Aging in Style with Lori Williams
Aging in Style with Lori Williams

Episode · 1 year ago

029. Ready to downsize? Hear about the service that'll help you sort, sell, pack and move it!


If you’re moving out of your house of 30 years, where do you even begin? 

Donna Rae lifts the veil of the professional packing, moving and liquidation service as the franchise owner of Caring Transitions in North Dallas. With 200 offices across the U.S., the business partners with seniors and their families to declutter, pack, move, and settle into their new home. Many seniors benefit from such a service especially as they downsize into smaller homes and senior living communities.

Donna shares her top tips for approaching a move and simple ways to get started - even if it’s intimidating. Her team’s strategy even works with seniors who have decades’ worth of belongings. She’ll also explain why it’s important to work with people who understand all aspects of the business and have strong knowledge of the senior population and this stage of life.

Takeaways from this episode:
-Start grouping your belongings into 4 categories: keep, donate, gift, and recycle. Use different types of bags / packing for each, like a trash bag for donations and a tote for gifts.

-Floor planning helps with layout and visualizing the new space. Measuring furniture will help give a greater idea of what will fit into this layout.

- A good moving service will help empower seniors to make decisions about their furnishings and what to leave behind while advising on what’s critical.

- Caring Transitions will “mirror” a home setup, so they’ll recreate portions of the space to make it feel like home for when you move in (like a nightstand setup).

- It’s important to communicate with adult children during the process, especially if the packing service finds legal documents or hidden cash (which is common with seniors with memory loss).

- Check pockets and furniture to make sure there’s no important items hidden away.

- With COVID-19, online estate sales are an increasingly popular way to help liquidate belongings from the comfort of home.

- In-home consultations (free) are a great way to determine how much the service will cost and to tailor individual needs.

Topics discussed in this episode:
- Tips for downsizing and decluttering
- Packing and moving seniors
- Online auctions and estate sales
- Moving into a senior community
- Packing service for seniors
- Liquidating belongings: Donating, gifting and selling

Resources mentioned in this episode:
Online Auctions/ Caring Transitions Bids:
Caring Transitions Brochure and next steps:
Learn more about Caring Transitions:

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Welcome to aging in style with me, Laurie Williams. I'm an optimist by nature and I believe you can follow your dreams at any age. My grandmother's journey with dementia ignited a passion in me to work with seniors. I've spent the past thirteen years learning about seniors and aging. In my mid S, I followed my own dream and found it my company, where I use my expertise to help seniors locate housing and resources. On this podcast, we cover all aspects of aging. Joanna's each week to meet senior living experts and inspirational seniors who are following their dreams. The fact is, we're all aging, so why not do it in style? Hi Everyone, welcome back to another episode of aging installed with Laurie Williams. Today we are going to talk about downsizing, and this is a topic that comes up all the time with seniors that I'm helping. They don't want to move because they're so inundated with stuff. Maybe they've been in their house twenty, thirty, forty years and it's just such an overwhelming task to think about. How am I going to downsize? What am I going to take to a smaller, you know, senior living apartment or home. So they just kind of like give up on it. So what people don't know is that there are some great services out there, that that's what they specialize in. And so today we are going to talk to Donna Ray, who owns the franchise of carrying transitions North Dallas suburbs and she launched her business in November of two thousand and eleven and and she operates proudly as a women owned and operated business with her daughter, Nicole Ray. So carrying transitions, what they do is they specialize in assisting seniors and their families with downsizing. They do the professional packing and moving services as well as liquidation services, including estate sales and online auctions. So she has a lot of great information to share with us and I think you're going to learn a lot. So welcome, Donna. Thank you. Loris so excited to be here with you today. We'll good. I'm so glad you agreed to be on the show and share your knowledge and what you do to help seniors. So what led you into working with seniors? Many years ago I started doing meals on wheels and then also hospice, and the more I volunteered in that arena delivering meals and, you know, having opportunity to sit and visit with them, some of the adult seniors who are shut in. I just really felt called to working. But the denigraphyt way to chat with and just the the pearls of wisdom that they can share with you, and looking also with hospice gave me another basically another way to understand, and not a common end of life, but the families and what they're going through. So that was another opportunity unity and my late husband, he wanted to do something different our retirement and he was in telecommunications for forty two years and we happened upon, if you will, care in transition and basically investigated the possibilities of, you know, what would it entailed and we signed our Friendship Groom Two Thousand and eleven and the rest is history. Were in our temp year. So here we are. That's wonderful. Congratulations. So I mentioned in the intro that caring transitions is a franchise. So can you tell us a little bit about the company? Yeah, absolutely. So I'm caring transitions North Dale with verbs is what the office that I own, and so we've got over two hundred offices across the United States and basically we're all trying exactly like and what really makes it a beautiful thing is when we have you know, we'll get a call from a community or world or saying we had somebody moving from Tousun,...

