5 Tips to Moving Seniors

tips for moving seniors

As the industry’s leading moving experts, we definitely understand the complications and stress that come with moving seniors.  These moves are unique because the seniors making the move are often downsizing at the same time, and they’re usually experiencing a huge life transition.  This is especially true when seniors move into assisted living facilities or into their children’s homes for the first time.  Over the years, we’ve learned a lot about how to handle these moves, from both the personal and business perspective.  Here are five suggestions that we have for your family as you prepare to move your older family member:

1. Realize and respect their emotions.

Even when your family member has been expecting this transition for a long time and knows that the move is needed, they’re still approaching a huge emotional roller coaster.  For many seniors, this will be the first large move they’ve ever made, or at least that they’ve made in a number of decades.  Their current home has lots of memories, and maybe even belongings, that they’re leaving behind.  Even though you know that this move needs to be made, let your family member know ahead of time that you understand how difficult it is on them, and that you’re there for support.

2. Try to lessen the trauma of downsizing.

Downsizing is a huge undertaking, because you’re asking your family member to leave much more behind than a typical move requires.  When moving a senior into an assisted living facility or into their child’s home, they’ll usually only have one or two rooms that they can fit their belongings into.  One trick we’ve learned to make the process easier is suggesting a bulk donation to a non-profit organization that serves a population they care for, instead of just throwing those items away or giving them to Goodwill.  This makes the senior feel that they’re contributing to a cause they believe in, as opposed to just getting rid of items.  Another suggestion would be temporarily moving non-necessities into a storage unit or into a family member’s garage for 3 months.  At the end of the three months, donate everything that the senior doesn’t actively miss.  (For example, if your elderly mother can’t remember a particular chest of drawers that’s been put into storage, it really isn’t a necessity that she’s likely to miss.)

3. Pick someone else to represent them on moving day.

If you know that your family member will have trouble watching their belongings being loaded onto a truck and then into a new home, it may be best to have their child, niece, nephew, or sibling on the moving site while you keep the senior preoccupied at a restaurant or shopping.  The on-site representative can deal with handling the payment transaction with the movers, let the movers know which items will go to the new home and which will be donated, and direct the movers in staging the furniture in the new home.  This will also help relieve the natural stress that your family member will be feeling on moving day.

4. On moving day, don’t shy away from talking about their current home.

Many people are afraid of distressing their senior family member by talking about the home they’re leaving, and they try to avoid that topic at all costs during moving day conversations.  However, we’ve found that letting seniors talk about their happy memories in the home can help ease them into the transition.  It can also help to talk about the new memories that will be made at the new home, and to refer to moving day in a positive manner rather than with a sense of apprehension.

5. Don’t talk to them like children.

We often feel as if we have to treat our senior family members like they’re children as they begin to age.  This is because their memory starts to fade, and they need increasingly more guidance as they get older, or because they’re starting to lose flexibility and strength.  Although we do sometimes have to direct seniors the way we direct children, it’s very important to never talk to them like they’re children.  With all of their life experience and wisdom, our senior family members deserve all of our respect.  Be sure to use a normal tone of voice instead of letting your voice become high-pitched (the way it might if you were speaking to a pet or young child) when reminding them to take their pills, bringing them back from a tangent into the conversation, or any other direction you may need to give them.

Ribbon cutting of the newly-branded Brookdale Belle Meade

We’ve completed hundreds of moves with seniors, and we know that each one comes with its own stressful circumstances.  If there’s anything we can do to be more sensitive or prepared for your particular move, please let us know these notes over the phone while booking your move!

How to Navigate Estate Sales

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Estate sales are great because they let you find some really unique furniture at fair prices.  (And, let’s face it, it’s super fun to dig through other people’s stuff.)  But it can be easy to get discouraged when you look at an estate sale at first glance…  Sometimes the amount of items is overwhelming, you’re disappointed by the prices, or you just have no idea what to do when you find items you like.

This week, I was able to meet with an estate sale specialist to get some advice for our readers.  Rhonda Smart is a Relationship Manager with the innovative estate sale assistance company Everything But The House (EBTH), and she’s pretty much the expert on managing estate sales!  Here are four tips I learned from talking with her:

1. If you’re looking for furniture to refurbish, estate sales may not be the best place to go digging.

Rhonda and I spent a lot of time just talking about how the estate sale industry has changed over the past couple of decades.  “You can’t get the great deals you used to get,” Rhonda told me.  That was really surprising for me to hear, because whenever I’m scrolling through Pinterest, I always see tons of cool made-over furniture pieces that were originally picked up from estate sales.  The Before and After pictures always seem so drastic to me!  But Rhonda told me that when she organizes an estate sale, “[The homeowners] aren’t selling fixer-upper stuff–they’re selling to the end buyer.”

