Moving to a Smaller Home, and Decluttering a Lifetime of Belongings

 
Wendel and Carolyn Thompson are assisted by Jewel Flick, center, of Let’s Move, a downsizing and moving specialist. CreditJ.M. Eddins Jr. for The New York Times

Figuring out how to squeeze the contents of a house into a two-bedroom retirement unit nearby in Catonsville, Md., has taken most of their time in recent months. And they’ve had some help. “Declutter ladies,” or downsizing specialists, spend hours with them every week to sort through and pare down their belongings to a more manageable size.

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Jewel Flick, left, of Let’s Move, is helping the Thompsons prepare to move. Wendel Thompson, right, checks the value of donated items on a computer.CreditJ.M. Eddins Jr. for The New York Times

“One of my recommendations for handling this,” she added wryly, “is don’t wait.”

But, of course, many people do wait — and wait, said Kimberly McMahon, co-owner of Let’s Move, a downsizing and moving specialist in Fulton, Md., whose company is helping Mrs. Thompson and her husband, 78, a former government statistician, to clear out every nook and cranny.

“Downsizing is the hardest because it is emotionally difficult for people to release their history,” said Ms. McMahon. “It’s the worst anxiety associated with any move.”

Her advice is “that nothing should be off limits. Either use it, love it — or leave it.”

Getting rid of furniture and general clutter can be a daunting task. For those with antiques, silver, jewelry and other valuables, Laurene Sherlock, a Bethesda, Md., antiques appraiser, will advise people of outlets like vintage shops, where owners can consign their precious pieces for sale.

But the value of valuables can be cyclical, warned Ms. Sherlock, who noted that 1950s and mid-modern furniture “is hot, and so is Bakelite jewelry, but something else that people love may just not be popular. A lot of younger people just don’t want to be burdened with the tchotchkes.”

While homeowners can amass impressive amounts, the task of clearing out apartments where people have lived for a long time is not any easier, said Ron Shuma, who runs A+ Organizing in New York City.

“I advise going through each drawer and each closet every six months because it’s so much easier,” he said. “But people typically don’t, and that’s where I come in to help people realize what are treasures, and then we get rid of the rest.”

When Hanan Watson, 71, decided to downsize after 35 years in a large two-bedroom Murray Hill apartment, she found that “it is very difficult to sell or even give away many things. Charities can be extremely particular about what they are willing to take.”

“There are a lot of challenges, for example, the glut of ‘brown furniture” — even good-quality mahogany — which fetches pennies on the dollar,” Mr. Shuma said. “The best thing is for a family member to take it.”

But with careers and young children, fewer 40- or 50-something offspring want to acquire bulkier items or take on the task of sorting and disposing of unwanted goods in their parents’ homes. In the last decade, baby boomers, more used to paying for services than their Depression-era parents, have been increasingly willing to spend money for outsiders to help them pare down their accumulation.

The price of such services can vary widely, from $60 an hour in major metropolitan areas except New York City, where the cost can run as high as $200 hourly. In other areas, downsizing help can run $40 an hour. Sorting, packing and moving typically runs from $4,000 and $10,000, depending on the locale, according to specialists.

Despite the cost, the demand for downsizing is strong, according to the National Association of Senior Move Managers. In 2014, the association reported that 50 percent of those contracting for services with its members were older adults, and 30 percent of the initial contacts leading to contracts were from the senior’s family.

An additional 20 percent of business comes from sources like senior housing communities, which have increasingly been establishing programs to help seniors pare back and streamline their belongings before becoming community residents. In 2007, Erickson Living, a major retirement community provider, started a program in Novi, Mich., to advise older adults who had signed up to move to the Fox Run retirement community.

The program, called Erickson Realty and Moving Service, is offered at the 18 Erickson retirement communities around the country, and helps older people with real estate agents, repair people, organizers and movers to smooth their path out of their longtime homes and into smaller spaces.

Last year, the program helped 230 of the 340 people who moved to Erickson properties in Virginia and Maryland, said Sharon Baksa, its regional sales director. The program provides up to $2,000 in relocation expenses — sometimes more.

“We play the role of the surrogate family member,” said Ms. Baksa, who helped start the program in Michigan. “We handle between 1,800 and 1,900 moves a year over all.”

Choosing the retirement community, the Charlestown Retirement Community in Catonsville, helped the Thompsons in Maryland focus on sorting and jettisoning belongings.

“When we set an August date then we knew we had a goal, and we had to meet it,” Mrs. Thompson said.

The downsizing credit was an incentive for the Thompsons, who started in February with a once-a-week visit, for three to four hours, to help sort belongings and get unwanted items out the door. By April, they had increased the declutterer’s schedule to twice a week to meet their target of an August move, and preparing their house for sale by the fall.

