Streamlining Moving

After working with two different clients in one week who moved into their new homes without downsizing, I think we need to talk.

My first client had been in her home for ten years. A single parent who moved by herself. She moved from a very large, old house with built-ins and to a modern house in the country. The new home is much smaller and has a very different feel. She darn near killed herself moving, and then filled her rubbish bin full of vintage furniture because there was no space and nothing looked right in the new home. She worked from dawn until dusk for 2 weeks and even broke her toe in the moving van! At the end of this, she called me. As we sift through box after box (that are packed in a very haphazard way) I cannot stress how much time and effort could have been saved. This is, unfortunately, not an uncommon scenario.

My second downsizing client also moved into a smaller home. The mom worked with movers, but honestly, she just packed everything and moved it. I walked into a playroom that had had boxes piled in every corner for a year. There was absolutely no room to move around and play. The housekeeper would not even open that door. The playroom was actually a storage room for unused toys and brought no one joy. It was the same in every single closet. As we organized this area, it was amazing how many toys were outgrown, unused, and honestly overwhelming because of the amount there was.

Organization without downsizing is just playing tetris with your time and your sacred space. These situations make the new area unusable instead of joyful and ruin the chances of a fresh start. Much of this could have been avoided by downsizing before packing.

Downsize before moving. Do I need to say it again? DOWNSIZE BEFORE MOVING! I honestly do not know how to stress this more. Even if you are moving into a bigger residence, each house has it’s own character and your new home will probably need different d├ęcor. Also, hanging up pants that are 3 sizes too big for you in your fresh start makes no sense. Keeping infant toys when your youngest is 7 is a waste of space. Cleanse your closets, your garage, your kitchen cabinets. Let go of what you don’t use and allow someone else to enjoy it. Getting the opportunity for a fresh start is pretty rare. Seize that opportunity and cherish the fresh, open space and PURGE!

Below are some helpful hints here that will help streamline your moving process and can actually be exciting, when done in an orderly fashion. If you tackle a move in a streamlined and organized way, it can actually be a beautiful life change, rather than a hair tearing nightmare.

PACKING

  • Downsize and pack your least used items first and move steadily towards things you use all the time.
  • Clear a wall next to the door and stack the boxes neatly. These will be the first boxes to be loaded into the truck from this room and arrive into the new first, placing them at the back of the room.

LABELLING

  • Label well
  • Color code, if possible.
  • Use a well thought out system. Your friends and movers will appreciate this more than the beer and pizza.

DAILY USE ITEMS

  • One week prior to your move, begin packing your daily essentials. Have the really important stuff that you absolutely cannot live or function without come over in the last load, in your car. It will be the last thing to arrive in your new home, and the first thing you unpack.

LOADING THE TRUCK

  • Load the room that is in the back of the new home FIRST. The whole room.
  • Work your way forward, room by room. Moving is so much easier and less dangerous if you are not tripping over things in the hallways, trying to get to the two back bedrooms. You will thank me later. I promise.

UNPACKING

  • Unpack from always used, to seldom used, one room at a time. Did you open a box of seldom used items and realize you actually don not want of need anything in it? Good. Donate it.
  • Pick up the next thing. Just keep picking up the next thing. You can do it!!

Moving sucks. There is no getting around it. But if you move in a systematic manner, downsizing as you go, you can start off in your new home feeling organized and in control of your new surroundings, rather than stressed out. It sets the tone for your new life. Make it a melody of peace and contentment.

If you have downsizing/organizing needs in Eugene, Oregon area, please CONTACT me.

Downsizing A Parent

My mother was diagnosed with ALS.

This in and of itself was beyond my comprehension. She has always been “let’s walk, we need the exercise and the air” kind of girl, and to think of her becoming bed bound and immobile was shattering. The silver lining is that my mom has been so active and the model of health, so ALS has moved very slowly through her body. Her respiratory system has remained in amazing condition. But over the course of 4 years it has slowly, day-by-day robbed her of little bits of activity. Through all of this, she is positive and loving, and the best mom anyone could ask for.

I asked myself what could I do? Helpless is not a feeling I deal well with. Then I asked HER. She wanted to downsize her home while she could still talk and sit up. Her motivation was to not leave her partner- who was being an exceptional, full time caregiver- a huge mess to clean up when it was time to punch her clock (her words, not mine). This I could do. This was in my wheelhouse.

I had no idea what an emotional blessing I had signed up for.

I rolled up my sleeves and drank a lot of water. It took many sessions and deep, lovely conversations emerged. I took bags and bags to donation. The huge garage sale was exhausting. The slow but steady results looked amazing. The constant contact between family members that resulted from this was priceless.

One of the huge positives of downsizing a parent while they are still alive is being able to know what has been promised to whom. There were things that I would have donated that had special meaning to people and stories I had never heard. Sitting with my mom and listening to her life story, narrated by her was a gift. Telling me why my daughter was getting a particular piece of jewelry helped her let go of it and ‘gift it’ while she could see how much joy it gave. The pleasure this gave mom was immense and unexpected. Our family felt closer. We all felt like we were experiencing my mother’s life a bit more, rather than sitting and waiting for her to be taken.

The physical unloading of belongings resulted in a mental unloading of stress for her partner. You can only imaging how stressful the thought of sifting through a loved ones belongings after they are gone can wear on you. Especially if you are busy care giving and trying to get through each day healthy, bathed and fed. The physical space helped both of them breathe easier and move through the house more freely. When you are adding wheelchairs, stair climbers, ramps, and bathing seats to your home- every inch matters. Literally. EVERY. INCH. He worried less about mom falling. He also felt loved and considered during this adventure. How amazing to have someone love you so much that they think about your grief process and want it to be as easy as possible for you.

I do not want anyone tho think that this was easy. I cried. I screamed into pillows. I came home so distraught twice that I fetal-positioned for several hours before I could eat or breathe. My love and respect for my mother grew immensely and I would sometimes feel like it would be harder to lose her now. God got cursed at a few times. But at the end of this, I felt loved. Tired and loved.

Just so you know, my mother was a hoarder of fabric, buttons, sewing machines, and anything sewing related. I gifted and sold more than 200 yards of fabric. She was also a square dancer and we found homes for a giant rack of dresses (all made by her), foofy slips, and silk under garments. We all have our vices.

If you have downsizing/organizing needs in the Eugene, Oregon area, please CONTACT me.