with white labels, and black or dark ink colored words is key.Shelving units with wheels are best, so that you can sweep and clean from time to time, or retrieve a small item that has fallen behind the shelves.Divide your unit by season, and keep it that way. For example, Easter is always to the left, Christmas is always on the back and right walls, etc.Always leave room to maneuver, and to walk in and out of your unit. This way you wont have to pull everything out to get to something else each time you come. If you truly have no ability to do this, then put EVERYTHING you store on rolling shelves, so that it is easy to pull each category or theme out.Create an inventory on your computer of everything in the unit. Yep, everything. You can use a free home inventory software we absolutely love, called FairSplit to make this happen. It has options to include where the item is located (i.e. home, storage unit 2, etc.)Before storing and transporting your small appliances, seasonal bakeware, and cookware, wrap them in packing paper so that they don't get damaged in transit.Jill Yesko, CPO, CPPO
We cant emphasize enough how important it is to review your will and insurance policies, reassign your Power of Attorney if necessary, and meet with your financial advisor(s) at the beginning of this decade. Ive changed my will three times, and I am 54 as of this writing. Life really does whiz by, and so do all the changes. About one month before your life insurance policy renews, put it on your calendar to meet with your agent. You are not bothering themyoure making their DAY! Regarding your financial advisors or broker, this is another helper you dont want to sit by the phone for, hoping they will call you. They typically only call you when they need you to sign an updated form or something new or unpleasant is about to happen with one of your funds (maybe), and theyll need your verbal permission to move your money into another account. Youll need to be proactive, checking in and scheduling your appointments, even if theyre just phone calls. If youre not certain how to properly access your statements and information online, make sure you get help from your advisor to get in and look, together. They might be the expert here, but in the end, youre in charge, and its YOUR money.Since you dont usually get to choose how youre going to leave this world, you DO get to choose how youll be, um...stored...after you die. In the jar or in the box? Ashes at sea or on a golf course? Do you want to be part of a trees seeds? I want my ashes scattered in Ireland, a trip Ill pay for, for my kids to take my ashy bits and put them into the Irish Sea. Its where my ancestors are from, but thats not the point. Its where I want my ashes to go. I love the ocean, and I love Ireland. And I love my kids. I want them to get on a plane to Dublin, pop into a pub, order beer and a big bowl of (Irish) stew, and talk about me. Im sure theyll regale the locals about what an awesome adventurer I was, and of course, a stellar mother. Then theyll take me to the sea, say a few words, and after checking wind conditions, toss my remains into the water. It's not pleasant to discuss or think about, but it is reality. I know this. We all do, really, we just dont talk about it. If you cant talk about it, write about it. When you pass away, there are going to be questions and uncertainty, let alone grief, from those who you loved you. They will need to understand your wishes as they are dealing with the loss, so it is truly helpful to record the answers to these questions, at the minimum. Make sure you give your executor or executrix this information sooner than later, and keep a copy for yourself.My name is ___________________, and this is what I want done with my: possessions: ________________________________________________________________ money: ____________________________________________________________________ funeral: ____________________________________________________________________ photos: ____________________________________________________________________ digital rights: ________________________________________________________________If you are looking for an incredibly easy tool to use, check out the Peace of Mind Planner: Important Information about My Belongings, Business Affairs, and Wishes, by Peter Pauper Press Inc. It has easy-to-use forms for final thoughts and hopes for you to convey to your family or anyone you will someday leave behind who loves you.This article was adapted from the book Chronological Order: The Fine Print for a Large Life, by Jill B. Yesko and Laurean Kile.
