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Organizing and staging a home for sell. Part One

Sellers are now awaking and ready to list their homes, BUT the de-cluttering process has them overwhelmed. We can assist with de-cluttering and staging the home. We do both at the same time while we might use the owners beautiful existing items. The not so beautiful pieces we help the owners send to their children, donate or sell.  As we all know sellers bark to hire a professional to de-clutter and pay for home staging because many home owners have lived in their homes for a while and don’t see it “as buyers see it” because it’s their home and they see it as pretty. It is too emotional. Most sellers can’t picture their home as “neutral”. And the second reason sellers may bark about de-cluttering and staging their home is cost to have an outsider come in and “just do it”. They don’t have a clue where to begin nor the time, energy and resources.

Part One on Staging Tips:

  1. Curb appeal. For those who live in the wintery regions, flowers are not blooming yet. Have potted silk yellow or red flowers in pots outside by the front door. It adds color and welcome appeal. Also add a welcome mat by the front. Great for those to clean off their shoes before entering into a clean home. What color is the front door? Could it use a new coat of paint or a different color of paint?
  2. Have slip on booties (get at local hardware store in paint department) in a basket for covering the shoes inside by the front door so tour groups don’t track in mud, rain and dirt from the outside. Or have a nice floor mat so everyone can take off their shoes during the home tour.
  3. First impressions when opening the front door. Smells – does the house have cooking, or cigarette smoke, or pet odors? Are all the lights on and all blinds and drapes open for natural light? Does the home feel hot or drafty cold when walking in? What is the first room prospects see? Hallway, living room, windows outside to back yard? That angle of sight must be open and free and clear of heavy furnishings or furniture. Are the windows clean prospects can even see through them?
  4. If there is a lot of carpeting in the home, have it freshly cleaned.
  5. Pictures of family must all be taken down.
  6. Any signs or objects of religion or politics must be taken down. It is not the business of the public to judge the home for your beliefs . That’s making the house neutral.
  7. Less pictures on the wall the better.
  8. If the home is too beige or brown, add color through throw pillows on sofas and chairs, some art work on the wall, and maybe a few area rugs, if it doesn’t present a safety issue.
  9. Bathrooms – If there is a window in the shower area and a shower curtain move the shower curtain aside to allow natural light into the room.
  10. Remove toilet paper from the bathrooms if no one lives in the home. Having toilet paper invites tour guests to use the bathroom.

Part Two – Cabinets, drawers, closets, garages, basements, yard, patio.

Part Three: If the home is very dated with wall paper and furnishing. Showing homes totally empty or some pieces of furniture. Pros and cons.

Creating space when there is no space

final closet organizoration New York city aptCreating space where there is no space for apartment living

Both my sons live in New York City. My first born son I have helped him move about five times around Manhattan and the latest was moving out of Brooklyn back into Manhattan.

Two years ago he lived in a two room apartment with no closets or shelving. I wrote a blog several years ago how we hung his clothes from the ceiling. We had maintenance help us, but took chain link and a 6" dowel rod and made it look like a trapeze. We did 2 sets and attached it to the ceiling. It amazingly worked well.

At the end of January he selected his first studio apartment of 850 square feet and guess what? There was a closet.

Creating space where there is no space is key.


  • Utilize wall space. Use hooks on the walls to hang up coats especially during the winter.
  • Have double hung rods (can also use spring tension rods so little assemble work) put into the closets. Shirts and suits higher rod, slacks lower rods.
  • Use heavier grade clothing portable rack that can reduce or expand in closet for heavier items like coats and jackets,
  • Shelving is also key. Shelving can be purchase narrow in depth to wider.
  • Suggest shelving that is wire so air flows through the clothes and so does light. Easier to see in small closets.
  • Stack your shelving against the wall and go high. Purchase dividers (at the Container Store) to separate stacks of sweaters, workout clothes, sweatshirts, shorts and items that are worn on a regular basis. Dividers allow the stack not to fall over and stay neat. There is also smaller independent stackable shelving that can be used in kitchens or closets at the Container store and Bed Bath and Beyond. Stackable shelving can also be used for shoes at the floor of the closet. The stackable shelving can provide double your space in small paces. Put caps, hats, gloves. Hang belts and winter scarves from belt and scarf holder.
  •  In dressers or kitchen cabinets can place linens, towels, sheets, blankets. Or purchase an ottoman that can serve as storage for blankets and linens as well as a foot stool for the sofa.
  • Repurposing and reusing is hot now....Old army or navy trunks make great storage and serve as a coffee table.
  • Socks and underwear drawers, use dividers there as well. One section for sport socks and the other for dress socks. Roll your underwear and stack vertical. Can get more into one drawer and use other drawers for t-shirts. Roll t-shirts as well. Prevents wrinkles.
  • In the kitchen, use again the Rubbermaid stackable shelving pieces for cabinets. There are great selection for stacking plates vertically rather than horizontal sitting flat and round. Coffee cups can be hung by hooks from the shelf above in a cabinet.
  • When there is no medicine cabinet in the bathroom where do you put your toiletries? Today manufacturers make cost effective attractive over the toilet cabinets. Organizing toiletries in small plastic bins keeps items in place so when you open the cabinet door items don't fall out.
  • Add color to the space with sofa pillows and/or wall art.
  • And finally what is MOST IMPORTANT whether your space is small or large, is truly minimize the amount of duplicate items you may have that take up space. We live in an age, where you can get anything within 24 hrs. Less is best. For example, if you are a single person you don't need a place setting of 24 dishes and glasses. Purchase and use only what you truly need. There is too much waste in this country. Before going to the grocery store or clothing shopping, check out your pantry and closet. See what you have so you don't have excess.

