This Guest Blog is adapted from SeniorSurge, a Blog Jim Kendall writes for senior citizens and their families.  The two articles that follow focus on issues many of us ultimately will face within our families:  Helping seniors downsize and move, and getting the family home ready to sell.


Getting Ready to Move


Maybe if you could just get rid of all the stuff – de-cluttering, they call it – you could stay in your present home.  Thriving in place is the term Pat Keplinger uses.  But where do you start?


Or maybe you need to downsize because you’re ready to move to a smaller, senior-sized home, an apartment or condo or maybe an independent living unit in one of those continuing care places.  Even if that’s the case, the same question needs answering:  Where do you start?


Try starting with Keplinger or someone like her.  She is owner of Downsizing by Design LLC, a Carol Stream-based company that, whether you’re moving or staying put, will de-clutter your life.  In fact, when I asked if a senior couple could have an initial “This moves with us; toss that stuff; these things go to the kids” meeting then disappear while one of Keplinger’s crews packed, moved and set up the new place, the answer was, “Yes.”


That may or may not be the best approach, but the idea of turning the move over to someone else is appealing.


Based on a conversation with Keplinger and a list of pack-and-move services at her business website, www.downsizingbydesign.com, these are the types of services you can expect from a professional senior move manager:


A discussion of who gets what.  “Seniors often don’t know where to start, what to do with everything,” says Keplinger, who got into the senior move business after helping her mother move.  Those can be difficult discussions.  Seniors often need help physically going through everything, but there are emotional issues, too.  You may want to give items to your children, but “Sometimes you need to realize that your kids have their own stuff,” she says.


A sorting of your household goods.  What to take.  What to donate.  What to sell.  Suggestions about appropriate charities, if you don’t have a favorite or two.  If selling the extra stuff is a choice, referrals to auctioneers, collectors and the like.  Names of reliable sources who will dispose of what’s left.


Keplinger’s crew will help plan (then manage) the move, going so far as designing a floor plan that accommodates the furniture and other household items you’re bringing to the new place.  She’ll recommend movers; create a plan so you know what will happen when, before and during the move; and, if necessary, suggest resources who will help get your current home ready for sale.


Maybe the best part is that the Downsizing by Design crew will pack your stuff.  They bring boxes, tape and other supplies, and label the boxes to smooth moving day unpacking.


Well, maybe this is the best part:  Downsizing by Design – and, presumably, similar providers – will unpack when everything is delivered to your new home; get the kitchen, bedrooms and bathrooms organized; supervise the set up of your TV, computers and other electronics; and even make the beds.  The crew will remove boxes and other clutter, too. Your chore on moving day?  Show up.


There’s a cost for the service.  Keplinger says most local senior mover costs range between $60 and $70 per hour.  You can find the names of additional Chicago-area move managers at the National Association of Senior Move Managers, in Hinsdale.  www.nasmm.org.


Eyeball Your Place as Though You’re a Picky Buyer


An experienced Realtor likely will be your best bet when it’s time to sell your home, but Russ Riendeau, a partner and executive search professional with Jobplex, has long helped relocating executives relocate – which almost always includes selling their homes.  We’ve adapted some of his thoughts hereYou can reach Russ Riendeau at rriendeau@jobplex.com or 312-782-1581.



Seek professional advice.  Seek opinions from Realtors and home staging specialists (that you don’t know) about the best use of your time, money and attention in getting your home ready to sell.  Listen to their advice; take the most practical ideas and start working.


Walk through your house and property as a picky buyer and take notes of all the stuff you see.  Fix the big stuff; do your best on the rest, and be prepared to see those items on the home inspector’s report.


Upgraded kitchens and bathrooms are certainly great investments to add value and interest to help sell your home.  If you can’t afford to upgrade these rooms, be sure they are very clean, neat and all in working order.  Maybe a new floor and paint will improve the first impressions.  White is always a better color than dark in today’s market.


Mold removal.  Mold is a deal breaker all the time.  So is radon mitigation ($300 for the test; $1,000-$3,000 for any remediation costs), asbestos and water damage.  Get all of this under control, keep receipts and documents, and be upfront with the work you’ve done.


Paint the front door, shutters and garage doors with a fresh coat of shiny paint.  Make them sparkle.


Is the mailbox straight, painted and looking crisp?  If not, fix it now or spend 20 bucks for a new one.


Create a journal that lists all the improvements (and costs) that you’ve done to the house and property while living here.  This list will help sell the value and avoid negotiations for things the buyer may not otherwise know are in good working order.


©2017 Kendall Communications Inc.  Have a comment to make?  A topic to suggest?  Email Jim@Kendallcom.com.


The contents of this blog are for only informational and educational purposes, are not intended as professional advice, and do not constitute professional advice. The contents and the transmission of this blog do not create any relationship, of any type whatsoever, between the reader and Kendall Communications or between the reader and the creator of this blog’s content.  Readers should not rely on or make decisions based on the contents of this blog, but should instead consult with their own professionals. Kendall Communications and the content creators are not responsible for any action or inaction taken by a reader based on the content of this blog.  Kendall Communications does not endorse the content of this blog or the creators of this blog’s contents.