Are you throwing money down the drain? Almost one in 10 Americans pay for off-site storage. In fact the average Californian spends $114 a month for off-site storage. We’ve found many of our clients will continue paying the monthly fee (sometimes for years) rather than step foot into their storage unit. We understand that when you've lost a loved one or been through a traumatic event, you have neither the time nor emotional energy to conquer the mounds of boxes, papers, furniture and knick knacks.
Til now, the answer to this problem has been either abandoning the storage unit all together, leaving it for auction or charity, or contacting a hauler to take all the contents to the dump...without ever really knowing what’s there.
We’ve designed a better, more gentle and cost effective way to address this problem.
Silver Linings Transitions now offers “Storage Unit Sweeps”. First, we’ll take a photographic inventory of everything that's there. If there are family members involved, we’ll host a sentimental auction to divide the possessions - avoiding conflict. After we’ve determined who gets what, we ship items to loved ones.
Next, we’ll determine which items are salable and what course of action is best in order to maximize the sale. This includes selling items through online auctions and apps, eBay and contacting third party auctioneers when appropriate.
Once we sell what can be sold, we’ll organize donations and minimize waste whenever possible as to not negatively impact our environment.
All money from the sale of items is given back to the client allowing them to recoup the charge for our services. In addition, they will be liberated from the continuous monthly storage unit fee. More importantly, our experience and compassion minimizes the emotional toll of clearing out a storage unit.
What's in your storage unit?
Silver Linings Transitions provides job opportunities for women transitioning back into the workforce after altering careers to stay home and care for loved ones.
Contact us for your FREE CONSULTATION.
Sometimes people "shop our rates" and compare our prices to that of traditional moving companies. But, this is simply not a fair or accurate comparison.
We offer so much more than just packing and unpacking. We offer the complete coordination of every aspect of your move, including: measuring furniture, planning room layout, packing delicate items, reducing clutter, and organizing small spaces. We handle even the smallest details, like allowing room for outlets, hanging family pictures and artwork, making of beds, and setting of clocks. Our goal is to minimize the feelings of chaos and stress associated with moving by proactively addressing all aspects of the move process and by recreating the look and feel of our current home.
If your intended move isn't causing any anxiety and you have the time and the patience to get yourself unpacked, there's no question the option of a traditional mover “unpack” is a good way for you to save money.
But it is important to consider that moving is one of the top 5 stressors along with death and divorce and that this added stress can cause depression and anxiety for months after your move. If you are overwhelmed by the idea of moving, aren't sure how you're going to decide what to take and not take and if the task paralyzes you with fear, hiring a move manager (and one affiliated with a regulating organization like NASMM) is a sure way to relieve your stress.
Perhaps the best way to illustrate the difference between Silver Linings Transitions and a traditional mover is through a recent experience with a client who was moving with her mother from out of state and had been packed by the mover. While the truck was in transit, her mother passed away and she had to meet the truck at the storage unit the day after her mother died to go through her mother's belongings. She planned to have us unpack and get her mother settled into her new home but obviously the project changed due to the circumstances. Instead we were there as the truck was being unloaded into storage and again to her new home. The first difference we noticed was in the way items were packed and labeled haphazardly, without common sense. But more than that, the movers, while polite, were hurried and did not address the emotional needs of the client in her great time of sorrow.
We aren't just a moving company. We're more than filling boxes and lifting furniture. How we sort, compassionately with understanding of client’s values, how we pack, carefully with like items together, and how we unpack, organizing according to the client’s needs and wishes, as we go, is very different. Movers literally pack what they see right in front of them, which can include trash and broken items. Then they "unpack" to first available surfaces.
Companies like ours, who specialize in senior moves, work with the client to get an understanding of their lifestyle and create a floor plan for the new space. Once we identify what items can safely fit and are "must keep" we help sort through and determine a plan for the remaining belongings. Parting with a lifetime of mementos can be a very emotional and draining process, but is made easier with a compassionate third party dedicated to the individual client and experienced in doing this work. We will then arrange for donation, plan for shipment to relatives, and list items for sale any of the items not moving with you.
