Scott Morrison is President of Next Phase: Moving & Downsizing. For the past nine years, his company has helped hundreds of seniors move to smaller homes that are adequate for their needs. We spoke to him about how he helps seniors downsize without much hassle.
“Most of our clients are 80 or more years old,” Scott explains. “They have lived in their homes for thirty to fifty years. However, they’ve decided it is time to move, usually to an independent living community. Our clients give us a floor plan of their new home, and we figure out what they can take with them. Usually, we help them get rid of 95% of their stuff. After helping them empty their house, either for selling or in many cases, it has already been sold. The next step is moving our clients to their new home. We set everything up for them: hang the pictures on the wall, hook up the TV, arrange their favourite furniture to make it look like their previous home."
Scott says the larger items that won't fit in the new place are sold at auctions and the small through consignment. Next Phase packages everything up in four to five days for a large house and labels it accordingly: family, consignment, charity, recycling, etc. Finally, the truck comes and empties the house.
The Emotional Aspect of Downsizing
Perhaps the most challenging step for Scott’s clients is deciding to move. He acknowledges most of them have to do it for health and safety reasons. "Stairs are a big one," he points out. By the time Scott and his company come into a client's life, the decision has been made. Nevertheless, it is still hard for his clients because they have been living in their homes for 50 years. “We are cognizant of this situation, and we are very sensitive to our clients' needs because we know their whole life is in that house. We take time and listen to our clients’ stories because these are part of the process.”
When seniors visit the independent living communities, they become aware of the benefits of moving there: they don't have to shop, they don't have to cook, they don't have to maintain a big yard, and there are many social activities. Scott points out these visits make up his clients' mind and make moving easier. "We have clients who kept their house in case they didn't like the independent living community. However, no one has moved out of the independent living community back into their big house.Once they experience it, they love it there.”
“The other thing we’ve come to realize is that when you are 80 years old, your children are 60 and they have no interest in cleaning out the garage and the basement,” Scott says.
"It's a gratifying job because we get to see our clients' happiness When we first met them and their families, the kids are all nervous for putting their parents in an assisted living facility, and the clients are nervous about leaving their house. There is a lot of uncertainty. But when we do the reveal, and they see their new, unpacked home – the pictures on the wall, everything in place – it looks beautiful and they love it. The client is happy and their kids are happy. It's incredibly rewarding to help them through that process."
Downsizing on your own
People that are downsizing on their own have to plan for at least two months to sort through their stuff. Scott underlines it takes longer than you would think it will take because there are so many things to sort through. “Then you have to make a decision for each thing you pick up. Am I giving it to charity, to family, or should I recycle it? It’s an activity you can only work for two to three hours at a time because it becomes exhausting. It’s not the kind of thing you can spend eight hours doing," he explains. Scott emphasizes his clients should contact him as soon as possible so that he can book them and provide them the service they need.
Click here to contact Next Phase: Moving & Downsizing.
If you are considering the possibility of moving to a home that has the right size for you and your needs, contact me here. Let’s talk about the opportunities you have and how I can make the process easier for you.