Arizona. Can you help us? And I can pick up the phone very easily and call our TU sound office and say hey, cane them there and we'll finish it when the truck gets here and we'll do unpacked and resettle and everything like that, and vice versaive way of somebody leaving Dallas and going somewhere else. Then if we do not have an office or care in transitions office in that location, we belong to Nassam, a positional chair move managers, and we have that reach as well. So we're able to tap into those resources of companies that are vetted that we can partner with to serve our seniors across the country, which is an awesome thing to be able to do. I think that is wonderful because being in this area of Dallas, as you know, we have so many people moving from different states, a lot from California, but they're moving here and then they bring their parents as well. So what a wonderful service to be able to get them packed where they are and then help them unpack and get settled in their home here. Yeah, sout, and we did see that in flux when at Toyota moves our headquarters. We definitely were you know, we rose to the occasion and we're able to help families that way, not only serving, you know, our adult seniors, but also the adult children of, you know, our seniors and their families. So Okat, okay. So when someone is thinking about down sizing, and, like I mention, people get kind of overwhelmed, especially if you're a senior, you get really overwhelmed with the thought of going through forty years of things packed into your closet. And I've been in my house twenty three years, so that overwhelms me. I don't even want to look in some of my closets. So if someone comes to you and they're thinking about moving but they have all the stuff, where do they start? So many many times and we go in to do our consultations, our clients have been living in their home for thirty, forty, fifty years and that's never surprised to us and they're basically paralyzed by the thought of where do I begin? Where do I start? So what we always recommend is starting with bitesize planning, and so we start small and we have people on our team that will come in and help our clients with the sorting and organizing process. And we always talk about the four steps and it's basically keeping what you love, donating what you don't need or you know that you've loved for years but you really don't use it anymore, gifting to your friends and family and then recycling or repurposing, because that's a big thing. And so that's that's our four step process about sorting and organizing. And so when we go in, well, you know, we have systems and things in place like, you know, using different color trash bags and using different colored toads to clearly delineate what's going to each area of you know, keeping moving, you know, and so on and so forth. Great, let's very organized. I love that. So when someone in, this is kind of what I do, is everyone knows. So I help someone find the senior community. They found the perfect apartment and a independent living community. They're ready to move. So how do you help them? Decide what's going to go from the House to the new apartment? Lord. That's a great question. When we go and meet with our clients, we typically spend one to two hours with them one on one, and so here is what's here's what's really, really cool. Part of our services that we offer is will obtain the floor plan of the apartment home that they're moving to and we will physically measure their furniture and lay it out on a tablet and give them a full floor plan and so they know, okay, well, the king's size bed and three jarses may not fit in their bedroom, but you know this will fitten. Also, it's about empowering them to make the decisions that need. They need to make in terms of helping lay out and for them to visually see, okay, this is this is my new home and this is what will fit and what will not fit. But again, empowering them to make the decisions. Okay, well, this won't fit. But I would really like to take this item.

