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Should You Talk to Your Parents About Downsizing Over the Holidays?

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Having the downsizing conversation is never easy for anyone involved. For both children and parents, it’s one more sign that the parents are aging, which is difficult to accept. One way to make it easier is to talk about it before the move becomes necessary. Ask your parents if they have thought about where they would go or what type of place they would like to live in next. Would it be a one-story condo near the water? Or a manageable apartment closer to you or one of your siblings? Laying this groundwork ahead of time gives everyone a chance to consider the options available before they have to become a reality.

Another way to make the talk go better is to be prepared. If you have siblings, ask them if they think it’s time. If not, really listen to their reasoning and see whether it changes your mind or not. If all of you aren’t on the same page, it may be best to wait and approach the subject later. Having one or more family members not on board before you even talk to your parent is not a good start.

Not only may you potentially be trying to convince your siblings and parents this is the right thing to do, you may be trying to convince yourself as well. People often feel guilty about bringing up the subject, even though they believe it will be better for their parents’ well-being. It also makes them face the fact that their parents are getting older and may soon be the ones needing help instead of the other way around. Take some time to deal with your own feelings so that you are ready to help your parent with theirs when you talk to them.

While you shouldn’t try to decide exactly where your parent should live before talking to them, you should think about some of the options that make the most sense to you. Do some research on several possibilities and even visit them if possible to make sure you still think they would be a good fit. There are so many choices when it comes to senior living nowadays that you’ll want to know what’s available and what they have to offer.

When you decide to talk with your parent, make sure you are completely vested in the conversation. Block out some time, go to your parents’ house, leave the kids at home, and focus entirely on the discussion. According to an article on caring.com,

      “One of the greatest challenges people in midlife face in their dealings with the elderly is to slow down       and find the time to be fully present. It's a mistake to discuss important issues on the fly, when you're         rushed and preoccupied. If you need to talk about something crucial with your parents, make a                     conscious effort to put your personal agenda aside -- along with your cell phone.”

Once you have given your full attention to the conversation, listen carefully to their responses. Remember that you are still the child and they are the parent. Don’t tell them what you think they have to do, talk about the options you have researched and answer their questions as best as you can. Talk about the benefits of a new place – if it’s smaller it’ll be easier to clean and maintain; in a condo there are fewer utility bills to worry about paying; in a 55-and-older community everyone is around the same age, making socializing easier; they provide transportation to the grocery store, doctor, and other outings so driving isn’t an issue. Offer to go see a few different places together, but respect your parents’ wishes if they don’t want to yet.

Being respectful of your parent’s feelings and offering to work together with them to find the right solution is a better approach than trying to take charge. Through open communication, you may both discover they’ve been wanting to move closer to you, or the upkeep of the current home is a burden, or staying in the place where a spouse or several neighbors no longer live is actually depressing. Then it’s time to take the next step. However, if that isn’t the case, don’t continue to push the subject until it becomes an argument. Allow some time for everyone to think it over and try again later to work together toward the right solution.

 

 

 

 

reSettling Life's Treasures- Slag Glass

Much like the depression glass we discussed in a previous post, slag glass is often found in homes as a collection or a few treasured pieces, despite its slightly unappealing name.

Slag glass gets its name from one of the components in it. Early manufacturers of this type of glass would add the waste content of metal ores from iron-smelting works, or “slag,” to their molten glass to create swirls of color within it. These swirls gave the glass a marbled look, and people often refer to slag glass as “marble glass.” Some companies achieved a similar look by mixing two colors of molten glass. The end result is often called “mosaic glass.”

It is believed that slag glass got its start in England, which remained the main manufacturer of this type of glass in Europe. It caught on in the U.S. and was made by several companies, mainly located in Pennsylvania, including H. Northwood Glass Co., Challinor Taylor & Co. and Atterbury. Another company that came to be known for slag glass was Akro Agate, which made a name for itself in the early 20th century with its unique swirled marbles made by their patented process.

Slag glass has been around since the late 1800s and became very popular in the early part of the 1900s, during the arts and crafts period. One of the most common uses for this type of glass at that time was in lamps because the white or off-white swirls within the color allowed the light to shine through. Tiffany lamps made with leaded stained glass were in vogue, but many people could not afford them because they were expensive to make. Companies started using slag glass fit into metal frames to create similar-looking lamps but at a much lower cost, making them available to more people.

Rather than being blown, slag glass is pressed into the desired shape. In addition to lamps, it frequently appears in vases, bowls, figurines and candy dishes. Chunks of this unique glass are also often used as a decoration on outdoor patios and in gardens where the sunlight accents the swirled pattern. Purple is by far the most common color, and was one of the original colors created by Sowerby in England, but it can also be found in blue, pink, green, red and various shades of brown.