If you are like most people who breathe in and out, you have pictures. You have pictures of your family, your friends, your pets, your house, events, and vacations. You also have them EVERYWHERE. They are on your computer, on your phone, on those tiny little camera cards that are the size of quarter, on CDs and in shoeboxes. They are in old albums, new albums, and in frames. I understand - and its normal. However, if you are feeling overwhelmed, and you want to get them in order, start by gathering them all together in ONE place. A dining room is a great place, since it has a large surface. Get some 4 x 6 index cards and a pen or permanent marker. Write decades at the top of each card. "1980s", "1990s", etc. Spread these cards horizontally along on the longest side of your table.Now take a stack of photos or albums (yes, even loose slides) and place them in the corresponding decade. When you get to the CDs and flash drives, if they have labels, place them right next to those loose photos from the 90s. If they are not labeled, place them in a container or basket next to your computer for further investigation. Once you have gotten your photos in their correct decade, take some shoeboxes and place each decade in a box. If it doesnt fill the box, its alright. We just want to keep it separate for now. These boxes are great to store memorabilia along with the photos, by the way - so just add as much as you want! If you need two boxes per year, that is ok too. As you are going through those photos, if they are blurry, or if they are 20 pictures of the same sunset, its ok to throw them out (its ok!!!). Once everything is in its box, pull the most recent box of printed photos out and begin there. Now we will fine-tune each decade into years and events, chronologically.Get those index cards again and write each year in that decade at the top (i.e. 1991, 1992, etc.). Take your best guess and place each group of pictures in the best year that matches what is happening. Use context clues like location, hairstyle, and clothing to help you. Do this for each box. Set up folders in your computer just like you did with the index cards, and remember to be consistent with your folder labels. Once you open those flash drives or look in your hard drive, you can start dragging those pictures into the right decade, then the right year. Now that your photos have been sorted, decide if you want to scan your favorite pictures into a cloud based backup system, or if you want to just keep them where they are. You can share them a lot more easily if they are scanned and accessible to you quickly, but do what you are comfortable doing. More about photo organizing can be found in our book, Chronological Order: The Fine Print for a Large Life!
When starting an organizing project, it is essential to make and keep a schedule! Be sure that you set clear start and end times for your sessions. This will help you maintain focus throughout the entire process and will allow you to keep your daily goals reasonable! You shouldnt go into your garage and tell yourself Oh I'll do this in two hours! Chances are, its not feasible. Use a Timer!On top of having scheduled time set aside, having a timer can be an immense help! Timers let you see how much time you have left which can help you decide between starting a new section of a room or finishing up where you are. You can use just about anything as a timer. Most phones have a built-in timer function however, this option can become a source of distraction if your notifications are not muted or turned off. Nothing can throw you out of a groove quite as well as constant dings and rings from texts and calls!The timer we like to use during our organizing sessions is the Time Timer. This handy timer not only keeps track of how much time you have left but also allows a visual representation of that time. This is a great alternative to reaching into your pocket to fish out a phone mid session allowing the opportunity for distraction. To remain on track with your goals you can look to this timer and see how much of your allotted time you have left! The Time Timer also offers a dry-erase board accessory that can help throughout your project. You can write down your current goals or notes as needed, and when you no longer need them you can erase them with ease!Using a timer and setting a schedule will provide structure to your projects. This will help you from accidentally overworking yourself or skipping out on a project that you need to be completed. When planning your organizing sessions don't forget this crucial step!
After a decluttering project is complete, it's time to make sure that things STAY organized. Group your like items togetherclothing, pantry items, cleaning supplies whatever items you want to focus on. If you are searching for the right container there are many to choose from. There are a lot of affordable and stylish options for your pantry, for general home use, and even for your basement and attic! After you have gathered your similar items, place them into an appropriate sized container and label it. Condensing items and labeling the container is a quick and simple way to sort and maintain organization! That way, when you buy new things, you know exactly where they go.Dont Buy Containers Until You Are Done Organizing!It is very tempting to buy boxes, storage goodies, or drawer organizers before you start to declutter. We get it! It can be fun (and motivating) to head to The Container Store to "get ideas" and come home with $200 worth of bins and baskets, labels and more. It is better to wait until after you have sorted out what you are keeping and have measured the drawers, cabinets, and shelves that the container will go on to go shopping - either online or in the store. Instead of making multiple trips to the store, save yourself time and effort (and frustration when things don't fit) by making sure that you are prepared!Try not to worry too much about "the system" being perfect. Organizing is a skill you CAN learn and once it becomes a daily habit, it will get easier. Eventually, you will have an easy-to-manage system that allows for quick retrieval and storage of almost any item!
