OLWH: Relocating a Senior Citizen: What to do with all Life’s stuff?

Why The Client Called Me: My client’s mother was ready to downsize and move into a senior community, leaving behind her 3-bedroom house and most of her belongings. Moving from a long-time family home to a studio apartment can wreak havoc on your routines, your belongings, your immediate and extended family - and your emotions.

This family called Functional Spaces to help deal with the years of life still left in the home - in the shape of physical stuff. Furniture, books, kitchen items, artwork, memorabilia, a garage full of functional and useable items…what to do with it all? With a goal to make the house move-in ready for a tenant within three months, we had to clear out the entire house.

Solution: A large project like this can raise stress levels for all parties involved. So, in this case, we created a phased approach to help ease the transition for both the senior and the family.

Phase I: Move senior to new apartment. Last fall, we moved the senior and the contents of her bedroom and closet to her new apartment. The client’s daughter helped choose which clothes, which books and which memorabilia to bring along, to help her mother feel comfortable in this new place.

Phase II: Empty family home for the rental market. After the initial move, the extended family had a chance to come and make peace with this transition. They have taken the time to choose items that represent their beloved one, and identified what to keep and what to say goodbye to.

Enter Functional Spaces Organizing. We worked with what was left behind - items that needed to be moved out of the house. Our process included helping with the client with final decision making about the last items, and also working without the client to pack up the remaining items for donation and consignment. We actually cleared out the house without the client, allowing the family to remember the home as one full of life and energy.

Outcome: The house was cleared out by our deadline, cleaned and is ready to go on the rental market. Deadline met. Check. Happy clients. Check.


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