final result LR New York city aptIn 2015, living is about not excess. Get what you need and enjoy your life. What you don't need repurpose, recycle or let someone else reuse it.

Is it worth hiring a professional senior move manager or let the family handle the move?

3 Seat Sofa Recently our company was engaged in a project where the adult daughter hired us to move her parents living at an assisted living community from a one bedroom shared apartment and moving each parent into their own one bedroom apartment. The reason, the 87 year old Mom had dementia and was currently at the stage where she has become verbally and physically abusive  to her quiet and sweet husband.  

The daughter decided prior to our arrival that the three seater sofa would not fit in Mom’s new apartment along with the two extra chairs and end tables. She had scheduled us to take those extra items to donation. But while we were moving pieces of furniture from one apartment to another, Mom was having a raging fit that her sofa and all chairs and end tables were staying in her apartment. The 87 year old Mom was so raged she picked up an end table sitting in the hallway and brought it into the apartment.  

The apartment was crowded, but as we intervened, it wasn’t worth mother and daughter arguing over furniture. At least four times the daughter left the room crying.  Is it worth the yelling, screaming and getting Mom and the daughter so upset with each other over the removal of access furniture?

 I believe many adult children feel it’s my parents and I should be helping, but there is much better way for the adult children to truly assist and support a smooth transition.  As a seasoned senior move manager, if I were asked to handle this small transition from start to finish, I would have created a floor plan and involve the Mom and then ask the adult child(ren) to take Mom and Dad out to lunch, go get a manicure, and then to the grocery store for snacks. Have the family come back in two and half to three hours and it is all done. All would have been done with no one being upset.

It’s also about money. I believe the small cost of securing a senior move manager and their crew to provide this small move does outweighs the cost of high blood pressure, stress, and parent and child in conflict Last November we had a call from an adult son to help his parents (both in late 80’s) sell items in the home before they moved to independent living.

We met with the father on a Tuesday and learned his son arranged for movers to arrive the same week on Friday.  The father paid for two sons to fly into town from Colorado to pack and they were to arrive Thursday evening. There was no way the sons could complete the packing in less than twelve hours before the movers arrived on Friday morning.

I went home and changed my clothes and went back to start packing all the breakables and beautiful items they brought from Eastern Europe.

This couple had lived in their home for 41 years. One of the sons arranged for a dumpster and cleaned out the house during and after the move. It was a fast chaos for the whole family.   The day after the move, the father called me and said one son just threw everything into the dumpster including his most recent tax documents, his underwear from the dresser and the special dishes from Europe they used every day were sold to a liquidator.  

I went back to the liquidator and was able to retrieve all the dishes, but the tax documents and underwear were gone. The Dad said he wished he would have known about our services months ago.  

Is it worth the aggravation of not hiring a professional senior move manager with professional experience and resources?

Parents and children ponder thoughts of money, but when it all adds up and you put a dollar value to stress, losing valuable documents or fighting with your parents, Is it all worth it?  

Rita Woll

There are several reasons you will need our services:

  • Passing of a family member or friend.
  • Final household clean-outs and gettng the house ready for the real estate market. Act as project manager for home renovations.
  • Home staging for active real estate showings.
  • Moving – Just packing or just unpacking at the new location.
  • Moving or downsizing an aging senior parent to independent, assisted living, or long term care.
  • Want to keep your aging senior parent in their home? "Age in Place". Re-organize and de-clutter. Safety is an issue.
  • Remodeling or Redecorating – packing breakables and clean and polish while unpacking.
  • Just organizing need for an extra pair of hands to help.
  • Divorce or separation.
  • Corporate employee transfers and relocations. No downtime for the employee relocation. Getting settled immediately.
  • Digitzing documents, photos, VHS tapes, slides. Preserving the memories.