Wednesday, July 20, 2016

A Difficult Move Made Easy

One of my favorite types of clients to work with are those who are moving.  It's part skill, part project management and part emotional support.  Every one of them are different - some have kids, some don't.  Some are upsizing, some are downsizing.  Some are moving willingly, others are moving because of a corporate relocation.
Because none of them are the same, I treat each one differently.  Some need more guidance than others.  Some want to do their own packing.  Some are skilled project managers, so they direct me more than I direct them.

I recently had a client who was moving from a furnished apartment to an unfurnished apartment.  Some of the furnishings were coming from his former residence, where his ex still lived.  The rest he was purchasing.  The move was made more difficult by the fact that he was out of the country the week of the move, returning late afternoon on moving day.

My job would be to coordinate the three-part move, shop for certain household goods and unpack and set up the new apartment.  This was all decided three weeks before the desired move date.  I met with my client at his new facility to tour the complex and apartment with the staff.  The week before the move, I met with the client to pick up the keys to the unfurnished apartment.  I also went to his former house to pack up what would be going from that location.  The day before the move, I packed up his personal belongings at the furnished apartment.

The day of the move, I was to meet the movers at the house to pick up load one, stop at apartment one for the second load, then follow the movers to the final destination where I would pick up the keys from the office to let everyone in. 

As it started happening, I was beginning to wonder if it would all come together...

What Went Wrong?

  • The move was last-minute.  It took several calls before I could find a mover available at such short notice in the summer.
  • On packing day at the house, the company forgot to bring packing paper, so I had to go out and buy some.
  • The day before the move, the two furniture stores called to confirm delivery.  But they had the times wrong and wanted to come out first thing in the morning when nobody would be at the apartment yet.  The office wasn’t open to accept deliveries either.  One store was already closed by the time I could return calls.
  • Moving day began with a 6a.m. phone call to one store. They were able to change their route and bring the furniture later in the day.
  • The movers were late showing up at the first stop. 
  • While waiting for the movers, the second furniture store called to say they were at the apartment with the delivery.  I told them they would have to come back later.  They made the mistake, they needed to fix it.
  • The electronics store called to say they would be delivering the televisions after the cable company would be there to install them. 
  • A call to the cable company (20 minutes on hold) said they would come as late as possible so the televisions might arrive first. 
  • When the movers finally arrived at stop one, they pulled into the wrong driveway.
  • GPS took the movers to the wrong location for the second leg of the move.  Another 30 minute delay.
  • A car was parked in the driveway at the second location, so the movers couldn't pull up to the dock.
  • The first furniture delivery arrived the same time we did at the new apartment.  Talk about juggling space in the elevator!
  • The second furniture delivery arrived, but one of the pieces was the wrong color/finish!  It didn't match the second piece either.  They couldn't get another one out that day.  It was the bed, and my client was on his way home on a 16-hour flight.
  • Comcast arrived two hours earlier than expected, but didn't call me as as directed.  They called the client, who was still in the air!  Comcast left without installing anything.  When I called them back, they said the soonest another technician could come out was four days later.  That being unacceptable to the client, the date was pushed out another three days by the time we called back again.
  • I had a bloody nose during the unpack.  Luckily, I had found  the tissues already.
  • The hanging file drawer converter I purchased didn't fit the drawer - because of the odd construction of the desk, not my measuring.

What Went Right?

After pressuring Comcast, they somehow found a technician to come out the next day.  Although they still called the client's phone to confirm instead of mine.  At least he was able to answer this time.  The client decided he liked the color/finish of the bed enough to have a new nightstand delivered instead.  It arrived the following day.

I finished unpacking everything that day, except for the things the client wanted to do himself.  I took away all the packing materials, leaving the client with a new, clean apartment.

So what is the lesson here?  Always have a Plan B in place.  Because it's inevitable that things will go wrong.  I didn't panic when things started falling apart.  I made some phone calls, adjusted some times, and pitched in wherever I was needed.  Having had an original plan in place helped - with all the contact names and order info written down.  I'd reviewed everything with the client before he went out of town so I knew where he wanted things. 

Plan A is your ideal.  Plan B is what happens after life gets in the way.  Be prepared!

Monday, January 18, 2016

Five Basic Steps to Getting Organized

You probably know that being organized reduces your stress levels. There's less to maintain, less to clean, and you're less likely to lose things.  So what's keeping you back?  Most don't know where to start.  There are hundreds of products that can help, and just as many solutions.  So rather than confuse you more, let's start with the Five Basic Steps to Getting Organized:
  1. One In One Out - Being organized isn't about getting rid of everything and never shopping again.  Shoes wear out, children outgrow clothes.  You have to go shopping.  But make it a habit of removing one item from your home for every new item you bring in.  That way, you'll never accumulate too much.
  2. Just Say No - When someone tries to give you something, if you really don't want it or like it, then refuse it.  You don't have to take furniture from your great-aunt's home if you have no need or space for it.  You don't have to take the scarf your friend is cleaning out of her closet.  The less you bring in, the less you have to care for.
  3. Clear It Out - The more you have, the more you have to care for.  So clear out what you don't need.  Get rid of kitchen appliances you never use, or coats you never wear.  They're just taking up valuable space that could be occupied by something you love.
  4. Plan Ahead - Get ready the day before. Decide on your outfit, pack your lunch.  Do the same for the rest of the family.  Also, schedule time for yourself to take care of chores like filing or laundry.  If you keep on top of things, they won't pile up.
  5. Deal With It - Take care of messes and problems when they happen.  Clean up the spills, put away the laundry, sort the mail, etc. as it comes in.  There may be a day or two where you don't have time, but if you've kept up with tasks all along, the piles won't grow too large to overwhelm you.
Keep this list posted in a place you'll see it as a daily reminder.  It's really that simple.