Do you have an organizing plan in mind for your upcoming project? Maybe you have a room picked out to start in, and some labeled bins for all of your Donation, Sell, and Keep items. But what do you do about the indecision when it comes to deciding what to do about a specific item? The O.H.I.O. TechniqueThe O.H.I.O technique stands for Only Handle It Once. That means that when you pick up an object during an organizing session, you have to decide what to do with it right away! Once you pick up an item you must decide if you will throw it away, donate it, sell it, or keep it. If you decide to keep it, you must decide where that item will go, so make sure you zone it to where it will be retrieved later for use and enjoyment as part of the process.Dont Set an Item Aside for LaterDont fall into the trap of setting aside an item because you can deal with it later! If you start putting things away or setting them aside, soon enough they will be forgotten about. Not only will this add more work to your organizing down the road, but if you put items in a basement or attic, there's a chance that they could become lost completely or damaged! When organizing, follow the O.H.I.O technique to make the most of your sessions. By deciding then and there what to do with items, you can keep moving forward and keep making strides towards your organizing goals!
Understanding how your personal energy works is the first step in becoming successful at organizing your space! It might sound odd and you may ask yourself What about gathering supplies, or knowing what to keep...and what to get rid of? But I promise you, knowing where your stamina levels are as you start decluttering is the most important part of any organizing session.Knowing when you have the most energy to spare is key! Are you an early bird or a night owl? Do you have long shifts at your job that makes doing things on weekday nights difficult? Taking a look at yourself and recognizing when the highs and lows of your effectiveness occur throughout the week will allow you to plan for a rewarding organizing session.Why is your energy so important? Because if you have low pep, everything you do will feel like a chore. The organizing process can be exhausting both emotionally and physically. Attempting to begin that process when you do not have the energy to do it can lead to unnecessary frustration. It may become disheartening when you don't meet goals for your scheduled decluttering time which could prevent you from making the progress you are working towards. Conversely, if the enthusiasm and energy is high, you can get a lot more done in one session! You may look back and say Wow! I cant believe I got through all that stuff! Small successes lead to larger wins, and this is the case where a snowball effect is a good thing! If you keep having exhausting organizing sessions you may want to stop the process entirely, but if you keep having supercharged sessions where you get lots done then youll feel encouraged to keep moving forward! How do you Keep Your Energy up?First, you will want to decide on starting your project when you know you have a good amount of pep-in-your-step. Be sure that you have had a good nights rest the day before and that you have eaten food that will keep you going. During your organizing session, you are going to want to keep the good times rolling! Do you like music? Throw on some tunes! Prefer silence? Turn on the Do Not Disturb setting on your phone, and let people know in advance when you will need "focus time". Create a space and environment where you can thrive. You will also want to make sure you stay hydrated throughout your sessions so keep a water bottle handy!Listen to Your Body!If you start feeling like your energy is flagging, stop! You dont have to push yourself that extra mile or hunker down through the worst of it just to get that last shelf clean. If you lose your momentum its okay to take a break or stop for the day! You can always pick things up where you left off next time.By keeping your stamina in mind while organizing your possessions, you can create a positive cycle in your life. The more energy you have, the more you get done, which leads to positive feelings about the project and more enthusiasm to expend towards it. Dont let something that's actually within your control cause you to stumble (before youve even left the starting line)!
