Archive for the ‘transition’ Tag

Attic Treasure Hunting

The value of any treasure discovered is always dependent on the quality, uniqueness, and scarcity of the particular items. Attics have always been the source of great treasure hunts for years, as well as the source of great agony.

For families who have to clear out and dispose of their valued treasures, it is difficult. Time and patience is a valuable commodity when sorting and clearing attic treasures. Care and concern should be given with all items as there may be items that have both monetary and sentimental value, or NOT. If you are fortunate enough to find one or two pieces in that category, then you need to decide what to do with them. Even finding a piece or two with sentimental value only – something you had long forgotten about it — will be a wonderful discovery.

Once the Treasure Hunt is complete and the “stuff” has been categorized what happens now?  For the items you have decided to keep, it depends on the situation you and the family are in; you might be moving so will these items move to new location or will you be taking them to your home? Or you may be staying for a while longer so that will require repacking and labeling the contents of the carton or bin. Be sure to put a date on the bin so you know how long ago you last viewed the contents. Put these repacked and organized containers neatly in a designated space for future access.

Now, you need to take away the items designated as trash, donation, give to family, or sell.

  • Move the trash, if possible, directly out to the curb, a dumpster or at least to the garage to wait for trash day.
  • If you have not already scheduled a donation pick up; do it now.   Move the donation items down to the garage clearly marking them as donations – not to be mistaken for trash.   Resist the temptation of second guessing your decisions.
  • Items marked ‘give to family’, bring them down to an area that can be designated staging area; put all items in here clearly marked with the designated family member’s name. Make a call and schedule a time for      things to be picked up. You may need to make several calls, and then  finally say; “If you don’t come by Sunday, I will be putting them in the trash on Monday.”
  • Put all items for sale in one spot (either leave them in the attic or garage marked sale items). Then determine what type of sale to have.  Arrange for  an appraisal, if necessary. Set a date, even if it is weeks or months away, it will help motivate you to complete the project.

For items that you truly feel have monetary value but you don’t know what it is, I recommend strongly that you pay for an appraisal from a qualified independent appraiser, who knows furniture or artwork. By having an appraisal of the pieces in question, you will be able to make an educated and informed decision on what you want to do with the pieces in question. You won’t walk into a store someday and see your piece (or something very similar) for sale for hundreds of dollars and you sold it for $5 at a moving sale!

Patience, persistence, and many helping hands are the basic elements needed to complete this project. It could take days, weeks, or even months, depending on the level of all available elements at any point in time.

Condominium Living 101

Condominium living is wonderful, in my opinion.   You pay the money and someone else does the work!  No mowing the lawn, pulling the weeds, or shoveling snow, etc.  However, you need to be somewhat flexible with your expectations and not become angry or bitter when things are not done exactly the way you think it should or when it is done.

I have lived the condominium life for over twenty years and most of it has been a wonderful experience.  I am currently the chair person of our board of trustees and it has been an education and a challenge.    Everyone wants to have platinum or gold services but they only want to pay for Bronze, and sometimes they feel that Bronze service costs too much and we don’t receive the service.    I have to say that my board is extremely diligent in overseeing and counting our pennies, but there are always people who are not and will not be happy with anything.

Now that we are in landscaping season we are spending 90% of our time dealing with landscaping issues.  Spring in New England started early and the trees, shrubs, and other plantings really have had a growth spurt.  People are unhappy with the way the place is looking and they want it fixed and fixed immediately.   The board is in agreement, and is working on getting things resolved, but this is one of those situations that we are not going to please everyone all the time.   The board has the task of defining and implementing standards to guide the contractors in performing their jobs; for instance,

  • Keep the shrubs to window sill height and at least 6-8 inches away from the side of the building.
  • Ornamental trees should be trimmed and not be touching the siding or roof

