Building Trust while Helping Seniors Downsize

When downsizing, getting started is often the hardest part.  When we look around at our homes, we are often filled with overwhelm at the volume of items that need to be downsized, donated, gifted, or boxed up to come with us to our next move.  With seniors, it can be even more overwhelming as the items that fill their homes symbolize fun memories and loved ones.  Deciding to downsize is step one but knowing where to begin can leave you at a loss. This is where professional help can make the task lighter and put a skip back in your step.  Professional organizers are trained and equipped to make the process easier and enjoyable.

Get an Early Start

Having someone come into your home and start moving items around is stressful for anyone.  For seniors, who have taken care of themselves for many years, are usually not big fans of this behaviour.  Developing a relationship prior to starting the work is a great way to get familiar with the space and the client before you begin to move or package up anything.  Building a base of trust is an essential first step.

Start Small to Build Trust

The notion of downsizing an entire home is, let’s face it, overwhelming.  Begin by breaking down the home into rooms with the least to the most sentiment items and systematically work your way through.  Starting in an office or den, which contains items with less sentimental attachment, is a great way to nurture the relationship between the organizer and the senior.  Engage in a lively discussion regarding which items will be donated, stored, and kept.  Through this exercise, a bond and a trust will begin to build.  As the trust builds, the client will be more likely to accept the advice and opinions of where to place the bigger, more sentimental items.  The New York Times published a great article about this very approach. 

Work with a Profession specializing in Seniors

At Neat Spaces, we specialize in working with seniors by helping them to determine which of their belongings is best to keep, donate, sell, or gift.  Assisting clients to feel good about their choices is our primary goal.  As a third party, we can help to see beyond the emotion and give each piece the attention it deserves.  There is a great satisfaction that comes from seeing your items re-used or recycled in a new way.  Seeing items find their new home can bring a sense of joy and fulfillment – that’s the part we love!

At Neat Spaces, we specialize in helping seniors navigate downsizing their homes and their possessions.  Organizing is what we love to do, and we want to pass that joy to our clients, so they have the best experience possible.  We are here to lend our expertise, experience, and loving care. Let’s make your downsizing journey and your new home as comfortable as it can be.

Clearing up my life

WOW! What can I say, I am absolutely thrilled with the final outcome of the basement, it has brought tears to my eyes as the basement has been a huge sore spot with me for many years!  I always hated going down there to get something….Please thank all those involved with this project, it’s so greatly appreciated! Thank you once again for “clearing up my life”.

~Jeff, Milton

Look Forward to Change

The leaves are changing. New routines are being established.

There is something indescribable about this time of year that makes us look forward to change.

Continue reading

The Ultimate Summer Checklist!

Welcome Summer! A world of possibilities.

As a kid, is there any better feeling than the last day of school?

As a parent, is there any feeling more overwhelming than end of the school year burnout?

We all know Summer goes by fast. There’s no better time to make your “Summer to Remember” plans.

So how do you make the most of the hot Summer days, long warm nights and keep organized in between?

Bucket List

Create a Summer Bucket list. Places to see and things to do on your free days.

Sit down with your family and agree on activities that will make Summer 2018 incredible!

Include ideas like…

Visits with family & friends
One on one time
Nostalgic Summer activities
Time outside in nature
Time to disconnect
Rest ~ Enjoy some well earned down time

Be Prepared

Wherever you go ~ be prepared.

Pack “Summer Essentials” at the ready.

Pack a bag with anything needed for your journeys.

Water, Sunscreen, healthy snacks. A small cooler is valuable for outings.

Create a swimming bag or tote with suits & towels.

Proper footwear ~ sometimes flip flops are not enough.

PJ’s! Late Summer nights sometimes just happen. It’s ok ~ that’s what memories are made of!

Packing the kids pjs, (just in case) is a veteran move.

Transition your sleeping babes into bed easily if they fall asleep on the car ride home, exhausted from a full day.

Make Something Together

Food, art, crafts, photos, a keepsake.

Create something together. Bake the cookies you loved as a kid. Teach your kids to cook.

Create an arts & crafts closet or cupboard to make art an everyday option.

Take Photos ~ and do something with them, … an album, a scrapbook, a keepsake.

Find an online photo scavenger hunt for you to create together over the Summer.

Make memories with you in the photos together!

Down Time

Not every day has to be go, go, go.

Take time to enjoy the lazy days of Summer too.

Create a cozy, comfy place that inspires reading…a big chair in the corner beside the bookshelf or a backyard hammock or lounge chair.

Join a book club or create a new book shelf, to easily access your Summer reads.

Read a book or series together or just quietly share the space.

Encourage kids to read.

Remind yourself that reading under a tree in the Summertime is a rewarding way to spend the day.