When organizing a space, it can be too easy to assume you can do everything yourself. You can look at your home and think Oh yeah, I can knock this out in a weekend. But in reality, tackling a large organizing project can be very difficult alone!Organizing Can be a Rollercoaster of Emotions When you start decluttering you will come across old mementos and items that have a significant emotional impact on you. It can be very easy to become overwhelmed when it comes to deciding what to do with these items. Also, if you have a lot of items, it can be hard to maintain direction and focus when you are alone and trying to keep the organizing plan in your head. Having support from someone else can ease the burden of any decluttering project.Who do You Look to for Help?The people that can provide the most help are Professional Organizers, friends, and family (in that order). Family will always love you and will be happy to help, but they may bring in their own opinions about what you should keep or donate. (Oh you cant possibly get rid of Uncle Tonys lamp! I know its broken but what about his memory!?)Friends may be a good choice because they can support you without bringing in family issues, which can bring on shame and guilt. However, they have their own lives to live and they may not always be available to help. There is a chance that they may have their own problems that they can bring into an organizing job (Hey, are you trying to get rid of the mug I gave you for your 30th birthday?).No matter who you choose, you need someone who is patient and non-judgmental during the entire sorting process. You will be going through a difficult time already and the last thing you need is someone making your decisions harder! Thats why the best option for help is a Professional Organizer! Professional Organizers are Impartial and they just want you to succeed in your goals! A Professional organizer can act as a vehicle to drive you towards your destination! Professional organizers can keep you focused during a job, provide emotional support during difficult decisions, and can even teach you skills that will enhance your own understanding of the organizing process!Professional organizers will typically have a team with them. That means that while you are working with the lead organizer, one of their team members can be working in a different roomon projects that don't need as much input from youkeeping the project moving along. Teams Offer Safety in Numbers!If you are going to be tackling an attic or a similar dangerous or intensive space of your house, a team of workers can help immensely! Instead of needing to carry boxes and items down flights of stairs and ladders by yourself, you can hand items to a team member. This will make everything much safer throughout the project. Don't try and tackle big projects on your own. Its very easy to feel dissuaded from organizing if you alone haven't made visible progress on your project. Hiring a professional team lets you get more done, faster, and it provides the safety and guidance you may need to finish your project.
Downsizing is an inevitable part of life. Eventually, a home can feel too large to keep up with, or perhaps its time to transition into a senior community. Whatever the reason, most people will downsize their home at least once in their life. But what do you do when you think its time for your parents or loved ones to downsize? No one wants to be seen as pushy or nosey, but if you genuinely believe it would be for the best, discussing options is a great place to start.Before you talk to your parents about downsizing, it is beneficial to be able to recognize the type of relocation they may need. Several telltale signs can indicate someone is struggling with their current space. One of the first things you should consider is if your parents need to downsize or if they need to move into Assisted Living. If you notice multiple warning signs, it might be time to sit down and have an honest conversation with your parents. The signs that someone may need to downsize are:Do your parents mention the desire to lower monthly housing costs?Do your parents talk about relocating?Are there signs that upkeep is becoming difficult? (Untended yards, dirty rooms, etc.)Are your parents starting to think of plans for their future?Are your parents looking for more independence and fun?Any of the above signs can indicate that now is the time to start considering downsizing. Once someone downsizes, they will have fewer monthly expenses, less to clean, and less to worry about! This can provide more freedom for your parents to explore new things and experiences.The signs that someone may need to downsize into Assisted Living:Are your parents eating balanced meals regularly? Are your parents still able to get around safely? (Keep an eye out for bruises or minor injuries that may indicate recent falls/accidents)Are they wearing fresh, clean clothes each time your visit? Are they laundering towels and linens regularly?Are they able to manage their medications appropriately? (Look for stockpiled or expired medications)Do they have difficulty moving around their home? (Are there blocked walkways or stairs that are causing issues?)If you notice that your parents are struggling to stay safe and healthy in their home, then it is time to consider discussing assisted living. Keeping an eye out for warning signs can give you time to talk about moving before they have an accident. Once you decide that your parents should downsize, what do you do? The best way to broach the subject is to have an open and honest conversation with your parents. Explain your feelings and concerns but let them know that the decision is theirs.Giving your parents the CHAT:Communicate openly. Explain your concerns and why you believe that downsizing would be beneficial. If you are worried about their safety or if you want them to be closer to you, be direct and say so. Have an open mind. Your parents may have different opinions and feelings towards the situation. Respect their position and listen when they talk.Ask questions. Ask how your parents are feeling about the conversation and about downsizing. If they have concerns, address them.Talk to an expert. Reach out to your local Senior Move Manager and ask questions about the downsizing process. If your parents have any questions, pass them along.The hardest part of the process is having an open and honest conversation. Something to keep in mind is that this process takes time! There will be strong feelings and deep emotions; you will most likely need several sessions of talking with your parents before any decision is made. Don't be tempted to rush your parents into a choice they are not 100% on board with. But if you start the process and take the time to have meaningful conversations, both your parents and yourself will feel more confident about a transition to a new space. More tips about helping your parents decide to downsize and transition can be found in our book, Chronological Order: The Fine Print for a Large Life.
