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Moving, Downsizing and Organizing for Boomers, Seniors and Elders by Gayle Grace

Do you dread moving? Have you lived in your home for many years and are you now faced with the daunting task of downsizing and moving? Are you overwhelmed sorting through your belongings and wondering how to find resources to sell or donate them to? Are you struggling through the process of helping your elder parents move to a Senior or Assisted Living Community?

Sit down with a cup of coffee and join Senior Move Specialist, Gayle Grace of All Things Home, to talk about how to make the process of moving as stress free as possible, especially for seniors and their families.

Latest Posts:

O You!

Last week I had the pleasure of joining 4,000 women (and a handful of brave men) in San Francisco, for a day of expert presentations sponsored by Oprah's magazine, "O".

In the morning I listened to organizing guru, Peter Walsh, followed by an hour with interior designer, Nate Berkus. I also went to sessions with TLC's What Not To Wear, Stacy London, and life coach Martha Beck.

I have met Peter Walsh at our NAPO conferences, but he is so much fun and so inspiring that I just had to see him again. Peter really is committed to getting people to understand that "it's not about the stuff"! It's about the unfulfilled promises that the stuff represents.

Interestingly, it was Nate's session that had...


posted on: 11/1/2008 1:30:00 PM  by Gayle Grace
category: Moving

Take Control During Times of Uncertainty...

What can organizing offer at this time of uncertainty?

Life is change, and change can be hard, especially when it is dropped in our laps and not of our own doing. Most of us still have a tough go at wrapping our minds around living in a time where nothing seems to be the way it use to be.

But embracing change is indeed what we have to do. As the saying goes, "only one thing is constant - change."

Now is a good time to take stock of all that you have and evaluate its real usefulness. Are things just taking up space, keeping you from making decisions and tying you to something that no longer serves your best interest? What steps can you take to get better control of your lives...

If you are holding on to...


posted on: 10/4/2008 1:30:00 PM  by Gayle Grace
category: Moving

What the Movers Won't Take...

Recently on a move I used a new moving company and was surprised when they advised their list of things they would not pack or move, like Soy Sauce. Every moving company has their own list of items they've had bad experiences with, so you must check with them before you pack.

Generally, all moving companies will refuse:

1. Propane tanks, oxygen tanks, gas, car oils, aerosol cans of cleaning and car fluids, fire extinguishers, car batteries

2. Anything explosive or highly flammable, cans of sterno, butane, lighter fluids, lighters, matches

3. Ammonia, bleaches, most household cleaning and laundry products, pool chemicals, pesticides

4. Ammunition and household batteries (as in D, C, AA, AAA, etc.)



posted on: 9/20/2008 1:30:00 PM  by Gayle Grace
category: Moving

Do It Yourself Moving

One of my organizing clients recently moved. She opted to manage the move herself. She felt that since they were only moving one mile away and using a major moving company with a good reputation she wouldn't need a professional move manager. Today I went to see her new house so we could start planning the kitchen organizing. When I asked how the move went she told me that they lost 15 boxes on the move. Gone, vanished into thin air. The boxes contained her antique Christmas Ornaments and her grandmother's silver. The moving company only pays .60 lb, so they will be sending her a check for $80.00. There's nothing anyone can do about it.

As a professional moving manager, I have learned that no matter who the moving company...


posted on: 8/30/2008 1:30:00 PM  by Gayle Grace
category: Moving

Why is Moving So Stressful?

I heard from a reader recently that she and her husband are struggling to get ready to move after living in the same house for 30 years. She is overwhelmed by the whole process. That is perfectly understandable.

My advice is to not focus on the big picture - which certainly can be overwhelming, but to work on small areas, one at time.

Breaking a large task down into small pieces that can be more easily accomplished gives you an opportunity for success. Once you see that you can handle a portion of the project, then the rest should fall into place.

But sometimes the toughest part is the different ideas and opinions that one person has versus that of a spouse, child or friends. You want to dontate items that they...


posted on: 8/9/2008 1:30:00 PM  by Gayle Grace
category: Moving

The two dangerous CD's

This week we are working with a senior woman who is clinically depressed and chronically disorganized. The two go hand in hand. Depression and disorganization create a vicious cycle that feed off of each other. Depression causes the feeling of being tired and overwhelmed all the time and disorganization makes it impossible to find anything, complete tasks or even do the simplest things.

