Newton, MA. Real Estate, Downsizing 2017, Compass, Chestnut Hill and Boston
Three years ago, I was assigned the task of helping my mother-in-law move from her condo in Morristown, NJ to an independent living apartment in another NJ town. She and my father-in-law had sold their “big” house in Morristown 23 years ago and moved into a way too big condo in another town. All was fine until my father in law passed away and my mother in law was left with that way too big condo in a town she didn’t really like. We convinced her to move back to Morristown into a smaller condo, (which was probably still too big,) but she liked ALL of her things. This was the second downsize. I spent the better part of a week down there helping her scale back her belongings and take what she really liked and donate or give away the rest. We lived in a bigger house in Newton at the time and there were a few pieces I liked, so my MIL decided she would ship those to me. The TRUCK arrived one Sunday morning with the few pieces I liked and the rest of the stuff my MIL thought we should have! Yikes!
Everything was smooth sailing in NJ until my then 86-year-old MIL took a few falls. It was time to move out of the condo and into independent living. After much cajoling, she settled on a 2-bedroom apartment that was definitely not big enough for all of her prized possessions. Off to NJ I went to help with this downsize. I arrived to find her sick with a fever and the condo was a nightmare. She had completely emptied the contents of the cabinets, credenzas, side board and dressers and placed them on the dining room table, kitchen table and every other flat surface in the house. Of course, the next day consisted of very little sorting because most of it was a trip down memory lane, (we got this on a trip to England, we bought this in China and on and on). The second day we had arranged for antique dealers, resellers, and smaller stores to come in and buy her things. I tried to warn her that much of her valuables were not so valuable because no one was buying this stuff anymore. All of the dealers wanted the sterling silver, NO ONE wanted the silver plate, china, or crystal. She had an assortment of mid-century items that she deemed as “not much” but the dealers thought they were all that, and paid handsomely for them. After an entire day of this, I looked around and realized we hadn’t gotten rid of much. I took phots and sent them to my kids, the other grandchildren, nieces and nephews but we had very few claimed items. We finally called a consignment store and she GAVE much of it away and donated the rest to a local charity. What was left had special meaning to her and I quickly realized I was traveling back to Newton with her mother’s china, silver, candlesticks, and antique collection box filled with her trinkets. Since we had downsized, I really didn’t have the room for the influx of goodies, hence a small storage unit.
If you think your grown children will gladly accept these items, think again. I debated giving my niece my mother’s silver for her wedding shower, knowing what I know about this generation and stuff. Well, I was flabbergasted when she cried upon opening, however, she still doesn’t want my mother’s china that my sister has moved twice.
The good news is that I have found and vetted extremely qualified people to help facilitate your parents move. Laurie Norden at Next Stage Associates is fantastic! She has the patience of a saint and a soothing way with the older set. Joan Roover, owner of A Thoughtful Move is a miracle worker. Joan has a crew that gets your house ready for a sale as well; she has organizers, painters, handymen, and cleanup crew, etc. When she tells me a house is ready for photography, it is! Joan will contract with the mover and be on site the day of move to facilitate, thus, you don’t even have to be there. I have also used and recommended Everything but the House. EBTH is an online auction house for your unwanted items; furniture, art, jewelry, collectibles, even cars. They will organize, catalog, photograph, and list your items on their site for a week. All items start at $0.00, although be advised, most of the action takes place on the last day of the auction.
My best advice when selling your home (or parents) that you have lived in for a long time and don’t have the bandwidth to handle the entire move; talk to one of the above people. If you are selling your parents’ things, prepare them or yourself for disappointment. For the first time in history, two generations are downsizing simultaneously; boomers and their parents. Unfortunately, I don’t think there is a future for the possessions of our parents’ generation. It’s a changed world.
I am happy to discuss the aforementioned people or the sale of a home with you or your parents.