Tuesday, December 3, 2013


Holiday time often means putting up decorations and family returning home. Take advantage of the following tips to declutter and make your home holiday-ready.

*Make room for décor and guests
Don’t just add holiday décor, exchange non-seasonal items for holiday ones. Start with small areas at a time, focus on what items you use regularly and make them accessible.  The other belongings may not need to be around at all. Don't put them back out in January if you can live without them. If you need to clear out the guest room, you may find you don’t really need all that stuff the rest of the year either. Give yourself permission to let go. Closet space could make guests feel welcome instead of holding clothes you haven’t worn in years.
*Start new traditions of giving excess items not just cash to charities
Items you don’t need anymore can still help others instead of taking up your space or being thrown away. Clothing, tools, books and housewares in usable condition can be donated to charities and routed to those in need. You still get the tax deduction and also open up space in your home. The extra coats you don’t need could really help someone else this winter.
*Distribute stored family items
All those items you have been keeping for the kids can finally be picked up or cleared. Family may not make a special trip to collect their childhood memorabilia, but if they really want it, they can take it home after their holiday visit. With this deadline, you will discover how much they really wanted those items and release yourself from the obligation.
*Pass on the old traditions
If you are not doing the decorating or cooking that you used to do but don’t want the traditions lost, give the meaningful decorations or cookware to the next generation now. This way you can make sure the stories behind the traditions are remembered for years to come. Know that the grand children will see the important heirlooms that have been in storage if you pass them on now.
*Gift the Inheritance 
Rather than fight the crowds to purchase items family may or may not like, give the items you are planning on leaving as inheritance. This way, recipients can express their appreciation while you are here to receive it, and you can be assured the right people get what you want them to have. Sentimental memories and traditions are highlighted at this time of year so you add new meanings to old memorabilia.

My goal is to help clients and their families deal with a lifetime of accumulation when making changes in living arrangements.

Happy Holidays,


Tuesday, November 5, 2013

We Needed to Downsize our Home

My husband Charlie and I were like most 40 something couples with busy lives, corporate careers, kids and aging parents.  We were being pulled in different directions.  But, like all our friends, we were just dealing with the challenges of life.  Then, something occurred that we had not anticipated.  Both my parents had life-altering medical disabilities that forced us into helping them transition to a new lifestyle very quickly.  We needed to downsize their home, find medical assistance, help them organize their affairs and get things in order as hastily and efficiently as possible.  I kept thinking if only we had someone to help my siblings and us with this challenging situation.

Unfortunately, we had to hurry through each phase of the process.  I took the lead to find them a new place to live (which in itself is mind-boggling to anyone).  I also worked with my siblings to organize and conduct an estate sale, donate unwanted treasures to organizations near and dear to our parent’s hearts, and dispose of the remaining items so we could select an agent to sell their home of 30+ years.
In hindsight, the event was stressful, confusing and most importantly, we missed the opportunity to enjoy time with our parents to hear the stories as we unraveled the veil of their lives.  As my family and I replayed the scenario several more times with other relatives, I passionately felt the desire to help seniors mediate this very difficult time in their lives.  The initial experience with my family members allowed me to observe the challenges of downsizing and also gave me the confidence to understand the need to treat them with empathy and respect.

At Smooth Transitions of St. Louis, our clients have many common denominators: the need to downsize, the need to simplify their lives and the paralyzing fear of getting started.  But most importantly, each senior is unique and must receive a customized transitional plan.  More often than not, the realization of this unique project intimidates the seniors, children and other family members.  This is where Smooth Transitions of St. Louis provides an affordable solution.

At Smooth Transitions, we strive to listen to their memories as we guide them through the downsizing process. We implement the family’s instructions to disburse the material possessions to create a new, more manageable living environment that feels “just like home”.  We treat each client as if we are their “surrogate” daughter, without the emotional and traumatic ramifications that accompany family relations.