You may have moved houses several times in your life, or you may have moved only once or twice after leaving your parents house. When you DID move you probably worked with a moving company or at the very least borrowed their truck. But now that you may be coming up on one last pack up and go situation, have you thought of hiring a Senior Move Manager?Senior Move Managers are the Superheroes of Moves!A Senior Move Manager (SMM) does so much more than help box up your things and unload a truck at your new location. Senior Move Managers are professionals that typically have backgrounds in gerontology, social work, health care, and psychology. On top of that, all Senior Move Managers are accredited by the National Association of Senior Move Managers (NASMM) which vets for over 900 Senor Move Management companies across the United States, Canada, and the world. SMMs partner up with the seniors of the world to make their moves into Forever-Homes worry-free.What Does a Senior Move Manager Do?A Senior Move Manager will create a partnership with the seniors they help. They will sit down and discuss what the client desires in their move, their new home, and their upcoming life goals. Senior Move Managers want to cultivate trust in their work relationships so they can really strut their stuff and offer the best options to clients, while the seniors know that the SMM has their best interest at heart! But what does an SMM do? They typically offer but are not limited to:Developing an Age in place planOrganizing, sorting, and downsizingCustomized floor plansArranging removal of unwanted items through donation, auction, or disposal.Interviewing, scheduling, and overseeing moversArranging shipments and storageOversight of professional packingUnpacking and setting up the new homeRelated services such as cleaning, waste removal, shopping, assisting in selecting a realtor, and helping prepare a home to be sold. Why are Senior Move Managers Different than Movers?Senior move managers take on a more active role than movers during a job. While movers can pack up boxes, load and unload their truck, and move furniture, thats about all they do. Senior Move Managers, however, go the extra mile in the move! They will use expert packing skills to package your breakable items, note where every item came from and which box it is in to locate it easily, and they will help unpack when you get to your new home! While movers will bring the boxes inside and thats about all they do, a Senior Move Manager will unpack the boxes you need, connect devices such as T.V.s and computers, and organize your home so you can spend the night right away! SMMs are your extra pair of hands, you tell them what you need to happen and they will work with you to make it possible!How do you Know if you Need a Senior Move Manager?If the thought of carrying boxes up and downstairs is daunting to you, get a Senior Move Manager! SMMs are there to help you take care of all the physically draining needs your move has. If you want to maintain a relaxed state of mind throughout what would normally be a stressful transition period, get a Senior Move Manager! SMMs will schedule all of the important dates to work with your schedule and they will act as overwatch for the whole process, making sure everything goes according to plan and making changes as needed so you don't have to worry. Do you want someone who is in your corner and cheering for you every step of the way? Get a Senior Move Manager! SMMs are there for YOU! They want you to succeed and they are willing to listen to your wants and needs. The best timeframe to look into getting an SMM is six months before your move. This allows you to take your time in your preparations instead of rushing to meet your deadlines. If hiring a Senior Move Manager sounds like something you would like, Discover Organizing can help you! We offer the services of our two accredited Senior Move Managers for every need your relocation may have.
