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A Move Gone Right

A Move Gone Right

A move gone right  – one of our latest projects helping one of our clients move.

First, kudos to this client of ours for two main reasons: (1) She first called us to declutter and organize her whole house (she knew she was moving in the future), and (2) After we organized her place, she maintained the house and the order within in top shape.

Organizing Before Packing

These two things were of great importance, especially because she was moving. And as counterintuitive as it sounds, organizing the home before packing for moving is crucial. This is because:

  • It’s the only way to decide what to keep and what to let go confidently.
  • Organizing the home before the move allows packing by category, which leads to a smoother unpacking and new home set-up process.

Organizing the home is critical before packing for moving, especially if the homeowner shows the house while living there.

Living in the House to Sell Complicates Things

Showing the house to sell while living in it is a different animal altogether – from packing itineraries to staging parameters to navigating living in a home while tiptoeing around.

Trying to sell, stage, and show a house while living in it is far more complicated in every aspect. But our client navigated this process like a champ! And what’s more, packing her home for the move was simpler than expected because of the preemptive strategy and planning employed.

Preemptively Planning and Working Together

As mentioned, she had the home meticulously organized by us and then professionally cleaned by a company we recommended months before putting the house on the market.

Some months later, we worked together again when she was ready for a staging and home prep consultation. She followed our advice quickly and thoroughly.

When it was time to pre-pack the home as part of the staging phase (to show the house with fewer contents), she had us help her with that as well.

The final packing took place three days before closing.

The Timing Of It All

One of the critical aspects of planning a smooth move is considering the different levels of packing the person or family will need, according to what the process looks like for them.

Our client already had conducted a preliminary pack to stage the home. The moving company placed her belongings in a local storage facility.

Given the timing of the closing, we needed to pack her last belongings four days before closing to provide time for the movers to pick up the boxes and furniture, plus allow an extra day for the make-ready cleaning.

So, we had two days to finish packing her house, and that was it? No, not so fast.

This client would spend two days in her empty house and two more days in a hotel before finalizing the house sale.

Although she would hit the road immediately after closing, she’d need an extra night in a hotel somewhere along the route. Also, she was going to a rented house for 30 days until her new home was ready (new build).

The Many Packing Levels

So, each one of these details informed and directed our packing efforts. It was more complex than packing everything on sight and go. There were several packing levels to consider:

  1. Items packed in the preliminary stage – these were taken to a local storage by the moving company.
  2. Items packed in the last few days and picked up by the moving company to be added to her local storage for the time being (including her car).
  3. Items the client needed during a month-long stay at a rented house until her new is available. These things would be packed in more accessible bags/boxes and loaded into her van.
  4. What she needed for the last couple of days in her empty home, the local hotel until the closing, and the hotel on her way to her new state – to be packed using her suitcases and carry-on bags. She was supposed to operate exclusively with the stuff in her suitcases and carry-ons for 6-7 days.

We considered all these things in our master plan. Our client was able to follow the plan, and when everything was said and done, she happily went on her way to her new life adventure.

It’s Complex But Not A Nightmare

I wanted to share this experience and process to illustrate the things I usually discuss in a real-world scenario.

The moving process, in its many dimensions and details, is complicated. But with the right planning and execution, it does not need to be a nightmare.

The next time you plan to move, call an expert in moving management so you can get help navigating this cumbersome process from A to Z.

 

Adapting New Spaces To Feel At Home

Adapting New Spaces To Feel At Home

You know when you move into a new home and feel like everything perfectly fits (“like a glove”)? Yeah… that usually never happens. New spaces need to be adapted to you and your family so you may feel truly at home.

Start With A Blank Slate to Adapt Your New Space

Almost every new space you encounter will require certain changes to make it work best for you. And to plan these changes in a new space the best thing to do is to completely clear the space. It’s important to have a blank slate.

Instead of assessing how your stuff fits in the new space, remove everything from that room, including any additions previously installed (like shelves and furniture). Then, plan the space by looking at it empty.

Ask For Help

You might want to call a Designer, an Organizer, use an app (many apps with free levels allow you to design 3D spaces with all kinds of architectural singularities), or engage the services of stores like The Container Store, California Closets, Closet Envy to have one of their space designers come and help you with the project. This is a service most stores offer for free. And it is critical to have it right.

In this process, consider the kind of things you intend to keep in that space. Note that we say the kind of things, not the amount.

The design should drive the project when dealing with a new space, not your stuff. Your belongings should conform to the area, not the other way around. Although a functional design uses the available space more efficiently, the physical space available is set, while the contents is more easily adapted.