2. Give yourself plenty of time when you show up at a sale.

When EBTH hosts an estate sale, there are often 300+ items to look at.  That seems so overwhelming, especially when you first step through the door and see all of these objects set up in every room of the house.  I asked Rhonda how an inexperienced estate sale shopper should try to shop through everything.  “Really take your time, and don’t put a time limit on yourself,” she told me.  When you first get there, “comb the area.  There can be great deals, but you have to look through everything because the sellers put the most expensive stuff in places that will catch your eye.”  She also gave me advice for shoppers who go to sales with a purpose.  When you’re shopping around for certain pieces, “find the seller and ask if they have specific items.”

3. If you have a habit of impulse-buying, take a step back first.

Rhonda let me know that estate sales always attract people who are mainly looking to get a great deal, or who don’t have a specific agenda and like to impulse-purchase things that looks good at the time.  I know that I definitely like to make impulse purchases whenever I see something cool and unique, so I asked Rhonda for some advice on how to get over that initial “gotta-have-it” feeling.  She gave me a list of probing questions to ask myself when I see items like that: “Do I have a spot for this?  Do I see this in my home?  Why am I buying this–because I want it, or because I want to resell it?  And if I want to resell it, does it have an audience?”  Most importantly, she said that resellers need to remember that their time is worth something.  She advised, “You have to put a value on your time.  If you buy something to resell it, how much gas money does it cost, how much will the shipping be, how long will it take to find a buyer?  Do you end up breaking even, or making a little bit of money on it?”

4. Online estate shopping might be your best option.

Not to sound like a commercial, but EBTH is so innovative because of its online estate sale options.  Instead of trying to comb through items that are placed all over a property, you might want to try ordering from EBTH’s website.  Rhonda explained exactly how the process works.  “We catalog every single item with individual pictures, and it helps the buyer to not get overwhelmed.  When I go through a sale online, I look at the number of [webpages] in each sale and divide [the pages] into groups.  If a sale has twelve pages, I’ll sit down and look through the first six.  Then at a later time, I’ll sit down and look through the next six.”  She also has this advice for online shoppers: “We put the more valuable and expensive items on the first few pages, because we don’t want you to get overwhelmed sifting through lots of pages [for the highest-quality items].”

Hopefully these tips will help you when you make your purchase decisions this weekend!  But remember, estate sales are always going to be fun, whether you’re able to find your new dream piece of furniture or not.  Rhonda left me with this last note: “Estate sales will never completely go away, even though the methods of selling may change, because there will always be collectors and shoppers.”  Amen to that!

Things We Can’t Move

It’s true: There are, unfortunately, some things we can’t move.  We get a lot of questions from our customers about heavy or bulky items that they own, so we decided to dedicate a blog post to listing all the items we aren’t able to move.  If it’s not on this list, we can (probably) move it!

Some of the items we can’t move seem a little strange at first because they seem really simple to move.  Those are things like prescription medications, bottles of cleaning supplies, and rented trucks or trailers.  But here’s why:

TWO MEN AND A TRUCK can't move prescription medicationsWe don’t want to move your prescription medications because if the worst case scenario (yep, you guessed it–zombie apocalypse) happened, we wouldn’t want your necessary medicines to get lost.  (On a more realistic level, we don’t want to have the box containing your medications to get mixed up in the shuffle, causing you to stay up all night digging through every single box to get to them.)  We know those are super important for your health, so we need you to keep those in your personal car when you move.

We can’t carry your cleaning chemicals, like Windex and Lysol, because they’re flammable.  Even though our drivers have to meet very strict requirements to operate our vehicles, we can’t predict everything that will happen on the road.  In the worst case scenario (those zombies aren’t very good drivers), we don’t want your most important items to get stuck in a fire.

And we aren’t able to drive your rented truck, haul your rented trailer, or tow your car behind our trucks because our insurance simply won’t cover those items.  We want your items to be totally covered from the beginning to the end of your move, and we can’t guarantee their safety unless they’re physically in our trucks.

Empty your gas from your lawn mower before movingAlong the same lines as these seemingly simple items, we also usually can’t move full aquariums, gas grills, or gas lawn mowers.  If you’re able to safely empty your aquarium of its water and your grill or lawn mower of gasoline, then we’ll gladly pack those into our trucks the same way we pack your other pieces of furniture!