Keep a Routine

Try not to let your routine get too far off track… Wake up times, lunch times, bed times.

Keeping a routine is good, even if it is a loose routine.

Make time for daily rituals, like making your bed in the morning or bedtime routines.

Assign kids daily chores appropriate to their age, to help around the house.

As a part of the family, kids should contribute to the household responsibilities.

Not only will they gain a sense of achievement, but they will also be learning skills to help them as they become adults.

Teamwork makes the dream work.

The quicker the household jobs are accomplished, the faster you will get out the door for Summer adventures.

Enjoy your Summer!

Testimonial

Read what our past client, Angela had to say about Neat Spaces services & please don’t hesitate to contact us if you think we can help you too!

“I am extremely pleased with the whole process and all work done. There can be no price for peace of mind and a restored independence. I was able to enjoy my home this past weekend, and to do several things (including baking!!) I haven’t done in months. I also had the energy to continue the sorting and re-arranging with Jo- Anne’s advice and suggestions echoing in my subconscious. Now that’s a very relieved client! So, with many thanks, I will certainly be back to you, and have already sung your company’s praises to several people”.

Angela Collett

How are YOU?

Have you ever had someone ask, “How are you?” and the answer that comes to mind is … “Busy”

If the answer is yes, it may be time to stop and reflect for a moment.

Is busy really even an answer? Is it a defence? A mindset?

Socrates once said, “Beware the barrenness of a busy life.”

These are busy times, no doubt ~ but perhaps it’s time to change the mantra.

A simple mantra can help remind you what is really important ~ in an instant.

Find Inspiration

Replace the word Busy with Blessed.

What makes you happy? What do you wish was more of a priority in your life?

Less busy and more…

  • Time with loved ones
  • Me time
  • Time outside in nature  
  • Family time
  • Time to disconnect
  • Purpose
  • Rest

How do you wish to spend this life?

Write down your intentions and turn those good intentions into actions habits.

Make it happen.

Set Some Goals

Spring to Summer can be a busy transition time. Long days, short nights.

Moving. Schools Out. Holidays.

It’s a great opportunity for change. A time to set some goals.

Recognise what eats up your schedule to create this busy feeling.

Identify little things that agitate you. Perhaps a few small changes would ease the stress.

Create new habits. Embrace the positives and don’t aim for perfection.

Can We Help?

Our motto is ~ Simplify Your Life ~ Get organized with Neat Spaces.

If there is any way we can be of service to help you to be less busy and make this a Summer to remember ~ Contact Us.

What is on your Wish List?

More time with friends & family at mealtimes.  A tidy pantry & kitchen ready for new recipes.

An organized closet with wardrobe to get you out the door efficiently, in the morning.

A clean garage with sports equipment & leisure toys at the ready for family fun.

You may be surprise at what you can accomplish with a few changes.

Less Stress. More Time.

Let us help you change the narrative.

“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new”. ~Socrates

Now, ask yourself the question “How are you?” And know what you would like the answer to be.

 

Read what Angela had to say about our services.

Testimonial

There can be no price for peace of mind

I am extremely pleased with the whole process and all work done. There can be no price for peace of mind and a restored independence. I was able to enjoy my home this past weekend, and to do several things (including baking!!) I haven’t done in months. I also had the energy to continue the sorting and re-arranging with Jo- Anne’s advice and suggestions echoing in my subconscious. Now that’s a very relieved client! So, with many thanks, I will certainly be back to you, and have already sung your company’s praises to several people.

Angela Collett

Finally! Feels like Spring 🌷

 

Spring 2018 has been a long time coming.

Hooray! Finally had some warmer temperatures.

This unpredictable weather, can be hard to dress for.

While it may not be time for flip flops and sundresses quite yet, there is plenty to do now to transition from your Winter wardrobe to Spring ready.

Winter Coats & Heavy Knits

I don’t know about you, but I am so ready to be done with heavy sweaters and winter coats.

This year, it’s been hard to know when to be done with the snow tires and Winter wear.

Winter coats, hats & mitts, time to move ~ you’re taking up a lot of valuable real estate.

Access your entry storage closet and clean out pockets, as you go.

If you have a storage area they can be moved to, it is well worth the effort ~ Even if it takes a small spend on a rolling rack to store them properly in an out of the way storage space, consider it.  

Free your entry closet for lighter outerwear to grab and go.

Try It On

As you go through your wardrobe, try it on – If it is too-short, too-tight, too-I’ll never wear this again – get it gone.

Keep, Swap, Sell, Gift, Donate. Decide which route to choose for unwanted items.