Time To Let Go

When the time comes to incorporate your belongings into that area, there are serious decisions to make about what to keep and what to let go.  Because even though a good design will always seek to maximize the use of the available area, no design will ever work, and no space will ever look good with more than it can and should hold.

Many people experience this situation when moving. Usually, furniture, storage solutions, and belongings work and fit well in the previous home. But transferring those into a new structure rarely works the same. This leads to odd feelings of not belonging in that new house.

Do You Really Feel At Home?

When finally set in a new house, you want to feel “at home,” and you would like this to happen as soon as possible. But for this to happen, the spaces require some adaptation.

Interestingly, this adaptation process often gets ignored due to a lack of time or skill. The feeling of not belonging persists over years of living in a house where you don’t feel “at home.” But with the sacrifices we often need to make in moving, don’t you think you deserve to feel you belong in your new place?

Here’s the good news! As Organizers, we specialize in space planning. We are highly skilled at adapting, organizing, transforming, and designing your new house in every way so you feel at home as soon as possible. We want you to start your new life in your new space, loving how you feel.

If you are moving or don’t feel “at home”, call your Organizer today! The difference we can make will surprise and delight you – you’ll wonder why you never thought of us before.

Let’s Go Shopping!

Let’s Go Shopping!

We are thrilled to take you on a shopping experience like no other- introducing Shop with Us*, our website’s newest development.

Shop with Us is a carefully selected collection of what will elevate your daily life and home experience.

Some clients ask what’s reasonable to have in a home without excess or deficiencies. For these people, the shop may serve as a guide or validation of their home’s inventory.

Others have the deer-in-headlights syndrome when visiting certain stores. They might face innumerable options without knowing what works best for what or why, or what systems go together. For this group, the shop offers a confident buying experience since items are divided by home space and the best organizing and style solutions had been pre-selected. 

This is an eclectic shop – From the mundane (like cleaning and home miscellaneous) to the sublime (design elements for the sensory experience you want at home). Each piece of the puzzle is equally important in developing the elevated lifestyle you crave. We bring you an intentionally driven purchasing experience without confusion, straight to what each space needs.

Some clients have jumped with us into the unknown (without a parachute) to start a new chapter in their lives. We’ve witness the healing power of starting anew. (Have you ever noticed it’s easier building something from nothing than fixing or transforming something else?). But despite its benefits, starting over from virtually nothing is only for some. However, our experience with those brave souls led us to consider, source, and create new homes and lifestyles for them.

Please note that before acquiring organizing solutions or deal with home design, we must let go of the excess – physical or otherwise. It’s not our intention that you accumulate more stuff or shop for the sake of shopping. Buying storage solutions, containers, or design elements without the proper context will only result in additional clutter. The goal here is to transform your home experience into a streamlined, simpler, organized, exquisite, and fulfilling one.

So, if you have yet to eliminate the clutter in your home and life or you look at this shop collection without a clue of what to get or why, let’s backtrack the process. We’ll happily walk you to a simpler, more organized, stylish, and fulfilling home through design, virtual organization, in-person consultation, or hands-on assistance.

We are constantly learning and growing, and would certainly appreciate your contribution to this shopping experience. Let us know of products that speak to you or diverse uses you give to some mainstream products. Please share your ideas for this shop with us for everyone’s benefit. We’d love your opinion on this new initiative.

Please know that if the items in our shop are not to your taste, you may still use this store as a checklist for all the essentials and charm of a minimalistic, styled, and cozy home. But also, we’d happily create a custom look just for your home, if that’s something that appeals to you. Just contact us!

Shop With Us here.

*As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualified purchases

Packing To Move – The Pro Organizer Way

Packing To Move – The Pro Organizer Way

Packing To Move – The Pro Organizer Way

One of the hardest things about moving is balancing getting a head-start on the packing, having what you still need to live and function in the house before you move, and keeping a home worth showing.

As a Professional Organizer, I deal with packing and moving quite frequently. Many people find the packing and moving processes abhorrent and excruciating, making this one of the most significant stressors in anyone’s life. Thus, they often rely on a Pro to deal with all that.

Here is some advice to ease the burden of the packing for the moving process. If there comes a time when you have to go through this, being better informed and armed with some strategies will ease your pain.

