As an auction professional, I regularly have the opportunity to work with Professional Organizers and Senior Move Managers. These professionals provide a wonderful service helping client’s de-clutter their homes for a variety of reasons including preparation for sale, down-sizing & moving to a smaller living space or simply organizing their lives.
During the de-cluttering process, there is often a need to sell personal property and in some cases a great deal of property. Since auctions are a simple, efficient and often productive approach to selling, we can often help the same client. This is the wonderful connection between us.
I developed a passion for auctions as a child from my father. He loved auctions and would take me on his Saturday auction adventures to pretend he was helping my mother. He loved to buy at auction and mom did not appreciate clutter, so you can imagine the action at our home.
These auctions often had big crowds of people and enthusiastic bidding. It was exciting! I would hear energized bidders looking for a bargain. However, I was attracted to selling at auction as the price just went one direction. I have not come across another business negotiation where the price only goes higher. I loved the excitement of the auction environment as a child and still do today. However, the environment has changed.
I have heard these questions in recent years as we help clients looking to sell their property. A great many of these clients were at auctions forty, fifty or more years ago buying much of their art, furniture, antiques, decorative items and collections. They would often spend an entire day at the auction and there would be hundreds of people in attendance. They would see friends and enjoy the camaraderie.
I was reminded of the feeling when recently watching an old movie “North by Northwest”. There is a fascinating auction scene Alfred Hitchcock used in the story line. It showed bidding and activity at a high end auction over fifty years ago. The auction gallery was filled. People were sitting in every available seat and others were standing. There were no large screens displaying the auction item and no bidding by telephone or internet. There were no computers supporting the auction process at all. What a major difference!
Large screens, phone bidding and internet platforms have expanded the range and number of bidders dramatically. However, it does not look like it to auction buyers from many years ago turned into auction sellers as their lives have changed.
When asked where is everybody? Where are the bidders? I point out the number of ways the auctioneer is accepting bids beyond those from the smaller than they expected bidders attending in person.
I look toward the computers handing the bidding for each of the multiple
internet bidding platforms and explain each computer represents far more bidders than when you purchased in the crowded auctions many years ago. I look toward the staff members handling phone bidding and point out those strong bidders as well. There are also bids left with the office and on our web-site. I explain there is a larger geographic area represented and there are bidders watching the auction from not only our region but from the entire United States and around the world. I point out they have been able to see each item in a gallery of pictures for a month before the auction.
Once the auctioneer starts taking bids from the bidders in all these different ways (including from bidders in person like Alfred Hitchcock portrayed), it begins to make sense. Bidding at auction is even more exciting as it comes in so many ways from so many places!
It’s hard to think about how to start the downsizing process. There’s so much wrapped up in our treasures: difficult emotions, unmet dreams, things we haven’t finished, bad decisions etc. Change is hard and a next life transition might not always be our choice. Despite all the emotions, it can be a freeing and rewarding experience to let go of those things that fill up our time and space.
In the end, you want to feel good about your decisions and be a part of the process so that you can rest easy into this next chapter.
“Where did all this stuff come from anyway? How did it all fit in here in the first place? I can’t believe how long this is taking and how many boxes we have! AAAaahhhh!!!!”
Well, it’s true. When we pull everything out of its storage space, we can see the volume of what we really have. And, for those things that haven’t been seen or touched in years: much of it is astonishing.
“Cans of hairspray? Wait. I haven’t bought hairspray in a can in at least 2…uh, 5…oh, I don’t know – better throw that out. How did these shoes get back here? Man, they’re dusty. And sort of misshapen. Well, okay very misshapen. Nevermind. Out! And, wait. Do we really have 6 new containers of black pepper? Six? I had no idea. This will last us forever!”
You are moving into a new home. Whether larger or smaller than your last, it’s an opportunity to get organized – right from the start! Here are 6 spaces to set up when you move in so you can get and stay organized:
Spice Storage: There are so many options for organizing spices that there is really no reason you need to fight to find what you need, have bottles and jars falling out onto you as you reach behind, or repurchase multiples of what you already have.
Pantry: DIY or go the extra mile and get pro-installation. A pantry organizing system will be a delight to your family today and a great selling point tomorrow.
Under Sinks: Either in the kitchen or bathrooms, under sink storage will make ALL the difference. Enjoy the control and say goodbye to yucky under-sink messes!
Shoes: The struggle is real. First decide where you want to store them (By the entryway? In a closet? Under the bed? In the garage?) Then, reign them in.
Bedroom Closets: If you are renting a home, you may want to save money and purchase some temporary solutions that you can take with you when you move out. For homeowners, installing built-ins is the way to go.
Storage Area: Before you go building columns and walls of heavy boxes stacked one atop another; stop and think. This is what got you into the last mess of storage chaos. Is there room for some shelving? Is there ceiling or wall space to be taken advantage of?
Yes, there really is such a thing as Relocation Stress Syndrome!
