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Why You Should Hire a Senior Move Manager

There is a new and growing service industry that you probably have never heard of before. Senior move management companies are part of a new industry that has emerged to meet the needs of an aging population.

Senior move managers (SMMs) offer services to help with multiple aspects of a senior move, far beyond what moving companies typically offer. They help with downsizing tasks such as sorting, decluttering, and packing boxes. They help find the right places to rehome your belongings, take measurements to ensure furniture will fit in your new space, and coordinate timing and schedules. Senior move managers combine the nitty-gritty skills of project management with the emotional support needed during a senior move.

If you are facing the prospect of a senior move, for yourself or for a senior relative, you may want to look into hiring a certified senior move manager. Consider some of the benefits listed here before navigating this unfamiliar terrain on your own.

Protecting Family Relationships

Let’s face it. We don’t all have ideal relationships with our parents or our children. Even in the most loving relationships, there are issues and emotional baggage that stress can amplify. Downsizing a home that has decades’ worth of accumulated possessions is sure to put everyone involved under a fair amount of stress. Senior move managers can ease stress and support family relationships.

It’s an uncomfortable reality that the roles of parent and child slowly change as the parent ages. When adult children help their parents with a move, they often find themselves playing the role of the bad guy. The parent wants to hold onto things that hold memories, and the children, knowing there will be limited space in the new place, find themselves constantly saying no—similar to role they play with their children. Having these conversations over and over can be a constant reminder to the parent that they are becoming more dependent on their children. It’s a recipe for quite a lot of family arguments.

When senior move managers are involved, some of that friction goes away. The onus of being the bad guy is lifted from the adult children, and they can get back to being supportive of their parents. Parents are often more likely to say yes to an SMM than to their children (and to be happy with the results).

The Emotional Aspects of Downsizing

The senior move management industry formed their trade organization, National Association of Senior Move Managers, because they recognized that senior moving was a different experience than other kinds of moves. These weren’t moves that were inspired by relocating for work or needing more space for a growing family. The experience of leaving behind a home that took decades to create is an extremely emotional one.

Many people facing a senior move have likely experienced a great deal of loss at this point in their lives. The people connected with many of their possessions may be gone. The children whose drawings are collected in boxes are now grown and possibly far away. Parting with family mementos is tremendously difficult for many seniors, and senior move managers offer emotional support during the process.

Senior move management companies that are NASMM-certified operate by a code of ethics that includes patience, acceptance, and respecting the decisions of the client. While working with a client, managers are allowed into a client’s private life via photos, documents, letters and more. Senior move managers view that access as a privilege and demonstrate compassion and understanding for their clients throughout their transition.

Lightening the Workload

Moving is intensely physical, something that can be difficult for seniors. Senior move managers help with all aspects of the process. They help with:

  • Sorting items into boxes for keeping, donating, or selling
  • Keeping track of donations and sales of items for tax purposes
  • Packing and coordinating with the moving company
  • Arranging estate sales or online auctions or liquidators
  • Removing trash
  • Taking measurements of furniture to ensure items will fit in the new space
  • Cataloging items and sharing digitally with family members who might want certain pieces
  • Unpacking boxes in the new space

Senior move managers can also help with finding the best places for unwanted items. Whether it’s local charities, auctions, or even arranging for household hazardous waste disposal, they have done it all.

Senior move managers remove unwanted items from your home as soon as possible. Very often they will remove a few boxes during each of their appointments so you can see progress being made.

Keeping Up an Efficient Pace

Sometimes a senior move either takes too long or goes too quickly. If family members need to travel to help with the move, it’s likely they’ll be rushing to get as much done as possible during their stay. This can be overwhelming for the person being moved and, again, can strain family relationships.

On the other hand, families sometimes spend a year or more preparing to sell a home. Adult children who live locally may finding that helping only on weekends just isn’t enough time. If the person moving has a problem with hoarding, all that weekend work could be undone by the next session.

Senior move managers find the sweet spot—not rushing the move and not having too much lag time between sessions. They know the right questions to ask to help people get through the process efficiently.

