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     Senior Moving Day

Recently my friend told me there is an apartment open for her in the Cypress. The Cypress is a very nice retirement complex in Charlotte. She will moving in about six months and fortunately, they will hold the apartment till she sells her condo.

Helen has been my YMCA swimming buddy for more than 20 years. We have grown older together. She has been dealing with macular degeneration and feels it is time to be in a place that will offer her an opportunity to be surrounded by others, and to have services available when she needs them.
Treasures From Travel

Helen has traveled and lived in many places in the world, some exotic like Thai Land, Africa, and Turkey and some dangerous like Israel. She has settled in Charlotte because one son and his family live here and her oldest son lives in Virginia, not too far away.

Her present condo is filled with treasures from her travels. So now the decision is what to take and what to give away before moving to a smaller space.
We started with the easiest, what to take:

Her present living room has two couches in her two sitting areas. She’s going to take one couch with it’s two chairs, end tables, and lamps. For her bedroom, the bed, dresser, TV cabinet, and chair that now resides in her bedroom will all go to the new home. She’ll also take her desk and computer from her office. The dinning room table has a glass top that may be able to be cut down to accommodate the smaller size of the dinning area in her new home.

The next task is what to do with the rest. We called in an appraiser so that Helen will have an idea of the value of her possessions so she may decide to sell some of them.

Her son suggests putting the excess in a storage bin. I disagree. I know too many clients that have stored their treasures in a storage place only to find after years of paying rental fees that they really don’t need any of their belongings. When they come to this awareness, they are much older and the task of getting rid of the stuff is a larger burden and all that harder.

Fortunately, in Charlotte, we have numerous charities that will come to your residence with their truck and strong men and take away the possessions that you no longer need. Most of the charities give the furniture away to families in need. What has served you for many years has a new life with new families. In this way by letting go your possessions continue to serve others.

We started with the bedroom closets: We used the same procedure most of you have used for organizing. Three big boxes: KEEP – Give Away – Maybe.

As most of us tend to do, some items of clothing are remembrances of times past, and no longer useful for life as lived today. We talked about where it was made and worn then put it in the box to give away. We continued in each closet filling all three boxes. In the keep box we put all the clothes still being worn and still in good order. In the maybe box, we put things we weren’t sure about.

At each session we worked for two hours. At about 30 minutes before the session would end we sorted through the boxes. Items in the Keep box went back into the closet after we organized them by color and type. The items in the Give Away box we folded ready to be picked up by Rescue Mission or some other charity.

For each item in the maybe box we looked once again. Was this item ready for give away or keep? Accordingly we put each item either in the charity box or back in the closet.

Now the kitchen, for Helen and me this room contains the treasures of daily life. Helen and her husband worked for the State Department and were responsible for giving parties in their assigned countries. Thus Helen has many handy items used for preparation and serving of food.

So once more we selected the items she wanted to take with her to her new home. I cleared out one cabinet and put all those glasses, dishes, etc in there. Then in a box we put the pots and pans she would need.

We also put all the crystal, china, teapots, and silver serving pieces, destined for her Granddaughters on the dinning room table.

Now we were ready to go through the cabinets in order to fill two boxes: give away and throw away. When we were finished, I brought the throw away boxes to the trash room. We packed and labeled the give away boxes to be picked up by a charity.

The office was our next stop and we went through the same process. Each room took many sessions. The charities were gracious in sending someone to pick up our give away boxes after each session so that the condo got sparser and sparser and Helen enjoyed living with only her really special belongings. With each session she was feeling better about moving to a smaller space with greater services.

Just give yourself enough time and do consider calling in an expert organizer who will make this emotionally draining task much easier.


D’Amato founded her Organizational Psychology Company in 1981. She focused on corporate organizing and strategic planning. Fifteen years ago she added Organizing for Individuals. At first her clients were small business owners working at home, or corporate sales people who had a home office. She then began to help people organize their homes. In 2000 she had an auto accident that left her crippled and she began to include clients that were also disabled. Frances has worked to overcome her disability through physical therapy, water exercise and Tai Chi. In the process of her recovery she learned many tricks that help her clients. D’Amato also specializes in helping hoarders who are psychologically disabled. FRANCES DAMATO has advanced degrees from Columbia University in New York and uses her psychological training to assist her clients.

You may reach Frances through online organizing or give her a call 704-379-7923.

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