Our unpack involves organizing the home, putting things away in a way that makes sense and with physical needs in mind. For example, most seniors cannot reach their arms up high, so we put everyday items into lower cabinets. We also consider whether a wheelchair or walker will fit between pieces of furniture. We clean items and furniture that may have been neglected over the years - making them look new. We decorate, hang pictures and consider little details like freshly made beds and filled ice trays. We even bring refrigerated and frozen food from one home to the next so that by the end of move-in day, our clients can have dinner in their new homes. These extra details leave our clients feeling settled and ready for their new life rather than looking for or organizing their belongings.
It should be clear that the depth of our services eclipses those of a traditional moving company. As is the case for most everything, you truly get what you pay for.
And while we specialize in seniors and divorcing clients, our services can greatly benefit and reduce stress of anyone move.
Are you going crazy because your parents have too much stuff and they don't want to part with it or worse yet they want to give it to you?! Well, that's really, really normal. Senior parents aren't ready to give up their independence or their role as your parent. Here are the three tips to make the process a little bit easier and hopefully get rid of some of that stuff.
Number one: a lot of people are using online sites to sell their items, but you may not have thought about Freecycle. If there's something they don't need anymore put it on Freecycle.org. If it ends up they need it again later, you can go back to Freecycle and you can be the recipient. So it works as a free exchange.
Number two: Take one of those Hummels or Lladrós and bring them to a friend. Instead of bringing a bottle of wine or flowers as a house warming or hostess gift, wrap up a Lladró or another favorite memento.
Number three: Consider doing an online auction. There are programs out there now that will help you break your whole home down into lots and sell them. This way anyone who comes into the house to collect their items will have already had their credit card processed and you can narrow the entire pick up process down to a small window of time.
Silver Linings Transitions is happy to help administer an online auction or help you keep the peace during the downsizing process. Click on this link to learn more.
“They” weren’t kidding when they listed moving as one of life’s top stressors.
The majority (though not all) of our clients are downsizing during more difficult times - this might mean a move into a senior community when seniors or family members realize remaining home alone might not be the best or safest option or when someone (like myself) has to move from the family home due to a divorce.
After experiencing what I would honestly describe as the easiest move I’ve ever made, it still wasn’t easy. Getting to be a Silver Linings Transitions client was eye opening and as a result, I started thinking along the lines of how can we make the transition as stress-free as possible and make the new place feel like home.
Here’s how we made adjustments to our service and some tips you can use as well:
We now use an “orange” sticker for our clients to identify when there is something in their home they want set up exactly as it is. We will photograph the item and then put it back exactly as we found it (only we will dust or clean it before putting it back.). This can be a photo collection on the wall or a curio cabinet with mementoes.
While we try our best to keep things "as is" in dressers by stuffing them with paper so things don't slide. Sometimes this isn’t possible because the dresser is too heavy for the mover or because you are leaving behind built ins. Whenever possible, we will put the items back as we’ve found them. With all the buzz about “sparking joy” though, we have had clients excited for us to use some of the tricks they see on the famous reality show on organizing and we can do this too!!
We recognize that it’s very humbling to have people going through your underwear drawer (or any other spaces) that might make you feel “exposed”. If there is an area or items you don’t want us to touch, we will leave a box for you to pack discretely and we’ll bring it to your new home, leaving it unopened (no questions asked).
We have label makers for drawers and cabinets. You can peel them off whenever you’re ready. We will also leave notes for you if we have to use creative spaces for things that get moved - like using under the bed storage when we are downsizing.
I think it's important for me to note, unlike our clients, I was spared the stress of worrying about the logistics. Although we tell our clients to trust us, they really never do until they walk in and see their new homes.
Home is our safe haven. It's the place we can hopefully go to escape the pressures of life and retreat. When we move, this safe space is shaken up. Change is not usually thought of as easy. As a reminder, here is a link to a previous article sharing some tips to help you get through your move.
A client getting ready to move from her home into independent living in a senior community recently asked us for a list of the kitchen items she should plan to take with her when she moves.
Independent living has kitchens though some are small “mini” kitchens and some are larger than the ones in many homes.
Regardless of the kitchen size, any kind of downsizing should involve a realistic view of your life. Are you still making layer cakes or homemade waffles? Most senior communities provide at least two meals a day. In fact, food is such a central part of senior living, communities poach top chefs from top rated restaurants (and from each other).
We moved a client who’d gone to culinary school and loved cooking. Now, at 80, she’s over cooking and left most of her kitchenware behind.