Relocation Stress Syndrome, or RSS, was approved as a formal diagnosis in the early 1990’s. (And here you were thinking that everyone else must be so much better at relocating and that it was just YOU who weren’t handling this very well – not true!)
You are not alone if a relocation is stressing you out or making you feel like, perhaps, you’ve lost your marbles.
Although anyone can be impacted, the elderly are at greater risk of feeling the effects of RSS. Many NAPO professionals are skilled with organizing and managing relocations and the sometimes unpleasant side-effects. Some even specialize in senior moves exclusively!
Continue here to read more from NAPO Senior Move Management expert, Susan Osborne, as she describes the symptoms and strategies for facing this not uncommon relocation affliction.
My Evernote conversion occurred about five years ago. Stuffed in the back of my junk drawer (yes, I also have one) for several years, lay a handwritten recipe for the best maple balsamic salad dressing obtained from a restaurant in Vermont. Frustrated with my lack of organization for something so valuable, I downloaded Evernote and my life was forever changed.
I created a notebook in the Evernote app and titled it “Recipes,” took a photo of the recipe within the Evernote app et voila! Wherever I am, on my phone, tablet or laptop I have a screenshot of the recipe. I quickly saw how transformational this would be in both my personal and professional life. When a friend recommends a great restaurant, it goes into the notebook I created titled “Recommended Restaurants”. I also do this for movies, books, wine, travel destinations, decorating ideas. All those great details we scribble on the back of napkins never to find again.
If I’m surfing the web, I can use Evernote webclipper to clip an article or page and put it into the notebook of my choice. I can also dictate notes into Evernote and draw using the Skitch app.
I also have a notebook for each of my kids. I have a screenshot of their health insurance cards, health records, photos of their artwork from Kindergarten so I could get rid of those large poster-size monstrosities, er, I mean works of art. The list goes on.
For my business, I’m able to share notebooks with my team and with our clients. We often take notes during an organizing session and share these with our clients. Evernote also eliminates the need to email documents back and forth. Instead, the whole team can collaborate and has access whether they are working remotely or in the office to notes, documents, photos, etc.
I’m barely scratching the surface of Evernote’s endless possibilities. For more information and to create your free online account check out www.evernote.com
Relocation is one of those infamously “stressful” times of our lives. Even those of us who are veterans will admit to the fact that the sheer amount of facets that need to be managed during a move adds some level of anxiety.
Whether moving near or far, change is part of the package – new people, new schools, new jobs, new neighborhoods, new neighbors and yes, a new home.
My husband’s corporate job moved us (a family of five) around the U.S. for a period of over 20 years. I realized from the very beginning that this would be a way of life for our family for quite some time. In order for us to not only keep our sanity but actually enjoy the adventure, I needed to have a plan. Essentially, my plan developed from taking a step back and seeing the big picture. I asked myself:
By answering these questions, I was able to prioritize the steps of our move and create a repeatable process to carry us through each successive relocation. I hope that my answers might help you look at your own family’s needs in the face of one or multiple moves.
What will our nomadic life look like?
Truth be told, many a friend and family member worried aloud about how my children would fare growing up without the consistency of a hometown, schools and friends. I chose to envision a life that would be enhanced by our travels – my children would learn that people are people wherever you go, no matter how they look or sound. They would experience cities and environments rather than merely reading about them – things like walking on Mt. Rainier (an active volcano), battling to walk down Michigan Ave while leaning into the Chicago wind, and watching dolphins jump in the coastal waters of Florida. I shared my vision and excitement with the rest of my family and let them know how lucky we were!
What can or will change?
Almost everything! As far as living spaces were concerned however, the changes involved the size and number of rooms and the amount of storage. Would the garage be large enough for cars, bikes and storage? Would there be a basement? Would the kids each have their own rooms or will they have to double up? Some changes were welcome, others less than desirable. Adding some creative storage and decorative accents always helped with the adjustment.
What can or needs to stay the same?
I decided that since all of our surroundings including most of the people would be changing, it would be important to preserve things that gave us “roots”. With each move I kept much of our décor the same, especially for the kids. I would hang their curtains right away and keep the same bedding. Those things changed at times when they grew out of them. We would have weekly letter-writing sessions in order to maintain relationships with family and friends. This had so many benefits: family time together, honing writing skills, honing relationship skills. I also made it a point to cook traditional holiday recipes so that we wouldn’t forget our family background and would feel connected on holidays when we couldn’t actually attend in person.
What will support each family member?
This is where organization really became essential. It is difficult to be successful, in anything and at any age, if your surroundings continue to change. Therefore, I would set up each home with consistencies. Kitchens were always arranged with table settings nearest the table and furthest from my cooking area so that kids could help and not be underfoot. Drawer items in kitchen, bedrooms and bathrooms were set up in similar order from house to house. Garage and laundry bins followed suit. Within no time, everyone knew where to find what was needed regardless of the new home layout.
Even though you may move often: embrace your life, be kind to yourself and your family and you can always be living at Home.
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