If it’s unwanted and still in “Excellent Used Condition” EUC or Brand New with tags (*sigh) “BNWT” ~ Consider a swap with friends. If you’d like to try a swap but you’re not sure how to start; lead with accessories that are one size fits all.

A Pop of Colour

Bring out a few of your more colourful pieces to have at the ready.

Flats and scarves are great for unpredictable temperatures.

While it may be a little early to go all in for Spring, why not add just one item with a pop of Spring to your favourite outfit? A floral scarf to add to your black basics.  Colourful flats or a brightly coloured purse that revives your neutral look. Fun, multicoloured tank tops and T-shirts are great layering pieces.

Take the Time

Put together new combinations. Figure out your sizing and discard items that don’t work and are hanging around for no good reason. Many clients find the hanger trick useful when trying to pare down an overwhelming wardrobe. The idea, is to turn around your hangers in the same direction and reverse the hanger as you wear the items. Identify favourites from seldom worn pieces.

Go through your Spring clothes and Summer pieces too, the steady warmer weather will be here soon.

Take the time now to clean out your closet and look for new pieces to freshen up your wardrobe.

Welcome Spring.

A clean, organized closet makes getting dressed a whole lot easier & you deserve it!

 

Testimonial

See what past clients have to say about our services. We can help you with reclaimed space too!

“Just wanted to thank you so much for your help with our front hall closet and back hall closet near the kitchen.  They look amazing and are going to make such a huge difference in our everyday lives. The closet by the kitchen was such a great way to reclaim some well needed storage. I’m looking forward to working with you again”.

S and W Vella, Burlington

Smooth Moves with NEAT SPACES.

 

Congratulations on your new home!

Are you ready to take on the move? Let’s be honest, it’s not easy to move homes.

SO much to do during this exciting time and where to start?

Of course, there is a long list of jobs and strategies for packing, purging, organizing, transporting and re distributing. The good news is there are experienced professionals available for hire…full service movers, labour only helpers, storage companies, home organizers…US!

 We can help you with any of these tasks ~ More on that later.

Here are a few other ideas to keep the stress levels down and transition smoothly.

Say Your Goodbyes

Whether you are moving around the corner or around the globe it’s nice to keep in touch with the community you have created.  While it is much easier to keep in touch with your people these days, sometimes life gets busy and it’s easy to lose touch. There are plenty of tools for communication, so brush up.

Maintain connections, update your contact list and be sure to gather info from your neighbours or locals that you see regularly and wish to keep in your world. How is it you see these people regularly and somehow don’t have their contact information? Your routines may change with a move, so get their info now.

Send a mass message out to keep your people in the loop. They may not realize your timeline. It ’s nice to let people know where and when you will be moving on and give them time to say their farewells too. Let your important people know how they can keep in touch ~ Your new address, email or if they can reach you online through a favourite social app like Facetime or Google Hangouts.

Make time for those bittersweet goodbyes.

Take some photos. Keepsake photos to preserve memories you treasure. The friends you’ve made, your home before you pack and after, the view out the window, your garden. Although you have a lot to do, it’s nice to enjoy the memories and accomplishments made here. Preserve it for reflection.

Stay Positive

The final weeks leading up to the move will be a whirlwind of activity.

It’s important to stay hopeful and confident. Try not to be weighed down by the enormity of the tasks.

Stay focused on the important things and don’t sweat the small stuff. Work towards solutions.

It may be an emotional time so try to stay constructive, especially if you are easily distracted or tend to procrastinate.

 

End Well ~ Begin Well

Take pride in how you shift surroundings and gain confidence in your next steps.

Be respectful to the new owner taking over the space you are leaving.

Handover the place in a state you would want…on time, clean and don’t assume they want any of your items. Something you may think has value and is easier to leave, may not be something the new resident wishes to look after. Take it all with you.

Make the space clean and ready for the new owner. This good deed will carry you well through your move. Wrapping up loose ends in a tidy manner will contribute to the happiness and success of your move too.

The Rest

Yes, there is a great deal of planning and packing to do.

Let us at Neat Spaces help you strategize and create a plan for your smooth move.

If you think you this will be a highly stressful transition for you, we can help relieve the burden.

Don’t worry ~ Call us.

Here’s how we’ve helped other customers manage their changes.

Testimonial

For a single mom of 3 that has zero time, Wendy and her team made it easy and stress free preparing a home with 13 years of stuff in it for a move. Wendy lifted this task from my shoulders. She accomplished this in within 3 days notice and it took 5 days till completion. Wendy is a miracle worker. I am having her back to organize my new home as we unpack.

Rene Torrington

What’s for Dinner?

Does this question create a feeling of excitement or anxiety?

Schedules are packed and it’s a challenge to regularly feed our family healthy & delicious meals.