Getting You Settled in Your New Home

Senior move managers earn their acclaim as “heaven sent” by going above and beyond what you might expect. They want their clients to truly love their new homes, and they do whatever is necessary to make that happen.

In one example, senior mover manager, Laura Armbruster, once worked with a couple moving from a large home in Michigan. They were relocating to a 2-bedroom apartment in a senior living facility near their children in Cleveland. The move was difficult emotionally, as they loved the home they were leaving behind. They wife had a collection of over 35 wall-mounted clocks. It was very important to her that her clocks be displayed in her new home the same way they had been in her old home.

Armbruster coordinated with their SMM in Michigan on the move. The SMM in Michigan took photos of the clock display, carefully removed the chimes and batteries from each clock, labelled and packed them. Armbruster’s team in Cleveland met the moving truck at the couple’s new home to help them unpack. They immediately hung the clocks on the main wall of their living room, using the photos as a guide. The clocks worked as the focal point in the new space, and the couple felt instantly at home.

These are just some of the benefits to hiring a senior move manager. If you’re ready to find your own SMM, ask for references from friends, the local senior center, or check out the NASMM website. You can even ask your primary care physician. Senior move managers will make your move easier, more efficient, and less stressful for everyone involved.

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The Best Way to Rehome Your Stuff When You Rightsize

We’ve all been there. In the middle of boxing and bagging your possessions for a big move, you look around and think: What am I going to do with all this STUFF? 

Decades of memories can add up to a lot of time sorting and agonizing about what to do with beloved possessions. It’s hard to let go of the things that have mattered to us over the years. The good news is that there are a lot of options when it comes to finding new homes for your things. 

Give to People You Know

Most organizing gurus will tell you that when you clear out clutter it’s helpful to have four separate bins on hand. One bin for items to keep, another for donations, another for selling, and another for trash. Before you even start that process, though, you may want to ask your circle of friends and family to see who might enjoy having some of your things. 

Hand off your lawn mower and garden tools to the young family next door. Know a young person moving into their first apartment? You may be able to find a home for a whole host of furniture and kitchen items. A special collection, such as sports memorabilia or art materials, can be passed along to a young person who shares your interest. 

Seeing your belongings given new life with people you care for can make letting go of them much easier.   Once you have some items cleared out, you’ll have more space to pull out those four bins and begin the next phase of clearing out. 

Donate or Sell?

A stumbling block for many people is deciding whether to sell or donate items. There are plenty of options for both, but consider carefully how much time you want to spend on rehoming your items. In most cases, it is much easier and faster to donate items than it is to sell them. 

When you sell your items, you usually get a fraction of what the item is worth. When you donate, you can set the value of the item and claim the donation on your taxes. You may even be able to schedule a donation pick up at your home, saving you the time and trouble of making an extra trip.

Where to Donate

There are many reputable organizations in the Cleveland area that accept donations of household items, furniture, clothing, children’s toys, and books and DVDs. Here are a few to consider.

The Gathering Place, a local organization dedicated to supporting individuals and families whose lives have been touched by cancer. They offer free programs and services to address a range of needs for patients and caregivers.

The Gathering Place accepts gently used household items, furniture, art, dishware, and more for their warehousewhich is open roughly once a month. Proceeds from warehouse sales benefit their free programs. Give them a call at 216-595-9546 to arrange for a preview of your items and to schedule a donation pick up. 

Greater Cleveland Habitat for Humanity is another worthwhile organization to keep on your donation list. Habitat for Humanity’s mission is to realize “a world where everyone has a decent place to live.” They raise money and organize volunteers to help families build and renovate affordable homes. Donations to Cleveland Habitat go to their ReStore Facility, where items are sold at a discount to the Greater Cleveland community.

When you’ve made some progress and are really ready to make some traction on your moving preparations, get in touch with Cleveland Habitat. They have an extensive list of items they take (as well as ones they don’t) that go beyond regular household items. The ReStore takes all kinds of building materials—flooring, bathtubs, kitchen cabinets, lumber—and all kinds of gently used furniture. If you want to know what they accept, check out their list here.