Slag glass is still manufactured today, and many people enjoy collecting it because of its beautiful colors and unique patterns.

reSettling Life's Treasures- Jewelry Markings

Even if you aren’t a collector, there is a strong chance you own some jewelry. During our senior moves, we often come across pieces with marks on them. These markings can actually tell you quite a bit about the piece if you know how to decipher them.

Any type of mark on a piece of jewelry is called a “hallmark,” and they are generally found in the same place on similar pieces. Rings will be stamped on the inside of the band, marks on necklaces and bracelets are generally on the clasp, and pins, earrings and brooches will be marked on the back. Don’t be surprised if you don’t find any marks at all. While jewelers are required to disclose the type of metal used, it does not have to be marked on the jewelry itself. This information can be included on a receipt, appraisal or even the price tag, all of which easily become separated from the jewelry or lost.

The mark most commonly found on jewelry is the purity mark, which tells what type of metal is in it. Gold is often expressed in karats and other metals are measured in percentages. The purest gold is 24 karat gold. It is rarely used in jewelry because of its softness. Lesser karats mean the gold has been combined with other types of metals. For example, 22 karat gold is about 92% gold and 8% something else such as copper, silver or palladium. As the karats go down, so does the value of the gold. If you have a piece of gold jewelry stamped “carat,” that doesn’t mean it’s misprinted or counterfeit, the piece was made somewhere other than the U.S. or Canada.

Sterling silver (SS) is the name of the purest silver used in jewelry. To be sterling, a piece must be over 90% silver. Other designations used on silver pieces are “silver-plated” and “EPNS” (electro-plated nickel silver). Jewelry designated as “nickel silver” does not contain any actual silver, it is just silver in color. A three-digit number on silver jewelry tells how much silver is in it. For example, “925” means the piece is 92.5% silver, so it is sterling. These three-digit numbers are also sometimes used on gold jewelry in place of karats.

Other purity marks you may find on jewelry include:

·       GF or GP – gold-filled or gold-plated

·       Vermeil – sterling silver with gold plating

·       Plat or PT – at least 95% platinum

·       Pall – at least 95% palladium

Your piece of jewelry may be able to tell you more than what it’s made of. A signature mark tells you who the manufacturer of the piece was. Just as the logos of well-known brands like Coke or KFC change over the years, jewelry makers often change the style of their signatures, so these marks can also give you an idea of when the piece was made. If the piece was made as part of a limited series for a retailer, a mark may signify that as well.

Very unique jewelry designs are often patented, and the patent number can appear right on the piece. U.S. patent numbers can be searched through the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s website and can provide a wealth of information, including the designer and when and where the piece was created.

If a piece of jewelry has gems in it, the weight of the gems may be stamped on it. If two numbers appear, the first number is likely the size of the largest gem (the solitaire) in carats, and the second number is the combined weight of all the others. “TDW” stands for the total diamond weight found on a piece with multiple gems. The gem weight may just be a number or it can be followed by “ct” or “cw.”

Deciphering the marks on jewelry is quite interesting, especially with pieces you have inherited or purchased from an auction or estate sale. Spend some time looking at your necklaces, rings, bracelets and pins—you may find a hidden treasure in your jewelry box!

Why Using a Senior Move Manager Makes Sense

In our previous article, The Difference Between Downsizing and Moving, we discussed how downsizing can be more challenging than a regular move. Using a senior move manager who, unlike a traditional mover, is trained and equipped to deal with these challenges can make a difficult transition easier.

With the gentle and expert guidance of an experienced SMM, older adults and families make the tough decisions without the emotional and physical distress that can follow. As a result, older adults and their families avoid the costly mistakes and disputes that often accompany such major life transitions.

The job of a regular moving company is to get everything from Point A to Point B, and reputable movers do a great job of accomplishing this quickly and safely. Senior move managers (SMMs) don’t just move a person’s belongings from one place to another. They provide a multi-faceted approach to the move process, from space planning in the beginning to post-move support and advocacy. Their oversight minimizes the chaos and stress associated with moving by addressing all aspects of the move process. SMMs are responsible for creating and executing a seamless action plan, customized to the client’s wishes. 

 

When a senior move manager is tasked with packing up a home, they do not pack just pack everything in sight and relocate them to the new residence. They ensure items are packed and distributed according to the family’s wishes. Each item in the home is designated to be moved with the older adult, distributed to a family member, sold at auction, donated or discarded. The person who is relocating will find themselves in their new location only with the belongings they wanted to take, not whatever was in the house. The previous home is cleaned and ready to be sold or occupied by another family member.

Because most senior moves involve downsizing, SMMs assess the new space before any items are moved to ensure everything that is moved will fit and be functional. They generally do not move their clients’ possessions themselves, but they contract with movers they trust and have worked with before, and they oversee the entire move. Once everything has been relocated, senior move managers do not simply leave it all or just empty the boxes the regular moving company has transported, they do a full unpack and resettle, paying close attention to detail to make the new residence feel as much like home as possible, creating a better environment for the older adult’s physical and cognitive health. 

