Selling A House And Downsizing in Lincoln, Nebraska With Changing Spaces SRS
This is Ben Souchek, with Home Downsizing Solutions®. Today, I have a special guest, Jeannine Bryant, with Changing Spaces SRS, located here in Lincoln, Nebraska. And wanted to bring her on today to discuss the services that she provides and how her company might be a benefit to you.
What Is The Primary Mission For Changing Spaces SRS
Changing Spaces SRS is a team of about 25 individuals in our business, and we’re based here in Lincoln, Nebraska. And we are senior move managers. What that means is that we help manage the move anytime a senior is moving. And so most of the time, our clients are older adults who are downsizing out of a home that they’ve lived in for decades, really. 20, 30, 40, 50 years. And they’re going to a smaller house. Maybe it’s a town home, maybe it’s an apartment, or a retirement community, and it’s their first move in decades and they’re overwhelmed and they’ve got all this stuff and they don’t know where to start. And that’s really where Changing Spaces comes in.
We’ve been doing it for 12 years now. And our mission is really to help seniors and their families through times of transition, because that’s really where all of our clients are. They’re in a time of transition. And most of the time it’s a happy move. They’re choosing to move and choosing to make this downsize, but even when it’s a happy move, it doesn’t mean that it’s not emotional. And so it can be hard. And so we help logistically and physically, but we also help them emotionally, just talking through the process and listening to their stories about all of the items. And when you’re giving up a large portion of your stuff, it can be a challenge. And so we’re that caring friend who can guide them through the process.
Working With Adult Children of Downsizing Parents
If it’s the house that mom and dad have lived in for 40 years, chances are the kids grew up there too. And so for the kids, this is home too. And so to think about their parents leaving, sometimes they’re happy, sometimes they’re not happy about it. But even if they know it’s a good move, it’s still definitely the end of a chapter.
What Is Rightsizing?
The majority of our clients are downsizing. They’re going from a bigger home to a smaller home, but I really love using the term rightsizing, because I say it’s like Goldilocks and the Three Bears. It’s finding the perfect middle between too much and too little, right?
And most of the time, if our clients are choosing to downsize, it’s because they’re living in a house that frankly is too big for their needs. And there may be entire rooms in that house that they no longer use, or entire floors of that house. They never go up to the second floor, or they never go down to the basement, so that house is no longer the right size for them. And so they need to go to something that is the right size for them.
And of course, if you go to a smaller place, you can’t keep all of your stuff. And so we try to help them find that perfect place with their stuff, of too much versus too little. We want them to have just the right amount of stuff to make them happy and safe and have everything they need. And most of the things that they want as well. We try to encourage them to keep the best and get rid of the rest.
What Are The Specific Steps In The Downsizing My House Process
It seems like a huge transition. And for a lot of our clients, it’s overwhelming. And it seems like, “Where do I even start?” And we always say, in our company, “You eat the elephant one bite at a time.” And so for me, if they are just starting to think about moving out of their home, I always say the first step is they’ve got to figure out where they’re going to.
Does that mean, are you going to buy a smaller house? Are you going to buy a town home? Are you going to rent an apartment? Are you going to be going to a retirement community? You have to determine those things first. And that’s a big decision. There’s a lot of factors to take into account, and once you make that decision on, “Okay, we’re going to downsize. I think we’re going to go to a retirement community.” That’s what most of our clients are doing. And of course, the main factor there is finances.
You’ve got to figure out, “What can I afford to do?” because that’s going to probably eliminate, or narrow down your choices to a certain extent. If you decide you’re going to, let’s say, a retirement community, then you think about, “Okay, what size apartment am I going to? Am I going to be going to a one bedroom, a two bedroom, there’s two bedroom plus a den. There are three bedroom apartments.” Again, lots of times that comes down to cost. What can you afford? And then how much space do you, or how much space do you want?
Once you figured out where you’re going, the rest is easy. Then we can do the rest. You can hire that out. But you’ve got to make that big decision about where you’re going to next. When we enter the picture, we always start with the furniture. Before we start sorting through any of the knickknacks, or any of the books or any of the clothing, we’ve got to figure out what furniture is going to fit in that new place. And so we’ve got an interior designer on our team who will come out, measure the furniture that our clients think they want to take with them. And then she’ll get a floor plan of the new place. And then she’ll work with the client to figure out the floor plan of what is going to fit where. And then that floor plan really becomes our roadmap for move day.