Churches or temples also help. Marc J. Rosenblum, a retired lawyer and economist, has been clearing out his late wife’s belongings and various household goods from his McLean, Va., contemporary home with advice from his synagogue, Temple Rodef Shalom.

“They provided suggestions for where to allocate items, for destinations like a homeless shelter in Bailey’s Crossroads, Va., and a nearby thrift store,” said Mr. Rosenblum, 78. He first consulted a downsizing specialist, which, he said, “saved a lot of time, and helped me pick up some good ideas, including a furniture auctioneer.”

He handled the downsizing task largely on his own, but others like the Thompsons say they welcome the help and the prompting for what many see as an onerous, time-consuming job.

Even with the help, “it’s one step at a time,” said Mr. Thompson. “And I don’t see the end yet.”

For people thinking about beginning the task, here are some ideas from Kimberly McMahon, of Let’s Move..

■ Write some organizing time on your calendar.

■ Set a timer to get started.

■ Start small, even if it’s matching up a cup with a saucer.

■ Get a friend to help.

■ Fill a trash bag once a week.

■ Call and book a donation pickup for the next day.

Please call me if there is anything I can do to make your move easier, Chris Maroc, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, 914-225-2025

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I love living in Stamford, CT. I highly recommend this beautiful and diverse waterfront city to anyone looking to move to Fairfield county in Connecticut.

Stamford Offers lots of great shopping and wonderful restaurants. Great beautiful beaches and water properties. Stamford is approximately 40 Square miles. 35 miles North East of New York City. There are several parks with playgrounds, tennis, basketball and picnic areas. Stamford offers museums and nature trails. A public golf course called Sterling Farms. The approximate population is 125,109 (est. 2012).

When buying or selling, let me my real estate experience go to work for you. I will find you your dream home. There is not a better time to buy/invest then now! Rates are at the lowest they have ever been within 60 years.

If you are a buyer, now is the time for you to buy! Don’t miss it! I will make your transition as smooth as possible

Stamford ZIP Codes: 06901, 06902, 06903, 06904, 06905

Approximate Location Boundaries: Greenwich CT., New Canaan CT., Darien CT., and Bedford, New York

Location Characteristics: Great City with Lots of Corporate Buildings and Shopping. Good schools, Public Golf Course and lots of Great Beaches along with lots of great restaurants and night life.

Please call me for a free market evaluation, Chris Maroc, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage 914-215-2025

aerial view

 

Stamford Restaurant Weeks 2014

Stamford Restaurant Weeks 2014

Stamford Summer Restaurant Weeks return August 18 – September 1, 2014.

This Summer over 30 Downtown Stamford restaurants are serving up special lunch & dinner prix fixe menus in several different price options. The prices for lunch range from $10.14, $12.14 or $20.14 and dinner ranges from $15.14, $20.14 or $30.14. New this year: each participating restaurant will be mixing up its very own Signature Summer Cocktails to be featured during Restaurant Weeks.

Menus will be posted soon, so check back often!

View the list of participating restaurants below:

Restaurants offering $10.14 Lunch and $15.14 Dinner:

Franklin Street Works Cafe* – RW Menu – 203-595-5211

Fuji Asian Restaurant* – RW Menu Coming Soon – 203-967-8989

McFadden’s Stamford* – RW Menus – 203-324-4448

Tomatillo Taco Joint* – RW Menus – 203-324-4777

Restaurants offering $12.14 Lunch and $20.14 Dinner:

Azuca – RW Menus – 203-817-0189

Capriccio Café* – RW Menus – 203-356-9819

Castle Bar & Grill* – RW Menus – 203-357-9800

Fin II Japanese Restaurant* – RW Menus – 203-359-6688

Kotobuki – RW Menus – 203-359-4747

Lucky’s Classic Burger* – RW Menu Coming Soon – 203-978-0268

Quattro Pazzi* – RW Menus – 203-324-7000 – Make Reservations

Remo’s Brick Oven Pizza* – RW Menus – 203-973-0077

Sam’s American Bistro – RW Menus – 203-977-1265

Tengda Asian Bistro – RW Menu Coming Soon – 203-353-8005

Volta Gelateria Creperia* – RW Menus – 203-883-8841

Restaurants offering $20.14 Lunch and $30.14 Dinner:

Aria – RW Menus – 203-324-2742 – Make Reservations

Bar Rosso* – RW Menus – 203-388-8640 – Make Reservations

Barcelona Restaurant & Wine Bar – RW Menus – 203-348-4800

The Capital Grille* – RW Menus – 203-967-0000 – Make Reservations

Cask Republic – RW Menus – 203-348-2275 – Make Reservations

Columbus Park Trattoria* – RW Menus – 203-967-9191

Cotto Wine Bar* – RW Menus – 203-914-1400 – Make Reservations

EOS Greek Cuisine* – RW Menus – 203-569-6250 – Make Reservations

F•I•S•H•* – RW Menus – 203-724-9300 – Make Reservations

Gastro Bar – RW Menus – 203-817-0392

Hudson Grille* – RW Menu – 203-883-8600 – Make Reservations

Kona Grill* – RW Menus – 203-324-5700

Lola’s Mexican Kitchen – RW Menu Coming Soon – 203-674-5652 – Make Reservations

Morton’s, The Steakhouse – RW Menu – 203-324-3939 – Make Reservations

napa & co. – RW Menus – 203-353-3319 – Make Reservations

Patrizia’s of Stamford – RW Menus – 203-348-8000 – Make Reservations

The Fez – RW Menus – 203-324-3391

Villa Italia – RW Menus – 203-348-7742

ZAZA Italian Gastrobar – RW Menus – 203-348-2300

– See more at: http://www.connecticutrestaurantweek.com/restaurant-weeks-ct/stamford-restaurant-week-2011/#sthash.SHEILcz5.dpuf

Clarifying a Home Inspection

Kevin O'Connor

Highly recommend new play at the Westport Country Playhouse

I spent a wonderful evening last night at the Westport Country Playhouse in Westport, Connecticut seeing John Tillinger‘s new production of Alan Ayckbourn‘s play, “Things We Do For Love.” The play was preceded by a cocktail party for the LGBTcommunity of Fairfield county, LGBT Night OUT. It was a great way to meet new friends and to celebrate community in a beautiful setting. We highly recommend this show to everyone.

 

playhousePhotodownload

How to make a Money-Making Yard Sale

How to Have a Money-Making Yard Sale

10 tips on how to rake in the big bucks when you put your old stuff out to sell

  • friends holding yard sale

    Sell, Sell, Sell

    While the art of a yard sale may seem pretty straightforward, simple alterations in timing, pricing, and display can make the difference between a successful sale and a full-on flop.

    In honor of National Garage Sale Day (August 13), we talked to Ava Seavy ofGarageSaleGold.com on the dos and don’ts of selling your unwanted wares the good old-fashioned way. Follow these tried-and-true tips and you may just strike gold.

  • estate sale sign

    1. Title Your Event Wisely

    “Estate Sale” or “Moving Sale” implies that you’re liquidating a house’s contents, and can earn you more than “Garage Sale.”

  • couple nailing up yard sale sign

    2. Drum Up Attention

    Place ads in local newspapers, online, or on public bulletin boards. Reserve signs for the day of the event, and only include the sale’s date, time, and directional arrows to its location.

    Make sure your signs are readable from a distance that will give a driver time to slow down and turn. That means bold, thick, black letters on large, brightly colored posterboard, readable from a few hundred feet down the road.

  • beaten up chair with free sign

    3. Offer Freebies

    While you shouldn’t hand out items without a catch, encourage people to spend more with buy-one-get-one deals, which let you truthfully advertise free goods.

  • calendar

    4. Don’t Forget Friday

    Many experts maintain that Sunday is the best day for a sale, since people tend to reserve Saturdays for running errands. But Seavey advises, “Start your sale earlier in the week than you think. Believe it or not, the best day of the week to hold a sale is Friday, as this is when most dealers and retired people will come.”

  • house with yard sale sign on lawn

    5. Time It Right

    Most business generally happens in the morning, says Seavey, so it’s best to get an early start. Open for business at around 9 a.m. and finish up in the late afternoon.

  • concrete blocks

    6. Don’t Toss Workshop Leftovers

    Building supplies and materials, including leftover lumber, old tools, gutter segments, and remainders of stone or marble are some of the hottest items, claims Seavey. Just arrange like items together, and if they’re heavy, prop them against a wall.

  • town hall

    7. Get the Go-Ahead from Officials

    Before a sale, check with your municipality to ensure you’re following local rules and guidelines. For example, some towns require permits or restrict you from having more than a few sales a year. You should also make yourself aware of federal regulations regarding the resale of items like baby furniture, which can pose risks because of recalls.

  • woman looking at yard sale display table

    8. Display Merchandise with Care

    Never place items, unless they’re pieces of furniture, on the ground. Rather, hang items or place them on tables, and cover those tables with sheets or tablecloths to give your sale a neater look.

  • hands pricing yard sale items

    9. Price Goods Based on Condition

    Seavey, our expert, likes to follow the 50-30-10 rule: She sells almost-new items at 50 percent of retail; slightly used items at 25-30 percent of retail; and used items at 10 percent of retail. Even if you believe something is worth more, think about what you would consider to be a bargain price; your back yard is not an antiques shop, and yard-sale browsers are there to get a deal.

  • tagged items at yard sale

    10. Tag Everything

    Avoid wasting time and attention haggling with customers over prices by affixing tags in an easy-to-find spot on each item (unless you group them with other similar products that all cost one set price).