When we hear the word downsize, unappealing images are often conjured of older adults sadly emptying our homes of their possessions, their memories, and reluctantly preparing to move to a smaller easier-to-manage home. We think of seniors, shuffling through old musty dimly lit basements, making decisions about what to pitch, what to donate, and trying to figure out what to do with the rest. We might envision the family members, coming in to help in their own way, but maybe causing more stress and tension than what we had ever bargained for, as they pick through a lifes collection of furnishings, photographs, and trinkets. The parents yield to their adult children or siblings, but mostly out of exhaustion and coercion fatigue. Boxes are gathered and built, things are wrapped in paper and they are loaded on trucks, to go to the new place, or to be auctioned or given to a charity. It doesnt have to be that way.I am middle-aged. I have been downsizing for many years of my life, through all of my moves and life changes, always trying to find more happiness by having less, by building memories up in my life rather than more possessions. As a Certified Professional Organizer and Senior Move Manager, I have assisted many of my clients work through tedium, make arrangements for things to leave their homes and find a better place to exist, as well as packed and unpacked the treasures that they choose to surround themselves with as they cross into their next part of their lives. If I had a nickel for every time I heard OH JILL!!! I wish I would have done this sooner!!!, I would at least have a couple of dollars in my pocket to remind me, to now remind YOU, that now is the time. Now is the time to start taking a good look around at any age of your life, at any stage of where you are in your time in that house or apartment of yours - and make some decisions about the things that really matter. Is that too vague? Ok. Here is how to tell what things you really need to hold onto, for YOUR own sake. Note: If you have been struggling with hoarding behaviors, this article may not be as helpful as you wish, but it might still help you. Here is a really helpful exercise you can do to help you prioritize your belongings:Imagine that you have exactly 3 hours to leave your home*, and a very small car to transport the items - we shall say a Mini Cooper - to a safe place. You will never have the chance to go back to your home, so what are you taking with you?Now imagine that I just lied a little, and that you have 12 hours to leave your home, a Ford Explorer, and a helper or two that can load the REST of your things in the SUV. The items from the previous scenario are already in the vehicle. You will not be able to return to your home. What are you taking with you NOW?Ok. I lied a little more, but that was the last time. Now you have 24 hours, a 20-foot box truck, and two very strong people that can help you load and unload to your new beautiful home that has at least one bedroom, a small kitchen, a full bath, and a living room and small dining room. The items that you loaded into your SUV with your helper are already loaded magically into your 20-foot box truck. Does that help? See what I did there? Let me tell you what most people put on their lists when I do this exercise during my downsizing workshops:Photos (yep, number one answer)Money (wallet, purse)Devices (phone, tablet, computer)MedicineJewelryArt Heirlooms of all sizesClothes and Shoes, OuterwearToiletriesHobby Items*In all of these scenarios, your loved ones and pets are safe.Prioritization is the name of the game. Writing down the items and categories of things that mean the world to you will make a very large difference in your downsizing journey, especially if you record all of those thoughts BEFORE YOU EVEN BEGIN. It is a not-so-good idea to start by going room by room, writing down or putting sticky notes on furniture and art you want to keep, because I promise you that list will be very very large. The emotions will derail you, and five hours after you have entered your guest room, you will still be there, sorting out that closet full of memories, clothing you dont like anymore (but might need!) and odds and ends that you put there years ago. Put your intentions down on paper, then honor them. Once you have done that, then go room by room with an accountability partner of any kind (we recommend non-judgmental friends or family members if a Professional Organizer or Senior Move Manager is not on your radar yet).The point here is that you can be in charge of your decisions. The items that go to your next new place are YOURS, and if you are part of a couple, you can decide about your possessions that you both own together by compromising and voting on what is the most meaningful and useful.We all know how challenging it is to make changes to our routines, to our lives, and to our homes. This process of downsizing and simplifying does not have to be painful. It can actually be fun to plan out what your next space will look like and feel like! - Jill Yesko, CPO, CPPO