Estate sale or auction services offered by many senior move managers turn unwanted items into income that can offset the cost of the move. This additional service prevents family members from having to sell items online or at garage sales and gives them more time to spend with their loved ones. SMMs handle the sale and distribution of the items as well as the collection of the proceeds when the sale is complete.

Senior move managers become extended family to the older adult and their families as they help navigate the unfamiliar territory of downsizing and moving. They advocate on behalf of their clients when others can’t or won’t. As members of the business community, SMMs have a network of trusted experts they share with their clients, including realtors and elder care attorneys. They can also offer insight on local senior living options such as 55-and-older communities and assisted living facilities.

Using a senior move manager who is a member of the National Association of Senior Move Managers ensures not only that your belongings will be relocated, but that your move is being overseen by a qualified, caring, ethical individual who understands your situation and will make the best decisions for you and your family.

It's National Auctioneers Week!

Auctioneers wear many hats. They are salespeople, entertainers, marketers, and entrepreneurs. Many are also appraisers who specialize in certain collectibles or eras. And this week, they are the honorees of National Auctioneers Week. In their honor, here are some interesting facts about auctions and auctioneers.

·         Auctions date back to the ancient Greeks, with one of their most famous items on the auction block being the entire Roman Empire in 193 A.D.

·         The word “auction” comes from the Latin word “auctus,” meaning “increasing.” A fitting word since it’s the increase in prices that make auctions unique.

·         One of the most avid American auction bidders was George Washington.

·         During the Civil War, army colonels were responsible for selling off seized goods. As a result, auctioneers are still sometimes referred to as “colonels” today.

·         The oldest existing auction house was founded in Stockholm, Sweden in 1674.

·         The largest auction house is Christie’s, which has salerooms around the globe and holds approximately 350 auctions every year.

·         In the U.S. alone, over a quarter-trillion dollars exchanges hands at auctions every year, not including online auctions or eBay.

·         The traditional auctioneer bid call consists of a statement telling how much has been bid (“I have $5.00”) and a request for a higher bid (“Would you bid 10?”), both spoken at a high rate of speed.

·         In the auction world, “SOB” isn’t a dirty word, it stands for “suggested opening bid,” which is set by the auctioneer to get the bidding started.

While most auctions consist of everyday items, there have been many unusual things offered – and sold – at auction.

·         Hair from famous people seems to be a popular, although creepy, auction item. A lock of Abraham Lincoln’s hair clipped off after his assassination sold for $25,000 in Texas. A jar of Elvis Presley’s hair was allegedly auctioned off for $115,000. And when Britney Spears infamously shaved her head in 2007, the salon where she did it attempted to sell her golden locks for $1,000,000.

·         William Shatner’s kidney stone was purchased at auction for $25,000 in 2006. The proceeds were donated to Habitat for Humanity, causing the auctioneer to joke, “This would be the first Habitat for Humanity house built out of stone.”

·         The same company that bought the kidney stone purchased a 10-year-old grilled-cheese sandwich with a likeness of the Virgin Mary on it in 2004 for $28,000. According to the seller, the sandwich freaked her out at first, then brought her good luck and had never grown mold.

·         In 2008, a corn flake shaped like the state of Illinois sold on eBay for $1,350.

·         One would think you wouldn’t want a famous phone number like 867-5309. But someone paid $186,853 for it with a New Jersey area code.

·         And of course, there are many things that have failed to sell at auction, some of the most unusual of which include a grandmother from the UK and the entire country of New Zealand.

All kidding aside, auctions are a profitable way to sell items you no longer want to someone who does. If you have things you’re ready to part with, give an auctioneer a call. If not, call one anyway and wish them Happy National Auctioneers Week!

Trademark Granted to reSettled Life

Intellectual property law is an unfamiliar term to many people, but we see signs of it every day on the packages we buy and the products we use. This branch of law includes patents, copyrights and trademarks. This article focuses on trademarks because reSettled Life was granted one on February 7, 2017.

According to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), “A trademark is a brand name. A trademark or service mark includes any word, name, symbol, device, or any combination, used or intended to be used to identify and distinguish the goods/services of one seller or provider from those of others, and to indicate the source of the goods/services.”

Two marks that indicate a trademark are a superscript “TM” and an “R” in a circle. The first mark signifies that a name or logo is being claimed by a person or company but has not been officially registered with the USPTO. The second mark stands for “registered trademark,” which means this trademark has been registered with the USPTO and is legally protected. Our name, “reSettled Life,” and our porch-swing logo are now trademarked.