A Word About Textiles

Before you toss your old clothes or shoes in the trash, thinking they are too worn out to have value to anyone, stop. In the past, donation centers such as Savers and Goodwill only wanted items in good shape. They didn’t want to bother with stained or ripped clothing that wouldn’t sell because they would have to pay to dispose of the unwanted items. Now non-profit organizations partner with textile recovery companies who encourage donations of any type of textile, even if it’s ripped or stained. They take towels, stuffed animals, pillows, and even underwear, as long as items are clean, dry, and not soaked in oil.

Textile recovery businesses work with charitable organizations to sort donation by quality. Items in good shape are marked for sale, and items that aren’t get shredded and repurposed for industrial uses like furniture stuffing and building insulation. Organizations then earn money for every pound of textiles that are collected. Check out Cuyahoga Recycles for more information.

Selling Your Stuff on Your Own

If you are willing to commit some time to selling your unwanted items, there are certainly a lot of options. You could hold a couple of yard sales or moving sales. It may take most of your weekend, but people sometimes make upwards of $1000 from a well-staged yard sale.  

There are several apps and web options that can help you sell your stuff. If the transaction requires a face-to-face meeting, always use caution when meeting with strangers. Many police stations have a dedicated spot for such transactions. 

Facebook has a marketplace for selling items and most cities and towns have page dedicated to selling items amongst community members. These local pages can actually be a lot of fun—you’ll meet a friend of friend more often than not—and a great way to connect with others in your community. Just don’t get tempted to buy the stuff other people are selling! 

One of the most popular “letting go” apps is LetGo. LetGo requires meeting face-to-face, so again use caution when making your transaction. You can sell anything from clothes to cars, so it’s worth a look. Mercari is another app where you can sell just about anything. Mercari has the added benefit of having a UPS partnership, taking some of the hassle out of shipping items once you sell them and avoiding face-to-face meetups. 

If you have high-end items, such as fine art (with documentation) or antiques, many appraisers will come to you to give you a price. Cowan’s auctions in Cleveland is a reputable establishment that will come to your home and give a quick opinion on your items.

Do-It-Yourself or Hire a Pro?

Yes, you can do all of this yourself to find the best homes for all of your things. Moving, though, is considered a highly stressful life event by medical professionals—on par with losing a loved one, or having a baby. So, you just may want someone in your corner who can help navigate all the steps of gifting, donating, and selling your items. If so, a professional senior move manager can handle many of these tasks for you, as well as measuring and planning for your new living space.  

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5 Questions to Ask Before Right-Sizing Your Home in Retirement

Empty-nesters and retirees know the feeling well. Your life, which was filled with responsibilities, schedules, and people that relied upon you, has suddenly changed. Maybe you’ve retired and now have forty hours per week all to yourself. Maybe you last child living at home has finally sprouted their wings and made their own nest. You look around and think, “Now what?”  

If you are like a lot of people at this stage of life, you wonder whether it’s time to start down-sizing your living arrangements. There’s a lot to consider—how much you like your current home, financial circumstances, whether another location would be better suited to your life. 

It may be time to ask yourself whether your home meets your needs and desires. It’s an emotional process that many people find very difficult. Here are some questions to consider that may make your decision-making process a bit easier.

How Do You Spend Your Time?

Oprah Winfrey has been quoted as saying, “How you spend your time defines who you are.”  How you spend your time can also help determine what you need from your living space. Use your monthly calendar to do a little detective work. See how often you are home and how often you entertain. When you are home, what do you do in your free time?

 If you enjoy hosting gatherings once or twice a month, then having extra seating is important. If you build custom furniture in your spare time, you probably need some place to serve as a workshop—one that’s preferably not in your living room. If you don’t have people over often, or tend to enjoy a lot of quiet time to yourself, an extra dining space may no longer be necessary. 

Instead of a monthly calendar, you can keep an informal log and track your activities for a couple of weeks. Looking at how you spend your time can give you insight on what’s really important to you.

Are You Using All of Your Space?

As we go through different phases of life, the way we use our living space changes. Because these changes don’t tend to happen all at once, you may not notice that it’s happened at all. Think about whether you use all of the bedrooms you have—maybe for a hobby room or out-of-town guests—or whether you only go in them to clean. Have you tapered off from hosting large holidays or do you still enjoy a house full of people?  Your answers may help determine whether you value having a separate dining room, an extra bedroom, or a large kitchen or not. 