10 Organizing Steps for the Years AheadBy Jill B. YeskoWhen cleaning, decluttering, and organizing for the years ahead, first think about who you are and how you live now. My suggestions come as a certified professional organizer who has helped more than 4,000 families organize their homes, downsize, move, or transition. One of the most important goals for organizing and decluttering is to make space for the life you live and your plans for the future. Who are you now? What do you want to be doing in five years? Does your home reflect that?Here are some steps for organizing your home for the years ahead: 1. Make space for your life and current hobbiesMany of us live among the archives of who we once were instead of living in a home for who we are today. Over the next decade or years ahead, your home should reflect your goals and plans intertwining into what you are enjoying right now.For example, if you like to hike, set up a space for easy access to hiking poles, boots, and rain gear. If you want to enjoy time with your grandchildren, set up a room with toys and puzzles.2. Clean out hobbies from the pastIf you are not skiing anymore, do you need to keep all your ski equipment? Thirty years ago, when my children were young, I thought I wanted to be a quilter. I bought fabric, patterns, cutting utensils. I never got around to starting my quilting life. When I downsized a couple of years ago, I got rid of bags of fabric. We dont need to keep storing items from hobbies that we thought wed try or represent our past good intentions.3. Plan for the futurePart of making plans for the future means making plans to get rid of the past. We tend to look backward, which can overwhelm what we are doing now and what we want to do next.4. Start small but startMany retirees put off trying something new in their lives like signing up for a new class or trip, until they have finished the task of clearing out the basement. Organizing doesnt have to be all or nothing. You CAN do the work AND have fun in the same week. You dont have to finish all your obligations first before making time for you. Start small and work often. First, decide which space you want to address. Dont start with the toughest room or the garage. And dont plan to finish a room in one day. I recommend setting a timer for yourself for the amount of time you want to spend. Break that up into 30-minute chunks. Decluttering with all of the decisions to be made can be exhausting.5. Make an appointment with yourselfYou can also ask a nonjudgmental friend or family member to help you. Its good to do little bits at a time because then you build a habit. For example, make an appointment with yourself every Tuesday morning to spend an hour sorting in the basement or the craft room. You could ask a friend over to help you keep your appointment. They can just be there reading a book while you sort in another room. Working with a professional organizer works so well because were an appointment that you do every week for 2 to 4 hours. When people have an appointment and spend money, they are more accountable. There are penalties for canceling. You can do it yourself if you act like the time set aside is an actual appointment.6. Follow the principles of organizing and declutteringFirst, gather your materials like plastic garbage bags, plastic bins for storage, cardboard boxes, a notebook, and markers. Next, work in that space left to right, top to bottom, so you dont lose your path (and you can see progress!). With each item, decide whether to keep, discard, recycle, donate or sell. For items that are broken, send those to the landfill. Check with your local charity to see what they accept for items clothes, books, dishes, furniture? Many charities do not accept electronics or books. Be sure only to donate clean, usable items so that your donation is a gift and not a burden.7. Choose happinessRemove the pain ghosts. When deciding whether to keep or get rid of an item, figure out how it makes you feel. Make sure your home doesnt have objects that elicit negativity and broken dreams. Your home should have things that will support you, not bring you down. If you have to keep painful items such as divorce papers, be sure to store them in a box in the back of the basement, not in the working files that you see every day. This does not mean getting rid of all photos or mementos of times past. I have my dogs tags in a little frame. Yes. I miss him. I have a picture of my father in my entryway. I grieve both of them. But I enjoy looking at my father and greeting him daily.8. Keep a notebook handyA notebook serves as a record of what to do with items. It also is a place to keep your stories. Make pages for KEEP, SELL, DONATE, and STORYTIME.Keep list: This will create a home inventory.Sell page: You can start researching what you want to sell it for or where to sell it, like an online auction site or an eBay consignment store.Donate page: Keep a record of what you donated. Even if you dont use it for tax purposes later, keeping a record will help you remember what you did with that item. Didnt I have a roasting pot? Whatever happened to that?Storytime page, or Favorite Things page: Sometimes, we hold onto things because they remind us of a happy time in our lives. When you are trying to release an item, write a quick story about why that item means so much to you. Perhaps you keep the Nancy Drew novels because you remember spending summer days at your grandmothers house when you were 12 and the afternoons reading on the sofa with a glass of iced tea next to you while your grandmother was in the kitchen. If you can share or record that memory, you can release the item.9. Make a short bookWrite a book about the things that mean so much to you and then release them. Photograph the memorabilia or furniture items. Upload to Shutterfly. Include your notes from your storytime page.10. Finish cooking that mealWhen you cook a meal, the meal is not done until all of the dishes are washed and put away. After each organizing time, put the donation items straight into the car. Dont just haul them to the garage to sit for a year. Take the discard items to the trash can outside. Same with recycling. When you work in little bits at a time, it makes clean up easier. The best way we can honor ourselves as we age is to align our homes with our current selves, no matter who that is. Does your home match you or match a different person who you were 20-30 years ago? Lets clear this space for you to live the life you want to live now and in the future.