Registering a trademark is not an easy process. The first step is to select a mark that is protectable. Common words in common fonts without any image would most likely not be able to be trademarked because they are found too frequently in everyday use. Once you decide on what you think is a unique name, font, and image, a search of the USPTO database will tell you whether or not your choice is different enough from other trademarks already registered for related services to be eligible.

A non-refundable application fee is required, and the process takes months – in our case eight months. Applicants are encouraged to hire a trademark attorney, which increases both the chances of success and the cost. Even after a trademark is registered, it is up to the owner to watch for other companies or individuals who may be using something similar to promote their goods or services and to take legal action if necessary.

You may be wondering right about now why anyone would go through this lengthy process. We can’t speak for other companies, but we know why we did it. Even though there are other senior transition groups out there, we think reSettled Life and the services we provide are special. From the way we handle our clients, initial consultations and moves, to our family of employees and the additional services we offer, there is no other company like us.

Unfortunately, there are people who don’t want to put in the hard work of creating a reputable company themselves, so they use the same logo as a successful company, or create a similar one, and take advantage of that company’s reputation. Not only does that take potential business from the original company, it can also tarnish their reputation if the impostor does a bad job, which is fairly likely to happen.

With a trademark on our name and logo, if someone tries to pass themselves off as us, we have the recourse to make them stop. We don’t ever want potential clients to be duped into thinking they are working with reSettled Life when they aren’t. And we want to protect our reputation so we can continue to provide our unique services to the community.

Why Auctions Are the Best Way to Sell Unwanted Estate Items

Losing a loved one or moving them into a long-term care facility or senior living community can not only leave you emotionally drained, it can also leave you with a home full of belongings to deal with. While you and your family may want to keep some things for financial or sentimental reasons, chances are the majority of the belongings will need to be either sold or donated. Out of the numerous ways to sell unwanted items, the safest, easiest and most profitable is an auction.

Auctions are more profitable – As we discussed in a previous post "Are Auctions and Estate Sales the Same Thing?", items tend to sell for a higher price at an auction than an estate sale because bidders start low and drive the price higher instead of seeing a set price and potentially haggling for a lower one. Auctions are also more profitable than yard sales because they reach a larger market and people have several days to bid on items. With a yard sale, you are limited to the people who are available to come during the hours you are open, and when a customer offers you a price, you either have to take it right away or risk not having anyone stopping by who is interested in it.

Auctions are safer – Craigslist is a popular way to sell things and it casts a further net than a yard sale while still staying local enough for you to avoid paying shipping costs in most instances. However, there is the issue of getting the item to the buyer, which involves either them coming to your home to see or purchase what you’re selling, or you meeting them in a neutral place to make the exchange. Both of these options create a potentially dangerous situation. People have posed as potential buyers to gain access to a home, then come back to break in and steal things. This can also occur at yard sales if you have large items that are for sale but are still in your home. With an auction, only the people who have already bid and won items will be coming to the home, and the pickup is staffed by the auction company who is fully insured and bonded. Some auctioneers offer a two-hour or by-appointment-only preview time, which is also fully staffed.

Auction payments are more secure – Unless you sell things on a regular basis, you are probably not set up to accept credit cards, leaving cash or check as the only methods of payment. If you accept a check for a large purchase at a yard sale and it bounces, getting your money will be extremely challenging. And chances are a buyer will not be willing to wait until the check clears to come back to pick up a purchase. Mobile payments like Venmo allow you to take electronic payments, but buyers can cancel the fund transfer after they receive the item and before the money is deposited into your account. Buyers at an auction or online auction use credit cards to pay, making it more likely you will receive the money. Even if they do not pick up their purchases, per the terms and conditions of the auction the auction company can still charge their credit card and you receive the proceeds. The paid-for but unclaimed items are given to charity or you can choose to keep them.

Auctions are easier – Wouldn’t it be nice if someone came in and sorted everything you had to sell, made it available to buyers, handled the payments and purchase pick-up, and gave you the proceeds? That’s how auctions work. No more sorting, pricing, praying for good weather, lugging things outside, haggling over prices, or dealing with strangers. This doesn’t mean you have no control over the sale. You and your family members will decide what you want to keep before anything is put into the auction.

You’re dealing with enough already. Let a licensed auctioneer handle the unwanted items of the estate.

Breaking the Mold as a Female Auctioneer

reSettled Life Founder Becomes Only Female Licensed Auctioneer in Boone, Kenton County

Amy Wright completes training and earns her Principal Auctioneer License at Kentucky Auction Academy

To better serve her senior transition clients, Amy Wright of reSettled Life in Union, Kentucky wanted to offer auctions as one of her services. To do so required her to be an apprentice auctioneer for one year, work 10 auctions, complete 80 hours of training, and pass the principal auctioneer’s examination. Having completed all four, she earned her principal auctioneer license from the Kentucky Board of Auctioneers on November 10, 2016. She now joins the 182 other women who make up a very small percentage of the 2000 auctioneers currently licensed in Kentucky.