With psycho therapy and, in all probability medications, headway can be made. Without treatment, in my experience, it is nearly impossible to break the cycle. The organizer can clean up the mess, but can't stop the person from continuing to create a new one - they simply can't see the forest through the trees.

In this case, our...


posted on: 7/12/2008 1:30:00 PM  by Gayle Grace
category: Moving

Okay, start talking

It's getting increasingly hard to write this blog without a single word from those of you who are reading it. So, here's the deal. I need to hear from you or I don't see any point in continuing. I need to know what is on your mind and if I can help you.

Do you agree with what I say or not, are struggling with friends and family who need to move or downsize or just plain clean up their act, are you worried that you or your spouse is hoarding, do you have any organizing issues that need to be solved or whatever????

Please either comment on this blog or email me at [email protected]. The sooner the better. And fellow organizers, your comments are welcome as...


posted on: 6/14/2008 1:30:00 PM  by Gayle Grace
category: Moving

Unhappily Ever After...

Last week we spent 2 days packing some items for a senior couple moving out of their very large and beautiful ocean side home. Then we spent 2 days unpacking them in their new beautiful, large retirement home in a fabulous new upscale senior community.

Both husband and wife are just 80, fairly active and very savvy. They had called me in to help with their move months in advance and wanted all the services I provide during a move. They were friendly, happy and excited to have found my service. We talked on the phone every few weeks and when it finally got close to the actual scheduled days of work, I met with them and presented my contract and asked for a deposit. And that's when it all started downhill. They didn't...


posted on: 6/7/2008 1:30:00 PM  by Gayle Grace
category: Moving

3 Tips for Working with Elders

Yesterday was the hottest day of year (so far) in the Bay Area - temperatures reached a bit over 100 degrees. As it happened, I had scheduled a garage clean out with one of my elder clients and she did not want to postpone the event.

So, my team labored in a super hot garage and our client gamely tried to keep up with us. After a few hours I had to pull the plug on the job and force everyone to stop.

I take my work with seniors and elders very seriously and consider it an important specialty area. It takes patience, dedication and the utmost respect and understanding. And not just anyone can do it.

If you are assisting an elder family member or friend with organizing, downsizing or moving, here are my most...


posted on: 5/17/2008 1:30:00 PM  by Gayle Grace
category: Moving

Avoiding Hidden Dangers When Clearing Out Homes

I recently accompanied "Mary" into the house of her brother, who has been in a nursing home for two years. He always thought he would be returning to his home, but alas, that is not to be. His sister is a senior and has her own health issues so this is a trying situation for her as well. No one has been in the house the entire time he has been gone.

When we arrived at the house, I could immediately smell mold and mildew and see the dust that covered everything like a blanket. I went back to my car for masks, gloves and foot coverings. "Mary" was surprised when I instructed her to put them on as well.

My advice is to never work in a house that has been sealed up and left for any length of time without...


posted on: 4/26/2008 1:30:00 PM  by Gayle Grace
category: Moving

View Earlier Posts...


About Gayle:

Gayle Grace is the owner of All Things Home, providing expert organizing and moving services throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. Gayle is a Golden Circle member of the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO) and the National Association of Senior Move Managers (NASMM).

Gayle is a also a trained chef and award winning food taster! When not managing a move or organizing Bay Area kitchens, Gayle can be found at one of her favorite restaurants or advising local wineries on food and wine pairings.

Gayle shares her home and the sofa with two cats, Littleone and Pumpkin Pie.

Gayle's Website:


Gayle's Other Blogs & Email Contact

Gayle's Book Recommendations:

  • Rightsizing Your Life by C. Ware
  • Scaling Down by J. Culbertson & M. Decker
  • No Ordinary Move by B.Z. Perman & J. Ballard
  • Moving in the Right Direction by B. Nemovitz

The Kitchen Sink

  • My Life In France by Julia Child
  • Home Cooking by Laurie Colwin
  • More Home Cooking by Laurie Colwin
  • Zuni Cafe Cookbook by Judy Rodgers
  • Classic Stars Desserts by Emily Luchetti

Pumpkin Pie

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