After 16 fun-filled retirement years in Lewes, Dr. Roz Troupin chose to downsize on her own terms. Long before a health crisis could set a move in motion, she decided she wanted to live closer to one of her children and be the one who determined what to do with all the things she had accumulated over a lifetime. With a daughter in northern California and a son in Alaska, the choice wasn’t too hard – the California lifestyle won out over Alaska’s long, harsh winters.
Once that big decision was made, the tasks of downsizing loomed large. Troupin had many questions. She decided to call Smooth Transitions Delaware, which offers senior move management services.
At their initial consultation in November 2017, Troupin and her Senior Move Manager Janet Sydnor were able to make the first of many important decisions. The move should occur before family weddings happening in summer 2018. Sydnor outlined the next steps: interview three realtors, narrow down the potential choices of continuing care communities in California, and begin thinking about the big furniture items that might go to the new home. As Sydnor was leaving, Troupin said, “I feel calmer already!”
Over the next two months they worked to eliminate clutter, remove unwanted and unusable items, and get the home ready to sell. Sydnor handled the garage while Troupin worked on her personal papers and clothes. Bags of clothes were delivered to thrift shops, and papers went in the recycle bin or off to be shredded. A junk hauler took out a load of unusable items too large for the regular trash, and hazardous waste was taken for proper disposal.
Throughout the process, they worked together. Sydnor gave homework assignments that set the pace and put Troupin in control of downsizing decisions. Being able to work steadily a couple of hours a day began to show big results as drawers emptied and closets cleared. Staging the house was the next step, so pictures and artwork were thinned, a few pieces of furniture were moved to new locations, and the house was given a cleaning.
Realtors Kathy Sperl-Bell and Bill Bell from Active Adults Realty listed the house and were pleased with how beautifully it showed. Sperl-Bell said, “We all did our jobs well, and it paid off with multiple offers in the first week.” Now Troupin could focus on what would go with her to the one-bedroom apartment in her new community.
Using a floor planning board, which provides templates for furniture pieces and a grid for laying out a space, they moved potential items around the apartment to see what would fit and what would not. Decisions were easier to make when it was clear that a particular item would be too big for the new apartment. Finally, the last pieces of the downsizing puzzle were ready to put in place.
Sydnor found a mover who would deliver all the furniture and boxes to California in a week. A plan was agreed upon for selling the remaining household goods through an online auction company, MaxSold. The move timeline was set, and the packing was done in the final days to allow Troupin and her beloved cat Buddy to live as normally as possible right up to the last minute.
During the last month in her Lewes home, Troupin took care of small tasks like changing her address and canceling utilities. She also continued to have fun visiting with friends, going to book club meetings, taking Osher Lifelong Learning classes, volunteering as a docent for UD’s Sharp marine science campus, and singing with the all-volunteer chorus Mixed Blessings.
Sydnor partnered with a move management company in California to welcome Troupin into her new home. The project manager was given the floor plan, mover contacts and background information to make resettling easier. She greeted the mover in the morning and had the apartment looking like home by midafternoon.
Downsizing does not have to be overwhelming. Breaking the process down into manageable pieces with an overall plan of attack will help keep people on track to meet their goals. Troupin said, “The smartest thing I did was hire Smooth Transitions Delaware. Janet stayed on top of all the details. She helped me make decisions and remain calm and positive throughout our time working together.”
To find a senior move manager in any community, go to www.nasmm.org. For more information about Smooth Transitions Delaware, email firstname.lastname@example.org, call 302-273-0303 or go to www.YourMoveManaged.com.