Not only should you consider what you enjoy but also consider how and whether you will entertain. Are you going to be hosting large dinner parties? If not, do you need a set of 12 dishes? Are there are dishes you’ve saved for special occasions? Why not use those? They are meant to be enjoyed. Even if they aren't dishwasher safe, how often will you need to run a dishwasher. Of course, be aware if you heat food in a microwave.
It might mean more to know a loved one is enjoying those dishes but if they aren’t wanted, try not to take it personally. It’s not a reflection of you but rather a reflection on the minimalist (and disposable) society we are living in today. Whether you decide to keep a partial set for yourself or decide to sell the whole collection, Replacement, Ltd. is a great place to buy or sell pieces.
When making kitchen decisions also take into account your physical health. If you have arthritis, consider stocking your kitchen with items made for arthritic hands. Attached is a good guide for arthritic appropriate gadgets.
If reaching is difficult, which is common problem for people as they age, focus on what will go into lower cabinets. If an item will be difficult to access, will you really use it or need it?
After taking your lifestyle and health into consideration, you can use this as a general guide for stocking any kitchen.
As I write this blog, I am actually away with my senior daughter for her college interviews. It occurs to me preparing for life in a senior community is much like life in a dorm. As I get closer to helping my daughter leave home and set up her own “place”, I will likely write more on this. For now, I thought it might be helpful to have this checklist for dorm living since there are many similar items and needs.
Why "Swedish Death Cleaning" is for everyone - seniors, divorcing couples, empty nesters and high school graduates
Last week I threw away my Girl Scout sash, my prom corsage, and various other things I’d held onto from my childhood. As my daughters and I prepare to move out of our family home this coming summer when my oldest daughter goes off to college, I have the opportunity to re-vsiit my childhood, identify the items that are most important and give my daughters the opportunity to claim my belongings while I am alive and healthy.
I started Silver Linings Transitions, as a senior move management company but added divorcing clients to our business model as a result of my own divorce when I realized divorcing people face similar emotional challenges and are also likely downsizing. Like the clients we work with, I am having to sort through a lifetime of belongings and determine which items I'll keep and which I'll need to discard. Going through my belongings brings up a mix of emotions but certainly is part of giving up on the life I expected to have.
With both personal and professional experience, I wanted to share some key things I’ve learned along the way. These tips interweave, the current trend of “Swedish Death Cleaning” (from Swedish words meaning ‘standing” and “death“) emerging as a result of adult children facing the task of going through their parents belongings (after a death or when the parents are downsizing) and realizing they don’t want to leave the daunting task to their own children.
So here are some tips to get started:
Make sure all of your passwords and usernames are written down and in one place. Remember to let somebody know how to access this information. There are sites that will store your passwords too like LastPass which offers a free version.
Go through your belongings and do a photographic inventory of anything you want to go to loved ones. As someone who had a personal experience after my grandmother’s sudden death, leaving clear direction will save your grieving loved ones from many unnecessary battles. Make sure you make notes about any items of value so they can be sold for their value and won't be accidentally discarded. There are software programs likes Fairsplit.com you can use to create these inventories and assign belongings.
Make sure and visit storage units and attics and include these items in the inventory.
Begin to “re-gift” belongings. If you are going to someone’s home and would normally take a hostess gift, thoughtfully consider bringing a token of your affection from your personal belongings rather than spending money.
When going through your belongings, consider this criteria:
Will anyone be happier because I saved it? Rather than put items in the garbage, send old letters or photos to childhood friends who will undoubtedly appreciate the trip down memory lane. I recently attended my 30th high school reunion and there was a table set up for people to share items. I also photographed old letters and sent them via email.
Would I be okay if someone found or read this? If there is something you aren't ready to get rid of but don't necessarily want someone going through it, create a box marked "Private: Please discard without opening the contents."
If you are holding onto something because you think it’s valuable, do some research. I held onto a Guess jean jacket I’d purchased in 1985 for $85. I almost refused to allow my daughter to take it to sleep away camp until I looked it up on Ebay and discovered it was only worth $35.
Make the process an event inviting loved ones to participate. You and they will appreciate the opportunity to learn more about each other and what your life may have been like in your youth.
When I speak to groups of people who are now grandparents, I encourage them to consider the the belongings they’ve been storing for adult children and determine whether or not the adult child has any intention of taking it. I went through my childhood bedroom in Florida a year ago and traveled home with many of the things I’d held onto. After shipping them across country, my girls didn’t want any of it.
