By Marilyn Leek

(milankivi/123rf.com)

An enthusiastic Girl Scout in her younger days, Clara took the values she learned into her adult life, especially the motto “Be Prepared.” If her toaster stopped working, there was a new backup and another slightly used one stored on the garage shelving — right next to the extra sets of everyday dishes, backup microwave oven, blender, etc. Clara was prepared, no doubt about it.

But now Clara was moving to a senior living community. She knew there wouldn’t be space for all her “Be Prepared” extras (but hoped there was room for most of them). Valuing the scouting tradition of caring for the earth, Clara didn’t want those belongings she couldn’t take to end up in a landfill. There was also the Girl Scout tradition of helping others. Surely someone could use some of her things! Clara decided she needed help and hired a Senior Move Manager.

The Senior Move Manager found working with Clara a time of great storytelling and provided insight into her way of thinking. It was amazing how Clara knew what was currently in use, what was on the ready, and where everything was. To help with decision-making, the Senior Move Manager marked up a floor plan of Clara’s new residence to show exactly how much space was available. The closets were adequate for everyday living, but not big enough for Clara’s “Be Prepared” extras. Clara would have a storage bin in her building but it was very small, and not easily accessible. There were tough decisions to make and Clara was glad she wouldn’t be making them alone.   

Letting go of the idea that “Be Prepared” meant having a backup of everything took Clara time. The Senior Move Management team who helped with the sorting process made it easier by asking Clara the right questions. It wasn’t “No, you can’t take that” but rather a more delicate, thought-provoking approach. Knowing extra items would be sold or donated not tossed, also helped Clara with downsizing. 

By the time the sorting was done, the move-in date set, the movers arranged, and the Realtor informed, Clara felt ready for the next chapter in her life. The Senior Move Team carefully packed the items going with Clara and the movers delivered them to her new residence. Once there, the team unpacked and set up her place (dishes in the cabinets, linens in the closet, books on the shelves, etc.), even removing the packing materials. Then Clara got a call from the Senior Move Manager to “come home” with everything in place for this newest phase of her life.

After the move, the team returned to Clara’s house and began setting up for the estate sale. Bringing in tables, display racks, etc., they showcased Clara’s extra “Be Prepared” items. Everything was tagged and priced, photos were taken, ads placed, social media posts created, and invitations emailed. Afterward, a prearranged clear-out company took unsold items to various donation centers Clara had chosen. Then a cleaning service readied the house for the Realtor to begin showings.

Clara was thrilled to receive a check for her percentage of the items sold. She also received a list of items donated along with the donation receipts which made the former Girl Scout especially happy. Downsizing had been an emotional process but, in the end, Clara was comfortable in her new home and pleased with her decision to hire a Senior Move Manager.  The owner of Chesapeake Transitions, Marilyn Leek is a Certified Senior Move Manager® who has been providing support and guidance for Maryland seniors and their families for over a decade.

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