Following on from my anatomy of a downsizing project, here is the children’s view on why my professional organising and decluttering skills are key to the success of any downsizing project:
Charlie, son of Mr and Mrs H:
“I didn’t know people like Sarah existed, my brother found her. We’d been talking about moving for a good couple of years but it was difficult as my parents had strong emotional links to the house and the scale of moving was daunting. But it was apparent mum would not survive in the house or that dad would kill himself trying to maintain it so we knew it was time. Read more
Following on from my anatomy of a downsizing project, here is the removalist firm’s view on why my professional organising and decluttering skills are key to the success of any downsizing project:
Neil Atkinson, D.Durrant Removals: “When I got there Sarah had done the bulk of the work. I didn’t see what it was like before she started the project but from what my boss said about the house, Sarah must have done a huge amount. By moving day she’d done 99% of the decluttering and everything there was what we were taking which is rare.
THE PROJECT: To move an 80-year-old couple from the 5-bedroom family home where they’d lived for the past 40 years into a two-bedroom bungalow.
THE CHALLENGE: They had 10 rooms, 3 cellars, loft, garage, games room, workshop and stables full of nearly 40 years of stuff. Mrs H has Parkinson’s Disease and her husband Mr H was managing everything on his own. We had 2 months. Read more
Home-blocking is a term used to describe the aging population’s seeming determination to stay in the family home rather than downsizing to release urgently needed homes back to the local community.
The UK elderly are at odds with their counterparts in the USA and Australia: just 1% of people over 60 in the UK live in retirement homes, compared with 17% in the States and 13% in Australia. So, what isn’t happening in the UK? Read more
Helping your parents’once-in-a-lifetime downsizing move from their large family home into more suitable accommodation can be daunting. Successful baby boomers living abroad or out of town are struggling to deal with ageing parents while juggling career and young family needs. Laments a recent anxious son from Sydney, “I just can’t be there to sort this out and they are moving in 6 weeks time!”
Once you’ve made a plan for your parents’ downsizing needs, Plan B might be the better option… Read more
When people are going through a divorce I’m often brought in to help deal with their belongings. There are various scenarios. Sometimes the husband leaves to start a new relationship, taking the bare minimum of possessions. His wife is left feeling overwhelmed and resentful about having to deal with every single thing. So she calls me. On other occasions family lawyers and divorce coaches refer cases to me because their clients are arguing over Every. Single. Thing. As well as the negative moods and toxic atmosphere, couples fighting over joint possessions can lead to higher legal fees and longer settlement periods. Read more
Cards on the table, I’m a Professional Declutter and so my Christmas wish is that people give each other the gift of an experience rather than another expletive thing. However, I just got trumped…
Yesterday, distracted and driving, I accepted a (hands-free!) call from a colleague while I busied myself with Christmas preparations. She just called to ask How Are You. She isn’t sending cards this year. She is calling people. And asking them about how their year was. Not hers. Mine.
How refreshing is this? No postal insincerity. No carefully crafted funny insert letter about fabulous 2017-lives-by-month with undirected signatures. Just her at the end of the line asking ‘How Are You? How Was Your Year?”
What followed was my download about the incredible year that I had failed to notice. Distractions drifted away, I pulled over and picked up the handset… Let’s face it: no one ever usually asks that sort of question with the intention to listen. Patricia did and she listened. She gave me the gift of her listening time. Read more
It’s a familiar scenario. Christmas arrives and you find yourself rummaging under surplus suitcases to uncover dust-covered tinsel, tangled strings of old tree lights and decorations spilling from broken shopping bags. Many admit defeat and end up buying new ones, leaving the old ones to languish under children’s beds and in the upper reaches of the kitchen cupboard. But it doesn’t have to be this way…
I am very clear to my clients about what I do: I help people make decisions about their belongings.
But time and again I get the sideways glance, the hands-on-hips admonishments and the belly ache laughter which all come out with “it’s clear that you’re not just a declutterer!” So perhaps it’s time to share some of the joy and insights about what I really do, according to my clients. Read more