If you have high school students, have them do their own version of Swedish Death Cleaning. It helps them prioritize, frees up space and is a wonderful opportunity to reminisce about their childhood.
Anything we do proactively is going to be less stressful. Taking charge of your life, your belongings and on your terms will have an impact.
Here is a link to more information and the book “The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning” by Margareta Magnusson
Now you can save time, your sanity and the environment
Silver Linings Transitions just made our moves even easier!! We completed our first move using plastic bins provided by A Smart Move and the results were great. We were able to save time - building and tearing down boxes and being able to pack them without concern of collapse which also helps reduce paper. Another huge advantage - these boxes reduce the impact on our environment. Silver Linings Transitions plans to use the bins for all our local moves making our moves easier for our clients AND our environment.
I received a call today from an adult daughter who lives across country and is trying to convince her mother of why a move into a senior community is the right decision. Her mother lives in a two story home with stairs that meet a marble floor. The home, as is often the case, has fallen into disrepair because it becomes too difficult to maintain.
Parents, who might be embarrassed, proud and not wanting to cause worry, don’t let family know what’s happening. It’s often a visit around the holidays that illuminates the situation.
There’s a great book called “Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant” written by New Yorker cartoonist Roz Chast. It’s a book I read when I began my career in senior move management. Roz describes and illustrates her personal journey with her aging parents in a very real way. The gist of the book is that she wasn't prepared for her parent's aging and inevitable death. You believe they will live independently, get sick, go to the hospital and that will be it. The story for most is very different.
Aging in our culture is “the elephant in the room”. Our society is one to largely cast aside seniors where other cultures give them a place of honor, compounding the issue.
In American society, it seems it’s not okay to not be okay. The reality is, if we live long enough, we are going to face physical limitations. (At the very least.) While I’ve had 20/20 vision my entire life, at 48 I can barely read pill bottles with reading glasses and have to keep a magnifier in my kitchen.
So how do we bring up a subject that everyone seems to want to bury their heads in the sand about?
First of all, you have to let go of the guilt. Most of us are barely holding it together ourselves.
The way we talk to ourselves and the opinions we've formed about senior living have to be the first thing to change. Seeing all the benefits of senior living will help reframe your own perception, alleviate much of your guilt and make it easier to discuss senior living with your family. (A benefit of working with seniors and being in and out of senior communities is that I get to see communities I'd move into tomorrow if it were an option (and I didn't have three kids at home).)
If you haven’t visited a community, do. Communities are no longer our great grandparents’ convalescent homes. The food is amazing and the social calendar would wear me out.
Also, there have been many studies done on the benefits of socialization. Socialization reduces depression and anxiety and contributes to the overall lifespan.
Once you are clear about the benefits of senior living, focus on the "silver lining" when discussing it with your loved ones. For example, most communities offer most, if not all, meals. “Mom, you aren’t going to HAVE to cook.”
It's also important to be aware of your language. Would YOU rather live in a "facility" or a "community"?
In Florida, they've just opened a Jimmy Buffet inspired community "Latitude Margaritaville". There are professionals called Placement Agents who guide clients on the best places for a person's interests and budget. In most cases, these services are FREE because they are compensated by the community from the first month's rent.
After letting go of the guilt and reframing perception, we have to get to a place where we can talk about the inevitable. Acknowledge your own feelings as well as your parents feelings around what the move represents. Often times, adult children are facing their own fear and sadness around the loss of their parents, their childhood home and the shifting roles we take on as we become the next generation. Once you acknowledge these feelings, you open the door to authentic and vulnerable conversation
Lastly, sharing your personal concern for your parents makes a big difference. It is not easy to juggle your own responsibilities with the worry about your parents falling or being injured. Make sure you honor your parents. Let them know they have a say and don’t make the mistake of trying to “control” them. One of the hardest things about aging is the loss of independence. Help your parents be YOUR parent by explaining how their health and safety affects YOUR health and well being. (After all, we are conditioned to care for the health and safety of our children.)
A great way to introduce the concept of senior living is sharing the Senior Savers show. It was inspired by our experience seeing the difference between seniors who made a proactive move into senior living versus those who waited too long to reap the benefits. The show demonstrates how easy the actual move can be. Moves are always hard, even under the best of circumstances. Making the move on your own terms makes it easier.