Tuesday, July 30, 2013
Who are you?
I’m an Accredited Staging Professional and owner of Saratoga Senior Move Managers. I have a master’s degree in library science and started out in investment banking. I worked as a corporate librarian, an industry analyst, an advertising specialist and a professional organizer. Then I developed the idea for the moving service.
So what does your company do?
As the baby boomers age, many of them are moving into smaller, more manageable dwellings, and sometimes their family members live far away and can’t be there throughout the process. Moving can be physically, emotionally and organizationally daunting. My staff and I work with senior clients who are about to sell their house, whether it be the big house where they raised their children or a smaller place they’re leaving to move into senior housing.
I sit down with people and plan, assessing which of their furniture and belongings will fit into their next home. Then we sort and pack. Items go into four stacks: things to keep, things to sell, things to give away and things to throw out. Moving comes next. I’ve worked with Mabey’s Moving and Storage for years, and have a great relationship with the company. During the move, we encourage our clients to go away overnight, during which time we unpack. We place their furniture, set up their closets and hang pictures — everything that needs to be done.
Then what happens with the empty house?
We stage that house for sale. Interior designers work with clients to bring in décor that fits a home. Stagers work to bring clients’ things out of a home, so that the house has preferably some furniture and simple design elements, but is neutral and lends itself to buyers’ own visualizations. We also hold estate sales for those items clients want to sell.
Do you work with hoarders, the people who obsessively save everything?
A couple of times, I have worked with clients and their therapists to help begin the sorting process, but I don’t really do the major cleanouts. I have walked into hoards, and turned right around and walked back out. I’ve only had to use a respirator twice while cleaning out houses.
Are your office and your home completely tidy and organized?
My mother used to keep a shredder by the front door, so she could get rid of junk mail as soon as it came into the house. I have that upbringing. So yes, my place on Saratoga Lake is neat. However, I have three dogs, I kayak and I play classical guitar, so I have fun and creative space in my life as well as the organization.
— By Jennie Grey