Live well. Age well.


Thursday, Oct. 12, 2017 -- As senior move managers (SMM), we are trained and certified to work with seniors who are in need of assistance during what is often a difficult transition.


We frequently encounter resistance from clients who understandably are reluctant to pare down the contents of their long-time home.  One of the most common comments we hear from clients is that they are reluctant to leave things behind.  

As organization guru Marie Kondo states in her revolutionizing book, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, "We should be choosing what we want to keep, not what we want to get rid of."  Unfortunately, this is then usually followed up by the client indicating that they would like to keep everything!

To be very clear, SMM's are trained to be sensitive to the concerns of their clients.  We are empathetic with the specific needs of those with whom we work and understand the desire to "leave no man behind" when it comes to possessions.

So, what is the solution?  While there is never a clear-cut answer, we can provide some tips for filtering through the items and, hopefully, trim down the "take" list to a more reasonable size:

  • Take a few moments to conjure up the reasons why you would like to bring particular items with you.  Do this for each item.  Share these reasons with family, since it is possible that they may now have an increased interest in the piece.  
  • If you have a collection of similar items (i.e. dolls, toy trucks, china), choose a small number of them to take with you.  As for the pieces that remain, write up a short description and pass it along to a family member.
  • For the crafty reader, consider creating a shadow box for small items!  This accomplishes a few things: you get to take the items with you; the item is now a piece of art for the wall, not sitting in a drawer or hidden in the corner; and, as a piece of displayed art, it is now given a more prominent place in your new home.  
  • Always do an honest assessment of the condition of any items that you have chosen to bring with you to your new home.  
  • Take a photo of the item(s) that are sentimental, but are not on the list to go to the new home.  As mentioned previously, record some information about the item.  This may be enough to help you move beyond any guilt that you may have about leaving the piece for donation or your family.  
  • Nobody, other than the local jeweler, is interested in your sterling silver. Promise!

Proceed slowly.  And remember: allow yourself the time to adjust to letting go; allow yourself time to develop family interest; and, allow yourself time to enjoy your decisions.

Michelle Kavanaugh is the president/CEO of Organize Senior Moves, an independently owned, locally run business that focuses on helping senior citizens who are planning to move out of their home. For more information, call (518) 528-2622 or visit


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