senior transitions

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.

reSettling Life’s Treasures – Tall Stacks

In the second of our series on collections, we’re exploring the history and memorabilia – particularly the paintings – of the Tall Stacks Festivals held right here in Cincinnati.

Tall Stacks originated as a festival to celebrate the bicentennial of Cincinnati in 1988. Fourteen riverboats (aka tall stacks) dotted the Ohio River, and a crowd of over 700,000 people came to see them. Among the festivities was a race between Delta Queen and Belle of Louisville, the same boats that race in Louisville in the days leading up to the Kentucky Derby.

Because the festival was such a hit and drew such a large crowd, the city of Cincinnati decided to continue holding the festival, although not annually due to the large amount of work and funding needed to make it happen. Subsequent events were held in 1992, 1995, 1999, 2003, and 2006, with crowds numbering up to 900,000. The festival has been tentatively scheduled to return a few times since, but funding, logistics, and the lack of working riverboats has caused it to be cancelled each time.

In addition to seeing the riverboats, festival visitors could talk to volunteers dressed in period clothing and have their pictures taken, listen to music performed by several groups, eat food from numerous vendors, and of course, buy souvenirs. Memorabilia commemorating the event included pins, sweatshirts, t-shirts, trivets, mugs, hats, Christmas decorations, puzzels shot glasses, posters and photos. But the most sought after, and most valuable today, were the prints of a painting commissioned by the city and created by a local artist.

Frank McElwain is a Cincinnati native and resident of Walnut Hills. His paintings of the city are well-known and adorn the walls of many local businesses and homes. Organizers of the 1988 festival approached McElwain and asked him to create a painting depicting the riverboats that would be attending the festival. Imagining how 14 boats would look on the Ohio River at one time, the artist created a scene that included every one of them before they ever appeared in Cincinnati.

Only 500 prints were made of the painting, and 475 of them were sold for $300 each. The remaining 25 were remarques, which means the artist added a pencil sketch on the border of the print, and they sold for $500. The prints were so well-received that McElwain was asked to paint renditions for the next five festivals as well. Sometimes the paintings were during the day, other times they were at night. The 1999 painting focused specifically on the river and the boats because McElwain thought the construction of the new stadium made the riverbank an eyesore. But the one constant throughout all the paintings was that all the riverboats attending the festival that year were included, even the year when 19 boats participated.

Today, souvenirs from the Tall Stacks Festivals are quite collectable, especially in the Tri-State area. The most sought after memorabilia are the McElwain prints because of their uniqueness and limited number. A remarque print from the 1988 Tall Stacks Festival can sell for up to $2,200 because they sold out immediately at the inaugural event and are hard to find.
If you were fortunate enough to attend a Tall Stacks Festival, enjoy your memories and souvenirs, because it doesn’t look like the festival will be returning anytime soon. And if you would like some memorabilia from one of the events, it’s out there, you just have to look for it.

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.

reSettling Life’s Treasures – Depression Glass

In our line of work, we come across many personal collections. Items range from toys and coins to dolls and holiday decorations. Each of these collections has a story, both personal and historical. We would like to share some of those stories with you, starting with Depression glass.

Up through the early 1900s, glass items were made by hand. Each piece was individually poured, cut and polished, making glass time-consuming – and costly – to make. To own a piece of glass was a sign of privilege. When the Depression hit in the 1920s, glassmakers were forced to either find another way to manufacture glass or risk going out of business.

One such company was the Hocking Glass Company in Lancaster, Ohio. Named for its proximity to the Hocking River, the company was founded in 1905. According to the Anchor Hocking Glass Museum, the company could manufacture one piece of glass per minute when it started. Shortly before the Depression, they began using a machine that streamlined the process and allowed them to make up to 30 pieces per minute. The stock market crash forced them to create glass at an even cheaper rate, so they invented a machine that could make 90 pieces per minute. The glass made on this machine, and others like it in the area, came to be known as Depression glass.

In an effort to encourage people to spend what money they had in their establishments, business owners started giving away depression glass with qualifying purchases. Filling up your tank at a gas station could earn you a dinner plate, a trip to the movies on “Dish Night” could net a coffee cup. Some pieces, particularly drinking glasses, were included in packages of Quaker Oats and boxes of laundry detergent, and families would collect a complete set, one glass at a time. For larger pieces, like a platter or punch bowl, frugal housewives would collect multiple coupons or proofs of sale to send in at the same time.