So floor planning is critical to making sure that, you know, we're successful on the other end one once we get moved. So that usually that process you know that again, we're measuring furniture. We're laying it out, meeting back with them after we flight out the floor plan and then sitting and sitting down and discussing with them, and I think that is very cool because a lot of us aren't super visual. I mean I really I mean I need to see it laid out. So I think that is very helpful and probably takes a lot of that stress off the senior who, you know, doesn't know, is this going to fit? Can I take this? And they just really don't don't know, and a lot of times a more things are going to fit than they may have thought. Or you may be able to say this item, maybe you have it in the bedroom here a bit, it would look good over in this area and your you know, living space. So I think that's a wonderful service that you offer. Yes, many times with our clients, a lot of times they're moving. So if they've got a you know, a four thousand score for how, let's say, and they're moving into an apartment home, that is they did. A lot of times we'll see them moving to a two bedroom where these sing one bedroom is a study and, you know, just kind of redarranging how it was laid out in their house versus, you know, how it's going to lay out in their new and their new place if it's, you know, if it's a big downsize. So again, empowering them to make the decisions of what would of their furnishings are important, most important to them and being able to leave behind what is what is not as critical and making sure, yeah, I know that must give them so much peace of mind to have your service there. Really does. The floor planning that that services is a really very, very important piece of our process. So you help them. Okay, so they find their new apartment, you go in and help them figure out, sort through everything and then lay out what they're taking, how it's going to look, and then you actually can help them the next step with packing everything up and moving. Yes, so our team is fully trained and all aspects of the services that we offer. So we have a professional packing team. Some people as they walk out. You know, these are heirlooms and I don't want them to get broken. You know, we know about bubble up and we know how to pack properly. And the other very important thing is we use what we call mirroring. So one of the things that we feel is very critical to a successful move for our clients has that they feel at home when they move immediately. So one of the things that we do is we pay special attention to if they've got a Curio and they've got a lot of their lifetime collectibles, whether it be Hummels, are Yadro or whatever, that were taking pictures of those items and recreating the spaces we saw it in their house and recreating it and their new home or in their new apartment, and so when they walk in the second or third day that it feels immediately at home, whether it be the nightstand beside them and their their nightstand set up, you know, exactly as it was at home, where their two finger space sing in their closet with their their blue and yellow and white shirts I'll put together. Those are just important keys to helping our clients feel immediately at home once they walk into their new place. That's wonderful and I know it's really important, especially with someone with memory issues, and we see this a lot, where they will set up the bedroom to look exactly like with their room look like at home, with pictures and everything, just to make it an easier transition. Yes, yeah, absolutely, and the other thing too, is, you know, a lot of times if we if we're working with adult children and mom or dad and are both may have any type of cognitive or memory issues or whatever. You know, we're always walking hand in hand with the adult children to make sure that we're all successful all the way around this full communication, which is so important. Communication. Okay, yeah, Sokay, wonderful. So what if they have items that you can't move? Maybe there's no space for it just doesn't make sense... move it, whatever it may be. What can you do then? So that's a really, really critical thing. So we always recommend the pack move resettle to happen first. Then that's the beauty of having a full suite of services. If there are items that need to be taken care of that are left in the home. To get to the large as set, which is getting the House on the market, typically we have several liquidation options. So one of the things that we do, and do it well, is we could do an online auction, and we'll talk about covid in a second, but we can do estate sales, we can do cleanouts, we can do donation coordination and things like that. But what we want to do is to help them to be able to clear the house and get it ready to be able to list it on the market. HMM, but I always say that to people if they can, if they are able to, let's get the house cleared out, get yourself moved, if you can, get moved into your knee place, settled in and then put the House on the market. I think that is just so critical. Yes, and the liquidation peace, because they're like, well, what am I going to do with everything that's left over? You know, I'm in four thousand score feet and I'm going oneoswo hundred, and you know, we just walk them through. Let's get you packed, let's get you moved resettled and then we'll go in and figure out after the other thing, and that would that I really want to point out, especially if there are any adult children that are listening, is we always have the family go through and make sure that any family treasures are, you know, kept within the family and taking care of before we go into do our liquidation. That's really an important key and if we do find anything like legal papers, money, whatever, that's always put aside and given to the family during our process. That's interesting because I know when this is kind of made me think of this when my grandmother passed many years ago and we were going through her stuff. She had money in the pockets of like her little house dresses and things. This was back in the S, but they found like all this money and pockets of things. So do you see that a lot with seniors? Let me give you a couple of examples. So one time we were doing a liquidation of a full blown in the state sale and fair view and we were working. Both parents had passed and we're working with three adult sons and we said, you know, we when we're talking with them, we're like, well, we're going to go through every book, every you know, closet, everything, and they're like you're not going to find any money in my parents house. They work out like that. Well, it was so funny because we were moved, moving actually a dresser out of a bedroom, and so my husband had taken the drawers out of the the bedroom dresser to go ahead and move and he's like wow, there's envelopes taped to the back of the dresser drawer and there was fourteen thousand dollars and cash take to the backco dress it's just stuff like that. That you know, you know, we're checking, and so that became and that was early on, and it became just a basically a point of you know, we're checking the freezer to make sure it doesn't look like wrapped up me or whatever. And then another time one of our clients, her son was basically managing. She had some memory issues and stuff, and it was it was found in her vanity stool and it was about forty six thousand dollars. You know, shocking, shocking situations. But you know, that's why it's really important, Lori, when you're when you're vetting company, sure you're working with a company of high integrity and, you know, honesty, and that's one of the things that we really really pride ourselves in, is integrity and honesty. Yeah, that is so good to know. That's amazing. Forty six thousand dollars. So yeah, this this is more joke. I mean, yeah, that's the generation, though. It is. HMM. Yeah, because I know, I don't I don't remember exactly how much was found in my grandmother's in her clothes, but, like I said, in every pocket there was some money. So I think it was, you know,...