Wright is proud to be a part of this elite group of women, but that is not what drove her to get her license. “My being a licensed principal auctioneer allows reSettled Life to provide a complete service to our clients. Not only can we organize, pack, and unpack the belongings the senior wants to keep, we can also provide some additional income by auctioning many unwanted belongings rather than donating or discarding them.”

For the past year, Wright has been holding client auctions as an apprentice under a licensed auctioneer, but is happy to be able to do it on her own now. The majority of reSettled Life’s auctions are held online, although Wright is licensed to hold live auctions as well. Once the auction is complete, the company handles payment collection and distribution of sold items, giving clients more time to be with their families.

 About reSettled Life

 reSettled Life is a senior transition and auction company serving Northern Kentucky, Cincinnati and Southeast Indiana. They help families move loved ones from their homes into smaller homes, senior-friendly communities, or nursing facilities. Services include organizing, packing, unpacking, resettling, and auctions. Learn more at www.resettledlife.com.

 

 

 

 

Should You Talk to Your Parents About Downsizing Over the Holidays?

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Having the downsizing conversation is never easy for anyone involved. For both children and parents, it’s one more sign that the parents are aging, which is difficult to accept. One way to make it easier is to talk about it before the move becomes necessary. Ask your parents if they have thought about where they would go or what type of place they would like to live in next. Would it be a one-story condo near the water? Or a manageable apartment closer to you or one of your siblings? Laying this groundwork ahead of time gives everyone a chance to consider the options available before they have to become a reality.

Another way to make the talk go better is to be prepared. If you have siblings, ask them if they think it’s time. If not, really listen to their reasoning and see whether it changes your mind or not. If all of you aren’t on the same page, it may be best to wait and approach the subject later. Having one or more family members not on board before you even talk to your parent is not a good start.

Not only may you potentially be trying to convince your siblings and parents this is the right thing to do, you may be trying to convince yourself as well. People often feel guilty about bringing up the subject, even though they believe it will be better for their parents’ well-being. It also makes them face the fact that their parents are getting older and may soon be the ones needing help instead of the other way around. Take some time to deal with your own feelings so that you are ready to help your parent with theirs when you talk to them.

While you shouldn’t try to decide exactly where your parent should live before talking to them, you should think about some of the options that make the most sense to you. Do some research on several possibilities and even visit them if possible to make sure you still think they would be a good fit. There are so many choices when it comes to senior living nowadays that you’ll want to know what’s available and what they have to offer.

When you decide to talk with your parent, make sure you are completely vested in the conversation. Block out some time, go to your parents’ house, leave the kids at home, and focus entirely on the discussion. According to an article on caring.com,

      “One of the greatest challenges people in midlife face in their dealings with the elderly is to slow down       and find the time to be fully present. It's a mistake to discuss important issues on the fly, when you're         rushed and preoccupied. If you need to talk about something crucial with your parents, make a                     conscious effort to put your personal agenda aside -- along with your cell phone.”

Once you have given your full attention to the conversation, listen carefully to their responses. Remember that you are still the child and they are the parent. Don’t tell them what you think they have to do, talk about the options you have researched and answer their questions as best as you can. Talk about the benefits of a new place – if it’s smaller it’ll be easier to clean and maintain; in a condo there are fewer utility bills to worry about paying; in a 55-and-older community everyone is around the same age, making socializing easier; they provide transportation to the grocery store, doctor, and other outings so driving isn’t an issue. Offer to go see a few different places together, but respect your parents’ wishes if they don’t want to yet.

Being respectful of your parent’s feelings and offering to work together with them to find the right solution is a better approach than trying to take charge. Through open communication, you may both discover they’ve been wanting to move closer to you, or the upkeep of the current home is a burden, or staying in the place where a spouse or several neighbors no longer live is actually depressing. Then it’s time to take the next step. However, if that isn’t the case, don’t continue to push the subject until it becomes an argument. Allow some time for everyone to think it over and try again later to work together toward the right solution.

 

 

 

 

How to Avoid 3 Common Senior Moving Scams

It’s hard to believe there are people low enough to prey on seniors who are moving from their family home out of necessity, but there are. In addition to dealing with the stress of sorting through belongings and moving to a new place, seniors also need to stay alert for those trying to take advantage of or steal from them. Here are a few of the most frequent scams:

Mover Scam

There are two very common moving scams today. The first involves a moving company giving you a quote, picking up your items, then refusing to deliver your items until you pay a lot more than you were told. The second involves the moving company requiring an up-front deposit, then not showing up for the move.

