Each person’s downsizing journey is unique, however, there are some common road blocks. Sometimes, just the mere thought of dealing with the physical and emotional toll that moving to a smaller home entails is enough to keep people living in a large home for far too long. Whether you have been decluttering in preparation of this next life stage or postponing any type of concrete action to prepare for it, most people can benefit from some professional helping hands as they close one chapter and begin a new one. In this month’s Q&A, we speak with Leanne Masellis who set out to simplify the downsizing and moving experience by offering a full suite of services that make this life transition truly a seamless experience.
Up-Close & Personal with Leanne Masellis
Principal of Dynamic Downsizers
Transitions Realty: Your company Dynamic Downsizers is devoted to helping people who are considering downsizing in Toronto. Specializing in professional organization, move management and interior decorating, you summarize your services with the three D’s: DECLUTTER. DOWNSIZE. DESIGN. It could be said you take the “daunting” out of downsizing. Can you break down these services you offer and tell us how it simplifies the downsizing journey for clients?
Transitions Realty: Describe your process and how you help your clients deal with a home filled with heirlooms that not even their kids or other family members want. If some of these items have some monetary value, for instance, how do you address this particular situation?
Leanne Masellis: When downsizing, clients are often faced with determining the future of items they have formed an emotional attachment to. We all have those pieces that we treasure and there is nothing wrong with wanting to keep them. As we work through this process with our clients, we help them to decide the best way to either honour the memories without the item or find a place for that item in their new space. We also work with the clients to determine a healthy boundary for their collections, what are their most cherished pieces? How much will they really have space for? How can we display these items in a meaningful way?
We work with our clients to help them understand that many of their items could benefit others. They can pick a charity or an organization that is important to them and we can drop off the items for them. If there is a potential value, part of our project management service is to bring in auction companies, private dealers, or send photos of your pieces to consignment stores to ensure they get the most value from the items.
Transitions Realty: I understand your company serves two demographics: downsizers and sometimes, their aging parents. How do you work with these two demographics separately and together?
Leanne Masellis: We are often dealing with the baby boomer population who are contacting us to help downsize their aging parents. The boomers are still working and often taking care of families of their own so they require assistance managing the move. When we come to downsize and declutter, that’s when we start working with their parents and systematically go through their belongings and decide what will move with them in their next chapter. Our services transition seamlessly for both of these populations as the process is very similar, whether it’s downsizing to the cottage or to a retirement setting, we follow the same steps.
Transitions Realty: For clients who hire you for the full service from decluttering to moving and setting up their new home, I imagine you learn a lot about them through this detailed process. You get a glimpse of their past and the promise of a shiny new future. In your experience, when the decluttering is conducted systematically by professionals like yourself, does it lessen the emotional impact by the time your client enters their new home? Is there joy when this happens?
Leanne Masellis: This is a huge part of the emotional process for our clients. When our clients are in their 60s, 70s and 80s, they are not only dealing with their own things but often a lifetime of memories from an entire family, and the emotional aspect of that can be very difficult. We like to pair our client’s personality with a team member that will complement them and guide them through the decluttering journey. We are often privileged to hear their stories along the way. I strongly feel that going through the process with us allows them to feel good about the outcome, which lessens the burden they feel about downsizing. Not only are we helping them in the moment by embracing the process of letting go, but I also believe this helps liberate and excite them about the next chapter. When they finally walk into their new space at the end of the downsizing transition and see their new home completely set up with their cherished items displayed, pictures hung, and bed made, they smile (and sometimes cry) with relief. Everything they need and love is there, allowing them to feel good in their home once again.
For more information, go to www.dynamicdownsizers.com