It can be hard, though, to be objective about how much of your living space you are actually using. Try leaving a small notepad in rooms that are less frequently used. When you use the room, jot down what you used it for and the date. Keep track for a few months and see what emerges. You may be surprised at what you find, and this can give you important information in your decision-making process.

Keep track of the rooms you use, and how frequently.

Do You Live Alone?

It’s a fact that many Americans live alone during their retirement years. Of course, living alone doesn’t automatically mean feeling lonely. Some people thrive by living alone and relish time spent in their own company. Living alone, though, can be a risk factor for loneliness

Think about what living alone looks like for you. Do you have children, grandchildren, and friends visiting often?  Do you get out to attend social events or clubs?  If you have a robust social life, a little isolation can be a welcome respite from social interaction. If you spend multiple days a week without seeing anyone socially, you may want to explore living arrangements that have built-in opportunities for social interaction. 

Consider your options.  Senior living communities often have scheduled events and spur-of-the-moment gatherings in their shared spaces. If your child or another relative wants you to move into their in-law apartment, you’ll have companionship and still have time to yourself. 

Living along can be a risk factor for loneliness

Do You Drive?

Whether you currently drive or whether your driving status is likely to change in the future plays a significant role in determining if your living arrangement suits your needs. Living in a bedroom community away from public transportation or a walkable city makes driving almost a necessity. If you don’t drive, many goods and services can be arranged online, but there is a downside to that convenience—feeling isolated. 

Loneliness is a concern for retirees. For many elders, loss of loved ones, family and friends, increases social isolation. Planning time for seeing friends and family takes some effort and maybe even travel. Living within walking distance to stores and places to eat can increase your social connections, which is important for your mental and physical health. Alternatively, housing that includes community spaces, such as senior living communities and assisted living facilities, provide frequent opportunity to meet with neighbors on a regular basis.

Can You Keep Up with Home Maintenance?

No matter where you live, your home needs to be maintained—cleaning, repairs, yardwork. The question is who is going to be responsible for that work and expense. Are you able to stay up with the cleaning—and are you cleaning rooms you never use? Can you afford to have the roof replaced? Are you ready to let someone else handle the mowing, raking, and shoveling? 

Physical limitations are an important consideration when it comes to home maintenance. As we age, many of these tasks become difficult to do on our own. There are financial considerations and quality of life issues as well. Maintaining a larger home is more expensive and more time-consuming than maintaining a smaller one. Senior living communities, condos, or assisted living facilities take care of most if not all home maintenance tasks, which make them attractive options for seniors.

The Next Steps

Only you can define what is most important to you in your senior years, but that doesn’t mean you have to decide on your housing options all on your own. Adult children and grandchildren can help by researching local options and acting as a sounding board. Outside of family, there are lots of resources for helping seniors navigate the process. Local senior centers, veterans’ services, and senior move managers can all offer support as you make your decision. 

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Tips for Moving in the Summer!

How about this summer weather!

Now that it has officially turned into summer, we thought it would be a good idea to share some summer moving tips. 

Plan your move date early   

In addition to being a popular time to vacation, the summer is a popular time to move. Data shows that 70% of household moving occurs in the summer months. Not only is the weather better, but children are off school, and many want to get settled before the start of the new school year. Also, home-selling season is in full swing, for similar reasons. The beginning and end of the month tend to be busiest, in addition to the end of the week (Thursday and Friday). Many leases are up at the beginning/end of the month, and many people like to have the weekend to get settled. Holidays and holiday weekends should also be avoided. If you plan early, you can choose a less popular day, and will not have to pay premium for holiday or weekend rates.

Prepare for the weather

Although there will be no snow, and hopefully no rain, you still need to prepare for the conditions. Try to ensure a morning start, so the bulk of the hard work is not done in the heat of the sun. Make sure to hydrate and have water on hand. Plan to turn the utilities on at the new place in advance, so that air conditioning can be started prior to arriving.  It is also a good idea to have portable fans, since the doors will need to be open for part of the time, while the movers load and unload.

