Yes, the Clare at Water Tower, my future home, is nearing completion, at least on the outside. Finishing the inside will take a while. It looks as though my moving date will be sometime near the end of this year, or early in 2009. It's been a long wait already.
I've not moved many times during my long life. I did sell my house and move to my present condo about seven years ago, but my coming move has an air of finality about it. Unlike many or most of my fellow seniors, I have no children or grandchildren to help me, and my few relatives, willing to help though they are, live far away. My friends are generally younger and still employed, and none live nearby.
I've promised to write from time to time about my journey to the Clare, a continuing care community where I'll move into a lovely new independent living apartment, so expect occasional posts about the process.
As a first step, I reached a state of panic. The real estate market is poor--not as bad in Chicago as in some other places, but certainly not good. The Clare management has warned us to allow a long time to sell, so the time to put my condo on the market has come. My condo is in a good location, and it is professionally decorated, has a garage space, a balcony, and a walk-in closet. Actually, I hate to leave, but my days of living in isolation must end soon. I eventually stirred myself to take some action.
I now have a real estate agent, an on-line listing with beautiful pictures, and not much hope--or need--for a quick sale. I'm just waiting to see what happens. That was the easy part.
As I began to consider all this, I realized that my place, while neat on the surface, contains tons of clutter in every closet, cabinet, and drawer. Somehow, I seemed unable to deal with this clutter in any efficient way, and I had to do so before the agent would agree to list my property. It seems that prospective buyers always look in the closets (and probably the cabinets).
That's when I learned about Mature Transitions by Design, a Chicago-area company that offers Planning Consultation, Barrier-Free Home Renovation, and Coordination for Relocation. The latter is obviously what I needed. I didn't know that such services existed; they are rather costly, but certainly worth considering. Two efficient women arrived and worked long and hard to get things in order. In consultation with me, they sorted out my "junk" and divided it into things to keep, things to throw away, and things to donate to charities.
A trained interior designer, the company's owner drew a floor plan of my Kensington unit at the Clare and worked out the placement for my furniture. Since I'm moving to a similar-size unit, most things will fit (although I need to replace a few things, and she'll help me with that later). Fortunately, I do not need much downsizing. Those moving from large homes may need help with that, too.
After two long afternoons of hard work, the two women from Mature Transitions (who, unlike me, can climb and stoop), made my closets and kitchen cabinets look spacious again. To me, it's like magic! They carted off several carloads of things, in addition to the many bags of trash they disposed of. I will probably use their services again for packing, unpacking, and generally getting things in order. I'm grateful for having found them!
Could I have done much of this myself? Probably when I was younger, but aside from my physical problems, I've found the thought of the whole process tends to turn my brain to mush and send me back to the comforts of reading and writing. I'm happy to know that help is available, and I'm feeling much better about my coming move right now. Stay tuned.
Copyright 2008 by Marlys Marshall Styne
For information about The Clare: www.theclareatwatertower.com.
For my real estate listing: http://www.rubloff.com/property/2647864