Margaret, widowed last fall, stands in her yard and surveys the scene with a sigh. Her 4-bedroom sidesplit, home nestled on tree-lined street, had become increasingly difficult to maintain during her husband's illness. Now that he is gone, the garden, once filled with beautiful flowers is overgrown with weeds. The window trim is in desperate need of paint and the deck has several boards that need replacing. She is so lonely now, in the same house where she, her husband and their three children had made their lives for decades.
Margaret thinks of her three adult children, scattered across 2 provinces. Jobs, kids, and other obligations prevent them from being here with her now. Margaret looks around her house, Hundreds of framed photos, boxes of cards, 20 years worth of bills and taxes must be sorted through.
There was way too much furniture in the house, it couldn’t possibly all fit in her new home. What was she going to do with her cherished lifelong blue china collection?
Anyone who has ever moved knows how stressful it can be. It's particularly challenging for older adults and their families when it's time to pack up a home of 30, 40, or 50 years and start over somewhere else. Margaret called us and we were delighted to help.
We decided together that the best plan, was to buy a new place using a line of credit for a few months. That way she could move into the new home while the Realtors fixed up her old home and staged it for sale. It would cause the least amount of disruption and be less emotional to watch her house transformed for a new family.
While we looked for a new home, the first place our Move Managers started was with the papers. It’s an easy task to do while watching TV in the evening after a day of seeing new homes. We spent a day collecting all the bills, photos and random papers and sorting them into our categories for her to go through. It didn’t take Margaret long, to find a cozy two-bedroom bungalow townhouse only two kilometers from her current home with a much smaller backyard where she didn’t even need a lawn mower.
We helped Margaret measure her furniture and created a floor plan. She could keep her bedroom set, dining room set (but not the hutch) and her favorite wingback chairs. Unfortunately, the sofa was too big. We took an inventory in each room, of everything thing she would need and put the other “stuff” in a designated room to be sorted, sold, donated or recycled.
Margaret had several collections of things she loved; one of her favorites was her lifelong collection of beautiful blue dishware, ceramics, and collector plates. We helped her cull them down to just her favorites and she gifted several to her closest friends and daughters. The remaining were meticulously photographed and creatively turned into a stunning piece of art to hang on her new dinette wall.
All together it took us just over a week to pack Margaret. Margaret’s daughter’s took care of booking of the movers. They planned to join their mom a couple days before the move and a few days after to help her get settled. Moving day is a stressful day and best when it is a team event! On moving day, we joined the family and decided to each unpack a room to get their mom settled and comfortable as soon as possible.
A week later, we delivered the extra furniture to consignment and hosted a garage sale that made an additional $2,500….who knew old vinyl records would be so popular!? When the house was cleared out; we painted, repaired the broken deck boards, hired a landscaper to help us with the overgrown garden and replaced dated flooring with new wood floors. Our designer staged the home for a new family to fall in love and we sold the home in just 4 days (above list price).
Margaret would visit the old house periodically. Somehow it seemed easier, now that she was settled and happy in her NEW place. It gave her comfort knowing that it would see the laughter of kids again. Even after the house sold, Margaret’s daughters asked us to help with a surprise to recreate the family photo collage that once graced the stairwell at the old house, in Margaret’s new home. Margaret cried tears of happiness….and so did we!
Each of our customers is special, but we see many stories like Margaret’s. Often seniors have a hard time separating the emotions and memories of leaving their homes. At the same time, the children also have a hard time helping their parents in their emotional state coupled with busy careers, kids distance and their own daily routines. We are always honoured when we are called to help navigate this life transition.