Depression glass came in a variety of clear colors, including green, red, pink, amber, yellow and blue. Opaque glass was also available in white, jade green and black. The patterns printed in the glass often mimicked those used in the handmade glass only the truly wealthy could afford. For those with a little bit more cash, elegant glass was still machine-made, but had some finishing work done by hand after it was removed from the mold to smooth out edges or remove unsightly seams.

The reasons people start collecting Depression glass are as numerous as the collectors themselves. Many older collectors remember using it as children, while others fell in love with it while visiting their grandparents’ homes. Some simply enjoy the hunt and finding a hidden treasure at a yard sale or consignment shop. The value of Depression glass varies widely, depending on your location and the rarity of the pieces.

There are several things to look for when buying Depression glass to ensure you don’t buy a less valuable reproduction piece. True Depression glass is lighter and thinner than replicated glass and it often has small bubbles within the glass. Scratches on a piece often means it’s authentic because these pieces were used in everyday life, not just put on display. Seams on lids from molds and straw marks on the bottom of the glass where it would have been set to cool are also signs that the glass is truly from the Depression era.

Whether you display it in a china cabinet or use it on a daily basis, Depression glass can bring a beautiful piece of history to your home.

 

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.

 

 

 

 

Are Auctions and Estate Sales the Same Thing?

When it’s time to downsize a home, people often turn to the professionals to sell their belongings rather than holding yard sales or trying to sell things on eBay or Craigslist. Auctions and estate sales (also called tag sales) are both ways to eliminate household goods and make a profit, and may seem very similar. But they are actually quite different.

Auctioneers are more accountable because they must be licensed in Kentucky to run live or online auctions and are held to a Code of Ethics. Their license number has to be readily available at any auction, and an address for complaints must be included in their contracts. Before a Kentucky auctioneer can be licensed, they must apprentice under a sponsoring auctioneer for one year, take 96 hours of classes, and pass two exams. All of this training benefits you because your sale is being handled by an educated, trustworthy person, This means they will help you get the most income for the items you are selling, and that you have a clear path to resolving an issue should one arise.

Estate sale companies aren’t licensed or regulated in any way, which means anyone can market themselves as an estate sale professional, even if they have had no training. Does that mean all estate companies are run by inexperienced people? Of course not. But they are out there, and if you have a complaint it can be much more difficult to get a resolution.

Another difference is the way your items will be priced. At tag sales, a price is marked on each item before the sale begins, which leaves nowhere for the price to go but down. Most people view estate sales as organized garage sales and haggle over the prices marked. Buyers will also often wait until the second or third day of the sale to buy because prices are reduced after the first day.

Prices start low at auctions and continue to climb based on demand. Some items that may not have seemed valuable can end up selling at a higher price if two or more bidders are interested. This means that as the auction progresses, your profit on each item increases, while with an estate sale, your profit on items decreases as day two and three approach.

At an auction, items that aren’t selling individually can be grouped together to make them more attractive to buyers. Estate sale items have already been priced and can’t be regrouped to increase their chances of being sold. Also, leftover items at estate sales often become the property of the company, so they can sell them at their next sale and not owe you any proceeds. This gives estate sales managers less incentive to get everything sold for you. If you are signing up to do an estate sale and don’t want them to take the leftover items, make sure you read the contract carefully.

A benefit to buyers at an auction is the ability to preview items for at least 12 hours before it starts. At a tag sale the selling starts as soon as people walk through the door, so buyers have to make quick decisions before someone else buys what they want. This may not seem important to you as a seller, but it actually is because your buyers won’t be rushing through your items to make sure they don’t miss out. Instead, they’ll have time to think about each one and may end up buying more.

The most important thing when hiring someone to help you sell your belongings is to find someone you are comfortable with and that you can trust. Ask friends or family members for referrals, take the time to get to know the people you’ll be working with, and understand exactly how your belongings will be sold.

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.

