Friday, June 27, 2008

Early Plans and Thoughts About Moving

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:
For my real estate listing:


Barbara J. Davis said...

Thank you for the insights into a common senior issue. I have thought about it many times and wondered what my husband and I will do with all of our junk when it comes time to move into smaller quarters.

Lydia said...

I've mentioned that clutter is one of my issues, with much of my mother's stuff and papers stored in boxes in a storage unit and taking up an entire room upstairs. I've told Mike that I need to bring in one of those "clutter genies" (my description) that advertise in our area. He scoffs. But after living in condensed space in our home because we share it with crud we don't even want, I think I am going to give this more consideration. I'm 57, in good shape, and have no excuse to not have cleared the junk long ago. But clutter paralyzes me, as you said "turns my brain to mush."
That aside, I so enjoy these posts about your move to The Clare.

seniorwriter said...

I highly recommend getting some help with clutter. I think my problem with it is more mental than physical, and having someone to help is the answer for me.

Magnolia said...


I've thought about you a lot lately. I watched a very powerful and poignant movie recently...The Savages.

It is about two adult children who grapple with their emotions and coming to terms with helping their ailing and dying father (who also has dementia).

It brought me to tears and I thought about the lonliness of life sometimes and remembered you.

Your posts have touched me so often as I've followed your blog.

I am glad to see that you are making progress and your spirits are good.

I wish we lived close. I would come to meet you in a heart beat.

seniorwriter said...

Thanks, Magnolia. fortunately, I'm not ailing, dying, or demented at the moment (at least as far as I can tell). As someone said, though, growing old is not for the weak.

Magnolia said...

Well then, there is much to thankful for.

I didn't think of you in those terms though and I'm sorry if I suggested that.

I suppose it got me to thinking about aging more than anything else.

I'm still young by certain standards, but at fifty-one, I think of mortality and old age frequently

But, I thought of you because you have said you do not have family close by. That is why I wish I could come see you. Though, I like you, also love solitude and will likely have to push myself to keep from being a hermit when I get older.

Either way, glad you are well.

seniorwriter said...

I'd be happy to see you. Yes, I do love solitude, but I hope that moving to the Clare will give me at least some connection with the world. I'm sure I won't join too many activities there, but at least I'll be among people.