    If you are thinking of selling your home and would like an experienced Realtor to list your home, please call me, Chris Maroc, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, 914-215-2025. Thank you!

     

“LOVE IT OR LIST IT” TIPS TO HELP YOU DECIDE WHETHER TO REMODEL OR SELL

“LOVE IT OR LIST IT” TIPS TO HELP YOU DECIDE WHETHER TO REMODEL OR SELL

Written by , Realty Times.

As home prices increase, homeowners have options. Some are quickly gaining back the equity they lost over the last several years. That creates opportunity to refinance, remodel, or maybe sell.

If you’re sitting on the fence trying to determine whether to list your home for sale or to stay in it, consider these important tips.

Tip 1: Do a “Love it or List it” Analysis.

On a sheet of paper write down the things you love about your home and the things that might cause you to decide to list your home for sale. Take your time doing this. Really give every aspect of your home consideration. Do you like the neighborhood? Is it where you want to stay for a long while or even retire? Is the area or your home lacking something? Could remodeling your home be the solution?

Once you do the “love it or list it” analysis, you’ll be able to identify which parts of your home are bothering your the most. With that information, you can now start to explore more options.

Tip 2: Do your research.

This applies to both options–remodeling or selling. Visit other neighborhoods that you might like to live in. Carefully explore the surrounding area, the homes, the types of people, the shops, businesses, and churches. Think about your commute. Would it be longer? Would it cost more in gas? Are there any gains to offset extra costs? Gathering these details will help you add more to your “love it or list it” analysis.

Also, invite some real estate agents to your home to get some expert advice on how much your home would sell for and how long it might take. When you get that information, it can help you determine if selling is best.

Next visit some remodeling companies. See their remodeling projects and invite their team to your house to offer their suggestions. Sometimes what a homeowner thinks is a difficult remodel is really quite simple. Of course, the opposite is true too. For instance, if a home doesn’t have the supporting structure it needs, a remodel could become very complex or, in some case, impossible, which might prompt an immediate desire to sell.

Tip 3: Have your financial records in order.

Whether you decide to remodel or sell, having your financial records easily accessible is vital. You’ll need these documents for both situations. Knowing what upgrades you’ve already done to the home will help when it comes time to sell. And, having your tax documents and other financial information on hand will help you if you decide to remodel using financing.

Tip 4: Evaluate the process.

Talk to expert listing agents and remodeling companies so that you can completely understand what to expect with both processes. If you’re listing your home, learn about the marketing process, holding open houses, showing your home, what large items might need to be removed, and the overall timing of how long you’ll need before you close escrow. For remodeling, get details about the length of the expected renovation. Will you be able to live in the home or will you have to find a place to stay? Will you use one firm to do both the design and build process? Often this is easier and can be less costly than using several contractors.

Take your time and pay close attention to all the details. Both selling and renovating a home are major decisions. Make sure you give the decision-making process ample time as well as compiling a considerable amount of research to make your final decision.

 If you are interested in selling your home, please call me for a free market analysis. Thank you, Chris Maroc 914-215-2025.

My visit to Citi Field to see the Met vs. Cubs

CM at Mets game 8-14

 

I spent a wonderful Saturday night with friends at Citi Field in Flushing, New York. We had a great dinner before the game at the Acela Club overlooking the ball field. We then cheered the Mets on as they beat the Chicago Cubs 7-3. The Mets might not be a great team this year, but they have had no problem taking care of business against one of the worst teams in the league. Citi Field is a beautiful place to watch a ball game. Returning to Flushing brought back memories of going to Shea Stadium with my Mom and grandfather, Rex Stout. My grandfather was a very enthusiastic fans of the New York Mets. My Mom still watches and cheers on her New York Mets every night.

 

Open House‬ Sunday‬, ‪‎August 17th‬ 1:00 pm-3:00 pm. 301 Sun Dance Road, ‪Stamford‬, ‪‎CT‬.

front of house back yard

 

Open House‬ Sunday‬, ‪‎August 17‬ 1:00 pm-3:00 pm. 301 Sun Dance Road, Stamford‬, ‪‎CT‬. $459,000.00

‪‎Quiet‬ and convenient ‪‎Mid Ridges‬ Colonial‬ located at the end of a‪ ‎cul-de-sac‬. Nicely updated, bright and clean, ‪‎4 bedrooms‬ plus den,‪ ‎2 full baths‬, eat-in kitchen‬ with stainless steel appliances‬.‪ ‎Hardwood floor‬ upstairs, gas forced air heat, second floor storage room and cedar closet, plus large garden shed. Original owner, Perennial‪ ‎gardens‬ and terraces‬ are overgrown, but have potential for a gardener. Any questions, please call Chris 914-215-2025.

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