The holidays are coming up again. Some people may be considering changing their holiday traditions due to the current events, but even if they do, holidays are the perfect time to remember your loved ones. As we come closer to Thanksgiving and the full upswing of the holiday season, have you taken any time to consider the conversations you should have over these holidays?When it comes to your older loved ones (Grandparents, Parents, etc.) its essential that we take some time and tell them just how much we love them and how thankful we are for all of the hard work they have put into our lives. Its time to ask these loved ones how they are doing and what their goals in life are. This is also the time to ask the difficult questions that may make you feel uncomfortable. Questions like How is your estate planning/retirement planning coming? or How is your current living situation?Questions like this can make you feel like you are invading your parents or grandparents privacy but it is important that, as a family, everyone can talk about their concerns and plans in an open environment.How can you make things less awkward for your loved ones and yourself?Tell them you would like to have a discussion beforehand! Dont just spring those heavy conversations on them!Involve everyone in the conversation. Dont leave family members out!LISTEN to your loved ones. Dont just nod along with the intent to reply; pay attention and listen to their thoughts and feelings.Spread the conversations out! If talking about these subjects is bringing everyone down, take a break, and come back to it.So what if your loved ones say their environment is no longer supporting their lifestyle? Maybe the yard work is getting too hard or the third set of stairs to the loft is taking more out of them each time. Whatever their reason, listen to their concerns and talk to them about future plans!If your loved ones say theyve been considering relocating what are the next steps?Listen to their concerns and current issues. You will want to work together to find a solution that nullifies what they dont want to deal with.Ask what kind of relocation they are planning. Do they want to downsize, find a Forever Home, or move into a community?Talk about their budget and resources they have for this move. (I know its awkward to talk about money but its very important!)If a decision is made to relocate (Or even if its shelved for later!) the next step would be to talk with a Senior Move Manager. We talked about what a Senior Move Manager does in a previous blog. To recap, they are accredited by the National Association of Senior Move Managers, can develop an Age in Place plan for any client, and they will coordinate and facilitate every aspect of a relocation including scheduling movers, assisting in selecting a realtor or senior community, and even providing oversight during the packing and unpacking process!Even if your loved ones are not ready to take the next step in relocations, talking with a Senior Move Manager about your options would be extremely helpful. They could provide information you need to make informed decisions down the road, and they could help with some of the issues your loved ones are facing now, without the need to relocate. If you and your loved ones are able to have these conversations, things will be much easier for everyone down the line. You dont want to be caught later in life when a relocation is necessary but you havent done any research into what is required. Now is the time to start tackling those difficult conversations! Take the time to show your loved ones that you care for their well being and are willing to brave the awkwardness to do whats best for them. After everyone is done talking, you can get right back to the holidays, content in knowing that your familys future is a little more secure.