I confess; I’ve been looking at houses online. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE my home, but sometimes the fantasy of moving to a new place, and the excitement it brings, gets the best of me and I wind up surfing the realty pages online.
So why am I posting about this on The Pack Up Artist page?
Because it reminds me of how daunting the downsizing/moving process is for people. Even people who own a downsizing company!
Sometimes I get so caught up in organizing people’s spaces, and meeting deadlines that I forget the whole POINT of why I got into this business; so I thought I would share with you WHY I became The Pack Up Artist.
In 2008, my parents were living in White Bear Lake in a lovely townhome, when they got an offer they couldn’t refuse. A couple had contacted them with a cash offer to purchase their town home-IMMEDIATELY. They had been talking about downsizing again (they had left our family home of 20+ years only 2 years prior) and moving to our lake home on the North Shore but weren’t fully ready to make the transition. But the offer was enticing, and suddenly they would be moving-SOON.
In early 2009, they moved into a rental home in Columbia Heights; a resting spot until they determined their next steps-stay in the cities or move up north. My father, (pseudo-retired) had a successful small business and my mother was a pastor at our church. They weren’t QUITE ready to drop everything and be full-time retirees-yet.
So where was I in all of this?
I was a newlywed in between jobs and adjusting to some major life changes of my own. I’ve always been especially close to my parents, and I tried to be there to support them in any way I could.
This meant I was organizing their closets, unpacking boxes, and bringing over my dad’s favorite (Wendy’s chili) for lunch periodically.
On one such occasion, I picked up lunch for my parents and intended to spend the day continuing to help them unpack when one of the worst events of my life began to unfold.
I was deep in my parent’s closet, unpacking, when a Comcast worker (there to set up their cable) rushed into the bedroom calling for me. He was frantic and told me that my dad had a heart attack while he was shoveling the driveway. The other technician was performing CPR, but when they found him, he wasn’t breathing.
What ensued is a story all it’s own, but thankfully, my dad survived and went on to face a quadruple bypass surgery and a slow recovery from his massive heart attack.
As our family adjusted and my dad recovered, one major problem rose to the surface; my father’s business was highly reliant on a major asset-my dad.
Slowly life was turned upside down AGAIN for my parents, as they struggled with the realization that my dad had new limitations on how he lived his life, and running a stressful small business wasn’t a realistic option any longer.
It was time to transition again.
Prior to the heart attack, we had completed most of the unpacking into the rental home. There were no thoughts of moving again for at least a year, and pictures had begun to be hung on the walls and my dad’s office and employees were at work in the lower level.
Now they needed greater stability, and a place with fewer stairs, that they could afford given their new financial constraints.
So we packed them up, and prepared to move…AGAIN.
Over the next few years, we moved them into a smaller townhome, and again to my home for a brief period, and then up north. Now they are happy and established at our family’s lake home on the North Shore.
In case you missed it, that’s A LOT of moving and downsizing!
I adore my parents, and I felt deep compassion and a desire to make things easier for them. How could I help?
For whatever reason, organizing and packing had always come easily to me- and that skill was coming in especially handy in these circumstances.
My dad’s health was fragile, and my mom was his right hand and caretaker. They were emotionally spent, and I could offer them some relief by doing the packing and downsizing on their behalf.
I had been told numerous times that I should be a professional organizer. One of my best friends marveled at how even my junk drawers seemed tidy. I never thought my love of organization could be a job skill one day-but serendipity brought the opportunity and in 2015 I was offered my first opportunity to get PAID to pack and downsize a client’s home.
Three years later, I’m working with 4+ staff and we’re packing/downsizing 1-2 houses and 3-5 smaller organizational jobs every month.
Who knew organizing closets (by color, no less!) could lead to a thriving small business.
I see my parents loving their new life up north, enjoying their retirement, now that all of the stress of moving is behind them. I am honored to be a part of their journey and the journey of all of my clients and friends who have allowed me to assist them in their transition.
So, now that you’ve heard MY story-I would love to hear yours!
If you or someone you know is overwhelmed by the downsizing process, or you have a story of your own to share about your personal transition, please send me a message! One of the most helpful sources of support in transition is hearing from others who have faced the task before and can encourage others at the starting line of their own journey.
For more information about The Pack Up Artist, visit our website at www.thepackupartist.com or inquire about our services at firstname.lastname@example.org