February 9, 2010

A tale of 2 moves….Part 2

This week is the second half of how folks react to the prospect of moving. Last week we summarized the experiences of the reluctant mover. Some relish it as a new adventure and some resist even though they initiated the process on their own.

What lessons do you glean from these experiences?

Chapter 2 – The New Adventure Mover.

With Ms. M. (92) the story is quite different.  She knew the logic of making a decision to move to a Retirement Residence, still, she did not want to leave her home of many years. It had been owned by her father and was once a summer cottage for her as a child. 

In July 2008, Ms. M hired Trusted Transitions to help her downsize starting in October.

After many discussions about the timing of the move, Ms. M. decided in April that she had to schedule the move and set the date of June 23, 2009.

Between October and June, every Thursday, 2 hour weekly visits were scheduled. Being practical, Ms. M. knew what she most wanted to keep. A floor plan was created early in the process.  Every week a room would be tackled and decisions were made regarding what to keep, what to find a new owner for or what to dispose of. Her generosity came in to play as she gave the most special things to friends and family.

Each week was somewhat emotional as more items left the house. Though looking forward to the meals being prepared for her after all these years she was saddened to leave all of her cooking and baking materials behind. The long downsizing period she had given herself (9 months) allowed her to accept parting with them.    

On moving day, she stayed at her home to enjoy the house one last time. Her treasures preceded her to the Retirement Residence. Driving herself, she arrived mid-afternoon once everything was in its rightful place. 

She opened the door and went “ohhhh” and slowly entered drinking everything in.  She enjoyed rearranging the furniture a few times in the first week to truly make it her own.

Ms. M. still talks about how she loves her home of so many years but she is quite “comfortable” in her new suite.  After 6 months she has made many new friends and is pleased her old neighbours still visit to play cards and enjoy dinner with her in the dining room.

Ms. M. allowed herself to time to deal with the transition and what it meant to her. She allowed herself time to make decisions on what to do with her possessions and be comfortable with her decisions. She eased herself into the transition and could merge old with new.


December 16, 2009

Is downsizing a dirty word?

It certainly is in the business world.  And in the last few years many more people have experienced the pain of having their job eliminated, leaving them with a bad feeling whenever they hear that word.

But downsizing now also applies to the process of reducing things we have accumulated in our personal lives.  It may need to happen to cope with a job loss, or to adjust to current economic conditions.  But for most the personal downsizing urge kicks in sometime after retirement.  The kids are gone, and we are living a simpler life.  We look around at the big house that served the family well in the past, and ask “Do I really need all this anymore?”

Now downsizing is change and change can be difficult for many.  But there is a way to approach it positively and end up feeling good about what you have done.  Here are a few tips if you are thinking about downsizing.

  1. Start small by going through a drawer, a closet or a room at a time. 
  2. As you sort ask yourself if you are likely to use an item again, and if not, out it goes.  We all have things like sports equipment long after we are keen to do it again (out with those Roller Blades!).
  3. If you find items that have deep sentimental value bring them out so you can see them and be reminded more often.  Keep only a few pictures of special holidays.  Give those old report cards to the kids.
  4. When you go through your closet you will inevitably find items that no longer fit, or you no longer need to wear  (how many business suits does a retiree really need?).  Think about how great some needy people in the community would feel if they had a new outfit to wear to job interviews.
  5. Think about selling hidden gems.  Gold is at an all time high so both coins and old jewellery can bring you some extra dollars for a special evening out.

Downsizing doesn’t have to be a dirty word.  It can be a trip down memory lane and a chance to showcase those really special items.  It can allow you to gift things to family, friends and strangers and know that you have made others happy.  And it will give you a feeling of lightness.  It is much more pleasant to open drawers that aren’t stuffed to overflowing. 

Try it….one step at a time.


November 30, 2009

We help take the worry out of moving day!

A recent Toronto Star article by Ellen Roseman entitled “Don’t let movers take you for a ride.” was the inspiration for this blog. It reminded me of a move I had organized for myself about 15 years ago. At 9 a.m. we went to pick up the truck only to find out that the franchise was out of business. 2 hours later we did find a truck. Another time the mover took my antique dining room table apart and put the screws in his pocket. I never could get them back.