It is difficult for many of the condo owners to adjust to condo living.  Because everyone has an opinion on how things need to be maintained, and when we owned our own home we did what we wanted.  If we wanted the shrubs to grow taller and cover the windows for privacy it was okay.  A condominium is much different than owning your own home.   Everything needs to be standardized, and just because you prefer it one way and your neighbor wants it another way, it all needs to be done uniformly in order to maintain a consistent look within the allotted budget constraints.  The contractors do not work for the individual condo owners, whey work for the total good of the association, and owners stopping the landscapers for trimming or cutting the lawns only disrupts the scheduling, uniformity, and costs everyone more money.   Yes, it is frustrating at times, and not everything can or will be done the way everyone would like.   The process is not instantaneous or perfect.   The board members are dealing with a management company, who works on our behalf, who is dealing with the individual contractors and vendors and it can (is) frustrating at times.  

Life in a condo will never be the same as owning and caring for your own home.  My advice to people thinking of purchasing a condo is to really determine why you think you may be happy in a condo.  Once you have the plusses then really think about any of the negatives that you have heard or can think of then weigh them.     If the plusses outweigh the minuses then a Condominium may be a great fit for you.  If not, then opt for a smaller home and arrange to have the services you need provided for you when and how you want them.   

Some Times I Wonder!

There are times when I really have to stop, think, and rethink what I am about to say.   I really wonder at times what people think about when they hand out advice, and get paid to do it.

Case in point is an 85 year old woman who just moved into a very nice, but expensive, retirement community.   I was called in to do a complete unpack and set up in the new apartment.   However when I arrived the morning after the move I walked into to a wall of boxes and furniture, and the woman I came to help was so confused and disoriented it was sad.

The community where she moved to employs a ‘move in coordinator’, who visited my client prior to the moving.   The purpose of the visit was to make sure that the items that were being moved would fit into her new apartment.  My client was moving from approximately 2000 sq ft to about 1400 sq ft.   Six hundred square feet makes a big difference.  However my client was told she could bring everything, and she did!

The bigger pieces of furniture fit, and were placed in the new apartment according to the floor plan produced by the move in coordinator.  What wasn’t taken into consideration and should have been were the closet and storage spaces between the old and the new apartment and no downsizing and decluttering took place prior to moving.  As a result, when the movers were told to pack everything, they did.

After 4 days of working to find appropriate ‘homes’ for all the items it was necessary to sit down and really have a focused (as much as possible) heart to heart discussion with my client.  I explained that there just was no more room for my team to put anything else.   There were still several cartons of ‘stuff’ that we needed to decide where to put them.     Eventually, with my client sitting on a folding chair in the storage room area, we pulled out several cartons that she had absolutely no idea what was in them.  They were old greeting cards, letter, etc., that had not been unpacked from a previous move years ago.

I cannot understand how someone could tell my client that she could bring everything and it would fit.  Of course my client relied on this advice.   I only wish that I could have been with the client on both ends of the move.   Because decluttering and downsizing prior to the move, would have saved time and money, because time is money.    But it also would have saved unnecessary stress and aggravation for the client.

My advice to Retirement Community move in coordinators, think about what you are telling your future residents about what they should and should not bring, and offer to find them some assistance.   This will be less frustrating on everyone involved in the move, from the mover, the family, and most importantly your new resident.

Preparing to Downsize When it Triple HHH Outside

Summer is here and so are the triple HHH’s — Hot, Hazy and Humid, and you are in the middle of preparing to downsize, declutter, and move.   You need to keep moving along with this project so when your home is sold you are on target to finish everything and move without going into total panic and melt down mode.   So what can you do and not become too hot and sticky?

Okay, crank the A/C and put on the ceiling fan in your bedroom.   Pull up a comfortable chair, and pull out and empty a dresser drawer onto your bed.    All you need for supplies are;

  • Trash bags,
  • Dust cloth, and
  • Various size baggies.

One drawer at a time, sort through all the items in the drawer.   Throw out everything that you don’t need or have not used in past 6 months.  Especially the old cosmetics that have been opened and starting to dry out, as well as the gardenia scented talcum powder, and the bobby pins.   For the smaller items that you want and need to keep, use the baggies for the cuff links, the costume jewelry, and other smaller easy to misplace items.  As you empty the drawer, take your dust cloth and clean the drawer.  If you have tissue paper and want to, reline the drawer.  Then you can put back the items you plan on keeping.