Special Care

Certain items will not do well in the heat and should not be moved in the truck, if possible. Examples of these include candles, musical instruments, CDs, vinyl records, photographs, and more. Plan to transport these separately in the car. If this is not possible, mark these boxes ‘load last’ and thus they will be unloaded first, and spend the least amount of time in the truck. Appliances should also be unplugged and prepped 24 hours prior to loading. Freezers should be completely emptied and de-frosted prior to the move date. 

With early planning and some considerations for the heat, moving in the summer can be an enjoyable experience!

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Welcome to our guest blog ~ “The Facts about Reiki” by Donna Cioffoletti

Thank you, Laura Armbruster, for inviting me on this journey with you.  Helping families move/downsize is a major decision in their lives and can be especially difficult.  Whether it’s moving parents to a facility or job relocating, and downsizing it is overwhelming.  Laura, is a kind and compassionate lady that I have known 3 years now.  I have never seen her lose her cool, and always quickly comes up with solutions.  

A few weeks ago, Laura invited me to write about the positive benefits of Reiki and how it can assist you with stress.  So here goes, I hope that I help you learn something new today!

“What is this thing called Reiki?” 

I’ve heard this question many times, here is the answer.  Reiki is an Asian philosophy of stress reduction and relaxation technique for adults, children and animals.  

Reiki is gentle touch over specific meridians of the body starting at the head, working down the body to the throat, shoulders, hands, stomach, hips, knees and feet and the back.  When my hands are placed over the various meridians, (about 2 inches from the body) my focus and concentration are in the moment.  Each meridian receives approximately 3-5 minutes of focus.  Reiki will be received in that area and flow throughout the body.    Some clients feel heat, some feel energy, some fall asleep, some claim they don’t feel anything.  

Clients stay dressed, the only thing we ask for you to take off is your shoes.   They are many ways to receive Reiki, all hand positioning can be modified to suit all individual needs.   The most common and basic is lying on a massage table for either 30, 45 or 60 minutes.   (Time is up to the client).  In addition, we use a zero-gravity chair for those who are unable to lie flat on a table.  I have also given Reiki to those in wheelchairs and bedridden.   

Donna providing Reiki for a client

A quiet, peaceful, calm, spa environment, wearing a headset, while soft music plays, promotes a very quiet atmosphere and reduces outside noises. We also use essential oils.  Keeping in mind the client may have allergies, those questions are asked when scheduling appointments. 

Let’s face it, unfortunately we all are “busy”, “stressed out”, etc.  Taking time out for ourselves is a necessity for self-care and self-love.  After all, if we are stressed out, exhausted, cranky, and burned out, how are we going to take care of our loved ones?  Reiki is a fabulous way for proactively maintaining our health, wellness and energy on a spirit, mind and body connection.  It is a method of “putting the oxygen mask on ourselves first, then help others.”

Over the years I have had the honor and privilege of working with many cancer patients, caregivers, bipolar patients, migraines/headaches sufferers, Autistic children, cerebral palsy, PTSD and much more.  Dogs, cats and horses have also been my clients.   The animals take to it so much faster than humans.  My own rescued beagle will be 16 years old in August.   They told me in 2011, he would not be around much longer, that his arthritis would only get worse.  Here we are in 2019 and he’s still with me.  Hmmm.

Hopefully, I have sparked in you to pay attention to your spirit, mind and body connection.   Remember where the mind goes, the body will follow.   So, if you are constantly thinking negative or illness thoughts your body will follow. 

Think positive and healthy thoughts and your body will follow.   Namaste!!

Donna Cioffoletti, has been practicing Reiki for 20 years, 19 years as a Reiki Master.  Donna took her Reiki I Class March 1999, Reiki II class October 1999 and the Reiki III/Master Class Jun 2000.  Donna has taught Reiki to nurses, social workers, cosmetologists, and various business people.  

Donna likes to joke, “this New York Italian is helping people calm down”!! 

You may follow Donna on Facebook – Donna’s Reiki Wellness, or Instagram Donnas_Reiki_Wellness.  Please feel free to email Donna with any questions or concerns at:  sasyitalianchic@yahoo.com

Thank you Donna for the wonderful article!