Downsizing and Getting reSettled Presentation

Getting ready to downsize or move and don't know where to start? Come listen to our owner, Amy Wright, speak about the steps you need to take to make the process easier. Her tips and suggestions will help you #getbacktowhatreallymatters. Presentation will take place on Wednesday September 14th from 6-8pm at the Covington Branch of the Kenton County Library. Call 859-962-4071 to register.

The Difference Between Downsizing and Moving

Your parents moved you when you were a kid. You moved into a dorm and various apartments during college. You moved when you graduated, when you got married, and when you took an out-of-town job transfer. Throughout the years, you have become a moving machine. Surely your next move – downsizing – will be the same as all the others.

Unfortunately, that isn’t the case. No matter how many moves you have made throughout your lifetime, downsizing is different. Here’s why:

It may not be happening for a happy reason – In our business, the majority of people that we’re helping downsize are doing it because they need to. Maybe they’ve lost a spouse and can’t take care of the home by themselves, maybe they can no longer manage the stairs to the bedroom or bathroom, or maybe they’ve become unable to live alone. Whatever the reason, feeling like you’re moving because you have to not because you want to is very different and can be a very emotional experience.

You can’t take everything – Oftentimes, you move from one size place to a similar sized or even larger one, so you can take everything with you.  When you downsize, you move to a smaller space than you currently have, which means you will need to downsize your belongings as well. Parting with items that you have owned for decades or have sentimental value can be difficult.

It’s hard to get rid of everything you aren’t taking – Rather than finding a new spot for everything in your new home, you’ll need to find places for those items you decided not to keep. Your family members may want some items, but don’t count on them to take everything. (see Making Your Memorabilia a Gift, Not a Burden blog ). Selling items through yard sales or online can be time-consuming and cause you to deal with strangers trying to talk you down on prices, which can be uncomfortable and less profitable. Donating is always a good way to rid yourself of unwanted items because they will be going to someone else who can use them, but some organizations won’t take certain things or will not come pick anything up.

This downsize is permanent – You may have temporarily downsized before in your lifetime, either from your parents’ home to a dorm room, or maybe to live in a downtown apartment or overseas for a year. But your belongings were waiting for you when you returned. This type of downsize is normally permanent, so unless you have family members willing to house your overflow, whatever doesn’t fit in your smaller space will no longer be yours.

Fortunately, there is someone who can help make downsizing at least a little easier. Here’s how:

Inventory and Sorting– Our team inventories and sorts homes to be downsized to help make the decision on what you want to take and what you don’t. Sometimes just having someone to help you figure out what you can live without and what you can’t will enable you to not feel so overwhelmed with the downsize and move.

Floorplan Comparison – When we’re helping someone downsize, we use the floorplan of the new space to determine what can be kept and what won’t fit. We can show you different layouts that include certain things in one layout, and different things in another, allowing you to choose which will work best for you.

Unwanted Items – After you have decided what you’re keeping and what your friends and family members want, we can take care of the rest. We hold online auctions for clients on a regular basis. We handle all aspects of the process from cataloging and photographing, taking care of payments, and handling the pick-ups. We’ll also arrange for items that aren’t sold to be donated or removed.

Downsizing can be much more stressful than a regular move, but it doesn’t have to be. Let reSettled Life help you get from Point A to a smaller and more manageable Point B.

 

 

 

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.

The Cats Are Moving Too

Not all of our senior moves are for our senior residents, sometimes they also involve their favorite four-legged companions and those can come with some challenges of their own. We had the privilege of helping Ms. W make a transition from one independent senior community to another across town and needed to make sure we also included her two furry friends that would be making the move with her. 

Our team took a Friday afternoon to pack up Ms. W's belongings, leaving out items she would need over the weekend. We wanted to get as many of her personal items carefully packed to ensure that her new residence would feel like home right away. On Monday morning we arrived to meet the movers and oversee the move day. The decision was made that Ms. W's daughter would transport her beloved felines, following along with a reSettled Life policy, and we would make sure everything else was loaded on the moving truck and delivered to her new senior community. Although the cats ended up being a little more difficult to wrangle than we had originally thought, they were eventually secured and made their way to their new home ahead of Ms. W. 