How to avoid it – Do your homework to make sure the company you are hiring is reputable. The easiest way to find someone you can trust is to get referrals from friends and family members who have used them. If this isn’t an option, ask companies for their business license numbers and confirm they are still active. Check with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the government body that oversees moving companies, for complaints against the company. Not wanting to take inventory in person before giving you a quote, not being willing to give you anything in writing, or requiring you to pay in cash are all red flags, and you should continue your search.

Senior Transition Scam

It’s no secret that the U.S. population is getting older, making senior services a popular business. And while the majority of senior transition companies are legit, there are some that aren’t. Fraudulent companies may try to overcharge you, may steal items while they are packing, or offer to buy your belongings at a fraction of their value.

How to avoid it – The National Association of Senior Move Managers (NASMM) is a professional group dedicated to making senior transitions easier for everyone involved. Make sure the companies you are considering are members. Ask for proof of their liability insurance and workers compensation coverage, and get estimates and contracts in writing. As with movers, senior transition companies will also have a business license, so check to make sure they are still active. Just because a company has a website does not mean they are legit.

Home Repair Scam

Home repair scams can happen at any time, even when you are selling a home or buying a new one. Scammers may see the for sale sign in your yard and try to convince you to hire them for repairs that supposedly will make your house sell faster or for a higher price. They may tell you that you need unnecessary repairs or appliances, like a water softener, when you move into your new place. Or they may ask to look inside your home to give you home repair suggestions when they are actually looking to see if you have anything worth coming back to steal.

How to avoid it – If your home does require repairs, ask for referrals from friends or family members. Never hire someone who knocks on your door and suggests repairs without getting a second opinion or doing an extensive background check on them. Don’t ever let anyone into your home, even if they are wearing a company uniform, unless you have made an appointment and are expecting them. And never pay up front for the entire cost of a repair, because chances are you will never see them again.

No one needs one more thing on their to-do list when they’re in the process of relocating, but taking these few precautions could protect you from scammers and save you money in the long run.

Making Your Memorabilia a Gift, Not a Burden

When it comes to downsizing, either through want or necessity, the most challenging part is deciding what to do with all of the “belongings,” like furniture, knick-knacks, kitchenware, pictures (both those that hang on the walls and those that go in albums), and papers. And if these items belong to you, you probably want them to stay in the family.  While your relatives may never want all of your belongings, there are things you can do to make the transition out of your house and potentially into theirs go more smoothly.

1.     Don’t expect them to take everything of yours – Different people have different tastes, even if they are closely related. What may be incredibly valuable to you may hold no sentimental value to your relatives. No matter how many times you tell the story about a particular item, or how much they enjoy hearing the story, they still may not want it. Sometimes it’s a matter of physical space. If your only child has bought himself one of those tiny homes that are currently so popular, he won’t even take your teacup collection, let alone your baby grand piano. And that’s okay, it doesn’t mean he loves the story, the teacups, the piano, or you, any less.

2.     Don’t expect them to take what is theirs – My friend’s mom has boxes full of things that once belonged to her and her siblings. Several of them hold a comic book collection that has yet to be moved in with its rightful owner, despite the fact he hasn’t lived at home for 25 years. Others hold stuffed animals and games their mother kept from their childhood.  Contrary to what she thinks, the children are not going to take these items to their respective homes, even though they may have owned them at one point. If you are holding on to your children’s belongings with the assumption they will want them, don’t. Tell them what you have and on what date you will be getting rid of it. If they don’t come get it before then, they will never take it.

3.     Pare down your belongings to what matters most to you – More than one child has heard the dreaded phrase, “I’m just going to leave this all for you to sort through.” When someone is faced with a home that is full from top to bottom, everything loses its value, financial or sentimental. They just want everything gone. If you want your loved ones to keep items that are valuable and special to you, clear out the rest of the clutter so they can focus on the important things and appreciate their worth.

4.     Provide information about your mementos – Keeping a record of your special belongings may seem morbid, but it really isn’t. Writing down the sentimental or monetary values of certain items will ensure that they are appreciated to their fullest by others. Consider creating a book of your most valuable items with photos and information about each piece.

5.     Keep track of who wants what – One of your kids may have expressed particular interest in something of yours even when they were still a child or young adult. Maybe it conjures up memories for them, or they just always found it unique. If you have verbally promised it to them, make it official by putting it in writing or including it in your will. That way they will be free to enjoy it without having potentially uncomfortable discussions with their siblings or other relatives.

Hopefully some of these tips will help your loved ones appreciate some of your belongings as much as you do, and help you realize that their love for you is not diminished if they don’t welcome everything you cherish into their homes.

A Little of This and A Little of That

The month of April brought along a busy time for our team and the first project on the calendar was a full house sort/purge/donation pack/auction. I was contacted by the adult daughter, whose mother had recently passed away, and she was left with the home and all the personal content. She needed the house, which her family had lived in for well over 50 years, to be sorted through and cleaned out so she could then get it listed to sell. She wanted to sell, at auction, anything that we could and the purge or donate the rest at our discretion. We had our plan and we rolled up our sleeves and got to work.