Home Areas & Item Categories

Pay attention to the order, the how, and the what of your packing. The best thing to do when moving is to organize the home before you pack your move. Why is this? There are three main reasons:

(1) in organizing the home, you realize there is a lot you can let go of before moving (less effort and money to move)

 (2) organizing the home before packing allows things that should be together to be together. Then, the packing happens logically, by categories. This makes the unpacking so much easier and the home setup faster

 (3) no one likes seeing (or showing) a cluttered home for sale. Shoving things in closets, cabinets, and drawers does not work. Visitors open these if they come with the house. If the contents in these spaces are disorganized, visitors immediately think the house lacks storage space. That is a big red flag in selling a home.

Note that if a moving company handles the move, they might have restrictions and limitations about how to pack and who does it. Due to insurance, they might need to do the packing instead of the client.

But whether you pack your move or they do, following a particular order in the process and grouping items in a certain way for later packing will make everything easier.

The main thing to remember is that packing logically and per item category (not by room) is the name of the game. Therefore, although this article is divided by house areas, you will notice the importance of item categories in the process.

Living Room/Media Room/Game Room

Most likely, your movers will take care of large electronics and furniture in that room. However, before moving day, you should empty the cabinets and drawers and allocate their contents in groups and boxes according to the item categories in the space. Examples of items in these areas are board games, DVDs, board games, CDs, smaller A/V equipment, toys, blankets, smaller electronics related to games, etc. So, you want to go throughout the house and gather all items that belong to any of these categories so these items stay together.

Pro Tip 1: Use small boxes for CDs and other living room items. The weight adds up fast — pack heavier items toward the bottom of the box and lighter items toward the top. Don’t exceed 50 pounds per box to make moving easier.

When a game room, living room, or media room includes crafts items, if you will have a dedicated crafts space in the new home, box crafts stuff separately and mark them as such. These boxes should land in your new crafts space when you move. If the new house does not have a dedicated crafts area, consider merging all crafts materials with office supplies. In this case, take all crafts items to the current home’s office area and pack these items with office things.

Office

You might need many files and documents until the day before the move. Set aside all documents you will need, and you can transfer the contents of your filing cabinet to banker’s boxes. Label these boxes. You only need to add those files or documents to the boxes on moving day.

Packing your desktop computer last is best unless you have the same access to information using your laptop or iPhone. Laptops can go with you in the car, so there’s no need to pack them in anything but their case.

If you have diligently kept your paper files in order and have cleaned up your files every year, you are in the best shape possible in that area. If not, take care of that now. It’s in your best interest to avoid moving messy files that will need sorting later and would only make your move more expensive.

Linen & Coat Closets

Linen and coat closets usually contain lots of random things. Moving is the best time to see what we own, what we still want, and what won’t go with us. In the process, we must consider the function of those items we keep.

The purpose of each item determines where that item goes. Now is the time to take each item to its proper place rather than pack everything in these closets together.

At the same time, determine if other items in the home should be in any of those closets. In that case, gather and merge such things with the closet’s contents. Why? Because you want to pack together items serving the same purpose or belonging to a particular category. Packing this way leads to a faster and more logical unpacking process on the other end, as mentioned before.

Kitchen

The kitchen usually contains items that we accumulate for years and never use. Before packing, assess what you use, need, and want. Get rid of duplicates and other things you do not use or want.

Pro Tip 2: Pack dishes, trays, cutting boards, and other flat items in boxes vertically instead of flat. This way, they are less likely to crack. Use smaller boxes for dishes and utensils because these items are heavy. Place thin foam sheets between the plates. For dishes and fragile items, use bubble packaging material. Cloth napkins, dish towels, and tablecloths are also helpful for cushioning.

Pro Tip 3: Avoid newspapers, though. Newspaper leaves ink marks, and you want to avoid washing every dish in your new home when you move in.

boxes packed and labeled ready for the move

Bedrooms

Most bedroom items can be packed well before the move, except for the sheets and blankets on the bed and outfits you wear regularly.

Many things in our bedrooms fall into the “miscellaneous” category. Examine those items. If anything belongs somewhere else, take that item or group of objects to where they belong so they can be with their logical groups before packing.

If you no longer need or want something, this is the time to let it go.

Bathrooms

Go through every toiletry product in your cabinets and discard unwanted or expired ones. Identify all hygiene and beauty products you will need until moving day and put those in a box or bin so they remain available for your use but are easy to grab and go on moving day.

Pro Tip 4: After this process, pack the rest of your toiletries in small boxes lined with plastic garbage bags, as toiletries can easily leak.

Pack all towels and linens not used with other towels and linens found throughout the house in one category. Towels and linens can also be packed in advance.

Pro tip 5: Keep a laundry bag handy for the few dirty clothes and towels used until the last minute.