If you do this for 60-90 minutes at a time, you will probably be able to cleanout and organize 2 drawers a day.   It’s a great way to sort through all the ‘unmentionables’ that are worn out and should be tossed. However, you keep on wearing them just because!   Only keep the good items that you will use and toss the others.   Donate only good serviceable items, it’s  not a donation if the charity spends money to throw them away.

Again this is a job that you can do in the heat of the summer, sitting comfortably on a chair, and never really become hot and sticky.   Take advantage of this time, and don’t lose your momentum.   Turn the hot, hazy, and humid days of summer to your advantage!

Go Fly A Kite!

Go Fly A Kite!.

Do Cats Imitate Us or Do We Imitate Cats?

My rescue cat, Lilac, is pretty set in her ways.   Her daily routine is the same every day, as far as I can tell.  Every morning, she is waiting for me to give her breakfast, and then she follows the sun and lounges in every sunny spot.   By late morning she is lounging on the back of the love seat pretending to nap, but with one eye open looking to see that no unwelcome visitors venture into her domain.   Early afternoon finds her really napping in the loft.

I would say Lilac is in her comfort zone, and when things in the zone change, Lilac is not very happy and she lets us know about it in no uncertain terms.   She becomes cranky and upset, she lashes out at whoever happens to be available, and it takes some time for her to come to terms with a change.   This behavior certainly mimic’s how people react when something changes in their lives.  So the question that I have been pondering is:   Do cats imitate us or do we imitate cats?

Everyone has their routines and comfort zones, and they are usually similar to the beings they live, work, or hang out with on a regular basis.   When something or someone disrupts the routine or pace of life that has been constant for so long and change occurs, the entire environment and atmosphere around us becomes disoriented and confused.    This happens throughout our lives and usually we can quickly adjust and accept life changes within a reasonable length of time and with minimal attitude.

However, the older we get the harder it is to cope and accept changes in our life.  I have had this conversation with family members of clients, and they have told me that their parent is acting strange, not like their usual calm, compliant self.  The parent is upset, angry, emotional, and just plain old nasty.  They do not understand why, because the changes they are proposing or making are meant to make the parent’s life easier and happier.   Yet their parent is acting out, just like a teenager!

So to get back to my questions of who is imitating whom, I believe the answer is a little bit of both!   It seems like it is a natural instinct to resist change in our lives.  We all resist and try to make changes to the change; it is natural whether we are infants or senior citizen.  Even Lilac, my cat, finds way to work within the changed environment to make the change acceptable to her.  Lilac doesn’t like a cover on the love seat so she works and works at pulling and punching a portion of the throw off until she has sufficient space for her nap!   My cat uses a passive aggressive attitude toward change, hoping that we will give in.

Once we can accept that changes are difficult for everyone, we can begin to understand and try to overcome the attitudes and passive aggressive behaviors while working to convince and accommodate everyone involved with the change.

“God grant me the serenity to accept the people I cannot change, the courage to change the one I can, and the wisdom to know it’s me.” ~Author Unknown

LOOK BEFORE YOU LEAP!

Are you or someone you know . . .?

  • Preparing to enter the spring real estate market?
  • Overwhelmed with all that needs to be done to get ready?
  • Has limited time or energy to do everything?
  • That needs help on where to begin, who to call, or how much time this process will take?

If you do, I can help!

During February, I have an extra day to help you!
Schedule your complimentary Strategy Session
to review your plans, objectives, and goals; and I will answer
your Where, Who, and How questions, on beginning
 to downsize and preparing for the move.

CALL TODAY, 508-285-4802, to schedule your
 LEAP YEAR strategy session, and receive:

  • A written summary of primary action areas and dates to meet to complete project on time.
    AND HAVE:
  • An Opportunity to save $75.00 or more* on a WITTZ END service package IF booked during your Strategy Session!                