...probably a couple of thousand dollars. So be sure you know, if you're going through your parents things or grandparents things, to check pockets and check behind furniture, check all kinds of little secret places. It's not under the address anymore, it's everywhere. Is is right, that the obvious place. So so with Covid, obviously that's made some changes to everyone. So what kind of changes have you seen with Your Business? So let's talk about that for a second. One of the things that I really want to emphasize is the protocols that we have put in place for our team. We follow strict protocols, not only internally, but we also do double duty for whatever our senior communities are expecting from us. So if they have to take their temperature three times a day, you know, taken it at home, taken at the end of the day, the beginning of the day, and then also the community is they're checking in, we're you know, we'll do whatever we need to do. The one big pivot that I want to talk about that we have done through Covid we were very well known in the area with our dealers, resellers and our followers for doing traditional estate sales. So as being a responsible company in the METROPLEX. We felt it was not responsible to do traditional state sales and having forty fifty people in a house shopping. So one of the things that we did in carrying transitions is a whole hip that we've been doing online options. Is a company for a few years and last year we had been quite a bit of money perfecting a platform, our own internal platform called set bids, to be able to do our own internal online auctions. So our office, because we are so successful with traditional state sales, we kind of push that aside for a while. But we did is we had to pivot, I mean big time, and we started doing online auctions in April and basically that's all we're doing right now. We're doing online options to help families liquidate and they've been hugely successful. People love to shop at home. We have great systems in place for when people are picking up their items. We ship items across the United States, but we've got auctions going every day, all day long throughout the United States on our own ct bids platform, which is really pretty cool. So how do you find that platform? If you wanted to go on and take a look at what you have me see like caring transitions. So set bidscom and it's its own platform. That's really cool. That's good to know, or maybe not so good to know, because I do like to shop. There's anything from, you know, high end are to jewelry, to furnishings, to collectibles and things like that. It's really cool because you could type an item. If you're looking for a Yawdro, for instance, you could go onto the platform and say yea dro and it'll bring up all the Yaudros in the country that are for sale at that moment in time within our CET beds. So it's really a cool it's really a cool platform and it's been hugely successful for us. Wow, I bet so. The other thing that I have people mentioned to me with covid moving into community. So I've had some communities like it was and I know it's gotten better as we've kind of, you know, learned more how to deal with Covid, but some communities you have to move in certain times. Are you finding that, like you've move in evening hours or just when there's not as many residents around? It really, Laura, really depends on the senior community. Many times the communities are basically telling us, okay, this is your time slot for elevator sage and things like that. So usually Monday through Friday is a typical time, and then there's usually a you know, not around lunch time where there's a lot of people walking around, things like that. Again, there have been a lot of changes that we've had to make as we're operating through covid and, you know, I'm just proud to say that we kept our team safe and, you know, knock on wet or very blessed that nobody's come down with covid. And you know what...