Bedroom Closets

Be sure to pack your closet before the last minute. Unfortunately, closets become storage spaces for all kinds of things, and we forget about them because these items hide behind clothes.

Start organizing your closet before your move so you can decide about those items that don’t belong in the space. Place those things with related stuff and where they should have been in the home. Then, once in the new house, find the logical, permanent place for those items (do not place them back in the closet!).

Wardrobe boxes make packing clothes easier — transferring the clothes from the closet to the box and hanging them on the bar. Removing hangers is unnecessary, which facilitates unpacking your wardrobe later.

Pro Tip 6: Protect folded clothes by placing them in a large plastic bag before boxing. Then, if the boxes get wet in transit, the plastic will protect your clothes.

garage organization and packing to move

Garage

Before you cringe, you can quickly and gracefully tackle the garage.

Start by trashing everything that you can discard. There is usually a lot of trash in garages. That will make the process easier. Then, take all paints and chemicals to a specialized recycling facility. If paint cans have lived in the garage for years, they are no longer in good shape. Also, paint is specific to the house- you won’t need it in your new place. One idea is to take pictures of each can lid so you keep a record of paint formulas and brands for the new homeowner.

Moving companies don’t transport chemicals and paints, but you’ll be better off buying new products, so you start with a clean, fresh garage area and supplies. Also, these items are heavy, and moving companies charge by weight. It is less expensive to buy new garage products.

For this same reason, you want to clean up your tool chest or toolbox to keep what you need and use. Repair and building equipment are bulky and heavy and will substantially increase moving costs. During this purging process, you will be amazed at the many things you can let go, sell, and donate to places like Habitat for Humanity.

Seasonal Décor

Now is the ideal time to take inventory of your seasonal and holiday decorations. We usually store these items in a garage or attic. So, see what works or not, what will fit your new place, and what can be donated or trashed.

Organize all items to keep in plastic, labeled bins with lids. Those bins will probably go inside moving boxes for the move, but the totes will protect their contents. Once at the new place, you will remove the packages and place the containers in your garage shelving system, attic, or storage unit.

Treat other things in your garage like the seasonal décor category (organized, relevant contents in well-labeled plastic bins). You will see how manageable the garage is when you tackle it methodically.

Pets

Some pet items, such as grooming supplies, extra toys, and additional dishes, can all be packed in advance. Ensure to leave out anything needed for your pets until moving day and during the moving process, such as kennel accessories, special toy(s), treats, etc.

Ensure your pets are safe during moving day, including keeping them locked away when movers are in and out of the house to prevent them from running away.

Important Things To Remember

In summary, here are some things to remember for packing each space of the home:

  • Before starting the packing process, it would make sense to organize the house. During the organization process, items find their logical space, and things of the same kind come together, making it easier to pack logically.
  • Purge as you go.
  • Get all items of the same category or use throughout the house and pack them together.
  • Pack item categories with your new home in mind – think about where the things will go.
  • Label each box with the name of the room where they will go in your new house (not where they came from).
  • Using a box number system, create a contents inventory for each box in a master file.
  • Creating a plan and starting the process beforehand makes packing less stressful for you and your family. The less stress you face in this phase means a more enjoyable transition to your new home.

 

Senior Downsizing

Senior Downsizing

Downsizing Can Be Overwhelming

According to the National Association of Senior Move Managers (NASMM), people aged 65 and up will account for 20% of the U.S. population by 2030. 

Families may no longer be the first line of contact in relocating seniors due to various everyday life challenges. On the other hand, downsizing and moving can be emotionally overwhelming and physically demanding for individuals who have not moved in 30, 40, or 50 years. In addition, many older adults who have not relocated from their current homes in over 30 years have many things to sort through. Families need help! A Professional Organizer can be a much-needed resource when relocating the seniors in your life. 

A Professional Organizer Can Help

The following is a list of services that a Professional Organizer might offer in helping their client downsize:

  • Developing an overall move plan
  • Organizing services
  • Move coordination/oversight – before, during, and after the move
  • House de-cluttering services
  • Professional packing
  • Junk removal
  • Shipping heirlooms to family members
  • Arranging for storage services
  • Unpacking and setting up the new home
  • Connecting the client with realtors who specialize in selling homes for seniors
  • Organizing and staging the property to be sold

SeniorAdvisor.com is a helpful resource for making confident decisions about senior care and services for your loved one.

My Space Reclaimed, LLC is your best choice for selecting a Professional Organizer to help you downsize.