Transitions

Although you may not frequently move from one home to another, you may go through mini-moves within your living spaces. Perhaps a better term to describe it would be a transitioning.

There are a variety of housing transitions that can occur throughout our lives. There might be a time when you have to change the way your home is set up to accommodate a baby arriving, a young adult returning from college or an aging parent coming to live with you. Another transition might be the blending of two households and the struggle of knowing how to combine everything that is important without having too much. Maybe someone in your home is limited to living only on the first floor due to a short term or long term physical ailment. These transitions require us to rethink the use of our homes, to move and reorganize our possessions to meet our current needs. How do you transition your present space to fit your new specific needs?

Create a list – Begin by writing down the specific new needs for your space. This list may take some time to compile and will require repeated communication with everyone involved in the transition. Often when someone states a need, such as a first floor bathroom, they are making the assumption that you will see other parts of that need that are connected. In this example, it really means a full bath with shower because they aren’t able to climb stairs. Take time to talk through each need, discussing what is involved, why it is important and how it can be addressed.
Think outside the box – Sometimes it is hard to do this in our own homes. When the living room has always been the living room, it can be a challenge to be view the space differently. However, transitioning may require some creative repurposing. You may have always had the dining room where it is now, but perhaps the room could be changed into an office, a bedroom or a family room to fit your needs better. A fresh set of eyes or a new perspective may be needed to see the different possibilities for your space and furniture. In addition, you may find that one change may create a shuffling effect of other rooms or items. This is a part of the transition process, and though it may require some extra effort, working through this cascade of changes will help to make life run much more smoothly.
Stay flexible – Although you may have put a lot of thought into this space transition, you may find there is an aspect of it that doesn’t work well. Take note of this and be ready to adapt. Perhaps your transition was that someone is in a wheel chair and cannot reach the upper cabinets. You shuffled everything to the countertop and lower cabinets, only to find out that the things at the back of the countertops are still out of reach. Be willing to continue to make changes to optimize your space, and remember: transitioning is a process not just a one-time event.

No transition is easy, but with a little bit of planning and work, you can make your home transition so that it is able to meet your new needs.

© Beth Giles

Senior Move Manager/ Professional Organizer – NWOrganizingSolutions.com

Low-Cost Options for Aging in Place

Many seniors prefer to stay in their homes as long as possible. Of course your ability to do this hinges on many factors, including the nature of the challenges you face in your current home. Major home renovations may be required, but there are also numerous inexpensive steps you can take to improve your living situation.

Safety Improvements:

  • Flooring: carpeting is preferable to area rugs because it reduces tripping hazards and can cushion falls. But if area rugs are used, make sure they’re secured to the floor.
  • Handrails: on stairways, add a second handrail along the opposite wall for improved stability.
  • Footwear: to prevent falls, non-slip shoes are preferable to slippers of socks.
  • Non-skid safety strips:adhered to the floor of a tub/shower, non-skid strips are preferable to removable in-shower bath mats.
  • Bathroom grab bars: ideally these should be anchored into the wall, but if that’s not possible opt for a safety rail clamped onto the side of the tub.
  • Quality step ladder: purchase a broad-based heavy-duty step ladder with a hand-hold bar across the top to safely reach items stored out of reach.
  • Lighting: whether it’s making a bathtub brighter or installing motion-activated night lights in the hallway, better lighting can help prevent falls and make hobbies, reading, etc. more enjoyable. Lighting improvements might be as simple as changing the bulbs (to higher wattages or to bulbs that mimic daylight instead of “yellow” soft lighting) or adding battery-operated units.

Convenience Factors:

  • Hand shower: convert a standard fixed shower head into a hand-held system with flexible hose.
  • Raised toilet seats: no need to buy a new toilet when a removable seat can be added to most standard toilets.
  • Mail catcher: mail delivered via a slot in the door may be easier to retrieve from a mail box, especially if a narrow basket is mounted below the door opening so the recipient doesn’t have to pick up mail off the floor.
  • Knobs: replace round door and/or faucet knobs with lever styles, which are easier to turn. likewise, loop pulls can make drawers easier to open.
  • Eating: specially-designed cups and eating utensils can minimize food spills, including weighted options that help counterbalance shake-prone hands.
  • Cooking utensils: lightweight and ergonomically-designed options are readily available now, many offering non-slip handles and bright, attractive colors.
  • Keep things handy: move often-used items to easy-to-access locations.
  • Eliminate excess “stuff”: having fewer items to store, sort, juggle, and handle can make aging in place an easier and more enjoyable proposition.