 

*Save $75.00 or more on a WITTZ END service package (depending on package size), when booked during your  strategy session.  Everyone receives the written summary just for booking strategy session.

 

What Your Mom is Not Telling You About Your Father.

When we live busy lives with spouse and children to care for we are often caught not spending enough time with our aging parents. If we are fortunate enough to live close to them, we might drop over quickly to see if they need something but often than not we will phone to check in.

The phone call is quick and expediant. A quick hello, how are you, the kids are fine, and then you say goodbye because you need to get dinner or something. Mom said everything is fine, so you take her at her word. Even if you stop by periodically you run in for a few minutes, chat about the weather and things, then you are off again.

Unfortunately, that is life these days. However you might be missing some vital signals and warning signs that unless you see first hand and ask the questions you will never know. Why? Because Mom, doesn’t want to bother you, and your Father told her not to tell you. Whatever it is, is their little secret. This happens quite frequently.

As the folks age and continue to live alone and are independent, we become comfortable not having to worry about them. It is important that we periodically take some quality time with your parents to see how they are actually doing. Develop a base line measure of their life, activities, and physical abilities. Then as time proceeds do it again, just to stay tuned in to the subtle changes that may be occurring.

Life is funny, we think we will have the folks forever, then without warning — or was there some warnings and signs — they are old and sick. We didn’t see it coming.

Next Chapter

Two years ago I helped a family move their Mom from the family home out-of-state, to a very lovely Assisted Living.   They wanted to have their Mother living closer to them because health issues were causing more and more of a problems.   Mom and I hit it off great, and we had several nice moments during our time together.

Fast forward to two years, and I received a call from the same family and things are not going well.   Mom is having increasing amounts of issues and they are having to move her again, to a completely new and different environment.

I am happy that they thought of me to help them begin this next chapter in their Mother’s life.   I am sad that in just two years she declined so much, but I know that I am helping the family cope with the stress as they move into what could be the last chapter.

Almost There!

When you are preparing to start a major project, like downsizing and decluttering, it takes planning and preparations before you start.   You gather all the appropriate
tools, materials, and you line up all the labor and manpower that we might  possibly need.   But even though we think we have thought and planned for all the       ontingencies something usually happens that stalls us, and we need to call for back up.

Like the time when I was on vacation in Costa Rica, and I went zip lining over the Canopy of the Rain Forrest.   I thought this was no problem, I can do  this.   I am not afraid of heights and I am safely strapped in a safety harness what could go wrong?   I was given all the necessary instructions, the do’s and don’ts, and off I went climbing up a mountain path to the first platform.

I was safely in the middle of the pack, so I could observe what was happening and how others were doing.   Everyone was having a great time.  Then my turn came.   I cabled up, and the guides had me back up on the platform to get a running start, and gave me a gentle push off the edge of the platform.   Off I went hanging on for my life!

I cannot remember what the scenery looked like all I can remember was
looking off in the distance for the landing platform.   Then it happened, I stopped!   Within several yards from the platform, and it might as well have been 10 miles.
What was I going to do?   Well, the instruction we were given was lean back and grab the overhead cable and pull yourself, hand over hand, to the landing platform.
Okay, I started that and wasn’t getting any place fast and then panic set in.   Now what!

This is when it is a good idea to have backup.   Julio, one of the guides, came to the
rescue.   Out he came hooked up with me and proceeded to haul me into the landing platform that was wrapped around a huge tree.   I hugged Julio and then the tree.  Then I realized that I had 6 other lines I needed to do before I reached the end of the course.

Getting started was the hardest and as I progressed through the course I relaxed, built my confidence, and started to enjoy myself.   I have always been grateful for the backup.  Without Julio and my panic state, I would have just floundered over the Rain Forrest, eventually I would be pulled myself into the landing platform, but it would not have been easy or very pretty.   That is why, even with the best plan, materials, and equipment you need backups for the “just in case” something happens.

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