Creating a floor plan like that helps you understand what you’re able to keep and what you are not able to keep. And so then we keep the focus on the move, after we’ve figured out the big stuff, the furniture, then we move on to the smaller stuff. Sorting through the books, sorting through the kitchen cupboards, sorting through the Christmas decorations. What about your clothes in your closets? And we always look at how much space we have at the new place and how it compares to the old place. And the difference is usually how much you’ve got to get rid of. If you’ve got 12 cupboards in your current kitchen, but your new kitchen only has eight cupboards, then we’ve got to downsize. And so it comes down, there’s no magic wand, but it’s very practical steps to that downsizing process.
And then after we’ve sorted, then it’s comes time for the actual move. Our team will come in, we bring all the boxes. We do all the packing. We are not the actual movers, but we will line up the movers on behalf of our client. And then we are there with them on move day. We’re managing all of that for them. We take the sheets off the bed, we get the food out of the fridge into a cooler. We pack the toothbrush that morning and then we follow the moving truck over to the new place. And then we’ve got that floor plan in hand and we are directing traffic, making sure the mover puts the furniture where it will fit and where we want it.
And then as soon as the box has come in, we start unpacking those boxes right away. And we don’t leave our client until they’re comfortable and they can function that night. That means their bed’s made, clothes are in the closets, toiletries are unpacked and they’ve got their kitchen essentials out. And then if necessary, we’ll come back the following day and we do all the extra stuff. The knickknacks, the books, the artwork, and then we take all the boxes with us and they are unpacked and settled.
That’s really the process. It seems like a big process when I explain it all, but when our clients bring Changing Spaces into the situation, they don’t have to worry about anything else. We just take the wheel and we drive them all the way across the finish line to their new house.
The Satisfaction In Helping Someone Downsize
It is so rewarding. It really is. I always think unpacking is the best, because it’s like you’re playing house and you’re getting them all set up in their new place. And just this morning, I was visiting with a potential client and they’re planning a move for July. And when I left the appointment, she said, “I feel so much better already. I was just getting sick to my stomach.” And they’re not even downsizing. They’re moving from one, two bedroom apartment to another two bedroom apartment, but they’re older and they didn’t know how they were going to do it.
And boy, that is so gratifying to me, to hear that relief on our clients’ faces and to hear it in the words that they say. And that’s really why we do it. We always say, “We come in, we’re like your daughters for that week.” And we treat our clients the way we would want our parents to be treated. And because we know it’s hard and we just have a system down. And so we do this, we help usually over 90 clients every year make a move like this. And so that experience counts for a lot, especially when we’re working with people who have not moved in 20, 30 or 40, years.
The Services That Changing Spaces SRS Offer For Home Downsizing
One component of our business is helping with the moves and that’s everything that I laid out before the floor plan. The packing, managing move day and unpacking. And then we have a whole other segment of our business, which helps them get rid of the stuff they’re not keeping. And so we do that by organizing estate sales, or tag sales. And usually that is done in the home. After a client has moved out, we come in, we set everything up that is left behind that they decided not to keep him, the kids decided not to keep and we organize it all. We price it. And then we hold an estate sale every Friday and Saturday here in Lincoln. And usually we get between 1500 and 1800 shoppers through the door at those estate sales, which is great. It’s a compassionate rehoming of the items that our clients are no longer using.
Changing Spaces SRS Is A Member Of The National Association of Senior Move Managers
The senior move management industry, that’s what we do, we manage seniors moves, it’s really a blooming, blossoming, exploding industry. And it’s not very old. But nowadays, there is at least one senior move manager in every state in the United States. And there’s a great organization called NASMM, the National Association of Senior Move Managers that binds us all together. And you pay a membership fee, a yearly membership fee, and you have to abide by a code of ethics. They have great training that they give to all of their members.
And then they also organize an annual conference for NASMM members, which we have been lucky enough to participate in the last few years. And it’s such a great opportunity to connect with other people around the country who do the kind of work that we. And to exchange ideas with them, help solve problems together, those kinds of things. And It really is a great organization.
If anyone out there is watching and they are looking for a senior move manager in their area, and they’re not in the Lincoln area, the NASMM website has a great feature, it’s called Find a Senior Move Manager. And if you have an uncle living in Alabama who could use this kind of service, you can go on there and find a senior move manager in his area. And if you click on, Find a Senior Move Manager, you can see all the senior move managers throughout the United States.
How Can Changing Spaces SRS Help You?
When you hire a senior move management company, it’s not the same as hiring some movers to come and pack your stuff. You can hire a mover to come and put your stuff in boxes, and that’s fine. It’s not the same experience as having a senior move manager in your home, who’s going to walk you through the process, help you make some of those difficult decisions, listen to stories. We always say, we laugh with our clients and we cry with our clients. We really take them by the hand and lead them through the transition start to finish.
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