Friday, April 4, 2014

A Tale of Three “Lucy”s – Lucy Three Is Moving!

A Tale of Three “Lucy”s – Lucy Three

You have probably heard from several sources to plan ahead when moving.  It’s never too early to start thinking about what to pack and how it will get to the new facility.  This past November, I was faced with three moves at the same time.  I will call my clients Lucy 1, Lucy 2 and Lucy 3. 

Lucy 1 lived in an apartment on the 15th floor.  The view was wonderful, the space was large.  But there was this pesky little issue of persistent leaks that the property manager shrugged off as a small problem.  But mold growing under the carpet for years, and several trips to the hospital were hardly small issues for my client, retired from her teaching position.  It was time for a move.

Lucy 2 lived in a maintenance-free townhouse.  At 89 years old, her memory was failing and she had caregivers coming every day to help her dress and eat.  As her disease progressed, it became clear to the daughter that her mother needed someone watching her 24 hours/day. 

Lucy 3 lived in development specifically for residents over 55 years of age.  The homes were single family, but maintenance-free.  A widow, she lived there alone, but had children and grandchildren in the area to help.  She was able to drive, but when her multiple sclerosis and the weather got worse, she was unable to go outside.  She had to rely more and more on others, and began falling more frequently.  When she fell, she couldn’t get up on her own.  She decided to move to assisted living.

Over the next few posts, I will tell the stories of each of my clients and the unique challenges each faced. 

Here is the story of Lucy 3:

Bedroom 2 Before Staging
Lucy Three is a widow who moved from her lake home in Wisconsin to a senior community for residents 55 years of age and over.  It was ideal for her.  There was no maintenance, and she could keep her independence because she was still able to drive.  Several children lived nearby, as did grandchildren.  She was able to function quite well for years, driving herself to doctor appointments or the dentist.  But as her MS progressed, she began falling more.

The community had an alarm system for health emergencies, which Lucy was able to use.  But when the falls became more frequent, she decided she either had to get some help or move to assisted living.  After weighing her options, Lucy decided to move to assisted living.  

Once the decision was made, the family sprang into action under my direction.  Rooms were measured in the new apartment, and floor plans drawn to see what furniture could go with Lucy.  In addition to the furniture, Lucy had to choose which of her personal belongings she wanted to bring with, as it wouldn’t all fit in the new place.

The family then got together to pack what Lucy needed.  As they packed, they sorted through the rest of Lucy’s belongings, claiming what they wanted.  The family also took photos and posted them on Flickr so the children who lived out of state could select what they wanted. 

Bedroom 2 After Staging
In Lucy 3’s case, the family overpacked, boxing items up that could have been left out for staging.  Also, they used the spare bedroom as a holding place for anything Lucy wasn’t taking with her, and was available to the family.  That’s what I was faced with when I came in to stage the home.

Lucy moved the middle of November.  I was to start staging the home soon after, but a toilet sprang a leak, and flooded the house.  Luckily, it wasn’t anything that moving the furniture and professionally drying out the carpet couldn’t handle.  The water from the master bathroom didn’t go any farther than the main bedroom and part of the living room.  Then the carpet had to be re-stretched. 

I awaited word from the family for when the rooms were ready again.  They put the furniture back where it had been, then called me.  My job was to clean out the front bedroom, pack up the extras, and stage the home.  As I was packing, I put aside some items I knew the family did not claim.  I dropped off a load at Goodwill after clearing out the bedroom.  Items that were questionable with the family remained boxed up and stored in the closet.

Once the staging was done, I let the family know it was ready to list.  This was early February.  I had time to move on to the next project.  Not!  The home sold in ten days!  So back to work! 

Living Room After Staging
The next task was to completely empty the house.  That meant the family had to pick up everything they wanted.  And I had to find outlets for the rest.  I called a dealer, Bob, who buys collections, to see his interest in the Lladros, Madame Alexander Dolls, and Wedgwood Lucy Three was parting with.  I met him at the house on a Sunday morning.  While there, he gave me the name of an auction house in Chicago that might be interested in the furniture.  I took photos of the furniture and sent them to the auction house owner, Roger. 

Bob bought the Lladros, Wedgwood and the dolls. Roger made an offer on the furniture, and I arranged it so he could pick up Lucy 3’s furniture the same day as Lucy 2’s furniture.  It would save him a trip.  He not only loaded up the furniture, but took most of the other donations with him on the truck.  It saved me phone calls to charities, and trips to Goodwill. 

Once all the big pieces were out, the family came and picked up their items.  My next task was to clean out
Dining Room After Staging
the garage.  I packed up the last of the donations in my car and then swept it out.  Then I ran a vacuum cleaner through the rooms, dusted the baseboards, window sills and ceiling fans and took out the last of the garbage. 

I dropped off the key with Lucy Three so she could give it to her real estate agent.  The house closes in April. Another empty house! Another success! 


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