...we just you know, we feel for the communities because we've all suffered through this and you know, we're continuing to navigate these uncharted waters and working together to basically get through and do what we can do to help keep not only our team but, most importantly, are adult seniors who are, you know, vulnerable, to keep them safe as well. Yeah, absolutely. So what, and I'm sure you get this question, but what is the approximate cost for your services? So one of the most important things, obviously we offer us full suite of services. One of the most important things, and I always say one call does it all, to to our office we set up an in home consultation. That is very, very critical. So sometimes, you know, people can say, can you tell us how much it'll cost? Well, we don't know how big your house is, we don't know how much stuff you have, we don't we don't know. There's a lot of unknown so we never give blind quotes over the phone. We will spend in one to two hours with you in home consultation. That's free of charge. There's no charge for our consultation and by the time we're done with that consultation you will have a written estimate. If line item packing, moving unpacking, resettling, liquidation, everything will be line itemed out. And what's beautiful is that our services are tailored to our clients needs and they can sharey pick whatever services that they want or need. Sometimes the adult children are saying like I want to I want to do the resettle for my parents if you could just pack. That takes that's very time consuming, but let us do the resettle, you do the liquidation, things like that. So that's the beauty of offering the suite of services, the free consultation and also, you know, again one call does it all, because we do offer so many items or services within our suite also wonderful. I love that the service exists and I'm so glad we're sharing this so more people can know about it. Yeah, I always like to ask people this question. So is there a senior either in the past or customer you run across, anyone who you just find very inspirational? All of our clients are very special to us, you know, there are so many standouts. I would say one of the most special things that's you know, I'm pretty sentimental person and I remember when we first opened our doors for business, we had our first client call and I'm like, we don't even have our insurance, you know, a place yet or anything to so, but I want to be your first client. I need to look racing downe and and and we still keep in touch, you know, my very first client and she know, she was very, very near and dear and still remains to be near and dear to my heart because she took the chance on us, you know, for you know, for a company, just like starting out and things like that. But there have been so many of our clients through the years and I think that's one of the most important things of how we serve our team has such a spirit of servantthood and I think that's one of the most important things. That we interviewed a client not too long ago. We did a client testimonial and one of the things that he said to us we did a full liquidation, full pack moversel. He took every piece of our services that we offered and I said, you know, really what stood out to you during, you know, our process? And he said your people, and that is an owner was it spoke volumes, but there have been so many clients the kindness that the one thing that I really love is when we're able to go in and help the adult children who are busy with their full time jobs and there, you know, sometimes we're dealing with loss and and sometimes we're dealing with you know, they're excited. Their parents are excited to move to independent living and not have to the you know, the the they'll be, you know, undergoing this whole lock and leave thing, that they can move into a community and...

...not have to worry about, you know, the the burdens of owning a home and you know and things like that, and they're excited for their parents to be able to take this next step. So just dealing with the excitement of the adult children and then also their parents are moving into the different communities. But one of the things that I would recommend you know, go on Google, read some of our reviews, you know, or five star company on Google, and we're super proud of that. But we do what we say we're going to do and I believe that that is one of the really the keys to success of caring transitions North Dale suburbs. Absolutely follow up and passion what you have and excellent customer service. So you have it all. Yeah, yes, we do, and you know, it's all about doing what you say you're going to do. That is such an important thing and and especially working with adult seniors. A lot of times there used to just handshake agreements and things and they're really when you're saying you're going to do something, they're expecting and they remember. You know, you told me, you know you're going to handle this and by Golly, you know we're going to do it because we're going to stand behind everything that we said during the complication. It's not just love service. We're really going to deliver what we say. Were we were going to during out consultation. Yeah, absolutely, well, Donna, thank you so much for coming on the podcast and sharing about your business. I just really appreciate you doing this and I think you're going to enlighten a lot of people about a service that they may not have known about. Thank you, Lori, and I wish you tremendous success in your business and as we all navigate through all this and for the opportunity. This has been just a delight to spend some time with you this morning. Well, great, well, thank you so much and, as always, if you'll have questions or want to, you know, access more resources, you can go to my website, which is Lori Williams senior Servicescom and please share the podcast with your friends and family and neighbors. Just get it out there, because this is all great information that people need to know about. Thanks so much and we'll talk to you next time.

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