Lynn Mattecheck is a Seniors Real Estate Specialist (SRES®) with RE/MAX. You can count on her to guide you through the process of buying or selling your home. (503) 495-3258.

The Seniors Real Estate Specialist® (SRES®) designation is awarded by the SRES® Council, a subsidiary of the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR). To learn more about SRES® and access various consumer resources, please visit SRES.org

Estate Sales

Preparing for Estate Sales

When you are downsizing, there is always the question: What do you do with belongings you are not taking with you? With everything else you need to consider, this is not what you will want to be focusing on.

Consult an estate sale company for help.  Left over furniture, housewares, tools, clothing, collectibles, and knick-knacks can all be sold after you’ve moved.  Your old home will be left empty – and ready for “move-in” or home sale preparation.

Leaving items behind to be sold at a moving sale is not the same as giving them away or throwing them out!  The professional will conduct a sale for you and manage the disposition of your items in a professional manner.

That professional manner includes a number of services prior to, during, and after the sale.  The company staff will:

  • Prepare items for sale – which may involve some cleaning, polishing and even minor repairs
  • Set up, arrange, and display items to maximize their appeal for the buyer.
  • Research items to assure proper pricing.
  • Conduct the sale – which may be by invitation only or open to the public.
  • Hire sufficient, trained staff to assure security as well as the safety of customers.
  • Provide effective marketing and advertising for the sale – from newspaper ads to email notices to personal calls.
  • Dispose of the items that didn’t sell in accordance with the client’s wishes

These are the basic services offered.  Some items in a sale may be best sold through other methods such as eBay ® or other auction venues.  In those cases, the estate sale company will provide those services as well.

Additionally, the estate sale company can provide a menu of services to assist those customers who want to conduct their own sale.  They can give guidance on pricing and display.  They can write advertising copy and consult on the important matters of security during a sale.

Estate sale companies charge a commission on the gross sales.  The company will provide a free consultation, references, and a service agreement or contract that spells out their services.  The best part about the moving sale is that you will receive a check for the sale of your items.

This article was contributed by Sandra Millius from Millius Estate Services, who have been providing these services for over 11 years.  Their principals are trained personal property appraisers.  They have experienced set-up and sales staff and are licensed, bonded and insured.  They are dedicated to putting their client’s needs first.

Millius Estate Services, Inc.  –  503.282.3838  –  sandramillius@comcast.net  –  www.milliusestatesservice.com

To Keep or Not to Keep?


question mark
The thought of going through all of your possessions may sound daunting but it is often a necessary step in preparing for a move. It is the process of thinking through what you own and then making decisions about whether to take them with you to your new home or whether they are items you no longer need and they should be shared with others.

 

This process is important whether you are moving to a similar sized home and need to update your possessions to meet your current lifestyle or whether you are downsizing to a smaller space and need to adjust what you own to fit comfortably into your new space.  Taking the time to make wise decisions about your belongings before you move can make the transition and the adjustment to your new place much less stressful.

 

Sorting through and editing your things does not have to be overwhelming. Here are a few tips to lighten the burden and anxiety of this process:

  • Start with small steps. Accomplishing a large task like this can be intimidating if you view it as a whole. When the job is broken down into smaller pieces it becomes more manageable.  It took years to accumulate what you have, so it will take some time to work through it all. Continue reading

Outside the box

When we think of downsizing or moving, one of the first images that usually come to mind is boxes, cardboard boxes, in many shapes and sizes. They are a huge part of any move. These boxes are great to put things in, but there is one box you need to break out of – your mind box.