With the cost of groceries on the rise, there is certainly a benefit to keeping an eye on your weekly spend and making the most of your on-hand items before they expire while reducing waste.

Spring is a great time to give your pantry and refrigerator an overhaul.

Where to Start

A first step to building a better panty is a good thorough cleaning.

Whether you like to take every single item out or work shelf by shelf take the time to clean.

Get rid of the dust and grime and sticky spots. Sort and categorize, putting like items together.

Baking, breakfast items, condiments, you get the point.

Rotate product and discard any expired items.  

Get to the area way at the back that you don’t even have access to anymore.

Are you making the most of your pantry real estate? Create order, don’t allow items to become hidden.

Rearrange larger items at the back so they can be seen. Create a use first zone or drawer.

Next, do the same with your fridge and freezer.  Clean, rotate and toss.

Inventory

Take stock. 

Whether you program it in your phone, find the perfect printable on Pinterest or prefer an old fashioned handwritten version ~ create a list to work from.

Be mindful of your inventory prior to making your grocery shopping lists.

Make this new habit a priority.

A clear picture of what you have on hand and what you need will help you steer clear of impulse buys.

As you are taking stock create a meal plan for a couple of nights. Add missing ingredients to your list.

Be Inspired

Change your habits and create new positive meal rituals.

Create a compilation of pantry recipes.

Stock up on versatile canned goods like tomatoes, lentils and beans.

Try a meatless night once a week, why not try “Meatless Mondays”?

Drink smart. Choose water more often ~ It’s healthier and budget friendly.

Food Waste

It’s easy to see why fruit and vegetables among the most wasted food items.

Consider buying frozen fruit and vegetables or freezing items for soups and smoothies before they become unusable.

Brush up on storage tools and tips on how to keep items like produce longer.

Did you know celery packed in foil will last longer? Some produce items keep longer when stored separately. 

Items like tomatoes, potatoes and onions should not be kept in the refrigerator but in a cool dry place.

Enjoy

Sure, schedules may be hectic but don’t underestimate the value and comfort of a good family meal.

Life is easier with a well stocked kitchen.

With a little planning you can keep the budget in line. Have the pantry and refrigerator tidy and organized for preparing amazing meals your family will love.

 

See what Pamela, a past client had to say about Neat Spaces helping a loved one downsize in this Thank You…  

 “Everything went great with the downsizing – she was very impressed that they even looked after salting her walkway and giving her a hug at the end put her right at ease – Thank You”

The Sandwich Generation

In our profession, we see many people of the “Sandwich Generation” wishing to lighten their load.

Just what is the “Sandwich Generation”?

The term Sandwich Generation was coined in 1981 by social worker Dorothy Miller, to describe caregivers that found themselves “sandwiched” by the responsibilities of caring for aging parents while supporting their own young children.

It can be stressful, busy, and often very demanding to balance this role.

Sometimes we help to downsize or move. Other times, our purpose is to help get a handle on a home’s overwhelming contents.

It may be something as simple as putting new systems in place to make the paperwork or chores more manageable, that creates a big impact.

There’s Help

The Canadian Government recognizes with our aging population, more and more Canadians are encountering this role. A webpage dedicated to aiding caregivers can be found through here. With resources and tips for balancing work and responsibilities, as well as links to supports and services.

This information can aid in developing a plan that works for you and your family.

Click here for more information.

Schedules & Planning Ahead

It is an incredible challenge to balance commitments as the caregiver to elderly parents and children.  

Schedules are key in keeping appointments and commitments straight.

It may be helpful to create a Home Command Centre to keep track of dates and obligations.

A family Calendar is key ~ electronic, paper or both – it should be the easily shared.

The managing of paperwork can be overwhelming too so there is value in a processing system that works!

By customizing your systems to your own organizing style, you can achieve success.  An effective filing system and organized storage solutions for documents is invaluable. Documents should be filed correctly and be easily accessible. In the case of emergencies, it is crucial to have important documents and information close at hand.

Contact Us

We are happy to help busy families and individuals create organizing systems within their home.

Do you have a home office that just needs to be organized to be functional? A storage catch all space that needs to be converted to living space?

If it’s a specific problem area that can be addressed, we can work together creating a path for you to move forward and continue to stay organized. It can be difficult to find enough time in the day to fulfill the work and home demands. We’d be happy to assist with moving, downsizing & an estate sale or a household clear out.

See how we’ve made a difference with past clients …

Thanks for making the move so easy for my mom. I appreciate it. She is very comfortable with you and it made a huge difference for her. With you and your team showing up, my mom told me that she felt safe and totally prepared to move. Thank you from the bottom of my heart, as it truly means a lot me.  E. Welsh, Oakville