TWO MEN AND A TRUCK can't move pool tables containing the slateThen there are the overly-heavy items.  We currently are not moving gun safes, baby grand or grand pianos, slate top pool tables, or grandfather clocks that still have weights in them.  We have moved these items in the past, but they’re so heavy that we have to send a much larger crew than normal to safely move them.  By the time we send you enough men for these jobs, it becomes cost inefficient for you.  The only exception to this rule is that we will happily move your grandfather clock, as long as you remove the hanging weights before we get there.  Those weights can swing around inside the clock during the drive to your new house, and we don’t want the glass or wood of your clock to get damaged.

If you have an unusual item that’s not mentioned in this blog post, and you’re still worried that we won’t be able to move it, please give us a call at 615-248-6288.  We are always more than happy to stop by your home before your move to give a free onsite walk-through.

I’ve never felt so short: TSU Basketballers Hit the Office

IMG_0787When I came in from my lunch break today, I walked into a sea of blue trees–I mean men–who were hanging out in our employee lounge after our group interview session.  It didn’t take long for word to get back to me that all these boys were from the Tennessee State University basketball team, and they were hoping to work here over the summer as Movers.

Because we’re a moving company, the number of moves we schedule goes through the roof during the summer season, when most people decide to make their move to new homes.  Because our busy season is coming up, and because I know colleges are about to let out for the summer, I decided to reach out to some of the head coaches of colleges around the city to ask if their student athletes were looking for summer employment.  After all, what could be better for them?  We pay our men the highest hourly rate of any moving company in Nashville, and they would also get to stay in shape during their vacation.

The students (Darreon, Christian, Montez, Marcus, Xavier, and Tahjere) were all excited to be here and even more excited about their athletics program.  A few of them told me, “We’re a family–we’re brothers!” and I could definitely tell they all agreed, just by witnessing their collective energy together.  I asked them a few questions about themselves, and they were more than happy to give me the down low about the team.  “Christian’s the tallest,” they told me.  “But I’m the prettiest,” Tahjere was quick to point out.  Marcus, apparently, is the “muscle” of the team.

But as we all know, college isn’t just about making money and playing basketball.  I asked them about their majors, and I was ecstatic to hear that two of them, Marcus and Tahjere, were majoring in Communications.  (If I hadn’t majored in Marketing, my next choice would definitely have been Mass Comm.)  But the majority of the boys readily admitted the reason they go to school–“Basketball!”

Thanks for coming by, TSU players!  We hope to see you out in the field soon!

Is your school’s athletic program looking to partner with a great business that can keep their athletes in shape over the summer?  Send me an email at jenni.gustafson@twomen.com!

Recycle Your Moving Boxes: How to Make a Castle

Castle Craft (1)Summertime is just around the corner, and this is our busy season!  Statistically speaking, if you’re planning to move anytime soon, you’ll probably move during the May-August time period.  If you are moving soon (or have moved recently), what do you usually do with all of your moving boxes afterward?  Since we have lots of boxes around the office, we decided to help you find some fun ways to recycle them.

While trying to decide what to make first, I thought about all my “mom friends” who look for ways to keep their kiddos entertained while they’re home all-day-every-day during the summer.  I came up with this super-fun play castle, and it only took about 30-45 minutes to make.  Here’s how I did it:

Castle Craft (2)

First, I gathered my materials.  I used a Wardrobe Box and two Medium Boxes, but you can use whatever sized boxes you have around your house.

Castle Craft (3)Next, I worked on making my Tower.  You’ll want to cut the holes in the box with an Exacto-knife while it’s laying flat on the floor before you tape any parts of the box.  I cut a window, plus a large rectangular hole in the side that will serve as the doorway for your kids to crawl into the tower.

Castle Craft (4)                      Castle Craft (5)

Once my holes were cut, I taped the bottom of the Wardrobe Box together to make a “floor”.  To make sure there were no flaps and no chance of the bottom coming apart, I taped the seams on both the inside and outside of the box.

Castle Craft (6)After the tower was finished, I cut holes in the sides of my two Medium Boxes as crawl spaces, and cut just an arch (not the bottom of the arch) into one of the boxes to make a fold-down drawbridge.

The last step is just taping the three boxes together to connect the crawl spaces!  Now your kids can play in their castle.  If you use our clean, white boxes, they’ll also have plenty of decorating space.  (We recommend using washable markers or crayons.)

Done!  Keep checking back on our blog for more Recycled Box Crafts!  And if give us a call if you’d like to purchase some of our high-quality boxes at 615-248-6288.