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The Facts About Storage – Part Two

How to pick the correct-sized storage unit and other tips!

In our first article, we addressed the difference between storing items at a moving company warehouse, versus a mini-storage unit. Another common question we get is, “What size storage unit do I need?” If you are choosing to store your items with a moving company, the answer is easy – you will not need to know. The salesperson/coordinator at the moving company should be able to inventory what you are moving to storage and give you an estimate of cost based on this. 

If you are storing at a storage unit, the answer is a bit more complicated. Typically, there are different-sized units available such as –

Examples of sizes of mini-storage units

The next question to ask, is how tall the units are. Items can usually not be stacked much taller than 5 or 6 ft. We will take the most popular size, 10ftx10ft, and assume items can be stacked 5ft tall. 10 multiplied by 10 multiplied by 5 is 500 cubic feet (10x10x5=500). Each cubic foot holds 7lbs, thus a 10×10 unit holds about 3500lbs (500ft3multiplied by 7). An average room holds about 1500lbs, thus 3500lbs will be the equivalent to a 2bedroom apartment. 

Things to consider that may affect the size space you need, would be how ‘stackable’ are the items. Is this a lot of furniture that is square, ,like end tables and night stands, or bulky, like a sofa or sectional? Are you moving a lot of boxes and totes, that are easy to stack, or rather items that cannot be stacked, such as garden tools and floor lamps?

If you are planning to use a mini-storage, and plan to do the move without the assistance of a moving company here are some tips:

  • Don’t lay a TV on its side, it will affect the electrical components
  • Don’t pack with newspaper, the print will rub off and dirty items and your hands while unpacking.
  • Empty all appliances of water, and let them dry, and tape down loose parts.
  • Stack heavy boxes/items on bottom and light on top.
  • Think about moisture, and use pallets on the ground, and moving pads to protect.
  • Cardboard boxes placed on furniture can scratch the surface (small particles on bottom can rub). Use pads in between
  • Place items in front that you will need access to – such as décor for holidays, vacations, etc.
  • If you have shelves, make them functional and use them to stack boxes and smaller items.

If you plan to use a moving company to assist with the move out of the mini-storage, consider the access to the unit. Especially if you are moving long-distance, it would be advantageous to be able to fit a semi-truck in, to load up. If not, there is the potential a smaller truck would be needed to move the larger truck, and the cost will be higher due to extra handling. 

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The Facts about Storage – Part One

Everything you need to know about storage (and probably more than you wanted to)!

A consideration prior to beginning this discussion – make sure you are not using storage as a way to postpone making decisions about your items. To save time and money (lots of money in the long-term), make sure to go through all of your items, and that you are keeping only those items that you need, love, and will use in the future. We caution clients to store with a purpose in mind, and an end date. An example; you have a family member that is buying a house, but it will not be ready for a couple of months, and they would like some of your furniture and household goods. This is storage with a purpose, and end-date in mind.

There are two different ways to store your excess items. One, is at the warehouse of a moving company. This type of storage is an excellent choice if you are going to be using a moving company to move you into storage, and then eventually to your new place. One reason is the continuity of valuation (mover’s term for insurance). If you are using the same company to move your items into storage, there will be coverage on these items through the duration of the move, storage, and move back out. Another positive is that the crew will load the storage crates using the same moving pads and protection they used in picking the items up. The crates will be loaded by a professional mover, so that all items will be properly protected. One negative to storing at a warehouse, is there will likely be a charge for accessing the items. If you want access, this will need to be scheduled ahead of time, so the warehouse can make your crates accessible. And there will likely be an hourly charge for a crew member to help you navigate the crate and your belongings.

Storage crates at a moving company warehouse

This brings us to the other option for storing, a mini-storage unit. The major positive being unlimited and free access to your items. The negatives include a disruption in the protection of your items, removal of pads and protection by the moving company, and uncertainty of safety. Certain things can vary based on the mini-storage facility selected, however, if you use a moving company to move your items into the unit, their insurance of your items will end upon them leaving the unit. Separate insurance would then need to be purchased from the mini-storage. Also, the moving company will remove their moving pads upon delivery, thus moving pads will need to be purchased prior to the move, or from the moving company. Without pads, the items will not be able to be stacked effectively, and a larger unit will be needed.