Tracy, one of my Team Leads, and myself spent a solid week sorting through this home that held decades of items, some that had not been unearthed in quite some time. We identified the pieces that we could clean up and catalog for the upcoming online auction and we bagged over 30 42-gallon contractor trash bags of items to be purged. We also were able to salvage some of the items that weren't quite auction quality but would still make a good charitable donation. We coordinated with our local charity contacts to get them the items that they could find new homes for and worked with another local service to arrange the garbage pick up. Check out just a few photos of the dramatic before and afters from several areas of the house!

Bedroom Before

Bedroom Before

Bedroom Before

Bedroom Before

Bedroom after our work and before auction! 

Bedroom after our work and before auction! 

Basement Before

Basement Before

Basement Before

Basement Before

Basement After! We cleared everything out, digging through items that had been boxed for decades!

Basement After! We cleared everything out, digging through items that had been boxed for decades!

After the home was completely cleaned out, other than the items to be sold at auction, we started our cataloging and photographing process to prepare for the online auction. We carefully tagged and inventoried all items and ran the online auction, complete with a preview day and staffed pick up dates. The client was able to make some profit from items in the house, that were no longer needed or wanted, and was also able to have the house completely emptied and ready to be placed up for sale. And all this was done in only a 4 week time period! We had a happy client and were so glad that we were able to help her in what seemed like a very large and overwhelming task, which is our goal with every transition no matter how big or small! 

A few items displayed for the online auction. 

A few items displayed for the online auction. 

 

 

A Gift of Time

As I've mentioned before, one of the most interesting aspects of my business is that no two moves or clients are the same. There are times when we work directly with the senior and then there are times when we are working with the adult child on behalf of their parent. This was the situation with our latest move and we were so honored to get to be involved in giving an unexpected gift at the end of the move.

Ms. L, the daughter of the senior client, contacted me with a complex move. Her mom, Mrs. A, at age 91, needed to be moved to a different senior community that would better fit her needs. The difficulty came with the fact that she did not live locally and was having to coordinate a complete downsize and transition from many miles away. Mrs. A had a 2 bedroom apartment and was moving to a companion suite, meaning a major downsize was going to need to take place. Ms. L was going to be in town for only 3 days and knew that she could not possibly complete the task at hand on her own. She also wanted to spend time with her mother, but anticipated that would be very limited due to the time constraints and the massive project for the 3 days. We were happy to step in and assist. 

Ms. L and I spoke over the phone and emailed several times over the course of a few weeks to plan as much as we could ahead of her arrival. I toured the new community, saw Mrs. A's new room and created a floor plan so we would know exactly what we could fit in the new space. The afternoon Ms. L arrived, my team was waiting and ready to pack Mrs. A's belongings that would be accompanying her to her new residence as well as oversee the movers that were handling the heavy lifting and delivery of Mrs. A's furniture. We spent the rest of the day carefully unpacking, labeling every personal item and arranging Mrs. A's new room to feel as much like her previous place, even making sure the wall hangings above her bed were there at the new residence. Again, as per our policy, every box was unpacked and every item stored in it's new home. 

The following 2 days consisted of sorting, donation packing and purging items leftover at Mrs. A's old apartment. Our team worked closely with Ms. L to determine what items she wanted to keep for herself and then we took care of getting those items shipped to her home states away. We also set up a great donation of furniture and household items with Lifeline Ministries, one of our partner charities. By the time we were finished the apartment was emptied of all the contents other than a few furniture pieces that family was picking up that evening.

There was a collective sigh of relief, by Ms. L and everyone involved, to know that what seemed an impossible task, had been completed and done so ahead of schedule. That's where the gift comes in. Ms. L did not anticipate having any real time to spend with her mom due everything that needed to be accomplished in such a short period of time. After a warm hug and some thank you's, Ms. L said "I couldn't have done this without you." The gift of time we were able to give to Ms. L to spend with her mom is priceless and why we have the motto "Getting You Back To What Really Matters." Yes, there are tasks that you have to complete and they can seem insurmountable, but by hiring reSettled Life, Ms. L was able to get back to really mattered and spend some quality time with her 91 year old mother. That is why this company exists and why we get to leave clients with a smile on our faces, to give something as precious as time with a loved one is a beautiful gift and one we love to be a part of!

Making sure these special pieces were hanging in this arrangement above Mrs. A's bed in her new residence was an important factor in our resettling process.

Making sure these special pieces were hanging in this arrangement above Mrs. A's bed in her new residence was an important factor in our resettling process.

Melanie, one of our team members, carefully sorting and packing years worth of items in Mrs. A's apartment.