Our reSettling process was a smooth one, as we loaded Ms. W new home with all of her favorite things, making sure to place those items in the same location they were at her previous residence and hanging every family picture and heirloom that she had on her walls around her room. Her furry friends stayed put in the bathroom, to become more acclimated with their new surroundings, and were ready to roam freely by the time we had finished up. When we had every box unpacked and removed from the room, every picture hung and cabinet filled, we said our goodbyes. We left Ms. W with a huge smile on her face and a sense of relief that the overwhelming move was complete and had not been as stressful as she thought it would be. Knowing we had a happy senior client, already settled in her brand new home, gave us a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction, which meant we were able to leave with a smile! 

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. 

Why Hire a Senior Move Manager

Wow, doesn't this look like an overwhelming and complicated mess?!? I have been asked, since starting this business, why someone would hire my company or a SMM to do something that they could easily do themselves. That's a good and fair question and one that I am sure many people are thinking.

When we talk about moving someone, most of us think "I've moved myself and my family before, I can do this move for my senior loved one myself too!" And you're right, you most certainly can, but there is more to the process when transitioning an older adult from their home of many decades and downsizing them to, most of the time, a much smaller residence. This isn't the same as moving your family from one certain square foot home to another of comparable size or larger, this is downsizing and with that comes some considerations that we usually haven't had to make before. 

The idea of even helping research and visit senior communities or nursing homes can be a daunting situation in and of itself. When you add to that the many other tasks involved, from floor planning the new residence to coordinating the move, to unpacking and then having an entire home to sort through, the hours of your time add up quickly. And then there is the actual personal property that is in the home. What do you do with it? Where can you take it? How do you even start sorting through your loved ones' lifetime of treasures that hold so many memories?

This is where reSettled Life can help. We have been trained in each aspect of the senior transition experience. We have contacts and referrals that can help make the process a smooth one, hopefully turning a move that might not be eagerly wanted to one that brings peace and comfort for everyone involved. And we can handle the personal property, not outsource it, with our abilities and knowledge as a licensed auctioneer, giving the family the added benefit of making money that can go toward the new care their senior loved one will be needing. 

Our motto "Getting You Back To What Really Matters" stems from the thought that your time is valuable and when the decision has been made that your loved one needs more care than you can offer, we want you to be spending your time with them, not on the tedious and time-consuming details of their stuff. Or if you have recently suffered the loss of your senior loved one and are left with their home and possessions, we can help make decisions and give you peace of mind that everything in their personal estate will be handled with professionalism and respect. Let us shoulder the responsibility and utilize our training and passion to serve, so you can focus on what really matters. 

Senior Move Manager?

I have to admit, when I was a little girl dreaming of my future career, Senior Move Manager (SMM) was not at the top of that list. However, there is a good reason for that, the career did not exist at that time (although I cannot tell you exactly when that was and give away my age!) The Senior Move industry is a fairly new one, only coming into existence in the late 1990s. Around that time, individuals from across the country, with a passion to help older adults and their transition from their homes of many years into apartments/condos, senior communities, assisted living, were realizing that there was an actual career to be had in what they had been doing. 

When I decided that this was an industry that I wanted to join and create a business in, I immediately began researching to find as much as I could about this fascinating job. I was fortunate to very quickly come across a non-profit organization called the National Association of Senior Move Manager (NASMM). This organization has been around since 2002 and was responsible for finding those individuals that were scattered all over the nation and bringing them together with a common goal in mind. I have been blessed to be able to start my business with the knowledge, training and community of so many SMMs across the globe, that work together to ensure that this industry continues to reach the needs of those seniors and their families that want and desire the services we provide. Those early SMMs, had no idea that the tasks they were already doing of sorting, packing, organizing, space planning, and many more, would be pivotal to the movement of the Senior Move industry.

So, there you have it. What once started with only 22 SMMs meeting in 2002 to discuss how they could formally establish a professional organization to now more than 900 SMMs across the world, the Senior Move industry is relevant and growing as well as meeting new demands of an aging generation never before seen to this magnitude. It is a profession that requires heart, passion, organizational skills and the willingness to get a little dirty and sweaty. It's a profession that I truly believe I was made to do and I am so excited for what the future holds!

**All stats courtesy of the National Association of Senior Move Managers