Organizing and Downsizing with Seniors – A Case Study Part 2

understair-storage-spaceThis is part two of my earlier blog/case study of working with a wonderful couple in their mid to late sixties, the motivation for their organizing project and the process in general.

Facilitating change

Facilitating change and effective communication was essential in this particular project. After 40 years together in the same home in which they raised their children and now entertained their grandchildren Mr.  & Mrs. X had a lifetime of possessions to sort through which was causing tension and strain in their relationship.  This can be an incredibility horrendous undertaking for most people, and even more so for those with physical limitations.  And life happens.  People get busy with their work, hobbies and family (the important things in life) and typically the last item on their “to do” list is to get to that pile of papers in the office or sort through the “spare room” that has turned into a dump zone for storage and other “stuff”.  Although they had no immediate plans to downsize to a smaller home, they knew the state of certain rooms in their house was not healthy and they wanted to simplify their lives.


Taking a tour

Therefore, once the initial information gathering stage of the consult was completed we moved on to take a tour of the spaces that were cause for concern.  Our first stop was a closet area that was used as an overflow for pantry items and apparently everything else.  When I opened up the closet I came face to face with 5 feet of “stuff” that seemed to have been quickly tossed inside.  There appeared to be some shelving along the perimeter which was also packed with items.  I asked a few questions with respect to how they wanted the closet to be used, calculated the time it would take to tackle the space and we moved on.

Next up was the “hobby room”.  The door was tightly closed and upon entering it was evident that the door would not open completely due to obstructions within the room itself.  I made my way inside, carefully stepping over various objects, jotting down notes and again asking questions about the room. Mrs. X was very embarrassed by the state of this particular room and I reassured her that I was there to offer solutions and not to make judgments.


It’s not uncommon for me to feel a sense of excitement when I go through various rooms in a particular project because I know that when I finish my work I will have made such an amazing transformation for my clients.  Almost immediately I’m able to get a vision for the room and get an itch to get started right away.  It’s almost comical how excited I get and I don’t hesitate to tell my clients that I can’t wait to get started.  It’s like Disneyland for me!

In my next post I’ll continue with this project and the steps we took to achieve change.  It was such a wonderful challenge and so exciting!

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