Melanie, one of our team members, carefully sorting and packing years worth of items in Mrs. A's apartment.

The results of our work! 

The results of our work! 

Conference Time

Last month I had the opportunity to head south, to the beautiful city of San Antonio, for a four day event sponsored by the national association that I belong to. NASMM, the National Association of Senior Move Managers, is the only nationally accredited association for Senior Move Managers and I am so fortunate to be a part of such a great organization. 

The four day event was the association's national conference, meaning that there were over 400 Senior Move Managers that were in attendance from all over the country and even a few from overseas. It was a long weekend packed with seminars and training classes, all specifically designed for the SMM. I was blown away by the vast amount of knowledge that I was able to gain as well as listening to seasoned SMM's and their advice and best business practices. There were breakout sessions on everything from packing techniques to how to give a presentation to how to handle the financials of the business. I came away with notebook pages full of insights, tips and strategies, all things that make this hard-working mompreneur very happy!

What I found even more exciting than the conference speakers and classes, was the chance to mix and mingle with hundreds of SMMs that have been doing this for years and listening to their stories of successes and failures. I met one SMM in particular who lives in Indy and was so gracious with his advice and encouragement. Not only did he take time to speak to me at the conference, but extended the offer to continue the conversation with emails and phone calls. That kind of mentorship is priceless!

When you are a small business owner, you wear many hats on a daily basis. You are the one running the day in and day out activities of your business and the idea of going away for any amount of time can be a little terrifying. However, I am so happy that I didn't let that stop me from attending this conference, because it was a great investment of both my time and finances. And I am already looking forward to next year's conference!  

No trip to San Antonio is complete without a visit to the beautiful Riverwalk!

No trip to San Antonio is complete without a visit to the beautiful Riverwalk!

Listen and Read

I love this business and industry, so when I was given the chance to sit down and talk about it with a news reporter, I excitedly agreed and then counted down until interview day. I was contacted by Bryan Burke at The River City News to make a stop by their Covington office to not only talk about reSettled Life and the senior move industry for a written article, but to do so in a podcast setting, to be published alongside the written piece. It was a first time experience for me, sitting with a headset on, in front of a real radio microphone, and talking about this business that I have such a passion for. It was a fun and easy conversation with Bryan and I love the finished product! So, please take a few minutes to listen to the podcast and read his article. You might find out some things about me and the senior move industry that you didn't know and in turn find that reSettled Life is a company that can help you or someone you know now or in the future!

In A Bind

One of the most interesting parts of being a Senior Move Manager is that no two clients or moves are the same. You never know what services a client will need, what they will find value in, and the timeframe you are working with. Some moves are planned out months in advance, yet others you have just days to make it all happen. Each job, though, is an adventure and this week's was no exception, yet at the end of the job, it was rewarding both professionally and personally.

I was hired by a couple who were in a bind. Both husband and wife, Mr. and Mrs. J, are in their 80s and he had just been released from a stay in the hospital and rehab. He could no longer stay at his previous residence and she was scrambling to find him a new place to live, along with figuring out how to make it all happen on such short notice. She was overwhelmed and stressed. She had found him a new senior community to move into, but had no way of handling the transition, as her health was frail and there was no other family to take on the task and it needed to be done in 4 day. So, she called me. 

After speaking with Mrs.J and finding out the specifics, I went into action mode. This is who I am, I get things done. If I don't know how to do something, I work diligently until I figure it out. I organize, I plan, I execute. By the end of that day, I had a plan in place, with every piece of the puzzle figured out and Mrs. J was relieved to know that the transition was under way, with her not having to worry any longer on how it was going to happen. 

Pack Day arrived the following morning and my team and I went to work at carefully packing and preparing for the move. We worked hard to ensure everything was in place and ready for move day. By the time we left, boxes were sealed and every drawer was empty and ready for the movers. 

Move Day was exciting! The movers arrived promptly and worked efficiently to get the truck loaded. Once we arrived at the new community, it was time to get to work to unpack and "resettle" Mr. J. The couple had already arrived earlier in the day and were able to sit and relax as my team and I unloaded. We unpacked every box and organized as we put things away. The linen pantry, dresser, and closet were filled with Mr. J's belongings. We carefully made the bed and placed all of his personal pictures and items in the exact locations they were in at his former residence. We wanted this to feel like home. When Mr. and Mrs. J were escorted to his new home, there were smiles and words of gratitude. What had seemed like an insurmountable job had been handled with ease and compassion. Mrs. J told me that she was so blessed by the services we offered and that it was such a needed business. 

There's more to this company, for me, than just receiving a paycheck. It's about helping others and providing something that they need. It's about giving someone else, that is overwhelmed, the feeling that everything is going to be okay. There is peace and joy in that feeling and I love giving and receiving those blessings.