What is a mind box? It is the boundaries and restrictions we apply in thinking about the things around us.  In this case, it refers to the patterns of how we relate to our possessions. We find ourselves thinking that certain things have to be stored in specific pieces of furniture, that a particular item was needed in the past so we will always need to have it, or that the lovely gift we received years ago is still our responsibility to keep. These are just a few of the walls that “box” in our thinking.

We need to think outside that box when downsizing or moving. We need to think about our possessions and the narratives that come with them from a different perspective. Continue reading

Top 10 Downsizing Tips

You hear or see them everywhere. Some lists are based on researched statistics while others are just made up to be fun. There are lists of the top 10 movies, the top 10 places to visit, the top 10 important vitamins, and even the top 10 plays of last night’s game. One late night show has a daily segment featuring that day’s top 10 list.

These top 10 tips to help you de-stress your move and enable you to be productive as you downsize your possessions. You may be anticipating a transition in your housing situation this year or perhaps you know of someone who needs assistance as they go through a housing change. According to the US Census Bureau about 1 in 6 Americans move each year which means, regardless of your present condition, these moving tips may become useful in the not so distant future.

Whether moving from one home to a similar size one or downsizing to a smaller one, moving is not just an event but a process you go through. It starts when you first consider the possibility of a change and continues through many stages until you are settled into your new place and feel comfortable enough to call it home. At times this process may feel overwhelming and sometimes unattainable. There are some steps you can take along the way to make sure this project moves forward in a smooth and efficient way. We will discuss these in our newsletters throughout the year. If you are not receiving our newsletters, let us know at Beth@NWOrganizingSolutions.com.

10. Make a plan
9. Start early
8. Break it into smaller tasks
7. Plan out your space
6. List what is important
5. Save your memories
4. Let go/Share with others
3. Stay in touch
2. Prepare for moving day
1. Ask for help!

Whether you are planning to make space in your present home for an additional family member, shifting your space around to adjust to a new physical need, moving your household across town or transferring to another country, these tips are for you. I hope this top 10 list will help make your moving process easier and more organized.

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Household Transitions

Transitions

Although you may not frequently move from one home to another, you may go through mini-moves within your living spaces. Perhaps a better term to describe it would be a transitioning. There are a variety of housing transitions that can occur throughout our lives. There might be a time when you have to change the way your home is set up to accommodate a baby arriving, a young adult returning from college or an aging parent coming to live with you. Another transition might be the blending of two households and the struggle of knowing how to combine everything that is important without having too much. Maybe someone in your home is limited to living only on the first floor due to a short term or long term physical ailment. These transitions require us to rethink the use of our homes, to move and reorganize our possessions to meet our current needs. How do you transition your present space to fit your new specific needs?

Create a list – Begin by writing down the specific new needs for your space. This list may take some time to compile and will require repeated communication with everyone involved in the transition. Often when someone states a need, such as a first floor bathroom, they are making the assumption that you will see other parts of that need that are connected. In this example, it really means a full bath with shower because they aren’t able to climb stairs. Take time to talk through each need, discussing what is involved, why it is important and how it can be addressed.

Think outside the box – Sometimes it is hard to do this in our own homes. When the living room has always been the living room, it can be a challenge to be view the space differently. However, transitioning may require some creative repurposing. You may have always had the dining room where it is now, but perhaps the room could be changed into an office, a bedroom or a family room to fit your needs better. A fresh set of eyes or a new perspective may be needed to see the different possibilities for your space and furniture. In addition, you may find that one change may create a shuffling effect of other rooms or items. This is a part of the transition process, and though it may require some extra effort, working through this cascade of changes will help to make life run much more smoothly.

Stay flexible – Although you may have put a lot of thought into this space transition, you may find there is an aspect of it that doesn’t work well. Take note of this and be ready to adapt. Perhaps your transition was that someone is in a wheel chair and cannot reach the upper cabinets. You shuffled everything to the countertop and lower cabinets, only to find out that the things at the back of the countertops are still out of reach. Be willing to continue to make changes to optimize your space, and remember: transitioning is a process not just a one-time event.

No transition is easy, but with a little bit of planning and work, you can make your home transition so that it is able to meet your new needs.