The article mentions the tactics of some unscrupulous movers out there who take advantage of folks at a time when they are very vulnerable. If you are doing the move yourself, moving day can be a day of chaos. What you don’t need is trouble with the truck or the moving company when you need to get out of the house.

The article mentions that fact that people had signed a contract at a new price when they thought they were signing that the move was complete. Some moving companies have been known to charge a $1 per stair, unloading fees and extra costs for items over a certain weight.

The article goes on the mention the rights we have under the Consumer Protection Act:

  • Fair estimates – The final price charged for a contract can’t exceed the estimate in the contract by more than 10%.
  • Full disclosure of all costs, fees and charges. You can’t be forced to pay undisclosed amounts, such as unloading fees.
  • Freedom from ransom. It’s illegal for a mover to use the custody or control of your goods to pressure you into renegotiating the price of a contract.

Always make sure the mover – or anyone providing you a service – comes to your home to see what they are dealing with versus giving a quote over the phone.

At Trusted Transitions, you can be assured that we will always come and see you in person to understand what it is that you require. Before any work is done, we will review the low and high estimates and obtain your agreement. The cost of the movers will be in our estimate, taking any worry and interface with the movers out of your mind.


April 1, 2009

Keeping Your Documents Safe

In a previous post we talked about the types of documents we generally have:

1.    Identity
2.    Financial
3.    Historical

One method of keeping documents safe is to store them in a safety deposit box. These can be either the original – Last Will and Testament, deed, bonds – or a copy of an original you use, but want to ensure you have a backup if needed. Don’t misplace the key, and you might consider having the duplicate key held by your lawyer, or Power of Attorney.

If you’d like to keep your documents at home, consider purchasing a home safe. There are many models available – look in the yellow pages for a security or safe company. Ensure the safe is waterproof, fireproof and cannot be easily opened.

There are some digital methods of keeping your documents safe, also. Make copies of your documents by scanning them into your computer.

Make a movie of your home and all you have in it. You can keep this in digital format on a CD and store that it in your safety deposit box. Store an accompanying written list of the items shown on the movie – this will help with an insurance claim.

Another method of keeping either the original or copy of an important document is to store it offsite – consider storing the item with a friend or relative in another city. Some people keep photocopies or CD’s of scanned images of important papers in their office drawer.

If a document is important to you, then finding and implementing a method of keeping it safe from any disaster – natural or man-made – should be on your to-do list.


March 18, 2009

Definitely Not a Paperless Society

In this post we’ll tell you about the types of documents you should keep. In a future post we’ll discuss how to keep them safe.

There are at least three types of documents you should keep:

1.    Identity
2.    Financial
3.    Historical

Identity documents include:

  • Birth certificates
  • Driver’s License
  • Health Card
  • Passports
  • SIN cards
  • Military documents
  • Death certificates
  • Marriage and Divorce Certificates

Financial documents include:

  • Your Will
  • Power of Attorney
  • Insurance
  • Property deeds
  • Car ownership
  • Investment and retirement plans
  • Tax returns (and the documents and receipts that were used to complete the return) for the past 7 years
  • Receipts for items under warranty
  • A Will or POA for which you are the executor


  • Your most advanced Graduation Diploma
  • Family photographs

There are also items you don’t need to keep. Keep only those bills and receipts that you may to refer to in the future, for example for warranty information. Once you’ve recognized the purchase has been properly recorded on your credit card statement you can destroy the receipt.

Bank transaction stubs are not required once you’ve confirmed your bank statement has captured the information correctly. Pre-approved credit card solicitations should also be discarded.

For any document you’re destroying use a paper shredder to make it unreadable. Some of these documents will have enough identity information on it that thieves could use it to steal from you.

We encourage you to seek professional advice; your lawyer and accountant can provide expert advice. This post is to help you begin thinking about, and doing something about all your papers.


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