Example of a mini-storage unit

Stay tuned for our next article, addressing the amount of storage space that will be needed and tips for prepping the items you are storing.

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Merger of Smooth Transitions & Armbruster Moving & Storage, Inc.

Press Release, Cleveland, Ohio

We are excited to announce that as of January 1st, 2019, Smooth Transitions Cleveland has been acquired by Armbruster Moving & Storage, Inc. Armbruster Moving & Storage has acquired Smooth Transitions assets, staff, and customer contracts. However, merged business will still operate under the Smooth Transitions brand. This is a wonderful opportunity to provide an even broader amount of services to those individuals that are making a life-changing move. Clients that are in need of help, are typically moving from a home they have lived in for 40-60 years. Combining the services of Smooth Transitions, with the ability and scope of Armbruster, will provide clients with the entire continuum of care during their relocation.

About Smooth Transitions Cleveland

Smooth Transitions Cleveland was started in 2004 by Michele Innenberg, and was taken over in September 2013 by Laura Armbruster.  Smooth Transitions provides individuals and their families the emotional and physical assistance needed in making a change in living arrangements. Typically, this involves a downsize of space; and will include services such as floor planning, sorting, organizing, packing, move coordination, and unpacking and settle-in. Smooth Transitions also provides services for the dispersal of household belongings after the move/downsize, to help prep their home for sale. 

About Armbruster Moving & Storage

Armbruster Moving & Storage is a full-service moving & storage company based out of Cleveland, Ohio. As a Mayflower agent, corporate relocation, and cross-country moves are top of mind. However, Armbruster provides local moving solutions to most of northeast Ohio and beyond.  Fully-equipped with local trucks, and expertly-trained staff, they are able to navigate throughout the numerous retirement communities in the area. Founded in 2001, brothers Chuck & Gary turned in their trucks to start Armbruster Moving & Storage.  The Armbruster Brothers set out to build a reputation of quality and customer service. Today, this reputation has been the foundation for what has become Armbruster Moving & Storage, an award-winning moving company driven by quality service and a family culture. 

Visit www.armbrustermoving.com to find out more information. 

Contact Info:

Laura Armbruster Farmer

Address: 2800 Center Road Brunswick, Ohio 44212

Phone: 216-381-7418

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10 Ways to De-Stress Your Move

Moving is one of the most stressful transitions in our lives and it is not easy to decide what to do with the lifetime of memories that have accumulated over the years.  At this time, you may be in the middle of deciding which items are to move with you and which ones are to be sold, donated or trashed.  Here’s how you can manage moving stress:

  1. When de-cluttering, begin with a small space like a closet or a bathroom.This helps you get organized faster and with less emotional attachment than a bedroom or living room.  Work up to the larger areas and you will find that you are more decisive and productive.  Use what I call the “refrigerator method”: tidy your closet as you would a fridge.   Remove everything from the shelves of the closet and only put back what you absolutely can’t live without.  Throw away things that have surpassed their ‘best before date’ like old, worn towels or hotel shampoos that you have collected and never used.  You will be surprised how easy it is to decide what you can live without!
  2. Be patient with yourself or the older adults you are helping. Sorting through years of stuff is difficult and sometimes emotionally painful.  Allow enough time so that you don’t feel rushed and don’t try to do it all at once.  Give yourself 1-2 hours a day to focus on deciding what moves with you and what gets donated or thrown in the garbage. When you find that you want to keep everything, stop!  You are getting tired and should move on to something else.  
  3. When de-cluttering a room, start on one side of the room and work methodically around it. Don’t let the size of the room be daunting.  Have 3 boxes set aside for:   1) items to be keptor 2) items to be gifted/donated to charity and 3) garbage.  If items are too large to fit in a box (i.e. lamps, side table) put sticky notes on the wall to designate an area of the room where you will separate your items. 
  4. Designate tasks and ask for help wherever possible.  Get family and friends involved in the move, whether they are helping you to sort, pack or physically lift the garbage bags to the curb. If you have a dog, maybe the neighbor can walk the dog for you each day? Ask a friend you trust to help you decide what will fit into your new home.  This friend should be honest with you when you may want to keep things that should be recycled (“do you really need to keep Aunt Mary’s old tablecloth when you will no longer be hosting Thanksgiving dinner?”)
  5. Hire outside help.  Whether you are planning your move by yourself or have your children to help you, there may be times when aspects of the move will become too stressful for the family. Sometimes it’s easier to work with an outside party who is not involved emotionally with your move, but can provide direction and experience in a gentle and professional manner.  Senior Move Managers are trained to help with the planning, organizing, de-cluttering, packing and unpacking related to your move, and they can also recommend the best companies to use, i.e. home cleaners, movers, and methods of junk removal. A reputable Senior Move Manager will belong to NASMM (National Association for Senior Move Managers) and you can ask your realtor for help in choosing one for you.
  6. Attend to emotional needs. Even if the reasons for your move are positive ones, feelings of sadness and anxiety can arise. Talk about your feelings with someone you trust as this will help to relieve your tension and refresh you for the days ahead.  Remember to take time to say goodbye to your neighbourhood and your neighbours.  This can help the emotional transition process just as you are preparing for the physical move. 
  7. Remember that your children may not want to take your furniture.  While this may be a harsh reality, you have raised your children to think for themselves and to develop their own sense of style.  Don’t be offended if they don’t want your 8-piece dinette with matching buffet that you paid $10,000 for 20 years ago.  Another common reality is that your furniture is not worth what you think it should be and, unless it is a true antique, will fetch very little money if you want to sell it.  There are other options that you can consider, like donating it and receiving a taxable receipt for the resale value or giving it away to help neighbors/friends.  There are many organizations who survive off the generosity of people like you.  Also, you will feel good knowing that your treasures are helping someone in need. 
  8. Be aware that moving comes with a cost. Nothing compounds stress more than when an unforeseen financial cost arises.  Be ready with your list of things you will have to pay for: movers, home cleaners, maintenance services if your home is vacant for a time i.e. snow removal / lawn mowing services, junk removal or rental of a bin or Rhino bag.  Again, a Senior Move Manager can advise you on the most reputable companies to hire and services to help your transition go smoothly. Note:if your home is going to be vacant you should contact your insurance broker/agent as this can impact your coverage.
  9. On moving day, enlist help from family and friends to help you supervise the move.  You have hired reputable movers; all the boxes have been packed and labelled and you are ready to move in.  Have a box set aside with your immediate needs: notebook with your to-do list and phone numbers, medications, and extra cash to tip the movers or to order pizza for your helpers.  You will want one person at the house and one at the new location to direct the movers.  If you are moving your adult parents, this may be a good day to have them taken out for lunch by a friend or, if they are moving to a retirement residence, maybe they can use the swimming pool or other amenities provided by the residence they are moving into.  If they want to be involved in the move, arrange for them to help unpack and set up their new home.
  10. Keep up your routine wherever possible. During the stressful days of moving it is easy to get sidetracked with other ‘urgent’ things.  People often lose sleep and forget to eat properly.  Continue to take care of yourself and maintain your routines, especially when it comes to exercising regularly or keeping social dates like bridge club, lunch with your daughter or minding your grandchildren. 
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Moving in Inclement Weather – How does it work?

During the snowy winter season here in Ohio, a question that we get frequently from clients is “how do you protect our stuff when it’s snowing out?” This is a fair question for anyone to ask. In the moving industry we take certain precautions to protect our client’s household items when the weather isn’t cooperating.

Protecting the floors is one of the major concerns for every customer. When the crew enters the home to begin the move, they should immediately lay down a layer of floor protection in the entryway. As they progress through the home with the customer, they will create a path of floor protection for each room as well as cover the stairs with rug runners (pictured above).  As the furniture is being moved from the home and into the truck the crew takes special care to pad wrap each piece completely before it leaves the home. These moving pads protect the furniture from any outside elements as well as protecting the furniture from any nicks or dings. Although this should be included with every local and long-distance move, it may be something you ask your mover before booking the job.