Moving from a large house to a smaller home or apartment requires tough decisions about possessions to be kept, and those that need to be sold or given away. An objective professional can help reduce the stress of decluttering. Katie Fitzpatrick of Moving On helps people moving to Rawhiti Estate make room in their new homes for the things that matter.
When Katie Fitzpatrick established her business in 2010, many of her clients needed help relocating to New Zealand or finding accommodation for their families while on short-term contracts in Auckland. One day, a friend whose mother had recently died asked her to help prepare the family home for sale – and Katie recognised the value of having an impartial person organise and oversee the process of downsizing and moving on.
“I found a lot of satisfaction in helping people put things in order – it might be after a parent has passed away, or when someone has decided they no longer want to rattle around alone in a huge house. It can be a vulnerable time for older people and their families. They need support, sincerity and respect.”
The first thing Katie asks her clients to do is go through all their personal documents such as wills and family photographs, and ensure the important items are kept in a safe place.
If a client is moving to a smaller home, Katie will use the first site meeting to walk through that person’s current residence, talk with them about the type of place they are moving into, and identify the furniture and belongings they truly need to take with them.
“It’s a very big time in a person’s life – sometimes they might not want to move but know that they cannot continue living independently in their family home. I know the footplate of the apartments and care suites at Rawhiti Estate – they have a beautiful feeling of homeliness. I advise on what items will work in these spaces to make them feel cosy and personal.
“If someone is adamant about keeping a specific item, they might need to see for themselves that it doesn’t fit – and then we make arrangements for it to be taken away.
“The important thing is to listen with empathy, give respectful advice, and support people as they make the necessary decisions about retaining or selling their possessions.
“If we are helping someone who lives alone and doesn’t have immediate family nearby, we make sure to arrange delivery of a meal on the day their possessions are being moved. It is a big deal moving at any stage of your life, and if you have been in one place for many years, it can be very emotional.”
For those on the verge of downsizing, Katie has some practical tips.
Kitchen drawers often accumulate a lot of utensils that are seldom used. One way of sorting the essential items from the clutter is to empty the drawer contents into a box. Over the next week, if a utensil is taken from the box and used, place it back in the drawer. Anything that remains in the box after seven days is unlikely to be used often enough to warrant keeping it.
As for the garments clustered at the back of the wardrobe that have not been worn for at least two years, Katie counsels her clients to let them go to someone who will love them and wear them.